Wednesday, November 7, 2012

AFTERMATH // Analysis of Maryland Election Results: MD GOP Lives in a Bubble & Montgomery Co. Is Now MD's San Francisco

Below Maryland Juice discusses various aspects of the statewide ballot question results, along with the outcomes of our Congressional races.  After we run through the numbers, we put the broad results into context. See below:

BIG VICTORY FOR DEMOCRATIC LEADERS IN MD // ALL STATEWIDE BALLOT QUESTIONS PASS: The passage of all of the statewide ballot measures (which wasn't a sure bet at all) should be seen as a huge victory for Maryland's Democratic leaders. They muscled together coalitions for a number of controversial measures, and they emerged on election night with a perfect score. Even though I don't agree with some of the referenda that passed, I have to admit that this was an impressive feat. Below you can see some summary figures on the referenda, along with some of my notes:
  • Question 1 - Qualifications for Prince George's Orphans' Court Judges: 87.7% for vs. 12.3% against
  • Question 2 - Qualifications for Baltimore County Orphans' Court Judges: 87.9% for vs. 12.1% against
  • Question 3 - Suspension of Elected Officials Upon Conviction: 88.0% for vs. 12.0% against
  • Question 4 - Dream Act: 58.3% for vs. 41.7% against
    • Note: A majority of voters in the following counties voted "for" the Dream Act - Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Charles, Howard, Montgomery, Prince George's, Somerset, Wicomico.
  • Question 5 - Congressional Districts: 63.5% for vs. 36.5% against
    • Note: The Congressional District plan won large majorities in the Democratic strongholds of Montgomery, Prince George's and the Baltimore region.

  • Question 6 - Marriage Equality: 51.9% for vs. 48.1% against (93,849 Vote Margin out of 2.4 million)
    • Note: A majority of voters in the following counties voted "for" marriage equality - Anne Arundel, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Frederick, Howard, Montgomery. The measure failed in Prince George's County by only 4,000 votes, making the issue a virtual 50/50 split among voters there.
  • Question 7 - Gambling Expansion: 52% for vs. 48% against
    • Counties for Gambling Expansion: Baltimore City, Charles, Frederick, Montgomery, Prince George's, St Marys, Somerset, Washington, Wicomico & Worcester
    • Counties against Gambling Expansion:Anne Arundel, Baltimore County, Caroline, Carroll, Cecil, Dorchester, Garrett, Harford, Howard, Kent, Queen Anne's, Talbot  

One interesting factoid to note is that Frederick and Anne Arundel Counties voted "for" marriage equality, but "against" the Dream Act.

MOCO HELPS DRIVE PROGRESSIVE SURGE // IS MONTGOMERY COUNTY MARYLAND'S POLITICAL "SAN FRANCISCO"? - Indeed, I have often been accused (by Democrats and Republicans alike) of living in a liberal bubble. But it now seems that it is the conservatives and their allied Democratic naysayers who are increasingly the ones out-of-touch with the mainstream of Maryland politics. Times are clearly changing, and old school attitudes that may have once been the norm are now giving way to the forces of rapid diversification of Maryland's population. At the driver's seat of this change is the growing cadre of diverse, liberal-minded Democratic voters in Montgomery County. 

Two Montgomery County lawmakers pointed out the growing importance of MoCo for pushing progressive politics in Maryland. Delegate Anne Kaiser sent her MoCo delegation colleagues a congratulatory email about marriage equality, and her message noted that Montgomery County's motherlode of liberal votes was instrumental to the passage of Question 6 (see below):
ANNE KAISER: Dear colleagues - Today, I'm reminded that not only did 31 of 32 Montgomery County legislators vote for marriage equality this past year, but each of us also cosponsored the legislation.  And beyond that, I sensed that we all also shared a deep conviction about the issue and a strong personal desire for the ballot measure to pass last night.

In case you hadn't seen the county by county results, Montgomery County voters supported the measure 65-35%.  But more importantly, without our county's 120,000 vote margin, the vote would have failed in Maryland.  I imagine you all join me in being proud of the role our county played in making Maryland the first state in the nation to win marriage equality in a referendum. 
Thanks for your friendship and support.
State Senator Jamie Raskin echoed similar sentiments in a victory email blast today (excerpt below):
JAMIE RASKIN: In Maryland, we made history, becoming the first state in the Union to uphold marriage equality, by a healthy margin of 52%, at the polls.  (In Montgomery County ... we won a massive 65% of the vote.) We were quickly followed last night by Maine, Minnesota and Washington state, where voters again stood up for equal rights for all and the right of all people to love and have the legal recognition  of their marriages, families and children.  The tide of history has turned.
We made history again by passing the Dream Act--by a resounding 58% margin and a stunning 72% in Montgomery County, which has proven to be the progressive powerhouse in the state. 

