Category Archives: Anne Arundel

Speaker Michael Busch Died Earlier Today

The Baltimore Sun has the story on this sad news. Here is Senate President Mike Miller’s statement:

My heart is broken for Mike Busch’s family, the State of Maryland, and the Speaker’s extended family – elected officials and staff that he has been a mentor and coach to over his time in public service. Mike has been a friend for years, and has led the state to new heights of environmentalism and education, while ensuring that a new generation of leaders move our state forward. He was a true model of a State Delegate; he cared for every corner of the state, but never forgot about the people he was elected to represent. I will miss him as a friend and partner in state government and I join all the state in mourning his passing.


Is an Incumbent Delegate Getting Pushed Out?

By Adam Pagnucco.

In 2006, Senator P.J. Hogan and Delegates Nancy King and Charles Barkley became fed up with their District 39 colleague, Delegate Joan Stern.  Four months before the election, Hogan, King and Barkley announced that they would not be running with Stern for reelection.  Barkley told the Gazette, “She’s being dropped… I would say it just was not working as a team. I think the three of us [Hogan, King and Barkley] really work well as a team, but not the four of us.”  That left Stern vulnerable to challenger Saqib Ali, who later picked up the Apple Ballot and defeated her.

Is this happening again in Anne Arundel County?

Legislative District 32, which occupies the northern tip of Anne Arundel, is currently represented by four Democrats: Senator James “Ed” DeGrange (first elected in 1998), Delegate Ted Sophocleus (1998), Delegate Pam Beidle (2006) and Delegate Mark Chang (2014).  The Republicans have not come close to knocking out DeGrange in recent years, but they sometimes come within a thousand votes or so in the House races.  (Chang ran unsuccessfully as a Republican in 2006.)

Democratic Central Committee Member Sandy Bartlett is running for Delegate in District 32 and here’s where it gets interesting.  Since December, Bartlett’s campaign account has received contributions from DeGrange ($1,000), Beidle ($500), Senator Jim Rosapepe ($500) and Delegate Joseline Pena-Melnyk ($500).  Rosapepe and Pena-Melnyk represent a district that includes parts of Prince George’s and Anne Arundel.  Soon after Bartlett’s announcement, Beidle wrote on Facebook, “Sandy Bartlett for Delegate in District 32!  Happy to have her join Team 32.”

Wait a minute!  DeGrange, Beidle, Chang and Sophocleus are all members of the Team 32 Slate account.  Bartlett is not.

Unless a fourth House seat is magically created (it won’t be!), someone is on the outs.  The Capital Gazette notes that none of the incumbent Delegates has announced plans to retire, although it reports speculation that Sophocleus (who is 78) might leave.  Let’s remember that Sophocleus had bypass surgery in 2014.  Additionally, Bartlett (who is African American) brings diversity and gender balance to the delegation ticket.

All of this begs the obvious question.  Is Sophocleus getting pushed out the door?


Democratic Gubernatorial Straw Poll Results

State Sen. Rich Madaleno (D 18) emerged as the surprise winner of the online poll held by the Anne Arundel Democratic Central Committee, coming in first support from about one-third of people who clicked for their choice.

It probably didn’t hurt that Madaleno recently attended the District 30 Democratic Club meeting, as well as the Anne Arundel Central Committee Dinner. Other candidates at the dinner included Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker, former AG Doug Gansler, former NAACP President Ben Jealous, and Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz.

U.S. Rep. John Delaney (D 6) won the Western Maryland straw poll held in April, with 35% of the 166 participants–less of a shock as Delaney represents this area in Congress. In any case, based on these totally non-random, non-representative samples, it appears that even active Democrats are quite divided, which should make for an interesting primary season.


House of Delegates Ratings, Part V: The Most Vulnerable Democrat

Continuing our view of the lay of political land in advance of the 2018 state legislative election, 7S turns to vulnerable Democrats in the House of Delegates. We start today with the one sitting Democrat rated as a toss-up.

Delegate Ned Carey is in the unenviable position of holding the most endangered Democratic seat in the House. Located in the Brooklyn Park and Glen Burnie sections of northern Anne Arundel County, District 31A is a single delegate subdistrict that contains the more Democratic territory in very Republican District 31, which should just be renamed Simonaireland. The father holds the Senate seat and his daughter is a delegate from 31B.

