Tag Archives: Anthony Brown

BREAKING: Brookeville to Open Montgomery’s First Casino

brookeville-acadBrookeville Academy

Comptroller Peter Franchot’s discovery that the Town of Brookeville owes $7.2 million to the State of Maryland due to his office’s miscalculation of municipal tax receipts for many years placed the Town in quite a bind, as the municipality of just 134 souls had no idea how it could repay the debt.

Today, Brookeville Commission President Katherine Farquhar announced that, after working on the issue with the County and the State, Brookeville will open a casino in historic Brookeville Academy (pictured above), which is owned by the Town, to raise monies to pay off the debt to the State.

Franchot praised the decision, stating that he “appreciates the Town’s gratitude to my office for finding the errors” and plans to award the Town the Comptroller’s Medal for its “creative solution” to the Town’s financial difficulties.

Members of the County Council had initially expressed concerns regarding the project. But Council President Roger Berliner (D-1) has now announced that the casino will be the first recipient of the microloan program he has advertised on Facebook in anticipation of his 2018 County Executive bid.

In a press release, Berliner said “I’m so pleased that the microloan program will make the casino possible. It will help jump start Federal Realty’s development of the outbuildings for future expansion, showing the importance of partnerships like these.”

After initial opposition, Councilmember Tom Hucker (D-5) came on board once the Town agreed to hire MCGEO workers transferred from county liquor stores. “They know as much about gaming as beer, wine and liquor, so this is a great opportunity,” said MCGEO President Gino Renne.

Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Gigi Godwin agreed with the union president, as she commended the County for brushing aside development concerns with the adoption of a special Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) over the objection of the Civic Federation. “We need the County to take a more proactive approach on business.”

Councilmember Hans Riemer (D-AL) also applauded the project, saying that he was happy to learn that Brookeville “is open to serving craft beers” that an official taskforce determined were crucial to revitalizing nightlife in the County.

The sole casino opponent, Councilmember Marc Elrich (D-AL), pointed out that Georgia Ave. is already a parking lot and that the development violated County traffic tests. His statement was interrupted by George Leventhal, who brusquely asked Elrich “Why do you care about people coming from Howard County? Haven’t you figured out we ignore you yet?”

In contrast, Councilmember Nancy Floreen (D-AL) expressed optimism regarding transportation: “SafeTrack has been such a success. We should use the projected savings on Metro to initiate a study on extending the Purple Line to Brookeville.”

The casino will have a War of 1812 theme, reflecting Brookeville’s role as the “U.S. Capital for a Day” in 1814 during the British occupation of Washington. The building’s exterior will be preserved as the interior is redesigned in a “modern Madisionian” style.

(P.S. I think most have figured out by now, but yes, this is satire. Happy New Year.)

Division at Unity Rally?

The Democratic Unity Rally may not have been the best way to demonstrate that Maryland Democrats are united moving from primary seats towards November.

On the good news front, Joseline Peña-Melnyk and Glenn Ivey both showed up and were gracious in their support of Democratic Fourth Congressional District Nominee Anthony Brown.

From the Eighth Congressional District, Kumar Barve and Joel Rubin came and lent support to Democratic Nominee Jamie Raskin. (UPDATE: Will Jawando was there too.) David Trone, Kathleen Matthews and Ana Sol Gutierrez were not there but I know that both Trone and Matthews have endorsed Raskin. No information on Gutierrez but I’d be surprised if she was not supportive of her colleague in the General Assembly.

The biggest rift remains from the U.S. Senate race. Rep. Donna Edwards was noticeably absent after her tough loss to colleague Chris Van Hollen. People in the Edwards camp believe she was badly treated by establishment Democrats and the Washington Post.

Frankly, I think these day-after the election events are a bit hard on the candidates. All are exhausted from lack of sleep and emotions are often understandably raw. I admire the people who didn’t win for showing up – it’s a good, gracious, and right thing to do.

But I can also understand those who just need a moment. Regardless, I look forward to moves in coming days by both Edwards and Van Hollen to help bring Democrats together.

CD4: Where are the Voters?

CD4

The overwhelmingly Democratic Fourth Congressional District will be open in 2016 since incumbent Rep. Donna Edwards is making a bid for the U.S. Senate rather than seeking reelection. So where do the Democrats who will vote in the primary live?

