David Blair’s Concession Email

Dear Friends –

Yesterday afternoon the Board of Elections concluded their recount of the Primary Election.  The outcome did not change.  While we ran a dynamic campaign that pushed the status quo . . . at the end we came up 77 votes short.

Last night I congratulated Marc Elrich on winning the Democratic nomination for County Executive.  I encouraged Marc and offered my support to enhance critical programs such as early childhood education, affordable housing and access to healthcare, as well as pursuing initiatives to foster business growth. Our message clearly resonated with residents all across the County and I will remain engaged to ensure our voices are heard.

I also want to thank you again for your support and commitment over the past year. Together we ran an incredible campaign and we generated many innovative ideas to make Montgomery County an even better place to call home. I am proud and humbled by all the support I received and truly grateful for the many new friendships made along the way.

While no doubt we are disappointed in the outcome of the election, I suggest to you that this is not the end, but rather just the beginning of our journey together.  Looking forward, let’s continue to drive the conversation on the issues that matter most and support Democratic nominees across the state.

Again, a heartfelt thank you.

Best wishes,

David Blair

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Samir Paul’s Concession Statement

By Samir Paul, teacher and former candidate for Delegate in District 16.

The recount is over, and we came up short by just 12 votes out of over 56,000 cast. I am unbelievably proud of the campaign we ran. We built thoughtful, progressive policy proposals that sparked conversations across the district. We discussed those plans together on 31,543 doorsteps over eight months. And we inspired 11,287 voters to take a stand for the public schools our children deserve.

While it’s tough to lose so narrowly, the truth is that candidates like me – a young, middle-class, public school teacher and immigrant son with a funny name – aren’t supposed to come this close when running in a race like this. And in the end, we have a team of outstanding advocates for transit, women and families, and civil liberties representing us in Annapolis. Congratulations to Marc, Ariana, and Sara and to fellow candidates Marc, Joe, Nuchhi, and Jordan on a great campaign.

It’s actually hard to call this a loss. As we awaited results on election night, I looked around the room and was stunned by how young the room was. Outside of friends and fellow teachers, this campaign was was powered by high-school and college students, most of whom were working their first campaign. I can guarantee that a bunch of them are going to run for office themselves someday. I just hope it’s sooner rather than later. (Standing offer: I will come knock on doors for any of you when you decide to take the plunge.)

“Mr. Paul goes to Annapolis” would have been a satisfying civics lesson for my students, but “Mr. Paul showed me how to fight for what I believe in” is a pretty good second choice. To all of those young people: please please please continue to assert yourselves in our public life. You are light years ahead of where I was at your age, and if I could make your votes count double, I would. Thank you for blessing me with the gift of your time and trust and sweat and belief. When young people learn how to take take a stand, how to be part of a community, and how to fight for the future they’ll someday inherit, we all win.

For every old friend who wrote a check, for every new friend who hosted a meet-and-greet, for every young person who knocked on doors — it’s impossible to overstate the gratitude I feel in my heart right now. I have spent almost a year asking everyone I know to help me in some way or another, and it’s been amazing to see people answer the call even right up until the very end. And, of course, I am deeply grateful to my parents, who left everything and everyone they knew to come to a country where this kind of thing is even conceivable within one generation.

It was incredibly difficult to run this campaign while teaching, and I am more tired than I’ve ever been in my life, including my first year in the classroom. So I’m going to take a break for a little while and reflect on what exactly the next phase of my advocacy should look like. But Maryland STILL has a once-in-a-generation overhaul of our school funding next year; young people are STILL being gunned down in our schools and on our streets; climate change STILL hangs over us like a guillotine; immigrant families STILL struggle to survive and to see themselves reflected in public leadership; and our economy is STILL oriented toward the past rather than my students’ future. So even though I won’t be the one casting votes in the House of Delegates next session, there’s plenty of work for all of us if we want to make this place more just, inclusive, and abundant.

I don’t know where this train stops next, but I will forever be grateful for the ride we’ve been on together.

#PaulAboard,

Samir

Printed Cheap Vinyl Backdrops Backgrounds for Photography

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RGA Runs Hogan as a Democrat

By Adam Pagnucco.

