Friday, October 30, 2015

A Round-Up of New Endorsements in Maryland's Open-Seat US Senate & House Races: Less Than Six Months Until Primary Day

As we pass the sixth month mark until Maryland's April 26 primary, more endorsements were announced this week in the state's open seat US Senate race and in the open 4th and 8th District Congressional races. We previously published a round-up of all the endorsements in those races, but more have begun pouring in as the races take shape. Maryland Juice's Matt Verghese has a full round-up of updates below:

FIREFIGHTERS ENDORSE VAN HOLLEN FOR SENATE: The Professional Fire Fighters of Maryland - the state association for the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) locals, which represents 10,000 current and retired professional fire fighters, unanimously endorsed Chris Van Hollen for United States Senate. Local affiliates in Baltimore, Prince George's and Montgomery Counties have also endorsed Van Hollen.
PFFM President Mike Rund: Congressman Van Hollen has shown that public safety is and will continue to be a top priority for him. The money that has been secured through federal grants wouldn’t have been possible without Chris’s help. It is for these reasons and many more that that we endorse Chris Van Hollen for United States Senate.
This continues the split in local labor endorsements between Van Hollen and Congresswoman Edwards.


OFFICE EMPLOYEE UNION ENDORSES RASKIN FOR CONGRESS: Office and Professional Employees International Local 2 (OPEIU Local 2), a member of the AFL-CIO, became the second labor union to endorse Senator Jamie Raskin in the 8th Congressional District race. OPEIU Local 2 represents 7,000 workers in the region.
OPEIU Local 2 President Dan Dyer: OPEIU Local 2 is excited to endorse Jamie Raskin, an unwavering supporter of Maryland's working families and the proven progressive leader we need in the 8th District. Senator Raskin’s exemplary record of success in Annapolis shows that he is willing to stare down the powerful interests and stand up for the rights and values of working men and women. Our union is proud to stand with Jamie so he can go to Washington and take on the big-money special interests that are trying to destroy the right to organize and to engage in collective bargaining. We know we have a true partner in Jamie Raskin and we are excited to do everything we can to support his campaign for Congress.

CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM SUPER-PAC ENDORSES RASKIN: Raskin was also endorsed by Mayday, a pro-campaign finance reform super PAC formed by Democratic Presidential hopeful and Harvard professor Lawrence Lessig, and House Judiciary Committee Vice Chair Delegate Kathleen Dumais (D-15).


EMILY'S LIST COMES OUT FOR MATTHEWS: Kathleen Matthews earned the coveted support of EMILY's List. The well respected and well funded organization that backs pro-choice female candidates, could be one of the most important endorsements in the CD8. The organization's support often brings fundraising assistance, visibility and potentially staff and advertising support.
EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock: Kathleen Matthews is a lifelong advocate for women and families and a dynamic leader who will fight for progressive change in Congress. As a news anchor at WJLA-TV, she put a spotlight on issues affecting women and families – jobs, education, health care, and equality in the workplace – and as an executive, she spearheaded efforts to advance women's careers and women-owned businesses around the world. Maryland’s Eighth District has never elected a Democratic woman to Congress, and the EMILY’s List community is thrilled to endorse Kathleen Matthews: a pro-choice leader fighting for Planned Parenthood and deeply committed to helping Maryland working families get a fair shot.
EMILY's List previously endorsed Donna Edwards in the US Senate Race.


SIERRA CLUB ENDORSES PENA-MELYNK & RASKIN FOR CONGRESS: The Sierra Club announced its endorsement of Delegate Joseline Pena-Melnyk in Congressional District 4. The Maryland chapter previously announced its support of Jamie Raskin. No endorsement quote was provided, but the chapter's endorsement release is excerpted below:
Sierra Club: Delegate Joseline Pena-Melnyk has been a staunch supporter of environmental legislation and has worked well with the environmental community in the State Legislature where she represents State District 21. She has a lifetime score of 94% as reported by MD-LCV and she has proved herself to be a fierce fighter for our issues. We know she will be a great representative for District 4.

Donna Edwards is Running Out of Cash for US Senate Race // Will Campaign Depend on Outside Spending to Keep It Viable?

The headline of Josh Hicks’ article in the Washington Post on October 25 - Donna Edwards ahead in polls but far behind Van Hollen in fundraising - accurately summed up the emerging consensus among observers of Maryland’s US Senate race. Congresswoman Edwards' support with the state's sizable African American community gives her an early lead in the race, but it remains to be seen whether she has the resources to wage a winning campaign with less than 6 months to go until the April 26 Democratic primary.

A deep dive into the Donna Edwards for Senate FEC reports suggests, and some Edwards supporters admit, that Rep. Edwards could soon be out of money - and time.

While the $638,000 Rep. Edwards raised in Q3 may seem respectable (though once again far short of Van Hollen, and other Senate contenders across the country), her campaign managed to spend more than she raised and ended with a paltry $369,000 in the bank (with almost $20,000 in debt). Her third quarter “burn rate” was 107.9%

This gives Edwards less than a tenth of the resources Van Hollen currently has at his disposal, and puts her behind and a handful of CD4 and CD8 candidates. Without airing a single TV spot or sending a piece of persuasive mail - where did all the money go?

