Category Archives: District 38

Senate Projections

Sen14Summaryratings for individual races are below

Looking over this year’s Senate races in Maryland reveals no threat to Democratic dominance. Republicans have no chance of even winning enough Senate seats to sustain a gubernatorial veto should Republican Nominee Hogan upset Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown.

The Democrats start with a built-in advantage with the 20 safe districts located in the big three Democratic counties of Montgomery (D15-20, D39), Prince George’s (D21-6, D47) and Baltimore City (D40-41, D43, D45-6). Add in the extremely safe seats in Baltimore County (D10 and D44), Charles (D28), and Howard (D13), and the Democrats reach a majority without breaking a sweat.

However, the Democratic advantage extends beyond structural. The Democrats demonstrate an ability to fight hard and win seats on Republican turf. Republicans don’t exhibit the same ability, which is why virtually all of the toss-up races are seats that Republicans should win but might not due to the strength of Democratic candidacies and support for them.

Here are the top four races to watch:

1. Mathias (D) v. McDermott (R), Toss Up
Incumbent Sen. Jim Mathias has a real fight on his hands to hold District 38 due to a challenge by Del. Mike McDermott in a race profiled earlier this year. Based on the district’s strong Republican lean, Mathias ought to lose but this former OC mayor is a born campaigner and has a huge financial advantage.

2. Dyson (D) v. Waugh (R), Toss Up
Roy Dyson has a resilience rare in politics, holding this seat since 1994 after losing his congressional seat in 1990 following a scandal that attracted national attention. Due to an increased naval presence, St. Mary’s Republican lean keeps getting stronger–Romney won 58% of the major-party vote–which leaves Dyson’s hold on it more precarious. Conservative Democrat Dyson has his hands full in his rematch against Steve Waugh, who came within 3 points of taking District 29 in 2010.

3. James (D) v. Cassilly (R), Toss Up
Sen. Nancy Jacobs (R) has decided to retire and Democrats have high hopes of taking this Harford County seat. Democrats did their best to carve out as Democratic district as possible in south Harford though District 34 still remains Republican territory. But Del. Mary-Dulany James has won elections here since 1998. She campaigns hard and is better funded than former Bel Air Mayor and Harford Councilmember Bob Cassilly.

4. Brochin (D) v. Robinson (R), Lean D
Sen. Jim Brochin has far more money than his Republican opponent, Tim Robinson, and is an indefatigable campaigner. I would rate the district Likely D except that Brochin has a lot of new Republican territory in this reshaped version of District 42. Still, he could be in trouble if a Republican wave hits hard here.

Sen14Proj

Another Take on D38

D38
Lower Eastern Shore Districts 38A, 38B, and 38C
Editor’s Note: John Hayden was the author of the Maryland on my Mind blog from Ocean City. He offered this alternative view to my post on the races for delegate in District 38 on the Lower Eastern Shore.
I think your analysis of the District 38 delegate races is appropriate, based on campaign fundraising reports. From a Democratic point of view, I like that your report gives Mary Beth Carozza reason to to feel overconfident.
IMO, Norm Conway should be rated as safe, and Judy Davis-Carozza should be rated a toss-up. Norm met his wife when they were both students at Salisbury University (then Salisbury State). They were both career educators in the Wicomico County public schools. Norm and his wife personally know nearly everyone in his Salisbury district. He nearly lost in the sprawling 38B in 2006, but learned his lesson and came back with a strong campaign in 2010 and won easily. His new single-member district is safe for him, IMO.
You’re correct that 38C is the most Republican leaning of the subdistricts in 38. However, the local backgrounds of the candidates is going to be a big factor. Carozza departed the Eastern Shore to go to college, and never returned, until last year. It’s true that she worked briefly for Ehrlich, but most of her career has been as an inside-the-beltway professional working for people like Rumsfeld. Nearly all her support comes from Republicans she knows from her years on Capitol Hill and in DOD. (I’ve reviewed the list of her donors closely.)
The Judy Davis bio is a mirror image of Carozza’s bio. Judy came to the Eastern Shore to attend Salisbury State, and has lived on the Shore her entire adult life. She married, raised a family, and taught in public schools in Wicomico County and Worcester County.
You’re probably aware of the Democratic Emerge program. Judy was handpicked for the first Emerge class in Maryland, which was held last winter. Judy made a lot of contacts through Emerge, and she will have the endorsement of teachers statewide. Those two networks should enable her to raise significant funds after the primary, when Democrats focus on the general election.
Also, I’m hopeful that both Mathias and Conway, and Mike Busch, will point Democratic contributors in her direction. District 38C is one of the few places Democrats can hope to pick up a delegate seat, to offset possible losses in other districts. I suspect that key people in the state’s Dem fundraising network will understand the opportunity to pick up a delegate seat, and will support Judy.

Lower Eastern Shore D38 Delegate Races

D38AEastern Shore District 38A

Redistricting has radically reconfigured District 38A. Whereas the previous version included all of Somerset County as well as portions of Wicomico, the new version dropped all of Wicomico but now incorporates all of Worcester’s municipalities–Berlin, Pocomoke City, and Snow Hill–except Ocean City.

