Tag Archives: Kathy Klausmeier

Do You Believe Klausmeier’s Primary Opponent? I Do

Last week, I published a post on medical marijuana lobbyist Max Davidson’s strange, last-minute decision to primary Sen. Kathy Klausmeier (D-8). Davidson has given the bulk of his donations to Republicans and by far the most to Del. Christian Miele (R-8), who also just happens to be running for the seat.

Quick off the dime, Max Davidson is not. He took over three days to respond to my post, an eternity for a candidate not to respond to negative publicity. What is he, high? Oh, wait. . .

Clocking in at over 2100 words, his Facebook post reply feels more like the start of Leviathan than a campaign statement. If he’s this lengthy in chatting up legislators, no wonder it took so long for medical marijuana to pass in Maryland.

Nevertheless, I believe Max Davidson.

I believe “firmly pro-choice” Davidson gave $970 to “firmly pro-life” Miele because he cares deeply about abortion rights.

I believe Davidson when he says that he gave over four times as much money to Republicans as Democrats “in support of attempting to pass my most recent bill.” Lobbyists always give more money to minority party legislative opponents.

I believe Davidson gave $150 to Del. Kathy Szeliga (R-7) but not Chris Van Hollen because he is “a proven lifelong Progressive” and “Berniecrat.”

I believe Davidson even though he never addresses whether he discussed his bid with Miele in his very long reply.

I believe Davidson cares about issues other than cannabis legalization even though the word “cannabis” appears 21 times in his post.

I believe Davidson gave over $500 to Sen Justin Ready (R-5) because he cares passionately about “raising the minimum hourly wage to $15 per hour” and keeping education affordable.

I believe this is a good logo:

I believe electing a lobbyist like Davidson is “our chance to stop politics as usual in Annapolis.”

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Who is Getting Money from the NRA?

By Adam Pagnucco.

In the wake of the latest mass school shooting, many are asking about the influence of the National Rifle Association (NRA), which is dedicated to blocking virtually all restrictions on firearms.  The NRA has not been particularly successful in Maryland, where one of the nation’s strictest gun control laws was signed by Governor Martin O’Malley five years ago.  But that has not stopped the NRA from trying to influence Maryland politicians by contributing money.

We looked up all contributions to state and local political committees in Maryland from the NRA itself and its PAC, the NRA Political Victory Fund, on the State Board of Elections website.  We identified 49 contributions totaling $22,450 from the 2006 cycle on.  Of that total, $12,300 (55%) went to Democratic committees and $10,150 (45%) went to Republicans.  Fourteen committees received $500 or more and we identify them below.  We also list the last date of contribution from the NRA; bear in mind that some folks on this list have not received NRA money in several years.

All of the above candidates were incumbents except Tim Robinson, who ran as a Republican against Senator Jim Brochin (D-42) in 2014.  Brochin was himself a former recipient of NRA money and is now running for Baltimore County Executive.  Democratic Senators Kathy Klausmeier (D-8) and Jim Mathias (D-38) are facing tough GOP challengers this cycle and have accepted NRA money in the last year.

Ten of the above recipients were in the General Assembly when the Firearm Safety Act of 2013, Governor O’Malley’s landmark gun control law, was passed after the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.  Those voting for the bill included Senators Mike Miller (D-27) and Jim Brochin (D-42).  Those voting no included Senators John Astle (D-30), Ed DeGrange (D-32), George Edwards (R-1), Kathy Klausmeier (D-8), Jim Mathias (D-38), E.J. Pipkin (R-36) and Bryan Simonaire (R-31) and Delegate Tony O’Donnell (R-29C).

Additionally, Astle’s campaign committee actually gave money to the NRA.  In 2006, Astle’s account made a $300 expenditure to the NRA and remarked, “This membership increases Senator Astle’s visibility and allows him to network with potential voters and contributors.”