STAFFING: $311,460 (45% of Q3 Spending)


Staff Salary/Stipends $186,259
Payroll Taxes/Fees $105,188
Health Insurance $10,530
Reimbursements $9,483

The bulk of Edwards spending came from staffing up her campaign. In the first half of September, Edwards had 24 people receiving either a salary or stipend - more than the Van Hollen payroll during the same period. Edwards report also does not include paychecks for the second half of September. This is another $60,000 expenditure against the campaign’s cash on hand.

While it is impossible to run a statewide campaign without people on the ground - payroll becomes a monthly cost that could become increasingly burdensome over time as more organizers are brought on board closer to Election Day. If cash becomes tight, we may see the Edwards camp decide to take a page out of the Jeb! Bush playbook and reduce salaries and downsize, or try and outsource field operations to an externally run paid canvass.

FUNDRAISING: $160,819 (25% of Q3 Spending)


Direct Mail $82,499
Fundraising Consultants $64,000
Credit Card Fees $12,772
Postage $8,726
Fundraising Expenses* $1,548
* Doesn’t include other line-itemed costs for catering, facility rental, travel and lodging

It costs money to raise money, and it is costing Rep. Edwards at least $0.27 per dollar raised. That is not insignificant for a candidate who has historically struggled with fundraising. These expenses will likely increase as her campaign tries to raise even more money, especially from more out-of-state donors.

In addition to Jeremiah Pope, Amie Kershner and Ann Lewis - Edwards added Greg Kalik as one of her fundraising consultants in Q3.

CONSULTANTS AND SERVICES: $105,583 (15% of Q3 Spending)


Polling $53,000
Research $20,554
Compliance $16,047
Campaign Consulting $6,250
Mail Consultant $5,314
Legal $4,418

At the time of the filing deadline, the Edwards campaign had yet to pay some of these expenses. At least $15,749 of unpaid bills is noted on her FEC reports including $8,066 to Evans & Katz for Compliance, $5,820 to her mail vendor Mission Control Inc, and $1,863 to the firm Perkins Coie.

While it is certainly possible - though unlikely - that the Edwards camp won’t spend any additional money on polling or opposition research, compliance and legal both are ongoing costs. A substantive persuasive direct mail program to a statewide universe, will likely cost six figures.

DIGITAL: $35,612 (5% of Q3 Spending)


Website Services $16,289
Online Advertising $15,257
Software $4,066

There was a sharp drop (64% reduction) in digital spending by the Edwards camp in Q3, as they pared back their online program. Rising Tide Interactive - the campaign's digital consultant - performs a number of services including list acquisition, email programs, fundraising and persuasion, so it is difficult to determine exactly what was specifically cut and whether this level of spending is sustainable for the duration of the campaign.

The campaign ended with $3,950 in unpaid bills ($1,250 to Blue State Digital and $2,700 to NGP VAN for website related services).

OVERHEAD: $57,729 (8% of Q3 Spending)


Office Rent $17,638
Catering/Facility Rental $13,425
Travel $10,354
Printing $5,495
Office Supplies $5,444
Phones/Internet $2,783
Lodging $2,590

Nearly 45% of these costs seem associated with fundraising events. Including these would raise the campaign’s cost to $0.31 per dollar raised.

Other overhead expenditures are related to Edwards’ headquarters in Prince George’s. These costs will undoubtedly increase as field offices are opened in different regions of the state. At least one more is open now.

DONNA EDWARDS NEEDS FRIENDS IN HIGH PLACES : It is hard to make a case that the Edwards campaign is financially viable and equipped to compete as we approach the new year. Not only is Edwards starting the home stretch with effectively less money than her FEC report suggests, but her ongoing monthly expenses is a growing drain on her limited resources.

And the Edwards campaign hasn't spent a dime on paid media. Spending in the expensive and inefficient DC media market looks completely out of the question, while even a small ad buy in Baltimore seems cost prohibitive. Try to budget in a statewide mail program, more online advertising and a radio buy - and one must wonder how the cash strapped Edwards campaign will get any real exposure to voters especially those outside Prince George's County. Van Hollen, on the other hand, is already on the air in the Baltimore-media market and will likely run several thousand points worth of advertising before 2016.

What Rep. Edwards desperately needs is a campaign bailout - some outside group to prop up her candidacy. This realization may have dawned early on Edwards when she rejected a proposal to keep outside money outof the race. Aside from Emily's List the the Edwards campaign likely is relying on Labor for significant outside spending - making the recent decision of the the AFL-CIO to sit on sidelines  a significant blow.

But how big does Edwards' bailout have to be to keep her viable? And who is willing to part with millions of dollars to defeat progressive Van Hollen, when Democrats may have the opportunity to put the first woman in the Oval Office, and see a competitive path to a Senate majority through strong female candidates in GOP-held Illinois (Tammy Duckworth), New Hampshire (Maggie Hassan) and Pennsylvania (Kathleen McGinty)? Plus, how will anti-superPAC pro-campaign finance reofrm progressive Maryland voters feel about this?

Monday, October 26, 2015

Baltimore City Councilmember Brandon Scott Hints at Citywide Run // Mayor's Race Getting Crowded: Will He Or Won't He?

