Tag Archives: Sarah Elfreth

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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The Top Thirteen Young Guns of Maryland

1. Sarah Elfreth is Government Affairs Director for the National Aquarium. The smartest, wittiest lobbyist walking the halls of the Lowe House Office Building, she is also one of the youngest young guns on these lists. Whether she remains behind the scenes or runs for office in the future–a distinct possibility–one thing is for sure: you’ll be sure to hear the name Sarah Elfreth for decades to come.

Anonymous: “Sarah Elfreth, a resident of Annapolis MD, is a true leader and an extraordinary example of a young woman who is both influential and impactful before State and local government.”

2. Amit Mistry is a rising star not just in Montgomery County, not just in Annapolis but also in the big leagues: DC. Currently the National Data & Targeting Director at the League of Conservation Voters, he was previously an Account Executive at Catalist. Before that, he was Chief of Staff to House Majority Leader Kumar Barve and worked for Martin O’Malley–both in the Governor’s Office and on his reelection Campaign. He also worked for Del. Sam Arora in his Annapolis office and on his 2010 primary campaign. A native of Damascus, he is well positioned to win a seat in District 14 if he ever felt so inclined. The kicker: he’s only 26.

3Jonathan Sachs is the rare wunderkind made good.  Currently Director of Public Policy for Adventist Healthcare, I could see Jonathan as a successor to GiGi Godwin as CEO of the MoCo Chamber. A number of different people wrote in to nominate Jonathan for this list. Here is what one said:

Anonymous: “Probably the most notable thing about Jonathan—and it speaks to his character and intelligence—is that in a county where “progressives” rule, Jonathan is a centrist, pro-business Democrat. He thinks for himself and doesn’t fall in line with the local political dogma, so his input is all the more valuable because those who share his point of view can get drowned out in our local political conversations. But when Jonathan says something, people—included elected officials—pay attention.”

4. Zach Fang – In my opinion, Zach is now the top field director in the State of Maryland. With a DCCC Pedigree, Zach has returned to the Free State more dangerous than ever. Doug Gansler lucked out hiring this guy.

5. Melissa Joseph is whip smart and perhaps has the best people skills of Maryland’s political class. With an extensive experience in the offices of Ron Young, Rob Garagiola and Chris Van Hollen, Melissa is a triple threat: she’s effective at the federal, state and campaign levels.

6. Ed Burroughs – Not only is Ed the youngest member of Prince George’s School Board, he’s established himself as a national thought leader on education reform. Although he passed on what would have been an easy open seat race for Delegate in D26, a promotion is surely in his near future. He’ll certainly be the favorite to succeed Obie Patterson on the County Council . . . if he wants it. Close with the Iveys, he could also end up as a bigwig in a potential Gansler administration.

7. Joseph Kitchen – Joseph is a highly influential openly gay African-American Minister. He is also a respected voice on education reform and were it not for a recurrence of cancer would have likely been elected to the Prince George’s School Board in 2012. He is also the President of the Young Democrats of Maryland, who have experienced a lot of growth in the DC Suburbs under his tenure.

8.  Anne Klase is part of Comptroller Peter Franchot’s small, close knit circle (along with Andrew Friedson and Len Foxwell)

Anonymous: Anne is District 30’s go-to. Hardworking, balanced, and liked by everyone.

Anonymous – works for the Comptroller (floats between the campaign and the office) but don’t hold that against her. She’ll be elected to the AAC Central Committee in June. In a county with few strong Dems (and the strong ones can sometimes be divisive), Anne is universally liked and respected. She is young (23/4) and has a long career ahead in AA politics – if only as the person behind the scenes

9. Kelly Blynn is a Rockstar organizer. No one does it better in Montgomery County. I dread the day I find myself on the opposite side of an issue from Kelly because that can be a very scary place to be. One nominator described her as:

“Coalition for Smarter Growth, transit advocate – a sophisticated and energetic organizer who played a central role in the BRT campaign.”

10. Tommy Underwood  is a genuinely nice, decent guy and done a great job so far managing O’Malley Speechwriter Nick Stewart’s state house run and has a very bright future. This guy could be the Executive Director of the Democratic Caucus in 2018.

AnonymousHe’s not only a plugged-in guy with a very easy-going personality, but he’s also one of the hardest workers I’ve come across and sharp politically.

11. Andrew Friedson. Excepting his longtime handler Len Foxwell, no one is closer to Peter Franchot than Andrew Friedson. He currently serves as Communications Director in the Comptroller’s Office, where he was previously Deputy Chief of Staff. He managed Franchot’s reelection campaign in 2010.

Anonymous: “another no-brainer nominee.” 

12. Cory McCray – As far as I’m concerned, there is not a single person in Baltimore (or Maryland) who doesn’t think Cory McCray will win a seat in the legislature on June 24th. One incumbent actually dropped out to avoid facing him in the primary–and I don’t think anyone blames her. Cory has been a recognized leader in the IBEW for years. He’s also infectiously charming. Future Mayor?

Anonymous: Cory is a graduate of a five-year apprenticeship program with International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 24. For the past four years before becoming a candidate in Baltimore’s  District 45 you could not say union organizing in Baltimore without mentioning Cory’s name. Corey also is the co creator of the B.E.S.T. Democratic Club.

13. Jonathan Jayes-Greene is very bright and connects well with many people. He combines a tremendous personal story with boundless political savvy to promote the issues important to him, which frequently involve immigration. Currently working in the governor’s office, maybe he’ll return there as First Panamanian-American governor?

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Annapolis Top Five Young Guns

Part II in this continuing series of up and comers under 30 around the State.

1. Jake Weissmann. Don’t let Jake’s goofy style fool you: he has been the brains behind Mike Miller’s formable political operation for years. This cycle, he faces the greatest challenge of his career–guiding the Senate Caucus through what’s shaping up to be a 2010 style red wave nationally. Once he finishes law school, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him as one of the top earning lobbyists in the state.

2. Sarah Elfreth is Government Affairs Director for the National Aquarium. The smartest, wittiest lobbyist walking the halls of the Lowe House Office Building, she is also one of the youngest young guns on these lists. Whether she remains behind the scenes or runs for office in the future–a distinct possibility–one thing is for sure: you’ll be sure to hear the name Sarah Elfreth for decades to come:

Anonymous: “Sarah Elfreth, a resident of Annapolis MD, is a true leader and an extraordinary example of a young woman who is both influential and impactful before State and local government.”

3. Cailey Locklair is the Deputy Director of the Baltimore Jewish Council. The following nomination is perhaps the highest praise any lobbyist could receive:

Anonymous: “One of the most persuasive people I’ve ever had a drink with in Annapolis. Completely dedicated to her client.”

4. Geoff Burgan. This guy is sharp and has fantastic people skills. Currently in O’Malley’s comms shop, I wouldn’t be surprised to  see Geoff as a key player in the Brown Administration or on a nascent O’Malley’s presidential campaign.

5. Andrew Friedson. Excepting his longtime handler Len Foxwell, no one is closer to Peter Franchot than Andrew Friedson. He currently serves as Communications Director in the Comptroller’s Office, where he was previously Deputy Chief of Staff. He managed Franchot’s reelection campaign in 2010.

Anonymous: “another no-brainer nominee.”

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