With just 3 days until Election Day, we need your help in the field now, more than ever before.
With just 3 days until Election Day, we need your help in the field now, more than ever before.
Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown leads challenger Larry Hogan by 7 points among likely voters according to the poll conducted for the Baltimore Sun:
The poll by OpinionWorks of Annapolis found Brown leading Hogan 49 percent to 42 percent.
Though Brown has a 7-point lead, the poll found his backers are less solid in their conviction than Hogan supporters. And many in Brown’s camp are younger voters, a bloc that historically is less likely to vote.
“Hogan has a much more engaged, committed base of support right now,” said OpinionWorks President Steve Raabe.
“This is not by any stretch a locked-up race,” Raabe said. “You can still see Brown winning comfortably. But you also can see Hogan winning.”
The poll of 800 likely voters, conducted Oct. 4 to Oct. 8, has a 3.5 percentage-point margin of error.
I don’t often meet Republican candidates here in Montgomery County, if only because they appear to be thin on the ground. So I was a little intrigued when I met up with Ed Edmundson, a candidate for the House of Delegates in District 15, at Starbucks.
Ed is a first time candidate reminiscent of past generations of Montgomery County Republicans, like Jean Roesser, Connie Morella, Betty Ann Krahnke and Howie Denis, who were liberal on social questions but more moderate or conservative on economic issues–long a winning formula in this area and indeed one that still works for several Democrats on the County Council.
Unusually for a Republican, he has been endorsed by NARAL, as have all three Democratic incumbents. It’s not often you hear a Republican talk about fair trade, ending “the school to prison pipeline,” and legalizing marijuana.
Ed gets more conservative on economic questions. He wants to cut the corporation income tax to make Maryland more competitive with Virginia. He also passionately believes that the regulatory structure created by the State and the County is too cumbersome and particularly a burden on small businesses.
On education, Ed proposes radical alterations to the teaching benefits structure by doubling teach salaries and eliminating pensions in favor of 401(k) plans. In my view, Ed is very fuzzy in terms of how to pay for large tax cuts and increased education spending. He wants the federal government to pay for increased education spending by cutting defense.
While decidedly out-of-the-box and even courageous for a Republican, it also requires decisions far outside the scope of the authority of the House of Delegates. State officials needs to pay for changes within the State’s own budget. The last four years have demonstrated that waiting on Congress is not a strategy. Despite this impracticality, Ed nonetheless brings a genuine passion regarding economic questions.
Specifically, he advocates for the positive, appealing part of the Republican message that government needs to work to encourage business and develop a more holistic strategy towards that end. And he expresses deep concern about those who view business with hostility rather than a crucial part of the solution.
In short, while his ideas haven’t gelled and the numbers don’t add up, the Republicans desperately need more people like him who don’t fear the future but who want to streamline government to promote prosperity and pay for needed government services. At least Ed shows some imagination, while Larry Hogan serves up the reheated sauce of “waste, fraud, and abuse” as “vision.”
Ed faces a lot of obstacles in his uphill bid for a delegate seat. First, District 15 has become much more solid Democratic turf since the Republicans last won seats in the area. Democratic partisans are now less willing to crossover and vote even for moderate or liberal Republicans–the undoing of Howie Denis on the County Council–because the national brand has become so tainted.
Second, District 15 has an extremely solid delegation with no weak links who could provide an opening. If Speaker Busch has good sense, he’ll find a way to appoint Kathleen Dumais as Judiciary Chair and sideline (Chair Emeritus?) past-his-sell-by date Joe Vallario. Aruna Miller has consistently struck most as smart, serious, and hard working. Recently appointed Del. David Fraser-Hidalgo has already made a positive impression. These are the sort of legislators we need to keep who make it difficult for opponents to make a good case to fire.
Third, there is always the Ficker problem. Running on a ticket with the ever-polarizing Robin Ficker, whose son is now running for delegate, seems an excellent way to assure that Democrats open to voting for some Republicans don’t give Ed a hearing.
Fourth, Ed is a complete newbie to campaigning. He plans to spend around $40,000, mostly his own money, and likely an insufficient amount for a serious delegate challenge in Montgomery County. Moreover, I don’t think he knows how to spend the money wisely as he is buying newspaper advertisements and sending no direct mail.