Even as Nick Mosby launched his campaign for Mayor on Sunday, Baltimore City Councilmember Brandon Scott wrote an open letter hinting at his own aspirations for the top job (emphasis mine):
Dear Baltimore, 
Helping to make our city a better place is all that I have ever wanted to do with my life. In fact, I believe that serving Baltimore is the reason that I exist. 
Your outpouring of support and my expectations of what I believe this city can be, demand that I take my service to the next level. I have heard you and I sincerely appreciate you. 
Baltimore is at its most critical point and needs true leadership that can bring the entire city together, unifying our strength and our voice. The support you have given me, and the belief that I can do, and should do, more shows that without a doubt, you believe that I can lead Baltimore to being the best Baltimore we can be
With your continued support and active participation, I am confident in that belief. Together, we can bring this remarkable city back to its best. In the coming weeks I look forward to hearing from you all as I share my plan for leadership that will invest in, inspire and innovate Baltimore. 
Sincerely,
Councilman Brandon M. Scott
Scott, who turned 30 last year, was the city's second youngest-ever elected Councilman (the record belongs to current Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake) in 2011. Prior to his time on the Council, Scott was community liaison to Northeast Baltimore for the City Council President and then the Mayor.

Despite being a time when a lot of voters want a change - which could favor fresh faces over old hands - an increasingly crowded field could lead to an unexpected dynamic come Election Day.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Senator Jamie Raskin Wins Backing of Machinists Union // First Labor Endorsement in Maryland 8th Congressional District Race

Sen. Jamie Raskin picked up the endorsement of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), the first union to formally weigh in on the Democratic primary to replace Rep. Chris Van Hollen. IAM represents nearly 5,000 workers in Maryland, and over 600,000 active and retired members across North America.

In a statement released by the Raskin campaign, IAM President Tom Buffenbarger said:
This seat is an essential one for labor and Raskin has shown extraordinary leadership in the Maryland General Assembly and that he will take on the tough fights and build the coalitions needed to win big victories for working families. As a distinguished constitutional law professor and civil rights lawyer, Jamie has always fought hard for the rights of unions and working people. As a State Senator, he has been a staunch defender of the right to organize and collectively bargain and he’s been a passionate opponent of union-busting.”

The labor movement needs effective progressive leaders we can count on to do the right thing at a time of big-money corporate politics and right-wing assaults on the living standards of working people. We are proud to stand with Jamie and will do whatever we can with our brothers and sisters in the Labor movement to see that he wins this crucial Democratic primary election on April 26, 2016
IAM earlier this year endorsed Donna Edwards for the U.S. Senate, and Hillary Clinton for President.

IAM is affiliated with the AFL-CIO, who has not endorsed.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Nick Mosby Announcement This Sunday // Fresh Face Jumping Into Crowded Field for Baltimore Mayor: Who Else Is Running?

Ending months of speculation, Baltimore City Councilmember Nick Mosby appears ready to jump into the race to become the next Mayor. As reported by The Baltimore Sun, Mosby emailed supporters this morning inviting them to an important announcement taking place Sunday afternoon where they will hear from "the best choice for a better Baltimore." Below is a hard copy invite that has been circulating for a number of weeks:



Mosby has been an active and vocal member of the City Council in his first term, helping pass 'Ban the Box' legislation, being only 1 of 2 Councilmembers to vote against confirming Kevin Davis as police chief, and constantly pressing the flesh in neighborhoods across the City. He and his wife, State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby, gained national attention following the protests and unrest set off by the death of Freddie Gray.

Mosby is a client of well-respected fundraiser Colleen Martin-Lauer. Martin-Lauer has also worked for Mayor Rawlings-Blake and Governor O'Malley (among many, many others). 

With 175 days until early voting starts in Maryland's April Democratic primary, Mosby jumps into a crowded field filled with a number of well-known candidates many of who have previously run for the City's top job. A list of announced and potential candidates is listed below. The winner of the Democratic primary is the heavy favorite to win in November.

Announced
  • Richard Black, accountant
  • Mack Clifton, minister and author
  • Sheila Dixon, former Mayor
  • Mike Maraziti, President of Fells Point Main Street Business Association
  • Catherine Pugh, Senate Majority Leader
  • Carl Stokes, Baltimore City Councilman
  • Calvin Young, former Baltimore City Youth Commissioner

On The Fence
  • Jill Carter, Delegate
  • Nick Mosby, Baltimore City Councilmember
  • Brandon Scott, Baltimore City Councilmember
  • David Warnock, venture capitalist and foundation head
  • Jack Young, Baltimore City Council President

Out
  • Ben Jealous, former NAACP President  
  • Joan Pratt, Baltimore City Comptroller
  • Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, current Mayor
  • Wes Moore, nationally renowned author and TV host/producer

Monday, October 19, 2015

Sierra Club Endorses Jamie Raskin in Maryland's 8th Congressional District Race to Replace Chris Van Hollen

The Sierra Club's Maryland chapter endorsed Sen. Jamie Raskin today, becoming the first environmental organization to endorse in the competitive Democratic primary in the 8th Congressional District. The field also includes Maryland House Environment & Transportation Committee Chairman Kumar Barve. The chapter's endorsement statement as released by the Raskin campaign is quoted below (emphasis mine):
SIERRA CLUB: "Senator Jamie Raskin has an extremely compelling record as a passionate environmentalist in Annapolis and has time and again proven his willingness to stand up to powerful political and economic interests to protect the land, the air, the water, and the people," said Betsy Johnson, Political Chair of the Maryland Sierra Club. "We are proud to support him and believe he will be a great representative for District 8."
While the Sierra Club said they would share their "enthusiastic endorsement with its members" the chapter did not mention how many members they had in CD8 (they have 14,000 in the state), or if their support would lead to PAC expenditures in the race.  In 2014, the chapter endorsed Del. Heather Mizeur in the Democratic gubernatorial primary. 