One more recipient of NRA cash stands out:  Derek Hopkins, the Republican Register of Wills in Harford County, who collected $100 from the NRA in 2010.  Perhaps this is unsurprising since mass proliferation of guns and the writing of wills seem sadly interrelated.

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Part II: Democrats Most Likely to Lose 1-2 Senate Seats

Part I looked at the relationship between Trump’s share of the vote and Democratic success in Virginia’s state house elections. Today, I look and see what the Virginia results indicate for Maryland Senate races.

Using a statistical technique called logit, I estimated the probability of Democratic victories in all 47 districts based on the relationship between the share of the vote won by Trump and election outcomes in Virginia.

I also controlled for the presence of Republican incumbents. The statistical model indicated that the relationship is not statistically significant, but the inclusion of this factor results in slightly lower probabilities of success in districts with GOP incumbents. (All Democratic incumbents won and represented seats Clinton won by 15 points, so I cannot similarly control for any advantage held by Democratic incumbents.)

The statistical model suggests that Democrats are most likely to lose 1 or 2 seats in the Senate. A more conservative estimate would be that the Democrats lose 0 to 3 seats. Even a loss of 3 seats would leave Democrats with more than enough to override a Hogan veto should he overcome tough political winds and win reelection.

Which seats are most likely to shift?

Most Vulnerable Democratic Seat

Sen. Jim Mathias defies political gravity in holding Eastern Shore District 38, which gave Trump 61% of the vote – a full 28 points higher than the share received by Clinton. But this former Ocean City Mayor earns it by out hustling his opponents in every way and is a born politician. He beat a delegate in 2014 and will likely face one-term Del. Mary Beth Carozza this year.

District 38 has three subdistricts so Carozza has represented just one-third of the district, including Mathias’s home in Ocean City. She has $114K in the bank compared to $250K for Mathias. Senate President Miller spent big to aid Mathias in 2014 and is prepared to do it again. Hogan and the Republicans have also promised to invest large sums, but the big question is whether Hogan will decide he needs to money for himself.

Despite in theory being a lock for Republicans, this race is a conundrum. Statistically. Mathias should be a dead duck. But the same was true in 2014. Why should Mathias now lose in 2018, expected to be a good Democratic year? Additionally, my model cannot control for any positive impact of Democratic incumbency. I rate it a toss-up.

Vulnerable Democrats?

Recall from Part I that seats that had the potential to go either way in Virginia fell into the range of giving Trump between 40.5% and 48.0% of the vote. Only five Maryland Senate seats fall into this range, all held by Democrats:

Individually, Democrats are likely to win each of the seats. None are particularly encouraging for Republicans. Collectively, the model indicates a 60% chance of losing one of these seats.

District 3: Frederick
As usual, Republicans plan on going after Sen. Ron Young in Frederick. Good luck with that. The model suggests he is a lock, and this ignores that Frederick has been trending Democratic or that Democrats thumped Republicans in last year’s City of Frederick elections to win control of the mayoralty and city council. Trump lost to Clinton by 8 points in this district. Not going to happen.

District 27: Anne Arundel, Calvert and Prince George’s
Similarly, taking down Senate President Mike Miller would be quite a prize for Republicans. The model gives Republicans a 1 percent shot in this district Trump lost by over 5 points. However, it’s virtually impossible to see how the always well-prepared Miller, the longest serving legislative leader in American history, goes down in territory he has won easily for decades.

District 30: Anne Arundel
The next three seats have Republicans salivating but the model indicates that they are underdogs in each. Sen. John Astle’s retirement from his Annapolis-based district, after losing the primary for city’s mayoralty, leaves a vacancy. Even so, Republicans have only a 14% shot at picking up this district.

Democrats are very pleased with their dynamic and politically experienced candidate, Sarah Elfreth. As in Frederick, Democrats gave Republicans a hiding in the 2017 Annapolis municipal elections. Former Del. Ron George has a clear path to the Republican nomination, as Del. Herb McMillan has given the race a pass. George ran for governor in 2014, losing Anne Arundel to Hogan in the primary by a 2-1 margin. However, George has a bank balance of $169K to $50K for Elfreth.

