Elections 2018: District 1

Senate District 1

Incumbent: George C. Edwards (R)
Challengers: none

Past Results:
2014: George C. Edwards (R) unopposed
2010: George C. Edwards (R) unopposed

Senator George C. Edwards (R)

George Edwards has the safest seat in the Senate for Republicans, and barring a primary challenge, he will win re-election in 2018. District 1, located in the Maryland panhandle, voted for Trump over Clinton 77%-19%, and will be a tough hill for any Democrat to climb. Edwards is used to running unopposed, and it’s looking like he may be unopposed again this year.

House District 1A

Incumbent: Wendell Beitzel (R)
Challengers: Michael Dreisbach (D)

Past Results:
2014: Wendell Beitzel (R) unopposed
2010: Wendell Beitzel (R) 72.6%, James R. “Smokey” Stanton (D) 27.3%

District 1A contains all of Garrett County in far western Maryland, as well as a portion of Allegany County southwest of Cumberland. This is deep red territory (82-15 Trump), and a Democrat would have a tough time winning here even in the bluest of blue waves. Even so, Michael Dreisbach, the owner of the Frostburg-area Savage River Lodge, has filed to run.

House District 1B

Incumbent: Jason Buckel (R)
Challengers: Penny Walker (D)

Past Results:
2014: Jason Buckel (R) 58.9%, Kevin Kelly (D) 40.9%
2010: Kevin Kelly (D) 51.3%, Mary Beth Pirolozzi (R) 48.6%

Few observers were surprised that Republicans picked up this seat in 2014, as this Allegany County district had been voting Republican at the national level for years. In 2016, voters here favored Trump over Clinton 72-23. This district could become competitive again if it contained all of Cumberland, but that won’t happen until at least 2022, so Buckel is favored to win again this year.

House District 1C

Incumbent: Mike McKay (R)
Challengers: Nicole Alt-Myers (R), Jordan Lysczek (R)

Past Results:
2014: Mike McKay (R) 57.0%, Nick Scarpelli (D) 42.9%
2010: LeRoy Myers (R) 69.7%, Ronald Lohr (D) 30.1%

Republicans won this panhandle seat in 2002 by unseating then-Speaker Cas Taylor. Since then, Democrats have fought to win this seat back every election cycle, and 2014 was the closest they came. Nick Scarpelli largely self-funded his Cumberland-based campaign and still fell 14 points short. This district stretches from the old manufacturing city of Cumberland to the western suburbs of Hagerstown, an area which has been trending Republican for years and strongly favored Donald Trump by a margin of 76-20. While Larry Hogan won every precinct in 1C, Scarpelli actually had considerable success in the Cumberland area:

Click for full size image

The race to watch here in 2018 is the Republican primary. In August 2017, the Register of Wills for Allegany County, Rebecca Drew, resigned, and Delegate Mike McKay made it known that he wanted to be considered for appointment to the vacancy. Under the assumption that the 1C seat would be open for 2018, Nicole Alt-Myers and Jordan Lysczek filed to run. When McKay was passed over for the Register of Wills job, he filed for re-election, which is no longer a certainty. More information on this saga is available at A Miner Detail here, here, and here.

Alt-Myers ended up slightly out-raising McKay in 2017, even if you don’t count the $16K loan from her husband, former delegate LeRoy Myers.

No Democrats have filed here yet. The strongest candidate would be Cumberland Mayor Brian Grim, but there’s no indication that he will run.

Campaign finances as of the January 17 filing deadline:

Name Receipts Self Fund Expenditures Cash on Hand
Nicole Alt-Myers (R) $13,400 $16,535 $27,727 $2,208
Mike McKay (R) $12,199 $0 $11,743 $7,884
Jordan Lysczek (R) $197 $0 $134 $63