MoCo Republicans Retreat on Voter Suppression Strategy // Board of Elections Chair Will Reinstate Two Early Vote Locations

Maryland Juice previously wrote about a Republican voter suppression strategy in Montgomery County. The new GOP majority on the county Board of Elections (MCBOE) attempted to eliminate two high-performing early vote locations in MoCo and replace them with locations in less densely populated neighborhoods that are (coincidentally) closer to Republicans. But last Thursday, the state Board of Elections (SBOE) rejected the MoCo Republican plan and directed the MCBOE to come up with a new proposal.

Today Montgomery County Council President George Leventhal reported on Facebook that MoCo's Republican Board of Elections chair is retreating on his voter suppression plan:
GEORGE LEVENTHAL: County Board of Elections Chair Jim Shalleck called to say the Board will restore both disputed early voting sites (Praisner & Lawton). Mr. Shalleck also said the Board would ask the state for a 10th early voting site in Potomac.



The Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee also sent out the following press release:
*******BOE REINSTATES ORIGINAL 9 EARLY VOTING SITES********
Legislature Will Propose Adding One More Center

The Montgomery County Board of Elections (BOE) voted to reinstate 8 of the original early voting centers from the 2014 election and the Wheaton Firehouse to replace the Wheaton Community Center, which is undergoing rennovation. This includes the Praisner and Lawton centers advocated by the MCDCC, County Council, and State Legislators, as well as numerous community members and non-partisan community groups. The decision means that they will submit the 9 centers to the State BOE for approval at their special meeting on Friday October 23.
 
A critical part of this decision is that the MCDCC and State Delegation made a commitment to submit legislation at the beginning of the Legislative Session in January to add a 10th early voting center in Montgomery County for the 2016 election. The County Council also made a commitment to establish a 10th early voting center.
 
Although the decision by the Board today will not be final until it is approved by the State BOE, voters in Montgomery County should be pleased with the outcome.
 
We will be in touch after the State BOE meeting on Friday to report on the final decision.
 
Darrell Anderson
MCDCC Chair

SAVE DATE: WED 10/28 MoCo Young Dems Hosting Republican Debate-Watching Party w/ Comedians // GOP Clown Car Show!

Need a few laughs next week? The Montgomery County Young Democrats are hosting a Republican Debate-watching party next Wednesday, October 28th in Silver Spring (details below). They'll have comedians on hand to skewer Donald Trump and the GOP Clown Car gang, including Lee Camp, Chelsea Shorte, and Brian Parise.

$10 tickets are available at: http://tinyurl.com/prrhtqz



Thursday, October 15, 2015

Fundraising Reports for Maryland's US Senate, CD4 & CD8 Races // Van Hollen, Matthews, & Brown Lead in 3rd Quarter

Below Maryland Juice provides a rundown of fundraising numbers for Democratic candidates running the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives in Maryland. We are posting numbers from a range of sources including official FEC reports, press releases, and news articles -- but when all the candidates officially file FEC reports, we will continuously update the data with the submitted information. Note that candidates can also make loans and/or personal contributions to themselves. In future posts, we'll take a deep dive into various aspects of these fundraising reports.

INFORMATION LAST UPDATED
October 19 at 6:06 pm

Summary Table of Current Cash on Hand

US Senate
  • Chris Van Hollen - $4.1 million
  • Donna Edwards  - $368,507

8th Congressional District
  • Kathleen Matthews - $891,716
  • Jamie Raskin - $693,918
  • Kumar Barve - $276,344
  • Will Jawando - $196,481
  • Ana Sol Gutierrez - $151,573 (includes $44,500 loan)
  • David Anderson - $46,000 (includes $30,000 loan)
  • Joel Rubin - report not required (recently filed candidate)

4th Congressional District
  • Glenn Ivey - $391,461
  • Joseline Pena-Melnyk - $304,534
  • Anthony Brown - $252,982
  • Dereck Davis - $206,031
  • Ingrid Turner - $135,234 (includes $120,000 loan)
  • Lisa Ransom - $1,489 (also filed Termination Report)

United States Senate

Donna Edwards (information via press release)

  • Donations Raised Q3 (July to September 2015): $638,525
  • Donations Raised Year to Date: $1.5 million
  • Current Cash on Hand: $368,507

Chris Van Hollen (information via Washington Post article)

  • Donations Raised Q3 (July to September 2015): $950,000
  • Donations Raised Year to Date: $5,168,263
  • Current Cash on Hand: $4.1 million

8th Congressional District

David Anderson (information via FEC)

  • Donations Raised Q3 (July to September 2015): $38,107 (includes $13,540 personal donation)
  • Donations Raised Year to Date: $38,107 (includes $13,540 personal donation)
  • Current Cash on Hand: $48,099 (includes $30,000 loan)

Kumar Barve (information via Maryland Scramble article)

  • Donations Raised Q3 (July to September 2015): $132,505
  • Donations Raised Year to Date: $423,967
  • Current Cash on Hand: $276,344