Registered Democrats by Legislative District

The Fourth CD is split between Anne Arundel and Prince George’s but 86% of registered Democrats live in Prince George’s. Former Prince George’s State’s Attorney Glenn Ivey was on the ballot repeatedly, though he has not been on the ballots since 2006.

The following table shows the number of registered Democrats as well as the number who voted in each of the four past Democratic primaries within the portion of each state legislative district included in the Fourth Congressional District.

cd4 vr1

Newly elected Del. Erek Barron (D-24) is rumored to be interested in running for the Fourth. At 21.0%, D24 has the highest share of registered voters. Though Democratic primary turnout is slightly sub par, voters in this legislative district nonetheless consistently provided over one-fifth of all voters.

District 25 does not lag far behind District 24’s voting power with 18.7% of the CD 4’s registered Democrats. This is Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown’s former legislative district. Talented Del. Dereck Davis (D-25), the powerful Chair of the Economic Matters Committee, is also said to be musing about running for the seat.

Del. Jay Walker (D-26) is openly exploring a bid. Sen. Anthony Muse (D-26) from the same district is also rumored to be thinking about it. D26 has the third highest share of registered Democrats but lags notably behind either D24 or D25 with 14.4% of CD 4’s Democrats. Moreover, turnout is often mediocre–it fell as low as 13.4% of the Fourth’s total though it reached 14.9% on the one occasion in which the share of voters exceeded registrants.

Former Del. Jolene Ivey represented District 47 under different boundaries before redistricting. The current version of D47 holds 13.4% of CD 4’s registered Democrats but turnout consistently lags. In the past four Democratic primaries, voters from D47 never comprised more than 11.9% of the voters in CD 4.

Nevertheless, Jolene Ivey, a successful and highly talented politician in her own right who ran for Lt. Governor last year, will undoubtedly be an asset to her husband Glenn Ivey’s campaign. When she last ran for the House in 2010, she came in first by a mile in a crowded primary with eight candidates.

Del. Joseline Peña-Melnyk (D-21) is planning a run. Currently, she represents just 8.1% of registered Democratic in CD 4. A small base on which to build.

Registered Democrats by Legislative and County Council Districts

The second table shows the share of registered Democrats broken down by state legislative and county council district. None of the Anne Arundel Councilmembers represent more than 5% of registered Democrats in CD 4.

cd4 vr2

Prince George’s Council Vice Chair Derrick Davis (D-6)–not to be confused with the state legislator with the very similar name–represents 20.3% of registered Democrats but 64% also live in Legislative District 25. As this is declared candidate Anthony Brown’s former district and Del. Dereck Davis’s current district, competition for these voters could be fierce.

Councilwoman Karen Toles (D-7) represents 17.4% of CD 4’s registered Democrats. This district has significant overlap with Del. Erek Barron’s legislative district, as well as those of Brown/Davis and Walker/Muse. 15.5% of CD 4’s registered Dems also live in  Council District 5, held by Andrea Harrison. This district has a lot of overlap with D24 (Barron) and D47A (Jolene Ivey).

Former Council Chair Ingrid Turner has expressed interest in running for the Fourth. But she represented Council District 4. In its current incarnation, it falls almost entirely into CD 5. Just 0.8% of CD 4’s registered Dems live in District 4.

Likely Voters by State Legislative and County Council Districts

The final table breaks down the share of Democrats who voted in at least two of the past four primaries by state legislative district and county council district:

cd4 to2

This table indicates even more cleanly that Council District 6 is the heartland of CD 4’s Democratic voters. While it has less than a 3% advantage over Council District 7 in registered Dems, it has a 10.6% lead over the same district in two-time primary voters–23.8% versus 13.2%. No wonder Dereck Davis is thinking about running. (Notice also that Council District 5 leapfrogs ahead of Council District 7 in this table.)

Among state legislative districts, the biggest drop is in D47, which has 2.2% fewer two-time primary voters than registered Dems. Legislative Districts 24 and 25 have a slightly higher share of two-time primary voters than registered Democrats. But the statistics change less dramatic; the increase is 0.7% for D24 and 0.2% for D25. In contrast, the share of two-time primary voters is lower the registered Dems by 0.6% in D26.