Carey represents the only Democratic House district carried by both Larry Hogan and Donald Trump. District 31A went for Hogan by a 30 points in 2014. While Hillary Clinton fared far better, she still fell 4 percent short of defeating Trump.

A former school board member and BWI executive endorsed by the Baltimore Sun, Carey had the advantage of facing an inexperienced Republican challenger, Terry DeGraw in 2014. A poor fundraiser, DeGraw spent little on her campaign. Her three general election campaign finance reports show she spent a total of $13,952.74.

In contrast, Carey spent an impressive $84,613.07 to win the seat by 5.3% over DeGraw. Besides loaning his campaign $10,000, Carey received $47,000 in donations from the House Democratic Slate, as well as another $2000 from Sen. Ben Cardin’s PAC and $2500 from former Gov. Martin O’Malley’s O Say Can You See PAC.

The Republican lean of the district combined with his small victory despite outclassing his opponent in fundraising and experience paint a big target on Carey’s back for 2018. The Republicans will have a real shot if they can find a good candidate and fund them well.

The best evidence that Carey will nevertheless not lose easily is that he won in 2014, despite it being a truly hellacious year for Democrats. In an election when long-term Democratic legislators in similar territory went down, Carey managed to win the seat. No doubt he is hoping for a more favorable climate in 2018.


2018 Maryland Senate Ratings, Part II

Click to Enlarge

Part I discussed ratings for safe and toss-up seats in the Maryland Senate. Today, 7S focuses on the six Lean and Likely Democratic districts.  All are currently held by incumbent Democrats.

Lean Democratic

District 3 (Frederick County). Sen. Ron Young had a real scare in 2014, winning just 50.8% of the vote after defeating incumbent Alex Mooney with 51.1% in 2010. Mooney has since fled to West Virginia where he is now a U.S. Representative.

This part of Frederick has been trending Democratic. Clinton carried D3 by 8. Hogan won by 15, a good margin but less impressive than in several districts held by Democrats in Anne Arundel and Baltimore. As this district has the best Democratic territory in Frederick, Young ought to be able to win a third term.

But Frederick has been hotly contested between the two parties of late and this former Frederick Mayor has sometimes been a controversial figure. My current expectations remain for the GOP to have another go at Young but fall short, though they will force Democrats to scramble to retain the seat.

Likely Democratic

See the map at the bottom of the post for the locations of the five Likely Democratic districts.

District 8 (Baltimore County). Sen. Kathy Klausmeier won an impressive victory in 2014. Though her district went for Hogan by 36 points, she not only won but took 61.2% of the vote. In 2016, Hogan’s impressive margin evaporated as Trump carried D8 by seven-tenths of one percent.

This is an interesting district because, though the incumbent has demonstrated popularity, it remains marginal turf. If Republicans want to make gains, they will have to look here, even if Klausmeier is clearly no easy mark. The district could become competitive with the right Republican candidate and favorable political winds.

District 11 (Baltimore County). Sen. Bobby Zirkin was unopposed for reelection last time around, so what is he doing on this list? Zirkin represents a cross-pressured district that supported Hogan by 14 points even as it then went for Clinton by 24 points.

Zirkin is an active legislator who champions several popular, easy-to-explain causes, such as stronger anti-domestic violence legislation. Nonetheless, if Maryland’s political climate turns against Democrats, this seat could be a surprise domino to fall. The district bears watching even if Zirkin should be in good shape.

District 12 (Howard and Baltimore Counties). Another cross-pressured district, D12 went for Hogan by 11 but Clinton by 17. Budget and Taxation Committee Chair Ed Kasemeyer won reelection with a convincing, albeit a tad lower than Klausmeier, margin of 58.6%.

Kasemeyer has an impressive electoral history (59% in 2014, 59% in 2010, 62% in 2006, 63% in 2002, 57% in 1998, 51% in 1994, 54% in 1986) that will make it difficult for Republicans to break through in increasingly Democratic Howard.

Howard has shown itself willing to vote for particular sorts of Republicans, including County Executive Allan Kittleman, who is liberal on social questions, and Gov. Larry Hogan, who relentlessly ignores them. Can the Republicans find one to challenge Kasemeyer or win the open seat should he choose to retire?