Ana Sol Gutierrez (information via FEC)
  • Donations Raised Q3 (July to September 2015): $55,817
  • Donations Raised Year to Date: $118,227
  • Current Cash on Hand: $151,573 (includes $44,500 loan)

Will Jawando (information via Baltimore Sun article)

  • Donations Raised Q3 (July to September 2015): $162,650
  • Donations Raised Year to Date: $275,005
  • Current Cash on Hand: $196,481

Kathleen Matthews (information via press release)

  • Donations Raised Q3 (July to September 2015): $564,221
  • Donations Raised Year to Date: $1,065,327
  • Current Cash on Hand: $891,716

Jamie Raskin (information via FEC)

  • Donations Raised Q3 (July to September 2015): $375,199
  • Donations Raised Year to Date: $928,718
  • Current Cash on Hand: $693,918

Joel Rubin
  • Donations Raised Q3 (July to September 2015): report not required (recently filed candidate)
  • Donations Raised Year to Date: report not required (recently filed candidate)
  • Current Cash on Hand: report not required (recently filed candidate)


4th Congressional District

Anthony Brown (information via FEC)

  • Donations Raised Q3 (July to September 2015): $179,924
  • Donations Raised Year to Date: $349,043
  • Current Cash on Hand: (Q3 Report Not Filed Yet): $252,982

Dereck Davis (information via FEC)
  • Donations Raised Q3 (July to September 2015): $125,195
  • Donations Raised Year to Date: $313,327
  • Current Cash on Hand: $206,031

Glenn Ivey (information via FEC)

  • Donations Raised Q3 (July to September 2015): $127,214
  • Donations Raised Year to Date: $518,324
  • Current Cash on Hand: $391,461

Joseline Pena-Melnyk (information via FEC)

  • Donations Raised Q3 (July to September 2015): $139,471
  • Donations Raised Year to Date: $364,631
  • Current Cash on Hand: $304,534

Lisa Ransom (information via FEC)
  • Donations Raised Q3 (July to September 2015): $5,645
  • Donations Raised Year to Date: $10,115
  • Current Cash on Hand: $1,489

Ingrid Turner (information via FEC)
  • Donations Raised Q3 (July to September 2015): $15,292
  • Donations Raised Year to Date: $56,150
  • Current Cash on Hand: $135,234 (includes $120,000 loan)


Non-Open Seat U.S. House Incumbents

Elijah Cummings (information via FEC)
  • Donations Raised Q3 (July to September 2015): $135,474
  • Donations Raised Year to Date: $369,664
  • Current Cash on Hand: $980,916

John Delaney (information via FEC)
  • Donations Raised Q3 (July to September 2015): $128,006
  • Donations Raised Year to Date: $634,180
  • Current Cash on Hand: $308,881

Andy Harris (R) (information via FEC)
  • Donations Raised Q3 (July to September 2015): $71,484
  • Donations Raised Year to Date: $493,682
  • Current Cash on Hand: $574,022

Steny Hoyer (information via FEC)
  • Donations Raised Q3 (July to September 2015): $376,815
  • Donations Raised Year to Date: $1,413,456
  • Current Cash on Hand: $649,791

Dutch Ruppersberger (information via FEC)
  • Donations Raised Q3 (July to September 2015): $109,651
  • Donations Raised Year to Date: $389,363
  • Current Cash on Hand: $1,054,808

John Sarbanes  (information via FEC)
  • Donations Raised Q3 (July to September 2015): $116,515
  • Donations Raised Year to Date: $349,191
  • Current Cash on Hand: $872,213

Select GOP Challengers

Mark Plaster [CD3] (information via FEC)
  • Donations Raised Q3 (July to September 2015): $27,275
  • Donations Raised Year to Date: $106,833 (includes $50,100 personal contrib)
  • Current Cash on Hand: $33,065

Mike Smigiel [CD1] (information via FEC)
  • Donations Raised Q3 (July to September 2015): $2,707
  • Donations Raised Year to Date:$12,534
  • Current Cash on Hand: $3,131

David Vogt [CD6] (information via FEC)
  • Donations Raised Q3 (July to September 2015): $34,482
  • Donations Raised Year to Date: $50,062
  • Current Cash on Hand: $29,042

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

NEW DELEGATES: Who'll Fill Maryland's 2 Vacant House Seats? // The Replacements for Jim Proctor & Will Campos in 27A & 47B

BACKGROUND: Maryland currently has two vacancies in the House of Delegates, due to the recent passing of Delegate Jim Proctor and the resignation of Delegate Will Campos for personal reasons. Both members of the General Assembly served as Democrats, and under Maryland law, the vacancies will be filled by a vote of the elected Democratic Central Committees representing the counties where the members previously served. The recommendations of these county Central Committees are then sent to the Governor for formal appointment.

Notably, Delegate Will Campos' District 47B is contained wholly within Prince George's County. As a result, the elected members of the Prince George's County Democratic Central Committee get to make the recommendation for Campos' replacement. In contrast, Delegate Jim Proctor's District 27A is contained within both Prince George's County and Charles County. Correspondingly, both counties' Democratic Central Committees take independent votes on a replacement for Delegate Proctor. Though the appointment process is not yet complete in either legislative district, we have a very good sense of who will replace Delegates Jim Proctor and Will Campos:
  • Likely Replacement in District 27A: Susie Proctor
  • Likely Replacement in District 47B: Carlo Sanchez

DEMOCRATIC CENTRAL COMMITTEES CHOOSE SANCHEZ & PROCTOR - The Prince George's County Democratic Central Committee (PGCDCC) met on October 6th to nominate people to fill the Delegate vacancies in D27A and D47B.  Without any of the drama or backroom chaos that often accompanies these procedures (on both sides of the aisle), the PGCDCC unanimously recommended Susie Proctor and Carlo Sanchez to fill the vacancies for District 27A and 47B, respectively. These names are submitted to Governor Larry Hogan, who has fifteen days to make the appointment.