Based on this table, the most desirable pieces of real estate to have represented before in terms of Democratic primary turnout are:

1. Maryland (Brown)
2. Prince George’s County (Ivey)
3. Prince George’s County Council District 6 (Derrick Davis)
4. State Legislative District 24 (Barron)
5. State Legislative District 25 (Dereck Davis/Brown)
6. Anne Arundel County
7. Prince George’s County Council District 5
8. State Legislative District 26 (Walker/Muse)
9. Prince George’s County Council District 7
10. Prince George’s County Council District 8
11. State Senate District 47
12. State Legislative District 33
13. State House District 47A
14. Prince George’s County Council District 1
15. State Legislative District 21 (Peña-Melnyk)

Brown’s Announcement Email

Over the past two weeks, I’ve heard from many of you – my friends, neighbors and supporters who have urged me to consider running for office. It’s a humbling experience. I’m truly grateful for the confidence that you have in me.

I decided that I would run for office once again only if I believed in my heart that I still had something to give back to our community – the community where I’ve raised my children and dedicated my life to public service.

After serious reflection, prayer and discussion with my wife Karmen and our three children, we are very excited to announce my candidacy for Maryland’s Fourth Congressional District.

For my entire adult life, beginning with the years that I served on active military duty with the 3rd Infantry Division in Germany, I’ve gotten up and out of bed every day ready to serve my neighbors and our nation. From Germany, to a tour of duty in Iraq, to serving two-terms as a State Delegate representing Prince George’s County, to fighting every day for eight years as your Lieutenant Governor, I’ve seen the struggles, challenges, dreams and aspirations that are shared by families throughout Maryland and the 4th Congressional District.

The stakes are high in Washington, but they’re even higher for hard-working families right here in Prince George’s and Anne Arundel Counties.

The dreams of owning a home, and the reality of declining home values, loss of equity and foreclosures; the aspirations of going to college, and the struggles of oppressive student loan debt; the hope of one day retiring comfortably, and the worry that Social Security might not be there when you do; the positive news of post-recession job growth, and the despair of the growing wealth gap and need for small, women and minority owned businesses to access the billions of dollars of spending at the federal level to grow our local economy and jobs; the desire to live and raise a family in a safe neighborhood, and the disturbing fact that too many young black and Latino men fear that they cannot freely walk the streets without profiling and excessive force by law enforcement.

Families in the 4th District have been fortunate to have a leader like Donna Edwards fighting for them every day. With your support, I’ll continue that fight.

For the past 16 years, I’ve had the opportunity to work for you while serving in public office. As a two-term State Delegate working throughout neighborhoods from Suitland to Lake Arbor, and during my eight years as your Lieutenant Governor working with communities from Laurel to Oxon Hill and throughout Anne Arundel County, we’ve worked tirelessly to improve our schools, reduce crime, expand access to healthcare, and create jobs. But our work is far from done.

Together, we’ll fight for every family, regardless of where you live and where you’re from, by ensuring economic security for all. Under President Obama’s leadership, we’ve made great progress, but it’s not enough until everyone who is willing to work hard can find a good job with a family-supporting wage. Our work continues until each of us has access to affordable housing and are protected against foreclosure, and our seniors can retire with the peace of mind that Social Security benefits will be protected and their pensions won’t be raided.

Together, we’ll make sure that every child, regardless of where you live and where you’re from, gets a world-class education. We’ll get it done by establishing universal pre-kindergarten, delivering on President Obama’s call for free community college and providing additional college scholarships, grants, and loans. We will eliminate the achievement gap in education.

Together, we’ll ensure our national security and safety in every neighborhood. We’ll provide the resources needed to ensure that our nation is strong and secure against foreign threats, while also providing our communities with the support needed to reduce crime with community-based and community-involved law enforcement strategies.

I’m running to represent you because I believe in a future where everyone has the opportunity to succeed, not just the privileged few.

I know this isn’t going to be easy, but nothing worth fighting for ever is.

Our best days are still ahead of us. I’m energized to continue the conversation with folks like you about how we can work together to create a better future for our families, our small businesses, our schools and all of our neighborhoods.

Thank you for your support and I hope you’ll stay in touch by following me on Facebook and Twitter.

Anthony Brown

MD-04 Battle Looms Large

Jolene Ivey, Doug Gansler

Former State’s Attorney Glenn Ivey at the Announcement of
Del. Jolene Ivey’s bid for Lieutenant Governor

Rep. Donna Edwards is announcing her Senate bid today, which means a slew of people are thinking of running for the open Fourth.