The trade makes the district much more favorable to the Democrats. The portions of Wicomico lost were mostly Republican. The new sections in Worcester are among the most Democratic areas in that county. As a result, the Democrats have a real shot at taking out incumbent Republican Charles Otto, who was first elected in 2010.

His challenger is P.J. Purnell, who was elected to the Crisfield City Council in 2004 and then mayor in 2006. Crisfield, however, is a small town and contains just 8% of 38A’s population. Nonetheless, at 73, Purnell has long roots in the area. Both Otto and Purnell are from Somerset. Making inroads into the new Worcester portions of the district will be critical for both campaigns.

In their January filings, Otto had $9K in his campaign account but Purnell did not even file a report. Of course, as a sitting delegate, Otto has not been able to raise funds during the session. The question remains whether Purnell has taken advantage of the time to raise funds needed for his campaign.

General Election Rating: Toss Up.

D38BEastern Shore District 38B

The old District 38B elected two delegates but has now been divided into two new subdistricts. The new 38B leans Republican but is nonetheless more Democratic than the old version which elected two delegates.

District 38B now encompasses Delmar, Fruitland, and most of the white portions of Salisbury. Fruitland is a bit more Democratic than the areas around it, which have been carefully placed in 37B. The black sections of Salisbury have been included in 37A to facilitate the election of a minority-preferred candidate.

The new district should easily reelect powerful Appropriations Chairman Norm Conway who has represented this area since 1987 and came in a strong first in 2010. Del. Conway had a robust $90K in his campaign account and no doubt has the ability to quickly raise more. He has a serious opponent, Delmar Mayor Carl Anderton.

But Mayor Anderton had only $2.5K in his campaign account in January, though he could have raised more in the intervening months. And Delmar comprises only 12% of 38B so he will need to work to get known in the rest of the district.

General Election Rating: Likely Conway (D).

D38CEastern Shore District 38C

District 38C takes in eastern Wicomico and northern Worcester Counties–the most Republican areas in both counties. The Democrats don’t have much of a prayer here, though two–Judy Davis and Mike Hindi–have filed. Sole Republican Candidate Mary Beth Carozza was Deputy Chief of Staff for Gov. Robert Ehrlich.

Democrat Judy Davis, former special education teacher and longtime activist, is not a Shore native but nonetheless has real ties in the area. While someone who knows Shore politics well commends her campaign, she needs more than the $1400 reported in January to mount a serious campaign, especially in a district that is so uphill for her party. Mike Hindi, a lifeguard in Ocean Pines, filed an affidavit attesting that he has raised less than $1K.

Don Rumsfeld has regularly held fundraisers for Carozza in St. Michaels. As of January, she had raised $73K and had $51K left in her campaign account. And of course, since she is not a sitting legislator, she has been able to raise more since.

Rating: Safe Carozza (R).

The Hottest Senate Race in Maryland

D38Eastern Shore District 38

District 38 includes all of Somerset and Worcester Counties as well as much as Wicomico County. It is divided into three subdistricts and features some of the most interesting races in this election cycle. Unlike in much of the State, the general is the real show here on the south Shore.

The Senate race is probably the hottest general election contest in the State. Democratic Sen. Jim Mathias faces a tough challenge from Republican Del. Mike McDermott. This is a battle royale between two long successful politicians.

Mathias, a former mayor of Ocean City, served one term in the House before winning election to the Senate in 2010. McDermott is a former mayor of Pocomoke City and police chief in Snow Hill who won election to the House in 2010.

In January, campaign finance report filings revealed that McDermott had just $20K cash on hand compared to an impressive $208K for Mathias. He will need every bit of it. District 38 is red territory. Though Mathias won in the tough Democratic year in 2010, his margin over his GOP opponent was just 1.4%.

Somerset is the most Democratic county in the district–Obama carried it by 1.9% in 2012–but it only cast 16% of the district vote in 2010 and Mathias narrowly lost it. Worcester cast 46% of the vote but is more Republican–Romney won it by 18%. Nevertheless, Mathias who hails from Ocean City won it with 52% in 2010.

Portions of Wicomico comprise the remainder of the district. Wicomico is more narrowly Republican, as Romney won by just 5%. But the best Democratic precincts in Salisbury are in the neighboring black-majority District 37A. Mathias narrowly lost in Wicomico in 2010.

McDermott represents the same people as Mathias so any incumbency advantage is limited. Mathias will need all of his political skill as well as his mighty campaign war chest to beat the Republican lean of the district for a second time.

Backed by Rep. Andy Harris, one of my Eastern Shore sources describes McDermott as “to the right of Genghis Khan” on both social and fiscal issues. No one would confuse comparatively moderate Mathias with a Western Shore liberal but the difference between him and McDermott cannot be missed.

This race will help shape both Senate caucuses in the future. McDermott’s election will drag the GOP further to the right, bad news for its long-term statewide viability. A loss by Mathias would also weaken the strength of Democratic centrists, pulling the caucus to the left and increasing party polarization.

I expect Senate President Miller to go all in to support Mathias in the general election. Can the Republicans do the same for McDermott? And can McDermott raise enough cash once the session ends to run a viable campaign of his own?

General Election Rating: Toss Up.