Monthly Archives: June 2017

Elections 2018: District 30

Senate District 30

Incumbent: John Astle (D)
Filed Challengers: Ron George (R), Sarah Elfreth (D)

Past Results:
2014: John Astle (D) 51.3%, Don Quinn (R) 48.6%
2010: John Astle (D) 51.1%, Ron Elfenbein (R) 48.8%

New District 30

District 30 was redrawn considerably in 2014, giving up Arnold and Cape St. Claire in exchange for Edgewater and south county. While Democratic Senator John Astle slightly increased his vote share from 2010 to 2014, the surprising performance by his underfunded Republican opponent, Don Quinn, has put this seat at the top of the GOP’s target list in 2018.

Astle had initially expressed his intention to run for a seventh term, but he is running for Mayor of Annapolis in 2017. If he loses the Annapolis election, he could still theoretically run for his Senate seat, although it seems more likely that he will retire. Sarah Elfreth has launched her campaign to hold the seat for the Democrats.

The Republican nomination has come down to two veteran delegates: Ron George and Herb McMillan. George, a former two-term delegate from Arnold, was redrawn into the 33rd district in 2014, and decided to run for Governor instead of running for re-election in his new district. He came in fourth place in the GOP primary for governor, and now he is attempting a political comeback.¬†McMillan has tried to win this seat already – in 2006 – but John Astle beat him 53-47%. He probably wasn’t too pleased when Ron George moved back into District 30 and announced his candidacy. McMillan has a long history of service in Annapolis, and has deep ties in the community, but will he run knowing that Ron George is also running? From a Republican strategic standpoint, that would be a bad idea, as it would mean they would have to field two new candidates for the House in 30A instead of one. But this Senate seat is finally within reach of Republicans, both because of Astle’s retirement and a generous redrawing of the district lines in 2014. Will McMillan give up what is likely his last chance to win it? He seems to be giving it a lot of thought, and has even commissioned an opinion poll that shows him down just 25-29% to George, with 43% undecided.

Annapolis tends to vote Democratic and is trending bluer, while southern Anne Arundel County votes Republican and is getting redder. I am not sure why these two areas have been grafted together as District 30, given the vast differences between them. As a whole, District 30 voted 69-29% for Larry Hogan on Election Day 2014, but Donald Trump only squeaked by 47.4-46.7%. As I’ve mentioned, the voting patterns of Annapolis vs. south county are very different, and I have included the vote percentages for the subdistricts below.

 

House District 30A – 2 members

Incumbents: Michael Busch (D), Herb McMillan (R)
Filed Challengers: Chelsea Gill (R), Mark Plaster (R)

Past Results:
2014: Herb McMillan (R) 27.9%, Michael Busch (D) 27.6%, Chuck Ferrar (D) 23.0%, Genevieve Lindner (R) 21.4%

Maryland District 30 - Annapolis, Anne Arundel County

District 30’s delegation is currently split; they elected Republican Herb McMillan and Democrat Michael Busch to represent them, in that order. Republicans would love to sweep this district, and they point to Larry Hogan’s 58-40% win here as proof that they can. Just two years later, Hillary Clinton won this district 54-39%. It’s too early to say whether the political winds in 2018 will bring this race closer to Hogan’s 18-point margin or Clinton’s 15, but the district has been trending bluer since 2006. The more important question now is who the candidates will be.

Delegate McMillan, as I mentioned above, is apparently mulling a promotion to State Senate.

Mike Busch is Speaker of the House, which means he is personally loathed by conservatives across the state, but also that he has a high degree of respect in his own district and an enormous campaign account. Unlike McMillan, “Iron Mike” is officially in.

Republicans are very keen on sweeping this district, and they landed a decent recruit in Mark Plaster, who ran (unsuccessfully) for Congress in 2016. Plaster is a former Navy Reservist and doctor, who claims that the scientific data suggesting climate change is caused by human action is fraudulent. Republican Chelsea Gill has filed for the race as well.