Maryland’s Fourth Congressional District, which stretches from Anne Arundel County and around the border of the District of Columbia to take in most of inside the beltway Prince George’s County, is the wealthiest, most highly educated African American majority district in the country. We can expect a lively, crowded primary for this heavily Democratic seat.

The Hon. Rev. Bishop Senator C. Anthony Muse
Perhaps the most flamboyantly colorful member of the Maryland Legislature (Delegate Oaks of Baltimore City is more sartorially extroverted but he lacks Muse’s flair for the dramatic in other regards) brings a large base of south County voters and will have support among the large community of African-American Evangelical voters in the 4th.

How he expands his base is an open question, as his fundraising. He can’t be counted out, though his noted conservative positions, particularly on social issues, will attract a rush of progressive money to any other candidate if it looks like he stands a chance.

Former State’s Attorney Glenn Ivey or Former Del. Jolene Ivey
Glenn Ivey is a very dynamic, well connected former Prince George’s County State’s Attorney with a wealth of downtown DC connections to lean on. It’s rumored that his wife, former Delegate Jolene Ivey is making calls soliciting support for a potential bid on his behalf.

While he was an immensely popular State’s Attorney, he’s in a less strong position than if this primary were happening closer to when he last held office. On the other hand, former Del. Jolene Ivey, his wife, just ran for Lt. Governor, and only continued to build upon on her already positive image. She too would be an excellent candidate. In short, both are terrific political assets to the other.

Del. Joseline Peña-Melnyk
Joseline Peña-Melnyk looks potentially like the only Latino candidate in the race as it appears that State Senator Victor Ramirez will take a pass. However, there are fewer than 20,000 registered Latinos in district so this community only provides so large a base. Peña-Melnyk is Dominican, while most of the Latinos in the district are Salvadorian (as is Ramirez). Furthermore, much of District 21, which she represents, is in the Fifth District.

Mary Lehman
Mary Lehman is a term-limited Prince George’s County Councilwoman representing much of the Laurel area. She previously served as Chief of Staff to the last person to hold her current seat–Tom Dernoga. While well liked and respected by many in the community, she lacks to rolodex to raise the millions needed for a competitive campaign.

She would likely be perceived by many as the white candidate, although in a crowded field in a black-majority district that isn’t necessarily a bad place to be. Especially when even though the majority of residents are African American, a slight majority of registered voters are white.

Del. Erek Barron
He is a freshmen Delegate from Prince George’s County with a long resume that includes stints working for Joe Biden and as a high level prosecutor. Barron has deep ties into the legal community in Baltimore and the District of Colombia, as well as on Capitol Hill. He could likely raise more money than all other candidates except either of the Iveys. He has already impressed many in his brief time in the legislature and shouldn’t be underestimated.

Former Lt. Governor Anthony Brown
Mere months ago the idea that today Anthony Brown would be a heavy underdog candidate in a potential comeback for an open congressional seat would be so fundamentally bizarre and incongruous that it belied even a hint of plausibility. But, lo, how the mighty hath fallen

While Brown is currently largely persona non grata throughout Maryland, he is a very talented, fairly charismatic pol  with a sterling resume who did carry his home county very strongly. Far stranger things have happened (See: Sanford, Mark).  Don’t count him out.

Why Brown & KKT Lost

Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown did not lose because of poor Democratic turnout. Neither did Kathleen Kennedy Townsend. It is a dangerous myth in our party Montgomery and  Prince George’s Counties, combined with the City of Baltimore, are enough to win a statewide election.

The even more dangerous corollary to his theory is that, if the Big Three jurisdictions are enough to deliver victory statewide, the key is to nominate a candidate capable of driving turnout among the Democratic base voters in those three very progressive bastions. Sadly, this is not the case. Even if turnout in Montgomery, Prince George’s and Baltimore City had been 10 points higher, Larry Hogan would still be the Governor-Elect.

The truth of the matter is that Democrats cannot win a statewide election if they get killed in the Baltimore suburbs. Democrats still need to win some moderates to take the prize. For years, Martin O’Malley appealled to working class Democrats in places like Dundalk and Essex, as well as a certain number of wealthier suburb and exurbanites in places like Bel Air and Towson.

