Friday, August 26, 2011

SPOTTED: Garagiola & Ulman in Washington County // Redistricting Alert

MEGA-UPDATE: Below we discuss Kratovil's miserable fundraising numbers as evidence that the party won't push for CD1 in redistricting. The Baltimore Sun is now saying Kratovil has taken a new job with the Prince George's County State's Attorney! The article confirms Maryland Juice's suspicions: "...attention in Annapolis appears to have shifted to the 6th Congressional District, which is currently held by the state’s other GOP lawmaker, Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett."

Hagerstown's Herald-Mail recently spotted State Senator Rob Garagiola and Howard County Executive Ken Ulman stumping for votes in.... Washington County:
Washington County Democrats on Thursday welcomed two potential Democratic candidates for governor and Congress.

Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, considered to be a possible 2014 gubernatorial candidate, spoke at the annual Washington County Democratic Central Committee picnic.

He was followed by state Sen. Robert J. Garagiola of Montgomery County, the Senate majority leader, who is considering a 2012 bid for the 6th Congressional District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

You can see how far Washington County is from Howard and Montgomery on the following map:

We previously alluded to a potential Garagiola congressional bid (pending redistricting decisions),  and we promised to provide more details later. We're not quite ready to do that yet, but here are a few more hints. First, Senator Garagiola represents Montgomery County's legislative District 15 and resides in Germantown. He currently lives in Congressional District 4, represented by Donna Edwards.

The fact of Garagiola campaigning in Washington County one year before Congressional districts will shift, is a pretty good sign that Garagiola's preferred redistricting outcome is very much on the table (ie: one where he gets an open shot at a new Congressional district).

Here is a map of the current Congressional Districts (District 4 is in dark green):

Now remember, most people think Democrats can try and shift their 6-2 advantage in the Congressional delegation to a 7-1 split. Few insiders I've spoken to think it would be realistic to try and create a 100%  Democratic redistricting plan. That really means that the party must decide whether to target Roscoe Bartlett in CD6 or Andy Harris in CD1. There may be further evidence that CD6 is where things are headed.

CD1 was previously held by Steny Hoyer ally, Frank Kratovil. A one-term Congressman, Kratovil was elected in the 2008 Obama wave and ejected in 2010 mid-terms. Many have speculated the party would attempt to re-take CD1, but Kratovil's puny fundraising haul indicates otherwise:

Kratovil raised $223 in the first six months of 2011, leaving him a miserable $24,356 cash on-hand. This does not look like the fundraising report for a candidate gearing up for battle in a swing district. Compare that to Andy Harris' $488,551 raised. That leaves Kratovil's potential opponent with $414,641 on-hand and $74,800 in debt. This is not insurmountable, but it sure makes it look like we're abandoning CD1.

As regards Ulman, it is too soon to tell what his game-plan is, but with active Gubernatorial candidates emerging from the State's major jurisdictions, it is entirely possible Ulman is laying the groundwork for a "rest-of-the-state" strategy (ie: trying to roll up margins outside of vote-rich Baltimore City and Montgomery and Prince George's Counties).

As regards Washington County, the Herald-Mail noted, "In last year's election, the Washington County Board of Commissioners became all Republican, as the only Democrat lost a re-election bid."

Time to roll up our sleeves!

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