For Mr. Sanchez, the process effectively concluded last night since District 47B is completely within Prince George's County, but Proctor's District 27A also includes portions of Charles County - so that Central Committee must weigh in as well for the second vacant seat. Article III, Section 13 (b) (3) states (excerpt below, emphasis mine):
If the vacancy occurs in a district which has boundaries comprising a portion or all of two or more counties, the Central Committee of each county involved shall have one vote for submitting the name of a resident of the district; and if there is a tie vote between or among the Central Committees, the list of names there proposed shall be submitted to the Governor, and he shall make the appointment from the list
Earlier this evening, the Charles County Democratic Central Committee joined their Prince George's counterparts in recommending Susie Proctor for the D27A vacancy by a vote of 14-1. Proctor faced competition from Charles County Orphans Court Judge Darlene Breck, and activist and former Commissioner-candidate Jim Easter.

MD'S UNIQUE PROCESS FOR FILLING STATE LEGISLATIVE VACANCIES - Maryland is one of 25 states that fill legislative vacancies through an appointment process, while the other 25 (including Delaware, Pennsylvania and Virginia) have special elections. While the Governor makes the formal appointment, the Maryland Constitution stipulates that the appointee must of be of the same political party as the person they succeed and carves out a role for the local Central Committee. Article III, Section 13 (a) (1) lays it out (excerpt below, emphasis mine):
In case of death, disqualification, resignation, refusal to act, expulsion, or removal from the county or city for which he shall have been elected, of any person who shall have been chosen as a Delegate or Senator, or in case of a tie between two or more such qualified persons, the Governor shall appoint a person to fill such vacancy from a person whose name shall be submitted to him in writing, within thirty days after the occurrence of the vacancy, by the Central Committee of the political party, if any, with which the Delegate or Senator, so vacating, had been affiliated, at the time of the last election or appointment of the vacating Senator or Delegate, in the County or District from which he or she was appointed or elected, provided that the appointee shall be of the same political party, if any, as was that of the Delegate or Senator, whose office is to be filled, at the time of the last election or appointment of the vacating Delegate or Senator, and it shall be the duty of the Governor to make said appointment within fifteen days after the submission thereof to him.

Carlo Sanchez
WHO IS CARLO SANCHEZ? - Carlo Sanchez's name was mentioned immediately following Del. Campos' resignation. He's a lifelong resident of House of Delegates District 47B, and is currently President of the Carole Highlands Civic Association. While the Prince George's Central Committee is his first elected position (he is the body's Secretary), Carlo has been active in local campaigns including managing Wanda Shelton Martin's unsuccessful bid for Delegate in the 47th in 2010. Carlo currently works as Public Safety Training Officer at Montgomery College.

Mr. Sanchez received the backing of Senator Ramirez and the 47th Delegation, and surprisingly no one else threw their hat in the ring. Other names that were floated include Dinora Hernandez who sits on the Price George's County Board of Education, and former Jolene Ivey-aide Wanika Fisher. Carlo's appointment would keep the number of Latino state legislators at 6. Maryland is home to more than 500,000 Hispanic residents. District 47B is the state's first Hispanic-majority district.


Susie Proctor
WHO IS SUSIE PROCTOR? - Susie Proctor is widely assumed to be the choice to complete her husband's term in the House of Delegates. The support of Senate President Mike Miller, who represents District 27, likely sealed the deal . Susie is a former educator, having worked for Prince George's County Public Schools for 30 years. She has not run for elected office before, but is the Vice Chairman of the Prince George's Community College Board of Trustees and Chair of the County Tax Assessment Appeal Board.

Widow/widower succession is not a new concept nationally or locally. Maryland examples includes former Congresswoman Beverly Byron, former Delegate Mary Conroy and former Montgomery County Councilmember Don Praisner.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Maryland Juice Is Back! - Meet Our New Writer (And Hopefully More Soon) // So What Now? We Kind of Have An Idea....

Aaaaand we're back! Sorry for the 10 month hiatus, but Maryland Juice founder David Moon stepped away from his writing duties to learn how to become a lawmaker in Annapolis. During that period, a lot of good political news went uncovered, but in recent months some new blogs and local publications have stepped into the Maryland press void. We hope to re-join this community in the coming weeks -- but as always, we will do so from the lens of Maryland's progressive Democratic community, with a twist of civil liberties and justice blended into your juice. :)

Unfortunately (or fortunately), Maryland Juice 1.0 (David Moon) will be taking an indefinite hiatus from his writing duties and lining up new writers for the blog. During this transition period, he'll be helping the new writers understand the readership data for Maryland Juice, it's writing style, etc. The goal will be to keep the mission of the blog the same (eg: justice oriented Maryland political news), but to bring some new voices into the mix. That being said, all story ideas and press distribution should go to the new writers. Moon is going to be shifting into a passive role with the blog. We'll see where this takes us.....