This–in addition to the D next to his name in Baltimore City, MoCo and Prince George’s County–gave him a winning statewide coalition in 2006 and 2010. O’Malley nearly won Baltimore County in 2006 before taking the prize outright in 2010. In 2010, O’Malley received 35% of the vote in Harford County, while Brown barely cracked 20% four years later. Barbara Mikulski frequently wins counties in Western Maryland and on the Eastern Shore.

Interestingly, Mikulski, O’Malley, Brown and Townsend are all center left to progressive Democrats with little policy disagreement of any true substance among them. So, why the difference in performance in these key areas?

As the legendary Virginia operative Mudcat Saunders oft moans, people vote based on culture not the issues. A guitar playing, Catholic school educated Irishmen with a disarming charm like O’Malley went a long way towards making gay marriage and the Dream Act–and progressive taxation–palatable to swing voters from Easton to Essex. A grandmotherly, Polish-American social worker like Mikulski can do the same.

But a stiff, Harvard-educated, former DC lawyer originally from Long Island, who happens to be black, like Anthony Brown has limited appeal outside of the polyglot Washington suburbs and Baltimore City. Likewise, a Kennedy from Greenwich, CT had limited appeal outside of Bethesda and Roland Park in 2002.

Right now, we don’t need someone to drive out mythical hard core progressives, who came out and voted for Anthony Brown anyway. We need someone who is as comfortable at Dundalk’s Fourth of July parade as at Takoma Park’s.

The Racial Math for a Brown Win

TheMath

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.

People Voting Early. . . Just Not in West MoCo

Today’s Early Vote Takeaways:

  • Early Vote is Very Stable.
  • Democrats will Start Gaining from EV Tomorrow.
  • Western Montgomery Epicenter of Low Turnout.

EVGraph

Black = All, Blue = D, Red= R, Purple = Unaffiliated

Stability is the Story

Early voting remained highly stable on Day 6, rising just a bit over Day 5. The rate of Democratic turnout continues the trend of rising at a miniscule rate above Republican turnout. Right now, 6.04% (122,996) of registered Democrats have voted as compared to 5.97% (56,675) of Republicans and 2.59% (17,030) of the unaffiliated have cast ballots.

The number of registered voters who have voted early in 2014 equals 90.5% of the 2010 total across all days. The total number of Democrats who voted early in 2014 is 87.6% of 2010. The similar figures are 96.8% for Republicans and 93.0% for the unaffiliated. The higher GOP number reflects that they have virtually closed the gap in turnout with Democrats from 2010.

Democrats will Start Gaining Tomorrow

Total early voting turnout should exceed that of 2010 tomorrow. At that point Democrats will start to benefit from the ramp up in early voting despite the lost of their advantage in the rate of turnout. Due to their dominance, Democrats will extend their raw vote advantage over the Republicans.

Here are the Day 6 early vote and absentee totals by county:

early6

But Not as Much as They Might

The gap in turnout between high and low turnout counties continues to grow with the big three Democratic counties all lagging more and more behind the high turnout counties. Except for Howard, I expect every county above the state average in turnout to vote for Hogan. Charles, the only other solid Brown county, is also below the red line.

Western Montgomery Epicenter of Low Turnout

Turnout in Montgomery is especially abysmal, particularly on the west side of the County. Outside of portions of Allegany and Washington Counties, the four legislative districts in western Montgomery have the lowest early voting turnout rates in the State:

2.13% in District 15 (Potomac to Poolesville),
2.20% in District 16 (Bethesda),
2.59% in District 17 (Rockville-Gaithersburg),
2.05% in District 39 (Clarksburg-Germantown-Mont. Village).

Lt. Gov. Brown seems tailor made to appeal to the liberal voters who predominate in this part of the world. Yet, these levels are between 34% and 42% of the statewide rate. The mystery is even greater because education is usually heavily related to turnout and these districts have among the highest share of college graduates and people with graduate degrees in the country.

In short, these are exactly the sort of core Democratic voters that Brown needs to turn out. No wonder he spent yesterday morning at the Bethesda Metro Station greeting people as they entered the escalators. (P.S. Anyone who really fixes these perpetually under construction behemoths would get my vote.)

Why is MoCo Turnout so Abysmal?

Montgomery Specific

1. It’s Always Nice to be Asked

Reminders to vote are few. I have received no calls–robocalls or person-to-person calls from either Democratic Party or the Brown campaign. Nor have I received any GOTV mail. Maybe it’s because I am a regular voter so they know that I’ll vote.