District 8: Baltimore
Republicans seem to think that they have a shot at taking out Sen. Kathy Klausmeier. The model indicates they have a 1 in 6 chance of victory but that doesn’t take into account any incumbency benefit held by Klausmeier. Their candidate, Del. Christian Miele, doesn’t seem too excited about his prospects, sensing that voter anger with Trump will dominate:

“It definitely gives you some heartburn as a Republican when you see what just happened,” said Republican Delegate Christian J. Miele, of Baltimore County, who is challenging Democratic state Sen. Katherine Klausmeier. “We’re all wondering if 2018 is going to be a continued referendum on the president.”

As Trump’s life goal is to be in the headlines, the answer seems clear. Miele has $87K in the bank compared to $194 for Klausmeier, who is well liked in her district but taking nothing for granted. There are rumors that Miele might just run for reelection for delegate.

District 42: Baltimore
Sen. Jim Brochin is retiring to run for county executive. The most conservative Democrat in the Senate, Brochin had both a tough primary and general last time around. The improved political climate suggests that Democrats have a 72% probability of holding the seat. Del. Chris West (42B) is running for the Republicans. Democrats have two candidates, Robbie Leonard and Gretchen Manavel. Sources tell me Leonard, a former county party chair, has the advantage with local activists but that Manavel has money and the energy – and would be a stronger candidate.

Not Vulnerable

District 32: Anne Arundel
Republicans think they have a good chance of picking up retiring moderate Sen. Ed DeGrange’s seat. Wrong. Clinton carried the district by 12 and it’s not going to happen barring a massive sea change in the political environment. Del. Pam Beidle is a very strong candidate and will win. Republicans are spinning their wheels here.

Vulnerable Republicans?

There are four seats where Democrats hope to play but will likely fall short.

District 9: Howard
Sen. Gail Bates is the most vulnerable Republican but still holds a seat Trump won by nearly 8. The Carroll County portion of her district will likely save her from going down to defeat, as Howard includes less favorable territory even if it is by far the more Republican portion of the county. Democrats have nevertheless recruited a strong candidate in Katie Hester ready to take advantage of any wave.

District 6: Baltimore
For Democrats, this was a real heartbreaker race in 2014 as Del. John Olszewski, Jr., known to one and all as Johnny O, lost by less than 3% to now Sen. Johnny Ray Salling. Democrats think that Salling didn’t so much win as became the accidental senator due to the hellacious political climate. Though Salling is seen as a lightweight who doesn’t work hard in office or at fundraising – he has just $30K in his campaign account – this was territory Trump carried by 15 points that shifted GOP across the board in 2014 and 2016.

Democrats have recruited a local activist and electrician, Bud Staigerwald, who fits the district well and is strongly backed by Comptroller Peter Franchot. Staigerwald lost a primary for Council District 7 in 2014.

District 34: Harford
Sen. Bob Cassilly represents the more Democratic turf in Harford but it’s still Republican and went for Trump by 11 points. Del. Mary-Dulany James, a strong and well-funded candidate, lost by 14.5% to now Sen. Bob Cassilly. Democrats think that they can take Casilly this time around but it will remain tough. Their ability to take advantage of opportunity will improve substantially if the locally deep-rooted James runs again.

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Vote Analysis on Sick Leave Override

As far as I can tell, the sick leave override was almost a complete party line vote in the House of Delegates. Dels. Eric Bromwell (D-8) and Ned Carey (D-31A) were the only Democrats who voted no. Interestingly, Del. C.T. Wilson (D-28) was recorded as absent but initially voted no according to a legislator on the floor.

The Senate was more suspenseful but it turned out that the Democrats had one vote to spare. Just three Democrats – Sens. Jim Brochin (D-42), Ed DeGrange (D-32) and Kathy Klausmeier (D-8) – voted with the governor. Brochin and Klausmeier represent Baltimore County while DeGrange hails from Anne Arundel.

