Eight Maryland counties elect county executives. These powerful offices are the equivalent of being mayor of a city. Incumbents are seeking reelection in five counties.
State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks is sure to win in Prince George’s where the Democratic nomination is tantamount to election.
Baltimore County has quite the race between John Olszewski, Jr. and Al Redmer. Republicans think they have this one, partly due to the enormous margins Hogan is expected to rack up. But Olszewski has unified Democrats and is pulling out all the stops. Democrats think he’ll win this one.
In Anne Arundel and Howard, Democrats are running unexpectedly lively challenges to two favored Republican incumbents. In Anne Arundel, development is a major issue, as are incumbent Steve Schuh’s occasional wanderings into more right-wing rhetoric on non-county issues.
Allen Kittleman in Howard has a more moderate profile but faces a more Democratic electorate. Additionally, Howard has exactly the highly educated profile of places that are swinging hard to the Democrats this year.
Despite challenges, both Anne Arundel and Howard lean Republican and it will an upset if Democrats win either. Based on past election statistics and the political leanings of each county, Schuh ought to be harder to defeat. But Kittleman has carefully tailored his profile to his county.
Montgomery has more of a race than usual. Councilmember Floreen has abandoned the Democrats to run as an independent. Though she often voted with Elrich on the Council, Floreen argues that Marc Elrich is too hostile to business. Republicans are left with perennial candidate Robin Ficker.
Elrich should win easily notwithstanding ongoing hostility from the Washington Post and their support for Floreen. Despite an influx of cash into Floreen’s campaign coffers, her campaign has just not been visible enough to make the case against Elrich needed in order to persuade the overwhelmingly Democratic electorate to defect to her in sufficient numbers.
In contrast, Elrich has attacked Floreen as a tool of developer interests and maintained good pre-election contact with Democrats. As a former council president, Floreen represents the status quo in a year when voters seem ready for change.
Even if Floreen does well in the less Democratic upcounty, she will still have to contend with the heavily Democratic crescent that contains far more voters. There are just too many loyal Democrats and not enough has been done to peel them off.
Finally, portions of Floreen’s campaign seem designed to alienate Republicans and she needs their support. Floreen has repeatedly identified herself as lifelong Democrat and publicized photos with Hillary Clinton. Neither seem likely to woo Republicans. Since Republicans have shown themselves willing to reject Ficker, I’m not sure it was the best approach.
I can’t say I know enough about the remaining races to make any strong predictions. In Frederick, Del. Kathy Afzali is challenging incumbent County Exec. Jan Gardner in what I imagine is a hard fought race in this purple county. Harford and Wicomico are the sorts of places that tend to elect Republicans countywide.
Now, I’m heading out to go vote. If you haven’t done the same, I encourage you to join me at the polls!