Below is the latest mailer by the Republican Governors Association (RGA) on behalf of Governor Larry Hogan.  It was sent to a Democratic household in MoCo.  Check out how it says that Hogan is “protecting what matters most” and promotes his record on “record funding for education,” “supporting the Paris climate accord,” “protecting Maryland’s environment” and “making Maryland’s schools world class.”

The RGA is running Hogan as if he was a Democrat.

This is the kind of mailer that will make Democratic officials and activists howl at the moon, but it’s savvy as hell.  Let’s see: Hogan is pro-environment and pro-education but he won’t raise taxes.  Simple, yeah, but effective.

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Hogan is Blowing Out Jealous in MoCo Fundraising

By Adam Pagnucco.

Montgomery County is sometimes referred to as “the ATM of Maryland.”  That’s because it’s the largest single source of tax revenue for the state and generates much of the state aid that is sent to other jurisdictions.  But in politics, MoCo is also the ATM of statewide Democratic politicians.  U.S. Senators, Governors, Attorneys General, Comptrollers and candidates for those offices are heavily dependent on the county for political money.  Sure, they raise money from Downtown Baltimore, Roland Park, Towson, Pikesville, Owings Mills and Annapolis too, but from a fundraising perspective, nothing compares to the mansions of Chevy Chase, Bethesda and Potomac.

Now there’s a new person claiming MoCo as his political ATM.  He’s not a Democrat.  He is Republican Governor Larry Hogan, and he is blowing out the Democratic nominee, Ben Jealous.

Hogan’s fundraising edge is well known.  But what has not been previously reported is how much money he is raising from Montgomery County.  The table below shows that he has raised $13.5 million over the cycle with $1.5 million coming from MoCo.  That’s about five times the $303,376 amount that MoCo donors have given to Jealous.

Hogan’s edge in business fundraising is huge; Jealous only received three contributions from MoCo business entities totaling $1,750.  But Hogan has a 5-to-1 edge in MoCo individual contributions too and it is not solely due to big checks.  Hogan’s average contribution from MoCo individuals is $239; for Jealous, that figure is $196.  Do the rough math and it’s obvious that waaaaaaaay more people in MoCo have given money to Hogan than Jealous.

How does this compare to previous races?  Below we compare fundraising by the Democratic and Republican gubernatorial tickets over the last four cycles.  Running mate accounts are included.  MoCo results are shown at top and grand totals are shown at bottom.  All data is through June 10, the cutoff for the most recent 2018 report, to make the data comparable across cycles.

Of the prior three cycles, 2006 is the most comparable to the present day since it had a GOP Governor and a Democratic challenger.  One difference was that Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley was running against MoCo Executive Doug Duncan, who had a natural advantage in MoCo fundraising.  Even so, O’Malley did not trail Governor Bob Ehrlich by much in MoCo and had a modest advantage in total fundraising.  In the next two cycles, the Democrats blew out the GOP nominees in both MoCo and in total raised.  Interestingly, Hogan’s MoCo fundraising this cycle is similar to the amounts raised from MoCo by O’Malley in 2010 and the Anthony Brown/Ken Ulman team in 2014.  Meanwhile, Jealous’s MoCo fundraising is in the same ballpark as what Ehrlich collected from the county in 2010.

That means the Hogan-Jealous gap, both in MoCo and overall, is extremely unusual by historical standards.  It’s not surprising that an incumbent Governor would lead in fundraising.  It IS surprising that he would blow out a challenger in the number one financial stronghold for the opposing party by five to one.  And Hogan is doing that with former Maryland Democratic Party Chair and long-time MoCo player Susan Turnbull on Jealous’s ticket.

Jealous became the Democratic nominee shortly after this reporting period closed.  With his primary rivals out of the way, he should begin raising more money from MoCo and other Democratic money sources soon.  But the financial gap he has against Hogan is probably too big to be closed.  And a big reason for that is Hogan’s support from MoCo donors.

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Blair Cites Voter “Disenfranchisement” in Asking for Recount

By Adam Pagnucco.

