GOP Moves Forward in Six Counties

The Republicans had a good Tuesday night, capturing the governor’s mansion and making gains, albeit limited, in both houses of the General Assembly. The GOP also made gains in six counties. Summing up the night–they went from 25% to 44% of county executives and from 54% to 56% of council seats.

The most exciting pickups for the Republicans are the two county executives, including taking the top chair in red-leaning Wicomico, But the Republicans had a real coup with Alan Kittleman’s victory in Howard–an increasingly Democratic county that went for Hogan as well as Kittleman.

County Councils

Republicans also made gains in four county councils: Baltimore, Harford, St. Mary’s, and Talbot. In the latter three, the Republicans knocked all of the remaining Democrats by taking their last two seats in Harford and one seat in St. Mary’s and Talbot. In Baltimore, the Democratic majority shrank from 5-2 to 4-3 with the loss of retiring Councilmember John Olszewski Senior’s seat.

The one bright spot of the night was Frederick. Though the two Democratic Youngs won, the tea-party Republican son of Sen. Young lost the battle to become Frederick’s first county executive. The Democrats also picked up two seats on the new expanded Council. One Republican seat is sufficiently close that there is an outside chance that absentees could flip it to the Democrats.

The same four jurisdictions completely dominated by the Democrats before the election–Baltimore City, Charles, Montgomery, and Prince George’s–remain so afterwards.  Republicans wholly controlled eight counties before the election: Allegany, Calvert, Caroline, Carrol, Cecil, Garrett, Queen Anne’s, and Washington. They have now added three more with Harford, St. Mary’s, and Talbot for a total of 12–a majority of all of the 23 jurisdictions, though certainly not the most populous ones.

The partisan state of play remains unchanged in purple Anne Arundel, Dorchester, Kent, Somerset, and Worcester. Anne Arundel will have the interesting challenge of dealing with secessionist theocrat Michael Peroutka on the Council. And just when they hoped things were finally settling down after the rather eventful departure of disgraced County Executive John Leopold.

No Councils flipped control. However, Howard’s Democratic majority will face a Republican executive, while Wicomico now has unified government with a Republican executive and council.


2014 v. 2012 Results from Around the Country

The following three tables compare the results in House, Senate, and Governors races with the presidential results in 2012.

The first chart shows all 17 U.S. House districts that have flipped parties. Republicans gained four seats that Romney won but also made inroads by winning 11 seats that Obama carried. Republicans lost two seats–one centered on Omaha and the other on Tallahassee. In Nebraska’s Second District, the incumbent made the mistake of saying that he didn’t think he should have to give up his salary during the government shutdown.

Flipped U.S. House Districts


The next chart shows the results of key U.S. Senate races. I’m assuming that Landrieu loses the runoff in Louisiana since the two Republican candidates won 55% of the vote. Additionally, I lumped Orman in Kansas with the Democrats.

The GOP picked up nine Senate seats. Except for Colorado and Iowa, the winning party is the same as the state’s 2012 presidential winner.

Key U.S. Senate Races


The final chart shows results in key gubernatorial elections. As you can see, Republicans made inroads in several other blue states. But Maryland is the bluest state that elected a Democratic governor and Hogan won by more than other Republicans who were reelected or picked up governor’s mansions in blue states.

Key Gubernatorial Races



General Assembly Results

Based on results from last night, Republicans have made limited gains in the new General Assembly: two seats in the Senate and seven seats in the House of Delegates. Veto overrides take 3/5 in each House–29 in the Senate and 85 in the House. As a result, there are not enough Republicans to sustain a gubernatorial veto with support from at least some Democrats.

Here are the tentative General Assembly results:



Winners and Losers


1. Larry Hogan. Not only did he win but he completely shocked everybody by winning by a greater margin than Bob Ehrlich in 2002. A stunning victory by a Republican in Deep Blue Maryland. Democrats just didn’t think it was possible.

2. Polarization. The Democrats who lost in the General Assembly are almost all moderate or conservative Democrats: Sen. Roy Dyson, Del. David Rudolph, Del. Norm Conway. The Democrats will be more liberal and the Republicans more conservative. Expect even more acrimony between the Governor and the General Assembly than when Ehrlich was in office.

3. Chris Christie. I know one governor who will be endorsing him 2016. While Maryland doesn’t carry a lot of weight in the Republican Party, I am sure that Christie will welcome its delegates.


1. Martin O’Malley. The loss of his chosen successor undercuts completely his (vice?) presidential campaign. His legacy has now been repudiated by his own state at the polls.

2. Lieutenant Governors. The curse continues. Blair Lee lost in the primary, and now Katheen Kennedy Townsend and Anthony Brown have lost in the general. Perhaps Ken Ulman should be relieved.

3. Purple Line and Red Line. Governor-Elect Hogan has said he will not proceed with these projects. Why on earth should he throw billions at light-rail for areas that will never vote for him? He’d rather spend the money on roads.

