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.