This year, Brochin is running for the Democratic nomination for Baltimore County Executive. Klausmeier is locked in a fierce reelection battle against Del. Christian Miele in her Baltimore County district. It voted for Hogan by 36 points but for Trump by less than 1. Bromwell represents the same turf.

In Anne Arundel, DeGrange has already announced his retirement from the Senate. His district went for Hogan by 17 but for Clinton by 12. Del. Pam Beidle, who is running for the Senate vacancy, voted to override Hogan’s veto in the House. Carey represents a more Republican leaning slice of Anne Arundel that went for Hogan by 30 points but gave Trump just 4% more than Clinton.

Wilson represents increasingly safe Democratic turf in Charles County – it went for Brown by 4 and Clinton beat Trump by 23 – so his flirtation with voting no would not have been due to reelection concerns. All other legislators from his district voted to override.

Despite the few defections by Democrats in both houses, party trumped any fear of Hogan. Increasingly, Democrats are betting that the political landscape in their district will resemble 2016 more than 2014. Even though Hogan will undoubtedly do better than Trump, his ability to pressure Democrats into agreement appears limited.

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2018 Maryland Senate Ratings, Part II

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Part I discussed ratings for safe and toss-up seats in the Maryland Senate. Today, 7S focuses on the six Lean and Likely Democratic districts.  All are currently held by incumbent Democrats.

Lean Democratic

District 3 (Frederick County). Sen. Ron Young had a real scare in 2014, winning just 50.8% of the vote after defeating incumbent Alex Mooney with 51.1% in 2010. Mooney has since fled to West Virginia where he is now a U.S. Representative.

This part of Frederick has been trending Democratic. Clinton carried D3 by 8. Hogan won by 15, a good margin but less impressive than in several districts held by Democrats in Anne Arundel and Baltimore. As this district has the best Democratic territory in Frederick, Young ought to be able to win a third term.

But Frederick has been hotly contested between the two parties of late and this former Frederick Mayor has sometimes been a controversial figure. My current expectations remain for the GOP to have another go at Young but fall short, though they will force Democrats to scramble to retain the seat.

Likely Democratic

See the map at the bottom of the post for the locations of the five Likely Democratic districts.

District 8 (Baltimore County). Sen. Kathy Klausmeier won an impressive victory in 2014. Though her district went for Hogan by 36 points, she not only won but took 61.2% of the vote. In 2016, Hogan’s impressive margin evaporated as Trump carried D8 by seven-tenths of one percent.

This is an interesting district because, though the incumbent has demonstrated popularity, it remains marginal turf. If Republicans want to make gains, they will have to look here, even if Klausmeier is clearly no easy mark. The district could become competitive with the right Republican candidate and favorable political winds.

District 11 (Baltimore County). Sen. Bobby Zirkin was unopposed for reelection last time around, so what is he doing on this list? Zirkin represents a cross-pressured district that supported Hogan by 14 points even as it then went for Clinton by 24 points.

Zirkin is an active legislator who champions several popular, easy-to-explain causes, such as stronger anti-domestic violence legislation. Nonetheless, if Maryland’s political climate turns against Democrats, this seat could be a surprise domino to fall. The district bears watching even if Zirkin should be in good shape.

District 12 (Howard and Baltimore Counties). Another cross-pressured district, D12 went for Hogan by 11 but Clinton by 17. Budget and Taxation Committee Chair Ed Kasemeyer won reelection with a convincing, albeit a tad lower than Klausmeier, margin of 58.6%.

Kasemeyer has an impressive electoral history (59% in 2014, 59% in 2010, 62% in 2006, 63% in 2002, 57% in 1998, 51% in 1994, 54% in 1986) that will make it difficult for Republicans to break through in increasingly Democratic Howard.

Howard has shown itself willing to vote for particular sorts of Republicans, including County Executive Allan Kittleman, who is liberal on social questions, and Gov. Larry Hogan, who relentlessly ignores them. Can the Republicans find one to challenge Kasemeyer or win the open seat should he choose to retire?