Still, it’s always up to the voters.
Despite Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Larry Hogan’s effort to turn attention away from social questions such as same-sex marriage and abortion rights, his campaign is turning out to be the perfect illustration of Republican demographic and policy problems.
The Washington Post recently highlighted Hogan’s call for tax cuts targeted at the elderly:
Speaking at a retirement community along with his Democratic opponent, Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, Mr. Hogan said that once he gets spending under control, his administration would “completely eliminate state income taxes for pensions and retirement income.”
As is disappointingly customary for too many Republican candidates, he made no mention of the spending reductions needed to pay for these tax cuts that just happen to be popular with the high-turnout elderly electorate:
We’d like to report that, along with his blockbuster tax cut proposal, Mr. Hogan released detailed projections showing how much revenue it would cost the state and which programs he would target for commensurate spending reductions. But we can’t, because he didn’t.
Hogan’s choices mirror directly the current state of the national Republican coalition, and the surprisingly non-conservative, irresponsible policy cul-de-sac that follows from their imperative to cater to it. David Frum explained it well in a must-read article in Foreign Affairs:
Republicans have come to rely more and more on the votes of the elderly, the most government-dependent segment of the population — a serious complication for a party committed to reducing government. . . .
What boomers mean when they call themselves conservative is that they have begun to demand massive cutbacks to spending programs that do not directly benefit them. Seventy-five percent of Americans nearing retirement age in 2010 had less than $30,000 in their retirement accounts. Not surprisingly, then, boomers say they want no change at all to the Medicare and Social Security benefits they have begun to qualify for.
Boomers’ conservatism is founded on their apprehension that there’s not enough to go around — and on their conviction that what little resources there are should accrue to them. . . . It might seem paradoxical that people on Medicare, or soon to qualify for it, would oppose a further expansion of the government’s role in health care, but it actually makes perfect sense: boomer conservatives fear that government in the age of Obama will serve somebody else’s interests at the expense of their own.
Republicans have responded to boomers’ fears by reinventing themselves as defenders of the fiscal status quo for older Americans — and only older Americans. . . . [T]he GOP has rejected changes to retirement programs that might in any way impinge on current beneficiaries. The various budget plans Republicans produced in the run-up to the 2012 election all exempted Americans over age 55 from any changes to either Social Security or Medicare.
So Republicans like Hogan have become defenders of the elderly at the expense of other generations. Indeed, Hogan’s proposal is essentially a direct transfer from non-retired people who will get fewer services but still pay the same taxes to the elderly who would pay significantly less tax in Hogan’s imagined Maryland. Not a great deal for most Marylanders.
There is unquestionably an opening for a candidate to argue that Marylanders are too highly taxed and that regulation prone Democrats have stifled economic growth that is vital to employment and our State’s long-term success. But Hogan thus far has yet to make an argument in a remotely realistic or coherent way that suggests a conservative vision or way forward.
Campaign finance reports have started to come out. And wow, Dana Beyer and Jonathan Shurberg now have significantly lighter wallets but still managed to lose their primaries. If anyone knows of General Assembly campaigns that have spent more, please let me know.
Dana Beyer spent a whopping $332,503–or $63.48 per vote–on her failed bid for the District 18 Democratic senatorial nomination. Virtually all of it came out of her own pocket. In 2013 and 2014, Dana loaned her senate campaign $315,500. So she raised only $17,003 in contributions, including $500 from Emily’s List.
Dana has loaned herself $497,703 over the course of her three unsuccessful campaigns for the General Assembly–two for delegate in 2006 and 2010, and senator in 2014.
But Dana’s expenditures fall short next to Jonathan Shurberg’s total so far of $421,858 for losing effort to gain the delegate nomination in District 20. The total could go even higher as Jonathan has loaned or given his campaign an astounding $496,773. His loans totaled $366,200 and gifts added up to $130,573.
The total per vote based on Jonathan’s expenditures is an incredible $140.76 per vote but that could rise to $165.76 based on his loans and gifts to his campaign.
And to think some people just go to Neiman Marcus.