OH SNAP, NEW WRITERS! - The first of the new writers under the Maryland Juice 2.0 reboot will be Matt Verghese, a Montgomery County-based Democratic politico. He's kicking us off with a handful of articles on voter suppression in MoCo, endorsements in Maryland's Congressional races, and a summary of recent state polling results. Add this guy to your press list & send him some juicy leads: matt@marylandjuice.com.

Meet Matt Verghese, a Maryland Juice 2.0 writer

WHO IS THIS GUY ANYWAY? - Matt Verghese comes to Maryland Juice after a long stint in Annapolis - including working for the General Assembly, serving as Political and Communications Director of the Maryland Democratic Party, and as Lt. Governor Anthony Brown's Deputy Chief of Staff. He's been involved in a number of campaigns - including Governor O'Malley's 2010 reelect, serving as Deputy Coordinated Campaign Director in 2012, and the 2014 gubernatorial race. He currently works as a Senior Aide to Tom Hucker at the Montgomery County Council.

Matt is lover of all things Maryland - especially the Terps, berger cookies, crabs smothered in Old Bay, and local craft beers. He's opinionated (extremely so according to some), happily biased against outdated trickle-down reactionary policies and the politicians who espouse them, and a wonkish enthusiast of data, tables and charts. Matt lives in Montgomery County and is a proud graduate of MCPS. He received both his bachelor and master's degrees from the University of Maryland. You can reach Matt Verghese at matt@marylandjuice.com.

ALL IN ONE PLACE: A List of Endorsements in Maryland's 8th & 4th Congressional Districts // Do These Endorsements Matter?

Below Maryland Juice provides a round-up of endorsements for each Democrat running in the state's two open-seat races for the U.S. House of Representatives: 1) the 8th Congressional District (currently held by Rep. Chris Van Hollen) and 2) the 4th Congressional District (currently held by Rep. Donna Edwards).

DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY ENDORSEMENTS IN MD'S 8TH AND 4TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT - We included endorsements from organizations, current elected officials, and former elected officials. We also included labor unions whose donations appeared on the candidates' campaign finance reports. Candidates not listed below are Democrats who have not announced any endorsements we are aware of. 

If you think we've missed anything, please contact me at matt@marylandjuice.com.

QUICK TAKE -- DO ENDORSEMENTS MATTER? - Voters often say that political endorsements don't influence their decision making. Celebrities, newspapers and even faith leaders don't do much better. Why? Voters want to see themselves as independent decision makers not overly influenced to cast a ballot because some editorial board or politician told them to. But in a race where issues and ideology don't distinguish the candidates, endorsements might help voters decide (maybe more than they're willing admit). The competition for endorsements is often part of a behind-the-scenes "invisible primary" among the political class, and when there is often limited press coverage of these primaries - endorsements often guarantee (positive) media attention.

With 5 current members of the General Assembly running for Congress -- including 3 committee chairs -- the Annapolis undercurrents are not difficult to see (eg: 10 members of Economic Matters endorsing their Chairman Dereck Davis in the 4th District, House Speaker Mike Busch and Senate President Mike Miller endorsing their respective colleagues). Personal relationships matter too (see eg: Rep. Sarbanes endorsing law school classmate Sen. Raskin, County Executive Baker backing longtime family friend Glenn Ivey, etc).

What are the marquee endorsements? Those that bring with them money, people and attention. That's why labor matters, as do persons with high recognition and approval among the electorate (current and former Presidents top that list). Important to note that since this election is in a purely federal cycle without state races on the ballot, many state and local electeds cannot expend their state campaign finance warchests on behalf of their chosen federal candidates.

Don't count anyone out yet, because there's still one thing that could potentially make the biggest difference in today's post-Citizen's United and McCutheon campaign-world: A super PAC.          

8TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT ENDORSEMENTS

Jamie Raskin

National Organizations:
  • Democracy for America
  • International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers PAC (donation)
  • Progressive Change Campaign Committee
  • Progressive Democrats of America
Federal Elected Officials:
  • US House Rep John Conyers (MI)
  • US House Rep John Sarbanes (MD)
  • US House Rep Mark Takano (CA)
  • Former US Senator Birch Bayh (IN)
  • Former US Senator Joseph Tydings (MD)
State Elected Officials:
  • Attorney General Brian Frosh
  • Former Attorney General Doug Gansler
  • State Senate President Mike Miller
  • State Senate Majority Leader Catherine Pugh
  • State Senator John Astle
  • State Senator James Brochin
  • State Senator Ed DeGrange
  • State Senator Nathaniel McFadden
  • State Senator Mac Middleton
  • State Senator Susan Lee
  • State Senator Rich Madaleno
  • State Senator Karen Montgomery
  • State Senator Douglass JJ Peters
  • State Senator Paul Pinsky
  • State Senator Victor Ramirez
  • State Senator Jim Rosapepe
  • State Senator Ron Young
  • State Senator Bobby Zirkin
  • Delegate Sheila Hixson
  • Delegate Karen Lewis Young
  • Delegate David Moon
  • Delegate Will Smith
  • Delegate Jimmy Tarlau
  • Former Delegate Gil Genn
Local Elected Officials:
  • Montgomery County Sheriff Darren Popkin
  • Montgomery County State's Attorney John McCarthy
  • Montgomery County Planning Board Chair Casey Anderson
  • Montgomery County Council President George Leventhal
  • Montgomery County Councilmember Roger Berliner
  • Montgomery County Councilmember Hans Riemer
  • Montgomery County Councilmember Marc Elrich
  • Montgomery County Board of Education President Pat O'Neill
  • Montgomery County Board of Education member Judy Docca
  • Montgomery County Board of Education member Rebecca Smondrowski
  • Former Montgomery County Board of Education President Shirley Brandman
  • Takoma Park Mayor Bruce Williams
  • Takoma Park City Councilmember Kate Stewart
  • Takoma Park City Councilmember Seth Grimes
  • Takoma Park City Councilmember Fred Schultz
  • Takoma Park City Councilmember Terry Seamens
  • Takoma Park City Councilmember Jarrett Smith
  • Kensington Mayor Pete Fosselman
  • Kensington City Councilmember Paul Sexton
  • Rockville City Councilmember Tom Moore
  • Martin's Addition Councilmember Josh Bowers
  • Chevy Chase Village Board of Managers member Minh Le
  • Former Mayor of the Town of Chevy Chase Mier Wolf

