By Adam Pagnucco.
From the perspective of political blogging (which we all know matters most!), Congressman John Delaney is the greatest Maryland politician of all time. That’s not because of anything he has done in Congress. (No one does anything in Congress these days!) It’s because his decision-making has affected the races for Governor, Congress District 6, County Executive, County Council and several State Senate and House of Delegates seats. This is an enormous bonanza for political junkies and will keep us VERY busy. We love you, John Delaney!
Here’s a quick and dirty take on how the Delaney Dominoes are falling.
None of the Democratic candidates for Governor fit Delaney’s ideological center-left positioning. Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, who can claim that his jurisdiction has not increased either property or income taxes in twenty-five years, might come closest. But the biggest impact of Delaney’s absence may be geographic. With the Congressman out and former Attorney General Doug Gansler not showing signs of serious activity, Senator Rich Madaleno might be the only MoCo candidate in the race. That’s a big deal. If Madaleno consolidates MoCo while three African American candidates run hard in the City and Prince George’s, this race becomes very unpredictable. (Disclosure: your author has done work for Madaleno.)
Congress District 6
Total Wine co-owner David Trone has been interviewing elected officials, activists, operatives and other local players for months as he figures out his options. Our hunch is that he will see Delaney’s congressional district as his best play and run there. He will join Delegates Bill Frick and Aruna Miller, Senator Roger Manno and former Democratic nominee Andrew Duck on the Democratic side. The Republicans should have a vigorous primary too as they have a real shot at the open seat.
If Trone runs for Congress, that will leave three term-limited Council Members – Roger Berliner, Marc Elrich and George Leventhal – as the only Democrats running for Executive at this moment. But given the fact that most Democrats voted for term limits and anti-tax sentiment continues to linger, it’s hard to believe that a non-Council Member will not get in. Trone’s absence creates a void that could very well get filled.
County Council candidates will all sigh in relief if Trone runs for Congress. That’s because there have been rumors of a Trone Slate for months in which Trone would deposit his own money in a slate account to be drawn on by allied council candidates. With that possibility off the table, the at-large candidates are on their own. Since most are in public financing, it’s unlikely that very many of them will accumulate large financial advantages of 3-to-1 to 4-to-1 over their nearest rivals. That makes for very competitive races in District 1 and at-large.
State Legislative Districts
If Miller, Frick and Manno stay in the race for Congress until the end, that means there will be open seats in Districts 15, 16 and 19. In District 15, the recent custom has been for the incumbents to pick a new candidate to fill out their slate. (That is a big reason why Miller originally won her seat in 2010.) The question is whether any new candidate merits such a selection. A District 16 open seat race is like an Italian Sunday dinner: everyone shows up. An open seat in 2010 attracted thirteen candidates and an open seat in 2014 attracted eight candidates. There will be no rest for Delegates Ariana Kelly and Marc Korman! Manno’s Senate seat will draw the interest of at least one Delegate, thereby creating at least one House opening. There are already three non-incumbents who have filed for the District 19 House seats with more probably on the way.
Add the above to actual or possible races in Council District 3, Legislative District 17 (House and maybe Senate), Legislative District 18 (House and Senate), Legislative District 20 (maybe House) and Legislative District 39 (House) and that makes 2018 the most politically active year in MoCo in decades. Enjoy folks, and remember to thank John Delaney the next time you see him!