The Maryland Primary Election was held on June 26th and resulted in many close contests and a few surprises.
Former national NAACP president Ben Jealous received just fewer than 40 percent of the vote in a nine candidate field for governor in the Democratic Primary. Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker finished a distant second with 29 percent of the vote. Ben Jealous and his running mate Susan Turnbull will face incumbent Governor Larry Hogan and Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford in the November General Election. Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot will face Republican Anjali Reed Phukan in November. Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh will face Craig Wolf in November. Both Franchot and Frosh are favored to win re-election. As a result of the June Primary Election results and retirements, there will be significant changes in the Maryland General Assembly Leadership teams; however, House Speaker Mike Busch and Senate President Thomas V. “Mike” Miller will remain in their positions. Speaker Busch will begin his 17th year as Speaker and President Miller will begin his 33rd year as President of the Senate. They are the two longest serving State presiding officers in the country.
Maryland General Assembly Races of Note
There were significant defeats of legislative leaders in the Democratic Primary. Senate Finance Chairman Thomas “Mac” Middleton lost his Charles County District 28 seat to Arthur Ellis by 52 to 48 percent. In the general election, businessman Bill Dotson will be the Republican candidate against Democrat Arthur Ellis to succeed Chairman Middleton.
Senator Joan Carter Conway, the Chair of the Senate Education, Health and Environment Affairs Committee (EHE), lost in the Democratic Primary to Delegate Mary Washington by two and a half percentage points (492 votes) in District 43 in northeast Baltimore City.
In District 45 in East Baltimore City, Delegate Cory McCray easily defeated Senate President Pro Tem Nathanial McFadden by 17 percentage points.
In District 40 in Baltimore City, Delegate Antonio Hayes defeated Senator Barbara Robinson by 31 percentage points.
In District 41 in northwest Baltimore City, former Delegate Jill Carter defeated challenger J.D. Merrill, the son-in-law of former Governor Martin O’Malley, by 16 percentage points.
In District 29 in St. Mary’s County, Republican challenger Jack Bailey defeated incumbent Senator Steve Waugh by 10 percentage points. Bailey had the support of Governor Hogan and will face Democrat Thomas Brewer in the November General Election.
In District 23 in Prince George’s County, longtime House Judiciary Chairman Joe Vallario finished third in a two member District behind incumbent Delegate Marvin Holmes and newcomer Ron Watson.
Senate Leadership Changes
Senator Delores Kelley of Baltimore County will succeed Senator Middleton as Chair of the Senate Finance Committee. Senator Brian Feldman of Montgomery County will replace retiring Senator John Astle as Vice-Chair of the Senate Finance Committee. Senator Paul Pinsky of Prince George’s County will move from Vice-Chair to Chairman of the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee (EHE) replacing Senator Joan Carter Conway. Senator Shirley Nathan-Pulliam will be the new Vice-Chair of EHE. Veteran Montgomery County Senator Nancy King will chair the Senate Budge and Taxation Committee following the retirement of Chairman Ed Kasemeyer. Senator Bill Ferguson of Baltimore City will replace Senator Rich Madaleno as Vice-Chairman of the Committee. Madaleno gave up his seat in an unsuccessful bid for Governor.
The only returning Committee Chairman in the Maryland Senate will be Senator Bobby Zirkin of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee. The new Vice-Chair of the Committee will be Will Smith of Montgomery County. He replaces Senator Delores Kelley who is now the Chair of the Senate Finance Committee.
House Leadership Changes
Delegate Maggie McIntosh of Baltimore City and Delegate Tawanna Gaines of Prince George’s County will remain as Chair and Vice-Chair of the House Appropriations Committee respectively. Delegate Jay Walker of Prince George’s County will replace the retiring Frank Turner as Vice-Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee. Delegate Anne Kaiser of Montgomery County will return as the Committee Chair. Delegate Eric Bromwell of Baltimore County has been named Vice-Chair of the House Economic Matters Committee. He replaces the retiring Delegate Sally Jameson of Charles County. Delegate Dereck Davis of Prince George’s County will remain as the Chair of the House Economic Matters Committee.
