Senate District 30
2014: John Astle (D) 51.3%, Don Quinn (R) 48.6%
2010: John Astle (D) 51.1%, Ron Elfenbein (R) 48.8%
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 ran for Mayor of Annapolis in 2017, coming up short in the Democratic primary. It’s been expected that he will announce his retirement, but that has yet to happen. Sarah Elfreth has launched her campaign to hold the seat for the Democrats, and has had Astle at her events. Healthcare advocate Chrissy Holt has also launched her campaign, and is running on a progressive platform.
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 assumed 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 and 47.4-46.7% for Donald Trump. 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
2014: Herb McMillan (R) 27.9%, Michael Busch (D) 27.6%, Chuck Ferrar (D) 23.0%, Genevieve Lindner (R) 21.4%
District 30A’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%. This is currently shaping up to be a very good year for Democrats, and progressives are extremely motivated in Annapolis to sweep both seats in this district.
Delegate McMillan, as I mentioned above, is apparently mulling a promotion to State Senate. Republicans are also 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.
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.
Other than Busch, there are four Democrats in the race.
Most of these Democrats may see their campaign goal as to serve alongside Speaker Busch, but if enough voters come out with an out-with-the-old mentality, they may end up throwing Busch out with the bathwater.