County Executive candidate David Blair is citing voter “disenfranchisement” as a reason for his asking for a partial recount.  Blair is specifically referring to the MVA voter registration change issue which affected 5,381 MoCo Democrats and, in your author’s opinion, certainly could have impacted the 79-vote margin race.  We reprint Blair’s blast email below.

Dear Friends –

Yesterday afternoon our campaign filed a formal petition with the Board of Elections for a recount of the June 2018 Primary Election results. Over the last several weeks, we have analyzed the election results by precinct, reviewed the treatment of thousands of provisional ballots, and spoken with hundreds of individual voters who experienced difficulties registering to vote or casting their ballots, and while it is certainly unclear whether a recount will affect the outcome, we believe the narrow margin coupled with the numerous issues impacting the election make a recount appropriate.

This year’s Primary Election was impacted by a variety of unusual circumstances. Most notably, the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) technical errors that affected thousands of Montgomery County residents. The MVA issues caused delays and, in some cases, lost or failed voter registrations and resulted in a significant increase of provisional ballots cast over prior elections. The MVA issues also had a deterrent effect that caused an untold number of legally registered voters to leave polling places without casting ballots, and it resulted in the rejection of valid provisional ballots. Of the 3,616 provisional ballots cast in this year’s Primary Election, 955 or 26.4 % were rejected in the County Executive race.

Our chief concern centers on the 955 provisional ballots that were rejected by the Board of Elections in the County Executive Race as these rejected ballots disproportionately impact our supporters. We have spoken to many supporters whose votes fall into this category, but unfortunately, the recount process does not provide a legal avenue for the campaign to get these votes counted. We join our supporters and the voters of Montgomery County in being frustrated with the breakdown in process that led to their disenfranchisement and we pledge to continue to work with the appropriate officials to fix this error.

During the official canvass, members of the Montgomery County Board of Elections expressed their own concerns that poor data tied their hands and forced them to reject provisional ballots cast by individuals who swore to their longstanding status as registered Montgomery County voters. We hope that the State of Maryland will work in cooperation with the Montgomery County Board of Elections to reach out to voters whose ballots may have been erroneously rejected to ensure the MVA database accurately reflects their most current voter registration and that every vote is counted. In addition, we encourage individual voters whose ballots remain incorrectly rejected to seek administrative relief to rehabilitate their votes and to use our campaign as a resource should they need any help in this process.

The formal petition submitted yesterday calls for a partial recount of the election results to include provisional and absentee ballots as well as a select number of precincts. We expect that this process will take several days. We are grateful for your continuous show of support and we will keep you updated throughout the recount process.

Best wishes,

David Blair

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RGA Promotes Hogan, Blasts Jealous

By Adam Pagnucco.

The Republican Governors Association (RGA) is promoting Governor Larry Hogan and attacking Democratic nominee Ben Jealous in a new mailer.  The mailer praises Hogan on education spending but neglects to mention that he cut K-12 state aid in his first budget and was forced by the General Assembly to fully fund it in years going forward.  As for the mailer’s other side, it puts forth a message we are going to hear a lot about: the notion that a Ben Jealous administration will aggressively raise taxes.

The mailer below was received by multiple Democrats in Montgomery County.

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Did the MVA Voter Issue Change Any Maryland Primary Results?

By Adam Pagnucco.

The failure of the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) to transfer data on some voters who changed their registration information to the State Board of Elections (SBE) has attracted lots of attention from the press and members of the General Assembly.  Here is a key question: did it actually change the outcomes of any elections?  New data allows us to examine this issue.

Recently, SBE sent the General Assembly the number of voters affected by the MVA registration change issue by party, precinct, state legislative district and Congressional district.  We show the total number of voters affected by state legislative district below.  (Note:  The data does not include all potentially impacted voters because SBE cannot map all addresses on file with MVA to addresses in the voter registration list.)

Now what happened to these voters?  These are folks who tried to change their voter registration address or party affiliation at MVA and, unfortunately, the changes were not passed on to SBE.  One of five events would have happened to these voters.

Possibility 1: 5,163 affected voters voted normally because they changed addresses within the same area.  We don’t have their distribution by legislative district.

Possibility 2: They could have voted through a provisional ballot which was subsequently accepted.

Possibility 3: They could have voted through a provisional ballot which was subsequently rejected.