Delegate Kumar Barve of Montgomery County and Delegate Dana Stein of Baltimore County will remain as Chair and Vice-Chair respectively of the House Environmental and Transportation Committee. Delegate Joseline Pena-Melnyk of Prince George’s County will be the new Vice-Chair of the House Health and Government Operations Committee. She replaces Delegate Eric Bromwell who has moved to be the Vice-Chair of the House Economic Matters Committee. Delegate Luke Clippinger of Baltimore City will Chair the House Judiciary Committee and Delegate Vanessa Atterbeary of Howard County will serve as Vice-Chair replacing Delegate Kathleen Dumais of Montgomery County who will serve as the House Majority Leader.
County Executive Races
State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks won the Democratic Primary for Prince George’s County Executive. Alsobrooks won handily with 62 percent of the primary vote. Former Congresswoman Donna Edwards received 24 percent of the vote. Alsobrooks faces Jerry Mathis in the General Election to succeed Rushern Baker who lost his bid for Governor to Ben Jealous.
In Howard County, Republican incumbent County Executive Allan Kittleman will face Democrat County Council Member Calvin Ball in the November general election.
In Frederick County, Republican Delegate Kathy Afzali won the Republican nomination for County Executive with 43 percent of the vote. Kirby Delauter received 32 percent of the vote. Regina Williams received 25 percent of the vote. Afzali will face Democrat incumbent County Executive Jan Gardner in November.
In Anne Arundel County, Republican incumbent County Executive Steve Schuh will face Democrat Steuart Pittman.
In Harford County, incumbent Republican County Executive Barry Glassman will face Democrat Maryann Forgan.
In an extremely close race which included a multi-day recount, former Delegate John Olszewski, Jr won the Democrat nomination for Baltimore County Executive. He defeated Senator Jim Brochin by a mere 17 votes. County Councilwoman Vicki Almond was just over one percent behind the two front runners (978 votes). On the Republican side, Maryland Insurance Commissioner Al Redmer, Jr defeated Delegate Pat McDonough by 11 percentage points. Governor Larry Hogan endorsed Redmer in the race.
In another close race and after a recount, Montgomery County Councilman Marc Elrich defeated businessman David Blair by 77 votes in a six person field in the Democrat Primary for Montgomery County Executive. Elrich won with only 29 percent of the vote. Elrich will face Republican Robin Ficker and Councilman Nancy Floreen who is running as an Independent in the November general election.
Every Vote Counts
Besides the close County Executive races, there were a few other close elections across Maryland. In Council District 1 in Howard County (Ellicott City area) incumbent Jon Weinstein lost to challenger Elizabeth Walsh by six votes in the Democrat Primary. In District 16 (Montgomery County), Sara Love defeated Samir Paul by eight votes in the Democrat Primary for the third spot in the House of Delegates race. In District 34B (Harford County) incumbent Delegate Susan McComas defeated challenger Walter Tilley by 59 votes in the Republican Primary. In District 23A (Prince George’s County) incumbent Delegate Geraldine Valentino-Smith defeated challenger Shabnam Ahmed by 42 votes in the Democrat Primary for the House of Delegates.
Incumbent Democrat Senator Ben Cardin will face Republican Tony Campbell and Independent Neal Simon in the November General Election. Senator Cardin is a heavy favorite to win re-election.
The only Republican in Maryland’s eight member Congressional Delegation is Dr. Andy Harris in Congressional District 1, which includes the Eastern Shore, Carroll, Baltimore, Harford and Cecil counties. Democrat Jesse Colvin will face Harris in the November General Election. In Congressional District 6, which includes Montgomery County and Western Maryland, Democrat incumbent John Delaney is giving up his seat to run for President of the United States. Wealthy liquor store owner David Trone won the Democrat primary with 40 percent of the vote. Maryland Delegate Aruna Miller came in second with 31 percent of the vote. Trone will face Republican Annie Hoeber in November.
The other six incumbent Maryland Members of the House of Representatives face only token opposition.
Looking Forward to the November General Election
The contest between Republican incumbent Governor Larry Hogan and Democrat nominee Ben Jealous will present voters with a clear contrast between a moderate Republican and a progressive Democrat. Governor Hogan is one of the most popular Governors in the country. Ben Jealous will rely on support from national, progressive groups and elected officials to support him in Maryland. The Primary Election results indicate that the Democrat Caucuses in both the Maryland House of Delegates and Senate will be more progressive than last term. There will also be a handful of competitive State Senate races which will determine whether the Republicans increase their number of seats in the Maryland Senate. If the Republicans pick up five more State Senate seats that would enable them to block overrides of Governor Hogan’s vetoes.
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