After a record-high number of Marylanders voted during the eight day early voting period, the voter turnout on primary day, April 26th, continued to be high and Marylanders made their voices heard.
In the presidential races, Maryland brought both frontrunners, Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump, a bit closer to capturing their parties’ nominations. After the five primary states’ tallies, Hillary needs just another 263 delegates to reach the requisite 2383 as she now stands at 2120 delegates to Senator Sanders’ 1132. She received 59 delegates with 63 percent of the Maryland vote while Senator Sanders acquired 32 delegates with 33 percent of the Maryland vote.
As for Trump, it really doesn’t matter since Maryland being one of the most Democratic states in the nation, the general election is almost assuredly going to go to the Democratic nominee. The only way a Democrat can lose a statewide election in Maryland is to run an horrendously poor campaign as epitomized by Anthony Brown’s gubernatorial run in 2014. Apparently he learned from past mistakes as he just won the Democratic nomination for the Congressional seat in District 4.
With that in mind, I will focus on the results of the Democratic races in the state. Let’s begin with the senatorial race between Congressman Chris Van Hollen and Congresswoman Donna Edwards which Chris Van Hollen won handily with 53.3 percent of the vote compared to Donna Edwards’ 38.8 percent. Lesson here: distorting the record of accomplishment of your opponent is a poor substitute for weaknesses in your own record. That is exactly what Donna Edwards attempted to do throughout her campaign on such issues as the NRA and Social Security to name just two examples and that strategy failed miserably in her attempt to garner the nomination.
Up until rather recently, polls had these two candidates neck and neck. That changed drastically for her when President Obama, himself, had to step in and demand that she remove him from one of her misleading television ads that deliberately misrepresented her opponent’s record regarding gun control and the NRA.
Another lesson to be learned from this particular race is that a campaign cannot focus almost entirely on the need for diversity. Yes, there is a need for diversity in Congress, but that need must be addressed with candidates that have demonstrated a proven record of achievement. In this particular case, Edwards’ failed to receive the support of African-American leadership in the state as well as women’s groups despite her being an African-American woman. That support all went to her opponent based on his record of achievement as a supporter of both minority and women’s issues. Her dismal record and Van Hollen’s stellar record regarding constituency services only compounded her dilemma.
Now let’s turn to the race for the Democratic Congressional seat in District 8 left vacant by Van Hollen’s run for the senate. The lesson here: David Trone’s loss in this race after infusing more than $13 million of his own money into the race making it the most expensive Congressional race in history didn’t necessarily prove that you CAN’T buy an election even with your own money. It did prove, however, that an educated electorate like we have in Montgomery County will do their homework and pick the candidate whose record of accomplishment far outweighs the accomplishments of all of the other eight candidates running. That candidate was the winner, State Senator Jamie Raskin, who received 33.7 percent of the vote as compared to David Trone’s 27.3 and Kathleen Matthews’ 23.8 percent.
It also proves that you when you do try to enter a race late, as did Trone, and depend almost entirely on gaining name recognition via a never ending glut of TV ads, not to mention lawn signs, you must avoid reaching the point of diminishing returns. There does, indeed, come a point when too much becomes a turn off.
So now for the general election. Senator Raskin will be facing Republican Dan Cox in the general election. Dan Cox, as some of you will recall, failed to participate in the Republican Congressional debate conducted by the Sentinel. We plan to conduct a candidate debate between these two candidates as well as with the eventual Green Party candidate in the upcoming months and hope that Mr. Cox will choose to participate this time.
We also plan to conduct a debate among the Senatorial candidates, Democrat Chris Van Hollen and Republican Kathy Szeliga and the Green Party Candidate. We will publicize the debate details once they are finalized.