District 1 contains all of Garrett and Allegany Counties as well as the westernmost section of Washington County. It’s the most Appalachian section of the State and in many ways resembles West Virginia more closely than our suburban dominated state.
The division of District 1 into three subdistricts helps assure that Garrett and Allegany can each elect at least one delegate. According to the 2010 Census, three-quarters of District 1A’s population lives in Garrett to just one-quarter in Allegany.
Republican Sen. George Edwards, first elected in 2006, has an easy ride to reelection as he has no primary or general election opposition. Edwards has deep roots in Garrett County politics. He served six terms in the House representing Garrett County prior to his election to the Senate.
Even earlier, he was on the Garrett Board of Commissioners and the Grantsville Town Council. Edwards’ electoral success means that no member of the Senate hails from Allegany even though it population is 2.5 times larger than that of Garrett. Though Garrett punches above its weight in General Assembly representation, the membership of its delegate and senator in the minority Republican Caucus limits their influence.
Garrett is the second smallest and most Republican county in Maryland. Its Republicanism dates back to the Civil War and reflects the pro-Union sympathies of Appalachia. Mitt Romney won 74% of the vote, more than any other county in Maryland by nine points.
Like Garrett, the Allegany sections of 1A are very Republican. Mitt Romney carried roughly 70% of the vote there. Former one-term Garrett County Commissioner Wendell Beitzel, a Republican, followed Edwards as District 1A’s representative in the House of Delegates. Though Beitzel won the GOP primary with just 31% and the general election by 56% in 2006, he faced no significant opposition in 2010. Like Edwards, Beitzel faces no opposition in the primary or general election this year.
District 1 Rating: Edwards Unopposed.
District 1A Rating: Beitzel Unopposed.
Part II discusses the rest of District 1, located primarily in Allegany County.