State Senate Primary Roundup

Top Lines

(1) In a series of blows to Mike Miller, incumbent Democratic Sens. Joan Carter Conway, Nathaniel McFadden and Mac Middleton lost renomination. All are safe Democratic seats, so Mary Washington, Cory McCray and Arthur Ellis look set to enter the Senate. Appointed Sen. Barbara Robinson also lost to Del. Antonio Hayes.

(2) Gail Bates, Bobby Zirkin, Ron Young, and Shirley Nathan-Pulliam all fended off serious primary challenges.

(3) Dels. Melony Griffth, former Del.Obie Patterson and Jeff Waldstreicher and appointed Sen. Del. Jill Carter won the nomination from safe seats and should also enter the Senate next year.

Key Races by the District

In D3 (Frederick), incumbent Sen. Ron Young (D) won renomination with 44% in a three-way race with his closest challenger being former Frederick Mayor Jennifer Dougherty, who won 33% of the vote. Not an impressive win for long-time Frederick pol.

In D9 (Howard and Carroll), incumbent Sen. Gail Bates (R) faced a surprisingly strong challenge from Reid Novotny, who argued that Bates is not conservative enough. Despite vastly outspending Novotny, Bates prevalied by just 54% to 46%.

In D11 (Baltimore), incumbent Bobby Zirkin (D) easily turned back a left-wing challenge. Zirkin won 70% to just 30% for Sheldon Laskin.

In Montgomery, the hot race was in D18, where the contest between Del. Jeff Waldstreicher and Dana Beyer for the seat left open by Rich Madaleno’s gubernatorial bid made it the most expensive Senate race in the state. Beyer was making her fourth bid for state legislative office. Waldstreicher won with just under 50% to 37% for Beyer and 13% for newcomer Michelle Carhart.

In Prince George’s, Doug Peters turned back a strong challenge from Tim Adams in D23. Peters prevailed with 59% to 41% for Adams.

In D24, former Del. Tiffany Alston sought to make a comeback in a challenge to incumbent Sen. Joanne Benson. Benson won with 52% to 32% for Alston and 16% for Everett Browning.

Former Del. Melony Griffith beat fellow Del. Angela Angel to win the race to replace Uly Currie in the open D25 (Prince George’s) seat. Griffith won 55% to 37% for Angel.

In D26 (Prince George’s), former Del. (now Councilmember) Obie Patterson beat PGDCC Member Jamila Woods by 58% to 42% to fill the open seat left when Sen. Anthony Muse sought election unsuccessfully to county executive.

Senate President Mike Miller easily turned back a vocal labor and Franchot-supported challenger, winning renomination with 72%.

In one of the great upsets of the night, longtime Sen. Mac Middleton lost renomination to Arthur Ellis, as Ellis won 52% to 48%. Middleton is a close ally of Mike Miller. Reflecting the shift in the racial balance in the county, Ellis will be D28’s (Charles) first African-American senator.

In D30 (Anne Arundel), Sarah Elfreth won the nomination to succeed retiring Sen. John Astle with 59% over progressive businesswoman Chrissy Holt.

D32 (Anne Arundel) is set to be one of the hot fall races. Del. Pam Beidle faced no opposition for the Democratic nomination. On the Republican side, County Councilmember John Grasso edged out first-time candidate Maureen Bryant by 51% to 49%.

In D34 (Harford), former Del. Mary-Dulany James is set to make her second bid for the Senate against now incumbent Sen. Bob Cassilly. James beat former Barbara Kreamer by 74% to 26%. Kreamer served in the House of Delegates and on the County Council between 1978 and 1991.

In D40 (Baltimore City), Del. Antonio Hayes unseated appointed Sen. Barbara Robinson by 65% to 35%.

In D41 (Baltimore City), unpredictable appointed Sen. and former Del. Jill Carter roared to a comeback, beating J.D. Merrill, a teacher married to Gov. Martin O’Malley’s daughter. Carter won with 55% to 39% for Merrill and 6% for convicted former Sen. Nat Oaks.

In District 42 (Baltimore), Robbie Leonard won the nomination to replace Democrat Jim Brochin, who lost his bid to become Baltimore County Executive. Leonard beat Gretchen Maneval by 60% to 40%. Leonard faces a tough general election fight against Republican Del. Chris West, who had no opposition.

District 43 (Baltimore City) provided another great shock of the night as powerful incumbent Sen. Joan Carter Conway lost to Del. Mary Washington, who prevailed by 3%. Running against the tide, I think I was one of the few who said Washington had a shot. Conway lost despite a huge warchest and staunch support from Mike Miller and fellow Del. Maggie McIntosh.

In District 44 (Baltimore City & County), Sen. Shirley Nathan-Pulliam turned back a challenge with 67% of the vote to 33% received by Aletheia McCaskill, who won support from SEIU.

In District 45 (Baltimore City), one of the least surprising incumbent defeats was that of incumbent Sen. Nathaniel McFadden, yet another Miller ally, by Del. Cory McCray. The young and energetic McCray beat longtime Sen. McFadden by 17 points.