District 27 (Southern Maryland). Mike Miller entered the House of Delegates in 1971, the Senate in 1975 and became the Senate President in 1987, which makes him the longest serving legislative body leader in American history. Sen. Miller has led the Senate for so long that when I interviewed him over the telephone for my college senior thesis in the late 1980s, he was already Senate President.

The Senate President represents a politically diverse district that includes big chunks of Calvert and southeastern Prince George’s Counties as well as smaller bits of Charles and St. Mary’s. The Calvert portion of the district is much more Republican than the portions in Charles or Prince George’s.

Republicans would love to defeat this pillar of the Democratic Party. While he attracts complaints of being too conservative from the left, he fights very hard for members of his caucus, raising a lot of money and directing broader organizational efforts to retain a robust Democratic Senate majority.

This district is also far from totally hostile territory. While Clinton won it by 5 points in 2016, Hogan also carried it by 6 points in 2014. This divergence is a lot smaller than many Maryland legislative districts and is suggestive of tighter partisan loyalties, especially among its sizable African-American minority.

Republicans have not come close to defeating Miller. He won 63% in 2014, 75% in 2010, 70% in 2006, 72% in 2002, 69% in 1998, 68% in 1994, 84% in 1990, and 82% in 1986. (The State Board of Elections has not put the stone tablets with earlier election results online yet.) Despite receiving his lowest percentage since at least the 1980s in 2014, my guess is that Sen. Miller is not going to be beat. Still, the turf is marginal and remains Likely Democratic.

District 32 (Anne Arundel). Yet another cross-pressured district that bears a more than passing resemblance to its nearby counterparts in Baltimore and Howard Counties, this district went for Hogan by 17 but for Clinton by 12.

Moderate Sen. Ed DeGrange would seemingly be a good fit for this district. Except in these highly partisan times, some will argue that an outspoken liberal would do more to stir the troops. Like others listed here, he possesses real electoral experience, winning his seat by 59% in 2014, 60% in 2010, 61% in 2006, 59% in 2002, and 52% in 1998.

The remarkable consistency since his first reelection does not look like the record of someone about to lose his seat. Nevertheless, if Republicans are to make gains, they will look to Anne Arundel and to this district along with District 30.


Anne Arundel GOP Stands Up for Peroutka

Update: Love Wins.

The Anne Arundel GOP seemed at pains to attack my piece yesterday highlighting Republican Michael Peroutka’s well-known love of the Confederate flag and membership on the Board of the League of the South–a hate group.

Here is the exchange from Twitter: AAGOP4AAGOP3AAGOP1bAAGOP2

A few thoughts on the Anne Arundel GOP’s tactics and views:

1. Obfuscation: The real issue, of course, is Peroutka’s views–not whether I have spoken to Peroutka. This is a standard deflection tactic. Do Republicans speak in advance to each Democrat that they criticize on every occasion? I didn’t think so. Indeed, Gov. Larry Hogan didn’t speak to Peroutka before cutting him loose during the campaign. Like me, he didn’t need to waste his time.

2. Ignoring Reality: My post stated a number of uncontested facts. The posting of this YouTube showing Peroutka leading the singing of Dixie as the “national anthem” next to the Confederate Stainless Banner is a fact:

I also reported on Peroutka’s campaign contributions. Frankly, it isn’t a heavy lift to conclude that Peroutka’s values are heinous. Their willingness to ignore them says a lot about the people currently running the Anne Arundel GOP’s twitter account.

3. Casting the First Stone: After saying that I lack “integrity, judgement, or original thinking,” the Anne Arundel Republicans accuse me of “casting the first stone.” They then call me “hateful” as well as “judgmental and cowardly.”

Well, I’ll concede judgmental–it’d be a mighty dull opinion blog if it lacked opinions entirely. Seems mighty hypocritical though to accuse someone of “casting the first stone” when one engages in name-calling before and after. It’s like they’re characters from Berke Breathed’s wonderful Bloom County carton:

Bloom CountyI also wonder if these guys have ever met Peroutka themselves. This guy is more than happy to condemn and cast stones and support the efforts of noxious groups to do the same. As I have reported in this space previously:

Peroutka also finds the time to be active in the extremist John Birch Society. Apparently, he believes that the gay rights movement will lead to “forced homosexuality.”

During the campaign, Peroutka, proudly maintained his membership on the board of the League of the South, which states on its website:

If the South is going to survive, especially against a flood tide of massive Third World immigration and leftist attempts to destroy her very cultural and political foundations, she is going to have to seek her independence and govern herself.