Without an unprecedented General Election upset, the following Democratic nominees for House Seats will be sworn into the General Assembly for the 2015 Session. These legislators show particular promise:
1) Brooke Lierman – The new face of South Baltimore is young, white, wealthy and progressive. Brooke is all of these things (And DC powerhouse Terry Lierman’s daughter). Despite a convenient last name, she fully deserves her seat in the House on her own merits (going back to the campaigns of Paul Wellstone and Howard Dean) up to her present day practice as a civil rights lawyer.
2) Erek Barron – An Attorney at Whiteford, Taylor & Preston, the newest addition to the District 24 Delegation has tremendous statewide potential. A former prosecutor (as an ASA in Prince George’s and Baltimore City as well as at the Department of Justice) who worked for then US Senator Joe Biden on Capitol Hill, Erek has as sterling a resume as any legislator. He also has an easy going charm and keen intelligence. Bonus Points: he played foot ball at College Park.
3) Marc Korman – This Sidley Austin Attorney and former Capitol Hill Staffer (not to mention a former blogger at Seventh State predecessor Maryland Politics Watch) has always been the smartest guy in the room–and that definitely won’t change when he gets to the Lowe House Office Building.
4) Andrew Platt – A very, very sharp former US House Leadership staffer cruised to victory and is set to become the youngest legislator in Annapolis. He has future leadership written all over him.
5) Cory McCray This East Baltimore IBEW Leader is charming and exceedingly genuine. He ran an incredibly strong campaign this year and is sure to rise quickly in Annapolis as a powerful voice for working families in the state.
6) David Moon – Attorney and Political Operative David Moon is sure to establish as a liberal lion in the legislature as he marries his communication skills with sharp progressive politics. He will represent his new constituents in Takoma Park well.
7) Will Smith – Despite (perhaps unduly harsh) criticism of his campaign budgeting decisions on this blog (by me), Will Smith cruised to victory on June 24th with the help of a slate led by Jamie Raskin. His future in this state couldn’t be brighter.
These are the future County Executives, Congressman, MGA Committee Chairs, Attorneys General, Comptrollers, Lieutenant Governors of the coming 10-15 years.
Note: This post was modified from the original version because Candice Quinn Kelly lost her close race.
This is an off-the-cuff first glance assessment of last night’s primary election results.
1. Incumbents. Did any of them lose? Even the ones facing strong challengers seem to have made it safely to dry land. In the Council races, Hans Riemer, George Leventhal and Roger Berliner all made it home safe. While Leventhal lagged notably behind the other incumbents, he still had a relatively nice margin over Beth Daly who ran strong. Ditto for executive and legislative offices.
2. Sidney Katz. The Mayor of Gaithersburg’s campaign was consistently underrated by many as Ryan Spiegel scooped up union endorsements and Tom Moore garnered support from the Washington Post. But Katz’s longtime service and knowledge of the area just mattered more.
3. Minority Representation. The legislative delegation will have new African-American (Will Smith), Latino (Marice Morales), and Asian (David Moon) representatives. Additionally, appointed Del. Fraser-Hidalgo fought off a tough challenge. Susan Lee just became the first non-white to win a Senate seat. And Ike Leggett will return for a third term as county executive.
4. Cheryl Kagan. Second time is a charm for the former delegate who sought election to the Senate previously in 2010. Despite Luiz Simmons’ incumbency and seemingly endless barrage of self-funded negative mail, he could not overcome her strong campaign or problems created by his own legislative record.
1. MCGEO President Gino Renne successfully positioned his union as the leader of the county public employee unions outside the school system, including the FOP and the Firefighters. His efforts backfired hugely yesterday as preferred county council candidates lost across the board with the exception of Tom Hucker, who won a tight race over newcomer Evan Glass.
2. Sam Arora and Ben Kramer. Arora was more or less forced out of the legislature after his last-minute switch against marriage equality led to national outrage. His effort to extend his influence through his endorsement of Charlotte Crutchfield also failed. Kramer also lost in betting against Maricé Morales, the choice of Sen. Roger Manno and Del. Bonnie Cullison.
3. Kevin Gillogly didn’t have much success as a campaign operative, having worked for unsuccessful legislative candidates Jonathan Shurberg and Dana Beyer.
4. Duchy Trachtenberg had lots of money but incumbent Roger Berliner just cleaned her clock. This ought to be Duchy’s last stand but that doesn’t mean that it will be.