4. Orange is Not the New Black. I am sure that Heather Mizeur was completely sincere in her Baltimore Sun opinion piece. But many who are not her diehard fans will view it as a cynical ploy to get her name before the voters even as she threw Anthony Brown under the bus while avowedly endorsing him. The most memorable moment of the campaign will not be forgotten.


Simmons Running Write-In Campaign

Del. Lou Simmons lost the Democratic Primary for State Senate to Cheryl Kagan in District 17 this year but that apparently has not stopped him from running a quixotic write-in campaign for the seat in the general election with signs up in most precincts.

However, he has not filed a certificate of candidacy (see screenshot below from the State Board of Elections website today) as a write-in candidate, so I do not think that he would qualify even if he pulled off the upset of the decade. (If someone knows more about the appropriate law, please let me know.)



Vic Weissberg

Vic Weissberg, a very active Democrat who lives in District 18, has had a very difficult year and is now in the hospital recovering with a fever. Vic, lots of your friends are thinking about you, miss you, and sharing updates about you. Get well soon!

P.S. Anyone who reads this blog knows it’s Election Day. Go out and vote!


The Racial Math for a Brown Win


I looked at the Gonzales (R) poll to get a sense of what Brown or Hogan would have to do in order to achieve a victory tomorrow. I’ll analyze the electorate from a racial prism because solid black turnout is critical to Anthony Brown’s chances.

Republican Gov. Robert Ehrlich’s 2002 victory rested in large part on unusually low African-American turnout–blacks composed an astonishingly low share of the electorate in that year. In 2006, the CNN exit poll indicates that African Americans were 23% of the electorate, a major increase from 2002.

Gonzales estimates black turnout this year at 25%, at the low end of predictions but not at all out of the realm of possibility in our state where African Americans comprise 28.1% of the voting-age population. Moreover, African Americans have formed a greater part of the electorate in presidential years since at least 2000.

Let’s assume Gonzales is right and blacks form only one-quarter of the electorate. The share of the white vote that Brown needs to reach 50% depends on the the percentage of blacks who support him. Gonzales reports that Brown possesses an 87-5 advantage among African Americans.

Exit polls indicate that Gov. Ehrlich gained 15% of the black vote in 2006, when he lost his bid for reelection. It seems unlikely that Hogan could do as well against Brown, who would be the State’s first African-American governor. If one splits the undecideds in the same 87-5 proportion, Hogan still has just 5% of the black vote. But let’s say Brown’s share could fall in the 5% to 10% range.

If blacks are 25% of the electorate and Brown receives 95% of their votes, then he needs just 35.0% of the (mostly white) non-black vote to win election–this is 10% less than O’Malley won in 2006. If Brown gets 9 in 10 of black voters, however, Brown needs 36.7% of non-black voters to reach 50% of the total vote.

Obviously, Brown’s path becomes easier the higher the turnout among African Americans and the more solidly he is able to consolidate their votes. If black turnout inches up to 27% and Brown wins 95% of their votes, he would need just one-third of the non-black vote to win a majority.

Crucial to Brown is not just the racial composition but which non-blacks vote. In particular, reading the tea leaves of the Gonzales poll, whites in Baltimore City and the DC suburbs seem more likely to support Hogan. If they turn out at low rates, it would be easier for Hogan to reach the very high share of the non-black vote he needs. In contrast, Hogan would likely benefit from higher turnout in the Baltimore suburbs, Western Maryland, and the Eastern Shore.

Although Hogan is winning Republicans solidly, independents lopsidedly, and even a chunk of Democrats, his path remains difficult. Here is the share of the white vote won by a series of  Democrats according to exit polls:

Ben Cardin in 2012: 39%
Barack Obama in 2012: 43%
Barack Obama in 2008: 48%
Martin O’Malley in 2006: 45%
Ben Cardin in 2006: 48%
Barbara Mikulski in 2004: 56%
Townsend in 2002: 34% (estimate)

According to the Gonzales exit poll, Hogan leads Brown among whites by 59% to 31%.  If you divvy up the undecided voters in the same proportions as decided voters, then Brown would have 34.4% of the white vote. The last time Democrats scored this low in a statewide election was when Ehrlich beat Townsend in 2002–and blacks will certainly end up a higher share of the electorate than in that year and probably vote at a higher rate for Brown. Moreover, only the Gonzales survey, which was conducted for Republicans shows Brown with this low level of white support.

Lots to watch for tomorrow night. But if Brown gets at least 37% of the white vote, he is almost certain to win. And the share of the white vote he needs will decline if (1) black turnout goes above 25% and (2) the share of blacks who vote for him exceeds 90%. Another sign to watch is changes in turnout in Montgomery relative to the rest of the State. If Montgomery turnout drops relative to other jurisdictions, that could spell trouble for Brown.


Maryland Politics Watch

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