So I think it’s safe to say that Peroutka and his ilk have no problem casting stones.

4. Peroutka and @AnneArundelGOP are more extreme than many other Republicans. The Governor’s spokesman, Adam Dubitsky, said about Peroutka: “Those views have never been a part of the Republican Party, and they never will be.” An Anne Arundel Republican candidate was quoted as opposing Peroutka’s “racism, classicism, cultural bigotry and hate.”

So my presentation of the facts leads to the same opinion as Governor Hogan. The Anne Arundel Republicans are free to stand by their man. It says a lot about them.


Maryland’s Confederate Connection: Councilman Michael Peroutka

Michael Peroutka will remain an embarrassment to Anne Arundel County and the Republicans as long as he sits on its Council. This is a man who led people in the “national anthem” of Dixie next to the Confederate “Stainless Banner.”

The “Stainless Banner” includes the Confederate battle flag in its canton. The white was meant to express the Confederate fight for the supremacy of the white race. Peroutka did his proud rendition of Dixie at the national conference of the League of the South, a secessionist hate group. In 2012.

Peroutka got money for his campaign from a variety of source. I suspect, however, that not many Marylanders, can claim that Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore gave them $1000, as did Associate Justice Tom Parker.

Moore is the jackass who was removed from the bench unanimously by his colleagues for violating the Constitution and his refusal to comply with a federal court decision. He spoke to the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), the group that inspired Dylann Roof, but claimed not to consider them a “white supremacist” group.

(Weirdly, Republican Primary voters rejected Moore in gubernatorial bids in 2006 and 2010 but Alabama returned him to the Alabama Supreme Court as its Chief Justice in 2012 on the Republican ticket. But even Moore is backing away from the CCC.)

During his campaign, Peroutka refused to leave the racist League of the South or give up his on its Board. Yep, and this guy is an elected official in suburban Maryland.

Peroutka also received $1000 from Scott Scharf of Scott’s Gunsmithing in Glen Burnie. Scott’s Gunsmithing specializes in custom firearms and gives explicit instructions on how to get around Maryland’s gun laws to build a gun called “the Urban Broom.” No doubt Dylann Roof would approve.

As the unacceptability of the Confederate flag goes national in the wake of the nine assassinations in Charleston, many in both parties have looked to see how we can make Maryland a more inclusive place. Refusing to condone the acceptability of Peroutka and his politics would aid that effort.


CD4: Where are the Voters?


The overwhelmingly Democratic Fourth Congressional District will be open in 2016 since incumbent Rep. Donna Edwards is making a bid for the U.S. Senate rather than seeking reelection. So where do the Democrats who will vote in the primary live?

Registered Democrats by Legislative District

The Fourth CD is split between Anne Arundel and Prince George’s but 86% of registered Democrats live in Prince George’s. Former Prince George’s State’s Attorney Glenn Ivey was on the ballot repeatedly, though he has not been on the ballots since 2006.

The following table shows the number of registered Democrats as well as the number who voted in each of the four past Democratic primaries within the portion of each state legislative district included in the Fourth Congressional District.

cd4 vr1

Newly elected Del. Erek Barron (D-24) is rumored to be interested in running for the Fourth. At 21.0%, D24 has the highest share of registered voters. Though Democratic primary turnout is slightly sub par, voters in this legislative district nonetheless consistently provided over one-fifth of all voters.

District 25 does not lag far behind District 24’s voting power with 18.7% of the CD 4’s registered Democrats. This is Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown’s former legislative district. Talented Del. Dereck Davis (D-25), the powerful Chair of the Economic Matters Committee, is also said to be musing about running for the seat.

Del. Jay Walker (D-26) is openly exploring a bid. Sen. Anthony Muse (D-26) from the same district is also rumored to be thinking about it. D26 has the third highest share of registered Democrats but lags notably behind either D24 or D25 with 14.4% of CD 4’s Democrats. Moreover, turnout is often mediocre–it fell as low as 13.4% of the Fourth’s total though it reached 14.9% on the one occasion in which the share of voters exceeded registrants.

Former Del. Jolene Ivey represented District 47 under different boundaries before redistricting. The current version of D47 holds 13.4% of CD 4’s registered Democrats but turnout consistently lags. In the past four Democratic primaries, voters from D47 never comprised more than 11.9% of the voters in CD 4.