LEISURE WORLD SUPPORTS MARRIAGE EQUALITY: Lastly, to prove how thoroughly liberal in nature Montgomery County has become, Paul Bessel sent us a quick note about the results from the precincts in Leisure World -- a large community of seniors at some of the largest Democratic precincts in the state:
PAUL BESSEL: It may be of interest to you and your blog readers that voters in Leisure World may have surprised some people. It was reported in the press that "older voters" were less enthusiastic about marriage equality than others. Leisure World has proven that is not true.

The Maryland Board of Elections is currently reporting that the state totals are about 51% to 49% in favor of Question 6. The votes cast in Leisure World on November 6 --- this doesn't include early voting, where Leisure World voters voted early in higher proportion than others --- were 56% to 44% in favor of marriage equality (1,783 to 1,417).

So, the "older voters" of Leisure World supported Question 6 in higher proportions than the overall vote in Maryland.

In general, Leisure World voters, as expected, supported President Obama by a huge proportion, as well as Senator Ben Cardin and Congressman Van Hollen. For MoCo Board of Education, Leisure World supported incumbents Phil Kauffman and Chris Barclay, and challenger Rebecca Smondrowski.

DEMOCRATIC INCUMBENTS WIN LANDSLIDE ELECTIONS: Democratic House incumbents thoroughly trounced their Republican opponents -- even when campaigning in vastly new districts. Meanwhile, Ben Cardin won a majority of voter support for his re-election, while his nearest challenger trailed by double-digits. Indeed, each of Maryland's incumbent Democrats won their election battles handily and should now feel they have a mandate from their constituents to push for a progressive agenda when they return to Congress. No excuses next session!

In the newly drawn 6th Congressional District battle, Democrat John Delaney crushed GOP Rep. Roscoe Bartlett. We could all feel the slow and painful implosion of the Bartlett campaign over the course of the last few weeks, so this result is a little bit anti-climactic. It now remains to be seen what kind of Congressman Mr. Delaney turns out to be and what his issue priorities will be.

Lastly, Tea Partier Andy Harris easily won-re-election against Democrat Wendy Rosen (who dropped out of the race a few weeks ago) and write-in candidate John LaFerla. Unfortunately, shoring up Rep. Harris' district was one of the consequences of trying to take down Roscoe Bartlett. Check out the summary results below (winners in bold):
  • SENATE: Ben Cardin (D) 55.2% vs. Dan Bongino (R) 26.6% vs. Rob Sobhani (U) 16.9% 
  • CD1: Andy Harris (R) 63.9% vs. Wendy Rosen (D) 27.0% vs. Write-In 5.3% vs. Muir Wayne Boda (L) 3.8%
  • CD2: Dutch Ruppersberger (D) 65.4% vs. Nancy Jacobs (R) 31.3% vs. Leo Wymowski (L) 3.2%
  • CD3: John Sarbanes (D) 66.5% vs. Eric Knowles (R) 29.8% vs. Paul Drgos (L) 3.5%
  • CD4: Donna Edwards (D) 76.8% vs. Faith Loudon 21.1% vs. Scott Soffen (L) 2.0%
  • CD5: Steny Hoyer (D) 69.2% vs. Tony O'Donnell (R) 27.9% vs. Bob Auerbach (G) 1.4% vs. Arvin Vohra (L) 1.3%
  • CD6: John Delaney (D) 58.6% vs. Roscoe Bartlett (R) 38.1% vs. Nickolaus Mueller (L) 3.2%
  • CD7: Elijah Cummings (D) 76.2% vs. Frank Mirabile (R) 21.1% vs. Ronald Owens-Bey (L) 2.6%
  • CD8: Chris Van Hollen (D) 62.5% vs. Ken Timmerman (R) 33.8% vs. Mark Grannis (L) 2.1% vs. George Gluck (G) 1.5%

CONTEXT // MARYLAND CONSERVATIVES LIVE IN A BUBBLE - Maryland Juice has for a long time believed that conservative activists and lawmakers have been turning the Maryland Republican Party into a regional party, unable to win statewide races. The election returns last night provided further support for this theory. Numerous GOP lawmakers in recent years have been deploying in Maryland, the most inflammatory and divisive tactics from the rightwing toolbox of campaign tricks (ie: campaigns driven by immigrant scapegoating, race-baiting, and homophobia). But while those deplorable tactics might work in other more homogeneous states, I never believed they made sense in a state with a densely Democratic and diverse electorate - like we have in Maryland.

Granted, Maryland Democrats redrew the Congressional Districts in their favor, but the truth is that the Republican challengers facing Democratic incumbents never had a path to victory. None of them campaigned on the issues in a viable way in their majority-Democratic districts, and instead each of them tried to act as if they could rile up the small GOP base enough to overcome the rest of the electorate. Some of them still seemed surprised that independents and Democrats were not attracted to their message.

Is the GOP stuck? It is perhaps possible that the Republican primary electorate is too conservative for the party's nominees to win general elections. If that is so, then Maryland Republicans might want to consider opening their primaries. Otherwise, they should be prepared to face a long electoral dryspell or endless battles between factions.  

Either way, what happens next ought to be fun to watch....

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