By Adam Pagnucco.
District 19 House candidate Vaughn Stewart would like to go to Annapolis. And he needs your help to do it!
By Adam Pagnucco.
Delegate Jeff Waldstreicher has posted a strong financial performance in his run to succeed Senator Rich Madaleno. He has raised more money over the cycle and has more cash on hand than any other state legislator in the county. But Dana Beyer has spent nearly a half million dollars of her own money in her three prior races and could spend a whole lot more. Beyer told Bethesda Magazine “she does not plan to self-finance this year’s Senate bid” but still gave her campaign $109,100. While Waldstreicher’s cash on hand advantage is substantial, Beyer could erase it with one check.
The recent endorsement by SEIU Local 500 of Beyer may have a big impact on this race. Prior to that, Waldstreicher could make the case to other progressive endorsing organizations that as a three-term incumbent running against someone who was for 0-3 in elections (two running against him) that he would have a big edge and was the safe pick. But SEIU is a huge player and brings credibility to Beyer’s run. Now the endorsing groups may be more likely to evaluate the two against each other on a level playing field and see Beyer as a true alternative. Our prediction is that this will not be the last significant endorsement that Beyer receives.
The Delegate race is just as interesting. Incumbent Al Carr had the most raised over the cycle but also has a huge burn rate (81%). He trails Mila Johns and Jared Solomon in cash on hand. Johns leads in cash position (boosted by her $100,000 loan to her campaign) while Solomon led the non-incumbents in fundraising from others ($42,011). Emily Shetty has been a prominent local player since her fourth place finish last time, joining the county’s Democratic Central Committee and doing work with Action Committee for Transit and her former civic association. But she doesn’t want to trail in money behind Carr, Johns and Solomon to the extent she is now. Town of Chevy Chase Council Member Joel Rubin’s cash balance is deceptively low since he began campaigning in November and raised $269,845 in his 2016 run for Congress. Leslie Milano created her campaign account too late to file a January report but says she plans to raise $150,000. Helga Luest was also a late starter. Normally, the only incumbent in a race like this – in this case, it’s Carr – would be favored for reelection. But the challengers are a pack of hungry wolves and Carr is going to have to work to keep his seat.
The Big Question: will there be competing slates in this district? Both Beyer and Waldstreicher have money, which is much needed by all the House candidates. Our prediction is that any move to set up a slate by either Beyer or Waldstreicher will provoke the other side to unify too. Competing slates aligned with contested Senate races were common in District 18 decades ago and another one could really scramble this election.
The Other Big Question: will Delegate Ana Sol Gutierrez stay in the Council District 1 race, where she has not qualified for public matching funds and ranks a distant fifth in cash on hand, or will she return to the District 18 House race?
With the departure of Senator Roger Manno, who is running for Congress in District 6, Delegate Ben Kramer will become the next Senator and the dominant politician in the district. Kramer, who was first elected to the House in 2006, is known for his work on senior issues and public safety, and has been a true hero in his efforts to crack down on drunk driving. He has an absolute lockdown on Leisure World and Kemp Mill, two vital power centers in the district. Kramer is not universally beloved, but he is well respected and no other politicians will mess with him. In politics, that is enough!
The two incumbent Delegates, Bonnie Cullison and Marice Morales, will sweep virtually all the progressive endorsements and be reelected. As for the seat being vacated by Kramer, the simple view is that former Raskin campaign aide Vaughn Stewart, who totally smoked the field (including the incumbents) in fundraising, will win it. But the race may not be that simple. MCDCC Member and labor attorney Marlin Jenkins did reasonably well in fundraising and should get a lot of labor support. And attorney Charlotte Crutchfield, who barely lost to Morales for the open House seat in 2014, is running again.
Crutchfield is not a strong fundraiser, having collected just $11,960 from others last time while self-financing $44,149. But she has a long history in the district and Kramer formed a slate with her in 2014. Manno endorsed Morales, his former legislative aide, and Morales won by 382 votes. Crutchfield filed an affidavit as her January report but her new campaign has just started.
The Big Question: will Kramer team up with Crutchfield again? And if he does, will Cullison and Morales also join in?
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!