Tag Archives: Michael Hough

New Senate Set for Greater Polarization

MD Senate Id Change

Past posts have mentioned that the new Maryland General Assembly will be more polarized than the previous one. But what is the measurable impact of the election? Fortunately, since many new senators were formerly delegates, there are measures of their ideology in relation to other legislators.

Using the same dataset provided by Boris Shor and Nolan McCarty of state legislator ideology mentioned in previous posts, this post examines directly the ideology of incoming senators as compared to the people they are replacing. (The scale ranges from around -1.9 for the most liberal Democrat to 1.2 for the most conservative Republican with moderates closest to zero.)

In two cases, measures are not available but the impact is clear. Sens. Roy Dyson and Norm Stone were among the most very moderate members of the Democratic Caucus. They are being replaced by conservative Republicans. These changes will leave the Democrats more liberal and quite possibly also make the Republicans more conservative.

Two cases of Republicans being replaced by fellow Republicans will clearly make the GOP Caucus more conservative. Del. Gail Bates is more conservative than Alan Kittleman. Similarly, Del. Wayne Norman is also more conservative than Sen. Barry Glassman.

There are seven cases with less dramatic changes. Despite the fierce primary, Del. Michael Hough’s voting record has not been dramatically more conservative than Sen. Michael Brinkley. Theirs may be a difference more of style than of substance. But a more confrontational style likely exacerbates polarization.

In Howard County, Del. Guy Guzzone is a bit more liberal than outgoing Sen. Jim Robey. Del. Susan Lee is just a tad more liberal than AG-Elect Brian Frosh. Retiring Sen. Verna Jones-Rodwell has a somewhat less liberal voting record than Del. Shirley Nathan-Pulliam. The impact of the replacement of conservative Sen. Nancy Jacobs by Bob Casilly is less clear but it would be surprising if he turns out to be less conservative than Jacobs.

In two cases, changes may mildly reduce polarization. During her previous service in the House, Cheryl Kagan was a bit less liberal than outgoing Sen. Jennie Forehand. Similarly, Del. Addie Eckardt is a tad less conservative than defeated Sen. Richard Colburn. She is also viewed as a more thoughtful and productive member of the General Assembly than Colburn, who focused on scoring political points rather than shaping legislation.

The Overall Impact

Excluding the three seats won by people who have not served previously in the General Assembly, here are the calculations for the overall ideology of the Senate.

Median D: -1.107 (change of -0.005).
Mean D: -1.115 (change of -0.047).

Median R: 0.881 (change of 0.124).
Mean R: 0.883 (change of 0.062).

Increase in Polarization (Medians): 0.13 (7% increase).
Increase in Polarization (Means): 0.11 (6% increase).

Remember that these calculations underestimate increases in polarization because they exclude the two cases that will have the most dramatic impact–the replacement of Dyson and Stone–especially on the Democratic side as they were among the five most moderate Democrats in the Senate.

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Marijuana Decriminalization Passes House of Delegates

marijuana vote

Marijuana decriminalization passed the House today by a vote of 78-55 after consideration of a slew of amendments by Republicans that all failed to garner sufficient support.

Del. Michael Hough (R) submitted an amendment rejected 58-72 that would require offenses within a drug-free school zone to be charged as misdemeanors rather than civilly. Del. Neil Parrott’s (R) amendment to make all offenses in a public place misdemeanors instead of civil offenses also failed 45-87.

Del. Kathryn Afzali (R) offered two amendments. The first amendment would have reduced the amount of marijuana classified as a civil offense from 10 grams to 5 grams. It failed 54-78. The second amendment that failed 42-87 would have required police to charge offenders by citations rather than as civil offenses.

Del. Rick Impallaria (R) sponsored an amendment that went down 40-89 that would have required the attorney general to notify the public of a slew of risks associated with marijuana use before the law could go into effect. Finally, Del. Justin Ready (R) tried to amend the bill to retain criminal offenses for people less than 21. This one failed 38-93.

The Judiciary Committee submitted a small amendment that slightly modify the Senate bill that does not alter its intent. This change will nonetheless require the Senate to assent to the modified bill before it can go to the Governor’s desk for his consideration.

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Top Ten Senate Primaries, Part I

Simmons mailerMail Piece for Del. Simmons is Running for Senate in District 17

The most competitive challenges to incumbent senators usually occur when a delegate runs. In most of Maryland’s 47 legislative districts, three delegates run at-large and represent the exact same constituency as the senator.

As a result, they make excellent challengers. In 2010, then-Del. Karen Montgomery unseated Sen. Rona Kramer in the Democratic primary.  Sen. Nancy King and Sen. Jennie Forehand had very close shaves that same year running against either a delegate or former delegate.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, incumbent senators often eye their delegates with the same askance eye as Queen Victoria viewed the Prince of Wales. Nevertheless, most of the 39 incumbents seeking reelection do not face stiff primaries. These are the seven challenges by delegates or former delegates to incumbents to watch:

  • 4: Sen. Brinkley v. Del. Hough (R).
  • 25: Sen. Currie v. Del. Melony Griffith (D).
  • 26: Sen. Muse v. Del. Turner (D) and two others.
  • 36: Sen. Hershey v. former Del. Sossi (R).
  • 37: Sen. Colburn v. Del. Eckardt (R).
  • 42: Sen. Brochin v. former Del. DeJuliis (D).
  • 44: Sen. Jones-Rodwell v. Del. Nathan-Pulliam (D).