Nevertheless, Jolene Ivey, a successful and highly talented politician in her own right who ran for Lt. Governor last year, will undoubtedly be an asset to her husband Glenn Ivey’s campaign. When she last ran for the House in 2010, she came in first by a mile in a crowded primary with eight candidates.

Del. Joseline Peña-Melnyk (D-21) is planning a run. Currently, she represents just 8.1% of registered Democratic in CD 4. A small base on which to build.

Registered Democrats by Legislative and County Council Districts

The second table shows the share of registered Democrats broken down by state legislative and county council district. None of the Anne Arundel Councilmembers represent more than 5% of registered Democrats in CD 4.

cd4 vr2

Prince George’s Council Vice Chair Derrick Davis (D-6)–not to be confused with the state legislator with the very similar name–represents 20.3% of registered Democrats but 64% also live in Legislative District 25. As this is declared candidate Anthony Brown’s former district and Del. Dereck Davis’s current district, competition for these voters could be fierce.

Councilwoman Karen Toles (D-7) represents 17.4% of CD 4’s registered Democrats. This district has significant overlap with Del. Erek Barron’s legislative district, as well as those of Brown/Davis and Walker/Muse. 15.5% of CD 4’s registered Dems also live in  Council District 5, held by Andrea Harrison. This district has a lot of overlap with D24 (Barron) and D47A (Jolene Ivey).

Former Council Chair Ingrid Turner has expressed interest in running for the Fourth. But she represented Council District 4. In its current incarnation, it falls almost entirely into CD 5. Just 0.8% of CD 4’s registered Dems live in District 4.

Likely Voters by State Legislative and County Council Districts

The final table breaks down the share of Democrats who voted in at least two of the past four primaries by state legislative district and county council district:

cd4 to2

This table indicates even more cleanly that Council District 6 is the heartland of CD 4’s Democratic voters. While it has less than a 3% advantage over Council District 7 in registered Dems, it has a 10.6% lead over the same district in two-time primary voters–23.8% versus 13.2%. No wonder Dereck Davis is thinking about running. (Notice also that Council District 5 leapfrogs ahead of Council District 7 in this table.)

Among state legislative districts, the biggest drop is in D47, which has 2.2% fewer two-time primary voters than registered Dems. Legislative Districts 24 and 25 have a slightly higher share of two-time primary voters than registered Democrats. But the statistics change less dramatic; the increase is 0.7% for D24 and 0.2% for D25. In contrast, the share of two-time primary voters is lower the registered Dems by 0.6% in D26.

Based on this table, the most desirable pieces of real estate to have represented before in terms of Democratic primary turnout are:

1. Maryland (Brown)
2. Prince George’s County (Ivey)
3. Prince George’s County Council District 6 (Derrick Davis)
4. State Legislative District 24 (Barron)
5. State Legislative District 25 (Dereck Davis/Brown)
6. Anne Arundel County
7. Prince George’s County Council District 5
8. State Legislative District 26 (Walker/Muse)
9. Prince George’s County Council District 7
10. Prince George’s County Council District 8
11. State Senate District 47
12. State Legislative District 33
13. State House District 47A
14. Prince George’s County Council District 1
15. State Legislative District 21 (Peña-Melnyk)


Peroutka Smears Armstrong in Anne Arundel

Michael Peroutka, a Republican candidate for the Anne Arundel County Council, has now launched a smear campaign of robocalls against his Democratic opponent, Patrick Armstrong. The call is from a fake group, “Maryland for Transgenders” and seeks to use his sexual orientation as a negative. Much of the call focuses on his support for “transgenders.”

Here is a recording of this despicable robocall:

Peroutka Smears Armstrong Robocall

Peroutka, a Bircher secessionist, was disavowed soon after he won the nomination by both Gubernatorial Candidate Larry Hogan and County Executive Candidate Steve Schuh. I think they can feel extra-good about that decision now and I hope they will take a moment to reiterate their opposition to Peroutka-style politics.

Armstrong is a real local, having grown up in Annapolis and graduated from Broadneck High School and Salisbury University. has been strongly endorsed by the Capital newspaper. Vote Armstrong on Tuesday. It’s the rare opportunity to help out both the Democratic and Republican parties–not to mention Anne Arundel.