Most Maryland Senate incumbents face their fiercest challenges from sitting delegates. They usually represent exactly the same people, which leads to many senators casting a wary eye on their partners in the House who can be opponents or slate mates.
Sen. Jeff Waldstreicher (D-18) appears to be facing a strong challenge from newcomer Max Socol. Yesterday, Sharon Grosfeld, who represented the same district previously for two terms in the House and another in the Senate, endorsed Socol:
Since hearing in depth about Max’s values, exemplified by his unwavering support for a woman’s right to choose, equal rights for LGBTQ+, advocacy on behalf of tenants rights and protecting the environment, coupled with his leadership positions fighting for racial justice, including criminal justice reform, it is my great privilege to officially endorse Max in his campaign to be the next District 18 state senator.”
Grosfeld was known as a staunch, liberal advocate, particularly on women’s issues. Her endorsement plays to Socol’s theme that Waldstreicher isn’t really a leader on progressive issues like his recent predecessors, Sens. Van Hollen, Grosfeld and Madaleno.
Still, it has been 20 years since Grosfeld last won an election in District 18. At this point, the prime endorsements that can move voters are those of Sen. Chris Van Hollen or Rep. Jamie Raskin. It will be interesting to see if they get involved in the D18 primary this year.
The real question is whether they endorse Waldstreicher or decide to give the race a pass. The incumbent would benefit greatly from their support–both are extremely well-liked in this district—and I imagine he will do his formidable best to secure them. But I don’t really see any benefit to them from it, as it seems more likely to divide or to alienate a bunch of existing supporters rather than gain new ones.