The challenging delegates in Districts 4 and 44 don’t necessarily have quite the same natural advantages as usual for sitting delegates because they ended being redistricted into another district and have represented less of their new district than the senator.

One other Senate challenger attracts notice even though he does not hold a seat in the House:

  • 43: Sen. Conway v. City Councilman Henry (D).

There are also two exciting primaries among the contests for the seven open seats. Both feature delegates looking to move to the Senate:

  • 17: Del. Simmons v. former Del. Kagan (D).
  • 34: Del. James v. former Sen. Helton (D).

Today, I preview and rate three senatorial contests among the ten with interesting primaries.

District 4 (R): Incumbent David Brinkley faces Del. Michael Hough (R 3), who has been redistricted into this very Republican district in Frederick County. While Brinkley has the home turf advantage, Hough has far more money. This will be a bloody contest with Hough coming at Brinkley from the right and arguing that Republicans need a true conservative to carry the flag. Brinkley has committed the heretical sin of working with the majority Democrats on occasion. More info here and here. Rating: Toss-Up.

District 17 (D): Sen. Jennie Forehand is retiring, so this Rockville-Gaithersburg seat in Montgomery is open. Del. Luiz Simmons, who won this district as a Democrat in 2002 (he previous represented it as a Republican from 1979 to 1983) is going for the open seat. He faces tough competition from former Del. Cheryl Kagan, who represented this district from 1995 through 2003. She challenged Forehand four years ago and nearly won, taking 48% of the primary vote.

Kagan will undoubtedly present Simmons as on the wrong or conservative side of too many issues, particularly domestic violence. In the past, Simmons opposed legislation pushed by Sen. Brian Frosh to change Maryland’s standard for obtaining a protective order from a “clear and convincing” standard to the lower “preponderance of the evidence” standard used in every other state (see also WaPo editorial).

Simmons has had an election year change of heart, as outlined in a devastating column by Josh Kurtz. Simmons is working hard to inoculate himself on this issue with mail pieces (see above) and his avid sponsorship of legislation during this session. Still, this video of his interrogation of a domestic violence victim during a public hearing on the topic may cause him problems:

Interestingly, there is no sign that either Del. Kumar Barve or Del. Jim Gilchrist are rushing to slate with Simmons–a common practice when only one runs for Senate. The question remains if either will take the big step to slate with Kagan instead.

Simmons can self-fund, so he’ll outspend Kagan but she at least can fund raise during the session since she’s not in the General Assembly. Kagan has has a base of donors from her previous campaign and possibly can attract new ones who like Forehand but not Simmons.

But most importantly, she’ll need to run a good ground game–knock on doors and coordinate volunteers to do the same–to beat Simmons. He campaigns hard and clearly takes nothing for granted since he is sending out mail this early. Rating: Toss-Up.

District 42 (D): Incumbent Sen. Jim Brochin faces tough primary and general election contests in a greatly reshaped district. Gov. Martin O’Malley is supporting his challenger, former Del. Connie DeJuliis (more info here). However, Brochin is an indefatigable campaigner and has loads more money than DeJuliis, who served in the 1990s, despite her high level support. Unless Gov. O’Malley goes all in on this one–and he has a very competitive streak–Brochin has the edge. Rating: Likely Brochin.

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UPDATE: Hough Announces Primary Challenge

The battle for Republican purification by Tea Party in Frederick County commences. As expected (see here and here), Del. Michael Hough has announced a primary challenge to incumbent Sen. David Brinkley. Sure enough, Hough is already calling Brinkley a RINO–John Wagner at the WaPo has the story.

Will it make it harder to get these done in the session? Democrats have huge majorities in both chambers. But the challenge incentivizes Brinkley to be not just oppositional but intransigent as Hough will attack any compromise as a heretical betrayal. Result: the Republicans get even less than usual.

For the Maryland GOP, this vote boils down to whether they even want to be relevant in a state hostile to their ideas.

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Two Fredericks: D3 and D4

In the not too distant past, Republicans looked at counties like Frederick and got excited. Fast growing exurbs like this and the loss of population in places like Baltimore City would gradually shift Maryland in their direction.

Frederick has indeed grown but disappointed the GOP bitterly by becoming much more Democratic in the process. President Obama received 49% in 2008 and 47% in 2012 of Frederick votes. A marked increase compared to the 39% received by Al Gore in 2000.