District 27 (Southern Maryland). Mike Miller entered the House of Delegates in 1971, the Senate in 1975 and became the Senate President in 1987, which makes him the longest serving legislative body leader in American history. Sen. Miller has led the Senate for so long that when I interviewed him over the telephone for my college senior thesis in the late 1980s, he was already Senate President.

The Senate President represents a politically diverse district that includes big chunks of Calvert and southeastern Prince George’s Counties as well as smaller bits of Charles and St. Mary’s. The Calvert portion of the district is much more Republican than the portions in Charles or Prince George’s.

Republicans would love to defeat this pillar of the Democratic Party. While he attracts complaints of being too conservative from the left, he fights very hard for members of his caucus, raising a lot of money and directing broader organizational efforts to retain a robust Democratic Senate majority.

This district is also far from totally hostile territory. While Clinton won it by 5 points in 2016, Hogan also carried it by 6 points in 2014. This divergence is a lot smaller than many Maryland legislative districts and is suggestive of tighter partisan loyalties, especially among its sizable African-American minority.

Republicans have not come close to defeating Miller. He won 63% in 2014, 75% in 2010, 70% in 2006, 72% in 2002, 69% in 1998, 68% in 1994, 84% in 1990, and 82% in 1986. (The State Board of Elections has not put the stone tablets with earlier election results online yet.) Despite receiving his lowest percentage since at least the 1980s in 2014, my guess is that Sen. Miller is not going to be beat. Still, the turf is marginal and remains Likely Democratic.

District 32 (Anne Arundel). Yet another cross-pressured district that bears a more than passing resemblance to its nearby counterparts in Baltimore and Howard Counties, this district went for Hogan by 17 but for Clinton by 12.

Moderate Sen. Ed DeGrange would seemingly be a good fit for this district. Except in these highly partisan times, some will argue that an outspoken liberal would do more to stir the troops. Like others listed here, he possesses real electoral experience, winning his seat by 59% in 2014, 60% in 2010, 61% in 2006, 59% in 2002, and 52% in 1998.

The remarkable consistency since his first reelection does not look like the record of someone about to lose his seat. Nevertheless, if Republicans are to make gains, they will look to Anne Arundel and to this district along with District 30.

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Miller Announces New Senate Leadership

Today, Senate President Mike Miller announced his new leadership team. Except for Sen. Ed DeGrange from Anne Arundel, all are from either Baltimore, Montgomery or Prince George’s–for the excellent reason that these jurisdictions provide the majority of the Democratic Caucus.

Committee Leadership

Much speculation surrounded who would take incoming AG Brian Frosh’s place as Chair of Judicial Proceedings, and the post has gone to Sen. Bobby Zirkin, who played leadership roles in efforts to decriminalize marijuana and tighten the responsibility of dog owners for attacks by unleashed dogs. Sen. Lisa Gladden will remain Vice Chair of this committee.

Sen. Jamie Raskin now heads the Executive Nominations Committee with Sen. Delores Kelley serving as Vice Chair. Less exciting during unified government, this committee will likely play a much stronger role–particularly in the next few months–with the Senate controlled by Democrats and the governorship by the Republicans.

Sen. Rich Madaleno also advances to Vice Chair of the Budget and Taxation Committee. Interestingly, he now holds the same posts as U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen did when he was in the MD Senate. Sen. Ed Kasemeyer, a comparatively moderate Democrat, will remain chair, which likely makes Madaleno a key progressive point person on budget issues.

Besides serving as Chair of the Montgomery County Senate delegation, Sen. Nancy King will now serve as Chair of the Education, Business and Administration Subcommittee of the Budget and Taxation Committee.

Another progressive, Sen. Paul Pinsky, advances to Vice Chair of Education, Health and Environmental Affairs. Sen. Joan Carter Conway remains the Chair of this Committee. This committee also remains a likely flashpoint between the Governor-Elect and the Democratic General Assembly.

