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Saturday, June 23, 2018

Thoughts on Maryland Governor, Congressional District 6 and 8 races

Ben Jealous and Susan Turnbull
George Wenschhof

Only days before the June 26 primary election in Maryland there are 40% of Democratic voters who are undecided on a candidate for Governor.  This is not a good sign for Democrats who have a 2-1 voter registration over Republicans in the state.  Polls show Republican Governor Larry Hogan maintains a lead over any of the Democratic challengers.

Interestingly, Democratic state senator Rich Madaleno who is polling down in the pack, does best against Hogan according to a recent poll.

However, it is likely the Democratic winner will be either Prince George's county executive Rushern Baker or former NAACP president Ben Jealous who in the above reference poll both received 15% support among seven candidates.

Voters like to get behind a winner, so in spite of strong qualifications from other candidates, look to see undecided voters break toward Baker and Jealous.

Smart money has Baker ahead with the Jealous campaign trying to knock Baker down a peg by highlighting a kerfuffle surrounding inappropriate pay raises for Prince George's school system administrators and the loss of Head Start federal funding.

Baker has support of some powerful state pols while Jealous has union and progressive support.  Baker came across more measured in the televised debates and recently received the support of Valerie Ervin who announced she was dropping out of the race after a brief fling at trying to replace the late Kevin Kamenetz on the ballot. But don't underestimate the power of the get out the vote (GOTV) efforts by progressives and unions. It will be the GOTU operation by the campaigns that will determine the winner.

I have been among the 40% undecided throughout the primary and feel either Baker or Jealous will make a fine governor for the state.  I will support Ben Jealous because I believe we must increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour in Maryland and not over a number of years, but immediately and I hope he will push for this.  A livable wage should be the right of every American and $15 an hour barely meets this criteria today. 

As a cancer survivor, I also believe Jealous will work hard to protect health insurance coverage for Marylanders with pre-existing conditions. Making sure our youth receive much needed further education funded by the state following High School is paramount to our future and I trust Jealous will make this a reality.  I have also known Susan Turnbull, who is running for Lieutenant Governor with Jealous for years. Her vast experience in the state, including chair of the state Democratic Party makes her a valuable asset who will work hard for voters across the state.

It will also be critically important for the Democratic nominee for Governor have the ability to unite Democratic voters after the primary election in order to defeat Hogan in the general election.  Jealous and Turnbull are the best combination to achieve this goal.

After questionable redistricting during Democratic Governor Martin O'Malley's administration, Frederick County was split and is now represented in congress in the 6th and 8th districts.

In the Maryland congressional 6th district race, perhaps the most gerrymandered district in the country, there are eight Democratic candidates battling for the nomination.  David Trone, the owner of Total Wine and More, who spent an eye popping $13 million of his own funds two years ago and lost to Jamie Raskin in the 8th congressional district is at it again, this time in the 6th district. Although, he does not live in the 6th district, there is nothing prohibiting him from running for this seat.

The 6th district became an open seat when Democratic representative John Delaney, another millionaire, announced he would be running for president.  It is likely Trone will come close in this race to matching his personal expenditures in the 2016 election. Although, I enjoyed interviewing him two years ago, I can not support this type of spending for a congressional seat whether it is his money or not.  He would have had more effect in helping 6th district voters if he had spent his $20+ million building affordable housing over the last two years.  This excessive campaign spending clearly illustrates meaningful campaign finance reform is needed to level the playing field.

I personally like Andrew Duck and find him well qualified, but after multiple attempts and failures to be elected in the 6th district, it is hard to get behind him this year.

The campaigns ads being run by the Nadia Hashimi campaign have been great and may help boost her and state senator Roger Manno is certainly a credible candidate.

However, I am supporting Aruna Miller a state delegate who will represent the 6th district well.

Amy Hoeber who won the Republican nomination two years ago will likely emerge the victor among four candidates in the Republican primary election.

With two years of exhibiting thoughtful and effective representation, Democratic 8th district representative Jamie Raskin will overwhelmingly receive support for reelection.

Following redistricting, it is highly unlikely the Republican nominee will emerge victorious in either the 6th or 8th district.

No race is ever won until after all the votes have been counted - so if you have not already been been to the polls during early voting, go vote on Tuesday June 26, 2018.


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