Progressive Neighbors, an organization originally formed to support the candidacy of Sen. Jamie Raskin, now has a separate life of its own and says that it endorses candidates in four of the eight Montgomery County legislative districts: 14, 18, 19, and 20.
However, most elected officials are just not interested. Only two of the four Senate incumbents bothered to return PN’s questionnaires, including Sen. Raskin. Among the nine delegate incumbents, just three responded.
If the organization was the NRA or Marylanders for Life, this would not be shocking. But Progressive Neighbors aspires to be an endorsement that Democratic candidates covet. Indeed, they made repeated efforts to get electeds to submit questionnaires.
PN sent the following odd note–sort of like a rejection letter for a job to which you never applied –to Del. Anne Kaiser:
Dear Anne; [sic]
We are writing to inform you that the Progressive Neighbors Steering Committee did not vote to recommend an endorsement of your candidacy to our membership in the June 2014 Primary election for House of Delegates Legislative District 14. Per our bylaws, endorsements must be reviewed by the membership and reaffirmed by the Steering Committee after member review. That process is beginning now with a mailing to our membership, and we believe it more considerate that you hear of our actions directly from us, rather than indirectly.
Thank you for completing our questionnaire, which the Steering Committee carefully considered. We also thank you for your willingness to serve our community and your efforts to improve the lives of our fellow citizens. While we are not endorsing you at this time, we welcome the opportunity to work with you in the future to help bring about a more equitable and just society for all. Unless you object, we will be adding you to our email list, if you’re not already on it, so you’ll continue to be informed about our positions and issues. (If you’d rather not be added to our email list, please let us know.)
Del. Anne Kaiser shared with me her reply:
Thanks for your email. I must admit that I am a little confused by it, and would hate for you to inadvertently misinform your members. I find it curious that you mention that you have “carefully considered” my questionnaire: I did not submit one for your consideration.
I am a proud progressive, who in my 12 years in office has been on the vanguard of the progressive movement in the State of Maryland. I have been a key leader on issues including: making the Dream Act a reality, supporting tougher gun laws, raising the minimum wage, promoting transgender and marriage equality, repealing the death penalty, advocating for clean energy and the protection of our bay. I am a passionate supporter of our unionized brothers and sisters and fiercely fought for their collective bargaining rights. As a member of the Ways & Means committee I have worked tirelessly to make our tax code fairer for all and as chair of the Education Subcommittee, I have advocated and promoted policies to enhance our nation leading K-12 system.
I hope that you’ll carefully consider the points that I have made when communicating my position, more honestly, to your members.
NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland PAC sent me the following statement in response to the earlier post on Seventh State regarding their endorsements in District 18:
The NPCM PAC recently made a clerical error that had a large and unfortunate impact. We understand the magnitude of our error and apologize for the confusion it has caused. We have reached out to each of the candidates, including Ms. Natali Fani-Gonzalez. The NARAL PAC board endorsed the incumbent candidates from District 18. We mistakenly issued an endorsement to a fourth candidate who was intended to receive a 100% Pro-Choice rating, which is used for candidates who do not receive an endorsement but reflects their Pro-Choice values.
I would have been very surprised if the PAC had not endorsed the incumbents, as they all are very supportive of reproductive freedom and I am not aware of any actions they have taken that would cause disgruntlement from NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland.
When I received, Natali Fani-Gonzalez’s communication, I thought perhaps their PAC had intended to endorse her either as a fourth candidate or in place of one of the incumbents because they thought she would be an exceptionally strong leader on the issue.
You can read Natali Fani-Gonzalez’s thoughts on the matter as well as the PAC’s response above and draw your own conclusions.
A few days ago, a one of three Democratic primary voter reached out to me to with some mildly interesting news: they had received a live telephone survey testing positive and negative messages regarding Jordan Cooper’s candidacy in the District 16 delegate race.
My educated guess would be that the poll is from Jordan Cooper’s campaign since any other candidate polling would not have focused on him, or at least also asked questions about Marc Korman, Hrant Jamgochian, Ariana Kelly and Bill Frick.
Except that Jordan Cooper says he did not do the poll. At any rate, it should make him feel good that someone is taking him very seriously. I guess we’ll see when the next campaign finance reports come out.