Additional appointments, including a slew of new faces in the party leadership, including Sen. Catherine Pugh–a leader from Baltimore City–as Majority Leader are announced in the full press release:

SENATE PRESIDENT MILLER ANNOUNCES NEW LEADERSHIP APPOINTMENTS

ANNAPOLIS, MD – Today, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr. announced the first round of new leadership appointments effective for the new legislative session. “We are blessed in the Senate to have a wealth of talent and wisdom to help lead the state forward,” stated Senator Miller. “These members will provide the leadership to move our state and chamber forward.”

Senator Bobby Zirkin (Baltimore County, D-11) will become the Chair of the Judicial Proceedings Committee. Senator Zirkin has served on the Judicial Proceedings Committee during his time in the Senate, and served as a member of the House Judiciary Committee during his time in the House. “Senator Zirkin has been a key leader on judicial issues, and I know he is the right person to lead this committee,” stated Senator Miller. “His work in the legislature, and in his law practice provides him with the real-world experience that will allow him to lead the Judicial Proceedings Committee through the many difficult issues they will face.” Senator Lisa Gladden will remain Vice-Chair of the Judicial Proceedings Committee.

Senator Jamie Raskin (Montgomery County, D-20) will serve as Chair of the Executive Nominations Committee, and Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics. Senator Raskin has served in the Senate since 2007, and has served as a member of many important committees including Legislative Ethics, and Judicial Proceedings. Since 2012, Senator Raskin has also served as Majority Whip. “Senator Raskin’s ability to lead on key issues, and knowledge of this state will serve well as Chair of the Executive Nominations Committee,” stated Senator Miller. “Additionally, his legal knowledge and strong moral compass will make him a perfect fit for the Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics.” Senator Delores Kelley will serve as Vice-Chair of the Executive Nominations Committee

Senator Richard S. Madaleno (Montgomery County, D-18) will serve as Vice-Chair of the Budget & Taxation Committee. Senator Madaleno has served in the Senate since 2007, all on the Budget & Taxation Committee. He will also serve as Chair of the Health and Human Services Subcommittee. “Senator Madaleno is one of the brightest budget minds in the Senate, and his leadership on a wide variety of budget issues will be critically important as we face looming deficits and difficult times ahead.” stated Senator Miller. “I am confident that Senator Madaleno will continue to be an effective advocate for the best interest of the entire state.” Senator Edward Kasemeyer will continue to serve as Chair of the Budget & Taxation Committee

Senator Paul G. Pinsky (Prince George’s County, D-22) will serve as Vice-Chair of the Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee. Senator Pinsky has served on the Education, Health, & Environmental Affairs Committee in the Senate since 1994, and as the Chair of the Education Subcommittee since 2003. “Senator Pinsky has the depth of knowledge of the issues needed to help guide this committee,” stated Senator Miller. “His keen understanding of educational and environmental issues will be an asset to our state moving forward.” Senator Joan Carter Conway will continue to serve as Chair of the Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs committee.

Senator James “Ed” DeGrange (Anne Arundel County, D-32) will serve as Vice-Chair of the Rules Committee. Senator DeGrange has served in the Senate since 1998, and has formerly served as Vice-Chair of the Executive Nominations Committee, and currently serves as Chair of the Public Safety, Transportation, and Environment Subcommittee of the Budget and Taxation Committee, as well as Chair of the Capital Budget Subcommittee of the Budget and Taxation Committee. Senator DeGrange will continue in both these roles. Said Senator Miller: “Senator DeGrange is a true leader in the Senate and his longevity and leadership will ensure that the Rules Committee will have a strong voice as Vice-Chair.” Senator Katherine Klausmeier will continue to serve as Chair of the Committee on Rules.