I did receive one candidate mailer from Chris Van Hollen and I think another from Ike Leggett. Nothing compared to the pre-primary deluge. On television, there are as many ads for Virginia Senate candidates as for the Maryland’s gubernatorial race.

We also could see more of Anthony Brown in person. It’s odd that it just doesn’t feel like the state’s largest jurisdiction has gotten much face time with the candidate. Turnout in Montgomery has been especially weak so events in Potomac or Bethesda as well as Rockville and Gaithersburg would not go amiss.

2. Organizational Weakness

Democrats are scrambling to get volunteers for early voting centers. The county training for precinct officials was less well-attended than in previous cycles. If Democrats are providing rides to the polls as in past years, I haven’t heard about it. Republicans have been weak for some time in Montgomery, and that hasn’t changed. Brown was smart and opened another campaign office in Bethesda but that doesn’t seem to have picked up the slack.

3. Surefire Winners

Virtually all of the Democratic candidates for elective office in Montgomery sit in safe seats, so voters have little reason to go to the polls and candidates have little incentive to mobilize them. Completely the opposite of the Democratic Primary. It also helps explain the gradual atrophy of the Democratic organization–muscles get flabby when they aren’t exercised.

4. Nobody Cares

Voters are profoundly uninterested in the election to the point that one would barely know that we are at the end of a campaign. Honestly, it just doesn’t feel like an election around here. There are almost no signs up outside people’s houses in my neck of the woods.

More General

5. Defend the Record

Take pride in it; don’t hide from it. In extremely tough economic times, Maryland balanced its budget and maintained its AAA bond rating while protecting public schools and universities–critical to both kids but and the State economy. Leadership played a key role in making Maryland the first state to vote for marriage equality. In contrast, Hogan has done a good job of creating resentment at what people haven’t liked.

6. Finally, Give Me a Reason

For whatever reason, Democratic messaging is not connecting in Montgomery. Democrats have given voters many reasons not to vote for Larry Hogan but the reasons to vote for Anthony Brown remain fuzzy or simply don’t excite. The ads on choice feel like the 1990s are calling and wants their commercials back, likely because Parris Glendening ran similar ones against Ellen Sauerbrey.

If the Purple Line motivates voters beyond core supporters and opponents, it is well hidden. Perhaps closing strongly with Brown’s positive pre-K and school construction program might give people a concrete reason to go out and vote for Anthony Brown.

Brown Expands Lead in CBS/NYT/YouGov Poll

CBS/NYT/YouGov has good news for Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown. According to their poll, Brown leads Larry Hogan by 55-38 among likely voters, including leaners.

Inside the Survey

This poll, conducted September 20-October 1, reveals nice improvement for Brown. Their previous survey in the field from August 18-September 2 had Brown ahead by 51-37 among likely voters. So Brown is up 4 points and further above 50%, while Hogan is up only 1 point and still below 40%.

According to this survey, Brown’s improvement is due entirely to increased support among white voters. While Brown remains at 80% among black voters, he has increased his white support from 37% to 42%. And he still has room to grow among African-American voters.

The gender gap remains cavernous in the recent survey with Brown up 65-27 among women and Hogan up 52-44 among men. While Hogan needs stronger numbers in both groups, the poll indicates that he must make major improvement among women in order to be competitive on Election Day.

The breakdown by party identification reveals the strength of the Democrats. Brown is down 7-93 among Republicans and 37-52 among Independents. But it just doesn’t matter because he is up 86-6 among his fellow Democrats who compose one-half of likely voters according to the survey.

Reading the Tea Leaves

The key question raised by the survey is why did the Lieutenant Governor promise not to raise taxes in the recent debate. Even if it is the top issue for voters, a candidate leading 55-38 doesn’t need to bind his own hands.

Internal polling for the Brown campaign may show a much smaller lead over Hogan–even smaller than the 9 point lead in the recent Washington Post poll. While some Democrats exude confidence, there are also significant rumblings of concern around the State.

Alternatively, it may suggest that a Brown-Ulman Administration would veer away from the course charted by the O’Malley-Brown Administration in terms of tax and economic policy. A surprise to those who see Gov. Brown merely as O’Malley 2.0. Taking taxes off the table forces Brown either to curtail his progressive agenda or restructure State government to accomplish it.