Who will run for the Democrats? There are several names floating around, many of whom are involved in the Annapolis City elections, and will make their intentions known after the primaries on September 19. Until then, there is at least one name worth mentioning.¬†Currently wrapping up his second and final term on the County Council, Chris Trumbauer of Annapolis would appear to be in the best position among Democrats to pick up this seat. Not only does he have political experience and name recognition in Annapolis, he also served as the executive director of West/Rhode Riverkeeper, Inc., an environmental nonprofit group focusing on those rivers in south county. He’s still raising money, which is a good sign he’s thinking of running for something in the future, but what?

Elections 2018: District 9

Senate District 9

Incumbent: Gail Bates (R)
Filed Challengers: none
Projection: Lean R Hold

Past Results:

2014: Gail Bates (R) 65.8%, Ryan Frederic (D) 34.1%
2010: Allan Kittleman (R) 66.7%, Jim Adams (D) 33.2%

Freshman Senator Gail Bates (R)

Freshman Senator Gail Bates (R)

Who could run?

  1. Ryan Frederic – Business owner Ryan Frederic of Glenwood came up short in a very good year for Republicans. There’s always a learning curve to campaigns, and rookie candidates like Frederic can often learn from their mistakes and make a much better showing the second time around. For what it’s worth, Frederic has kept his campaign account open.
  2. Jon Weinstein – County Councilman from District 1 Jon Weinstein is popular in Ellicott City, which means it’s much more likely that he’ll seek re-election rather than try to make the risky jump to a contested State Senate seat. Still, he is the biggest name Democrats can hope to draw here.
  3. Tom Coale – The man behind the blog HoCo Rising and the podcast Elevate Maryland might give it a shot. He ran for Delegate from 9B in 2014, winning the Democratic primary convincingly but narrowly losing to former Republican delegate Bob Flanagan in the biggest upset (to me, at least) of the year. From reading his blog, he certainly seems to have his finger on the pulse of Howard County as a whole, but the risk of running in this traditionally Republican district may discourage him from filing.

 

Here is one of a handful of districts that have been trending in the Democrats’ favor. While Larry Hogan crushed District 9 in 2014, winning 69-29% among Election Day voters, Donald Trump barely managed 50% in this well-educated and quickly suburbanizing district in western Howard County and southern Carroll County. If Democrats want to do more in 2018 than just play defense, which they absolutely must, then they should focus on districts like this one.

 

 

9a

House District 9A – 2 members

Incumbents: Trent Kittleman (R), Warren E. Miller (R)
Filed Challengers: none
Projection: Likely R Hold

Past Results:
2014: Trent Kittleman (R) 37.5%, Warren E. Miller (R) 33.1%, Walter E. Carson (D) 15.6%, James Ward Morrow (D) 13.7%
2010: Gail Bates (R) 30.6%, Warren E. Miller (R) 28.0%, Maryann Maher (D) 21.5%, Jonathan Weinstein (D) 19.9%

Del. Warren Miller (R)

Del. Warren Miller (R)

The only way Democrats are going to have a chance in District 9 is to improve their performance in the two-member District 9A, which is heavily Republican thanks to rural west county, Sykesville, and Eldersburg. Larry Hogan won here 74-25%, and Trump won 55-38%. Those Trump numbers should put 9A in play for some adventurous Democrats who have deep ties to their communities and are willing to run vigorous campaigns; 17-point margins are being erased all over the country as the President’s popularity continues to plummet.

 

 

9b

House District 9B – 1 member

Incumbent: Bob Flanagan (R)
Filed Challengers: Daniel Medinger (D)
Projection: Likely D+1

Past Results:
2014: Bob Flanagan (R) 54.9%, Tom Coale (D) 45.1%

Delegate Bob Flanagan (R)

Delegate Bob Flanagan (R)

In 2014, I predicted a Democratic pickup here. Even with a well-funded candidate and a new district that looked favorable to Democrats, it just didn’t happen. That year was also an unusually good year for Republicans nationwide, and it’s looking like 2018 will be just the opposite. While Larry Hogan won here 57-41%, Hillary Clinton won 57-37%, and progressives in Ellicott City are fired up.