Senator Nancy J. King (Montgomery County, D-39) will serve as Chair of the Education, Business and Administration Subcommittee, and will continue to serve as Assistant Deputy Majority Leader. “Senator King is a leader on budgetary issues in the Senate, and a key member of the Budget & Taxation committee,” stated Senator Miller. “As Education, Business and Administration Subcommittee Chair, Senator King will make certain we look out for the needs of all Marylanders.”

In addition to committee leadership, Senator Miller today announced Caucus leadership for the Senate Democratic Caucus. “We thank Senator Jim Robey for his service to our Caucus and our state. I am proud to announce the new Caucus leadership who will continue to make sure that as Democrats we continue to have a large tent that hears the views of all Democrats and all Marylanders.”

Senator Catherine Pugh (Baltimore City, D-40) will serve as Majority Leader. Senator Pugh has served in the Senate since 2007, has served as Deputy Majority Leader since 2011, and is the former Chair of the Women’s Caucus. “Senator Pugh has the respect and admiration of her colleagues throughout the Caucus and the Senate,” stated Senator Miller. “She has a strong grasp on the issues and will be a strong voice for the needs of all Marylanders.”

Senator Douglas J. J. Peters (Prince George’s County, D-23) will serve as Caucus Chair. Additionally, Senator Peters will serve as the Chair of the Pensions Subcommittee of the Budget & Taxation Committee. Senator Peters has served in the Senate since 2007, and has served as Chair of the Prince George’s County Delegation and Chair of the Veteran’s Caucus. “Senator Peters has been a strong leader in the Senate and will serve the Caucus well as its Chair,” stated Senator Miller. “His commitment and devotion to the State of Maryland and knowledge of budgetary issues will help to lead this state through the upcoming session.”

Senator Katherine Klausmeier (Baltimore County, D-8) will serve as the Deputy Majority Leader. Senator Klausmeier has served in the Senate since 2003, and the General Assembly since 1995. “Senator Klausmeier brings a unique perspective to our Caucus, and one that helps bind together and ensure that all areas and perspectives of our state continue to be heard,” stated Senate Miller. “I am excited to have her serve our Caucus in this key leadership role.” Senator Klausmeier will also continue to serve as Chair of the Senate Rules Committee.

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Ten Most Conservative Democratic Senators

ConsSen

While yesterday’s post focused on the most progressive members of the Democratic Senate Caucus, today 7S looks at the most conservative Democrats using the same data provided by Boris Shor and Nolan McCarty of state legislator ideology. Remember that a more negative score indicates a more progressive senator, so the bottom of the table indicates the most conservative senators. These scores are for the legislator’s entire career in the General Assembly and include House as well as Senate service.

Interestingly, only one of the most moderate Democrats hails from Baltimore City, Montgomery, or Prince George’s County. Prince George’s Sen. Anthony Muse, who backed Larry Hogan in the Governor’s race following a quixotic primary challenge to U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin, is the seventh most conservative Democrat.

Baltimore County Sen. Jim Brochin is the most moderate Democrat, followed by Sen. Kathy Klausmeier, who also hails from Baltimore County. Sen. Bobby Zirkin, the eighth most moderate senator, is the final Baltimore County senator on the list. The other members of Baltimore County’s Senate delegation will be either African-American Democrats or Republicans. Sen. Jim DeGrange and Sen. John Astle, the fourth and fifth most conservative Democrats, represent Anne Arundel.

The final members of the list come from different counties. Sen. Jim Mathias, the third most moderate Democrat, represents the lower Eastern Shore. Sen. Mac Middleton is from increasingly Democratic Charles. Sen. Ron Young represents Frederick, a county that has become more Democratic than in the past in recent elections but went strongly for Larry Hogan.

Finally, Sen. Ed Kasemeyer, the most liberal member of this group of moderates is from Howard, a county that is now solidly Democratic in federal contests but that elected a moderate Republican, Alan Kittleman, as County Executive, and also voted for Larry Hogan.

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Sleeper Senate Races?