Possibility 4: They could have been told at the polling place that they must cast a provisional ballot and then left without voting.

Possibility 5: They may not have tried to vote at all.

Right now, we don’t know the distribution in each one of the above five event categories.  We do know that the number of affected voters who voted provisionally was 3,538 but we don’t know how many of those ballots were rejected.  Possibility 4 – leaving the polling location without voting – is the most unknowable of all and also the most disturbing.  It’s also a very real possibility as illustrated by Maryland Matters’ report of this exchange at a General Assembly hearing between SBE Administrator Linda Lamone and two state legislators.

Del. Eric G. Luedtke (D-Montgomery) seemed concerned that while the estimated overall turnout statewide was about 25 percent, among the affected voters – roughly 8,700 affected voters who used either provisional or regular ballots – the turnout was less than 10 percent.

“Is it reasonable to say that this may have had a deterrent effect on voters, or are you concerned that it could have had a deterrent effect on voters?” Luedtke asked.

“Yes,” Lamone replied.

“That’s a key issue for us,” Luedtke said.

Sen. Paul G. Pinsky (D-Prince George’s), vice chairman of the Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee, asked Lamone if she knew of any studies that showed the use of a provisional ballot was “dissuasive.”

“I have seen some discussion of that, senator,” she said. “I haven’t seen the numbers, but I have seen some discussion that people believe that it’s less than a vote – it’s not a real ballot.”

Under further questioning by Pinsky, Lamone agreed that voters could have been put off by the prospect of using a provisional ballot.

“There could be some number of voters out there who didn’t vote because of this error?” Pinsky asked.

“That’s correct,” Lamone replied.

Did any primary election results change because of this mistake?  We will never be able to answer that question, but we can identify some elections that were close enough so that an impact was possible.  Below are eight races across the state in which the number of voters affected by the MVA issue was at least five times the winning margin held by the victor.

This does not include the Baltimore County Executive race (a seventeen-vote margin after recount) or the Howard County Council District 1 race (a six-vote margin after recount) because their boundaries do not match state legislative district data, but obviously, they could have been affected.  Other than those two races, the ones in which the MVA mistake had the greatest probability of affecting the election were the contests for Montgomery County Executive and House District 16.  In the MoCo Executive race, Marc Elrich led by 492 votes in early and election day voting and David Blair led by 73 votes in provisional voting.  That compares to a total of 5,381 MoCo Democrats affected by the MVA issue.

Going forward, there are two areas of concern.  First, there must not be a recurrence of this issue in the general election.  And second, now that the state has passed automatic voter registration, a law that mandates the passing of voter information between numerous state agencies and SBE, the potential for the kinds of problems seen at MVA is now greatly magnified.  Imagine the chaos that would result from MANY thousands of voters showing up to the polls thinking they had registered but then finding out that SBE did not have their information.  It would make the MVA issue look tiny and would have the potential to affect a whole lot more elections.

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Floreen Launches County Executive Website

By Adam Pagnucco.

Council Member Nancy Floreen, who is trying to get on the ballot as an independent candidate for Executive, has launched a new website for her run.  The site is short on details right now but many candidates launch starter sites early and expand them later.  Also, Floreen opened a new campaign finance account on July 3.  Its chair is Sally Sternbach, a former Executive Director of Rockville Economic Development Inc. and a former Acting Director of the county’s Department of Economic Development.  Its treasurer is Joyce Fuhrmann, who was once Council Member Mike Knapp’s Chief of Staff and is a former Vice President at the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation.

Below are three screenshots from Floreen’s new site.

Brautkleider, Brautjungfernkleider, Ballkleider, Brautmutterkleider

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Blair Comments on Recount

By Adam Pagnucco.

County Executive candidate David Blair, who is trailing by 79 votes in the certified result of the Democratic primary, has sent out a blast email commenting on a possible recount.  In the email, Blair says, “We have concerns with the tabulated results after hearing from voters who experienced difficulties during Early Vote and on Election Day coupled with the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration’s voter registration technical errors, which resulted in thousands more provisional ballots than in previous elections… Accordingly, we anticipate that in the next few days we will request the Board of Elections to perform a full recount.”

We reprint the entire email below.

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