Under the old legislative district plan, Frederick had all but a tiny piece of District 3. Frederick and Carroll Counties shared District 4 with 4A located in Frederick electing two delegates. District 4B, situated entirely in Carroll except a small bit around Mt. Airy, elected the remaining delegate.

FredCtyDistsOld

The 2010 Frederick Districts

Redistricting has been  good to Frederick. As shown below, Frederick nearly has all of two full districts under the new plan–less than 10% of District 4 remains in Carroll and its subdistricts have accordingly been eliminated.

FredCtyDistsNew

The 2014 Frederick Districts

The new districts follow Frederick’s partisan divisions more closely than the old map. As the map below from Dave’s Redistricting shows, District 3 takes in the most Democratic portions–the City of Frederick and areas to the south–with the remaining much more Republican areas in the County composing District 4.

Additionally, Del. Michael Hough’s (R-3B) home was moved to District 4. Altogether, the changes help Democrats as it strengthens their position in swingy District 3. Meanwhile, District 4 remains a little piece of Republican heaven.

FredCtyPartisanship

Partisan Composition of Frederick (Blue is D and Red is R)

District 3

In District 3, former Frederick Mayor Ron Young toppled shrill right-wing gadlfly Sen. Alex Mooney in 2010. He moved on to running the State GOP into the ground before fleeing to West Virginia for redder pastures where he is now a congressional candidate. Even Maryland Republicans don’t seem to miss him.

Sen. Ron Young has taken liberal stands–he was a strong supporter of marriage equality while Mooney was one of its most vocal opponents–but no one can touch him. He is unopposed in the primary and general election.

All three delegate seats are open. In 3A, neither Del. Patrick Hogan (R) nor Del. Galen Clagett (D) will seek reelection with Hogan’s decision at least partly influenced by the more Democratic version of this Frederick City district. The new redistricting plan placed Del. Michael Hough’s (R-3A) home in District 4.

In District 31A, Sen Ron Young’s wife, Karen Lewis Young has filed for one of the two delegate seats but has not filed a campaign finance report (or at least one doesn’t come up when I search for it). She has a website for her unsuccessful run for the Frederick mayoralty as the Democratic nominee in 2013. In that contest, Young came in second with 32% behind Republican Randy McClement who won with 49%. If elected, Sen. Young and Del. Young would be the only husband and wife team in the General Assembly.

The other potentially strong candidate appears to be Frederick Alderman Carol Krimm. Though she has just $1700 in her campaign account, she has held office and aldermen run citywide, so she is already known throughout a fair portion of the district.

Young and Krimm seems well positioned to win the two seats, if only due to the weakness of the other competition that has filed so far. Candidate Nicholas Bouquet just moved to Frederick one year ago and has also filed no campaign finance report (or again, it just doesn’t appear when I search for it). Roger Wilson has raised no money. The two Republican candidates are poorly funded.

In 3B, Frederick County Democratic Central Committee Vice Chair Stephen Slater is the only filed candidate. Of course, the filing deadline has not yet arrived.

District 4

All four seats in District 4 are safe for the Republicans. Though Del. Michael Hough’s website still solicits support for running in 3B, his home is now in District 4  and plans to run for the Senate against incumbent Sen. Minority Leader David Brinkley. Hough’s very active twitter feed of anti-Obamacare, anti-tax. anti-union, global warming denying posts sure has the look of a Republican straining to endear himself to tea-party voters.

Brinkley has a reputation in the Senate of a smart and cordial staunch–but not certifiable–conservative. Which means, of course, that he could be in trouble with the wing of his party that demands total purity and legislative ineffectiveness to gain election.

Brinkley has just $21K in his campaign account and has not yet filed for reelection. Along with Del. Kathy Afzali (R-4A), Brinkley sought unsuccessfully to defeat Rep. Roscoe Bartlett in the Republican primary. Bartlett limped home with 44% to 20% for Brinkley and 10% for Afzali. Some may speculate that Brinkley may be getting tired of the General Assembly, though he gives every sign of planning to run for reelection.

Michael Hough has a more robust $115K in his campaign account and will make it a humdinger of a primary. Neither Brinkley nor Hough can raise funds during the session, leaving little time before the primary and giving Hough an edge. On the other hand, Hough will need to get known in a lot of new territory that Brinkley has  represented in the House or Senate since the 1994 election. Hough will try to beat Brinkley by running to his right and presenting himself as a more authentic conservative.

Only one Democrat has bothered to file for delegate in District 4 while the Republicans have three filed candidates so far: Del. Kathy Afzali ($66K on hand) and Del. Kelly Schulz ($45K) along with Mt. Airy Councilwoman Wendi Peters ($13K). David Vogt and Ken Timmerman also plan to run but has yet to file. Gaffe-prone Vogt ran for Congress but dropped out before the primary. Timmerman is moving to the district to run for the seat.

The Quinton Report sees Afzali, Schulz and Peters as the front runners, and Vogt and Timmerman as sad cases: “With Vogt getting into the race, it guarantees he will be battling it out with Ken Timmerman to see who finishes last.”

 

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