Yesterday’s post on Senate races revealed that most contests are safely in the bag for one candidate or another but highlighted the four closest contests in the State. This afternoon, I take a look at races that are likely to go one way but have an outside potential to surprise. In truth, however, most just further illustrate the paucity of competitive Senate races in Maryland this year.

District 3: Young (D) v. Stottlemyer (R), Likely D
Over at Center Maryland, Josh Kurtz views Sen. Ron Young as a potentially vulnerable Democrat. I just don’t see it. Frederick County now has only a slight Republican lean. In the old District 3, Obama won 59% of the vote even in the old district, though O’Malley took just 48% in 2010. Redistricting shed the district’s most Republican territory, leaving it more Democratic.

In 2010, former longtime Frederick Mayor Young defeated incumbent Sen. Alex Mooney, who is now running for Congress in West Virginia. While Young has a well-funded campaign, his Republican opponent, Corey Stottlemeyer, has little cash to spend (<10K) and has sent no direct mail yet.

However, I suppose a surprisingly large Hogan wave combined with too many Youngs on the ballot–his wife, a former Frederick alderman and mayoral candidate, is running for delegate–could result in an upset. Except that it is much more likely that both members of this husband-wife team win.

District 6: Olszewski (D) v. Salling (R), Likely D
Johnny O. isn’t a character from Goodfellas or a member of a 1950s boy band. Instead, he’s a talented two-term delegate who is the junior half of a father-son political dynamic duo–Johnny O. Sr. has served on the Baltimore County Council since 1998.

In the 2010 delegate race, Johnny O. came in ahead of his fellow Democrats in this increasingly competitive district. But southeastern Baltimore County has not been immune to the attractions of GOP candidates. McCain won 54% in District 6 in 2008, and Ehrlich won 60% in 2010. Brown is not expected to perform well here.

I’d be shocked if Johnny O. didn’t become Sen. Johnny O. (J Yo?). Beyond his excellent father-son personal political brand, his opponent is not well funded. Nevertheless, a rash of straight ticket voting could possibly make this one to watch.

District 9: Frederic (D) v. Bates (R), Likely R
Democrats saw an opportunity to pick up a seat in increasingly Democratic Howard County when incumbent Sen. Alan Kittleman decided to run for county executive. But it looks likely that Del. Gail Bates, who has served in the House since 2002, will keep this district in Republican hands.

Things might have gone differently had the Democrats taken advantage of redistricting and been willing to rejigger the lines radically. However, the redistricting map kept the most Republican areas of Howard united in a single district and still contains a bit of uber-Republican Carroll County.

Though Democrat Ryan Frederic’s campaign is better funded, Bates’ campaign has had healthy financial support. Moreover, Bates’ opponent doesn’t have the name recognition or campaign experience that come from her multiple election victories.

Though Bates would probably prefer that popular Howard County Executive Ken Ulman not be #2 on the Democratic ticket, she’ll benefit from Kittleman leading the Republican charge on the local level. In a better Democratic year and with more demographic change, Frederic might have a better shot but a loss by Bates would be a real upset right now.

District 12: Kasemeyer v. Pippy, Likely D
The only reason that this district is on the likely rather than safe list is that Sen. Ed Kasemeyer won in 2010 with under 60% of the vote. However, the Chair of Budget and Tax unsurprisingly has a well-funded campaign. While Pippy has more than a token amount in his campaign account, it’s not really enough to mount a viable campaign against an entrenched incumbent.

I received some needed push back from my post yesterday declaring two seats safe for Democrats. Specifically, Sen. John Astle in District 30 has dicey turf for Democrats that will go for Hogan and Astle has had close races in the past. However, my cursory examination of campaign finance reports suggests an opponent without sufficient resources.

In District 8, Sen. Kathy Klausmeier also has swingy turf that could cause trouble for Democrats in a bad year but her opponent filed an affidavit indicating a lack of money. If the Republican Senate campaigns are more vibrant than I realize in these districts, let me know. No doubt both are concerned about an undertow due to low support for Lt. Gov. Brown in their area.

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