Kathleen Matthews


Federal Elected Officials:
  • US House Rep Cheri Bustos (IL)
  • US House Rep Katherine Clark (MA)
  • US House Rep Debbie Dingell (MI)
  • US House Rep Anna Eshoo (CA)
  • US House Rep Lois Frankel (FL)
  • US House Rep Ann McLane Kuster (NH)
  • Former US House Rep Beverly Byron (MD)

Kumar Barve

Organizations:
  • Maryland Medical Political Action Committee
State Elected Officials:
  • Maryland House Speaker Mike Busch
  • House Speaker Pro Tem Adrienne Jones
  • Former Maryland Speaker Cas Taylor
  • Former Maryland Speaker Clayton Mitchell
  • Former Senator Jennie Forehand
  • Delegate Pamela Beidle
  • Delegate Talmadge Branch
  • Delegate David Fraser-Hidalgo
  • Delegate Barbara Frush
  • Delegate Jim Gilchrist
  • Delegate Anne Healey
  • Delegate Marvin Holmes
  • Delegate Carol Krimm
  • Delegate Steven Lafferty
  • Delegate Clarence Lam
  • Delegate Eric Leudtke
  • Delegate Cory McCray
  • Delegate Aruna Miller
  • Delegate Andrew Platt
  • Delegate Shane Robinson
  • Delegate Dana Stein
  • Delegate Joe Vallario
  • Delegate Craig Zucker
  • Former Delegate John Hurson
  • Former Delegate Carol Petzold
  • Former Delegate Galen Claggett
Local Elected Officials:
  • Garrett Park Mayor Peter Benjamin
  • Westminster Councilmember Greg Pecoraro
  • Former Montgomery County Board of Education Member Alan Cheung

Ana Sol Gutierrez

Organizations:
  • Poder PAC


4TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT ENDORSEMENTS

Joseline Pena-Melynk

Organizations:
  • Blue America
  • Congressional Hispanic Caucus BOLD PAC
  • Democracy for America
  • International Association of Heat & Frost Insulators PAC (donation)
  • Poder PAC
  • Progressive Change Campaign Committee
State Elected Officials:
  • State Senator Jim Rosapepe
  • Delegate Ben Barnes
  • Delegate Pam Beidle
  • Delegate Mark Chang
  • Delegate Barbara Frush
  • Delegate Peter Hammen
  • Delegate Anne Healey
  • Delegate Shane Pendergrass
  • Delegate Ted Sophocleus
Local Elected Officials:
  • Prince George’s Councilmember Mary Lehman
  • Prince George’s Councilmember Danielle Glaros
  • Prince George’s Board of Education Member Lupi Grady
  • Anne Arundel Councilmember Andrew Prusky
  • Anne Arundel Board of Education Member Stacy Korbelak
  • Anne Arundel Board of Education Member Julie Hummer
  • Laurel Mayor Craig Moe 
  • Laurel City Council President H. Edward Ricks
  • Laurel City Councilmember Michael Leszcz
  • Laurel City Councilmember Valerie Nicholas
  • Laurel City Councilmember Frederick Smalls
  • Laurel City Councilmember Donna Crary
  • Mount Rainier Councilmember Tracy Loh
  • Former Prince George’s Councilmember Tom Dernoga
  • Former Laurel Mayor Robert DiPietro


Dereck Davis

State Elected Officials:
  • Delegate Angela Angel
  • Delegate Vanessa Atterbeary 
  • Delegate Charley Barkley
  • Delegate Darryl Barnes
  • Delegate Ben Brooks
  • Delegate Ned Carey
  • Delegate Bill Frick
  • Delegate Cheryl Glenn
  • Delegate Adrienne Jones
  • Delegate Ben Kramer
  • Delegate Mary Ann Lisanti
  • Delegate Sally Jameson
  • Delegate Will Smith
  • Delegate Frank Turner
  • Delegate Joe Vallario
  • Delegate Michael Vaughn
  • Delegate Jay Walker
  • Delegate C.T. Wilson
Local Elected Officials:
  • Prince George’s Councilmember Derrick L Davis

Glenn Ivey

Organizations:
  • International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 26

State Elected Officials:
  • State Senator Victor Ramirez
  • Former Delegate Will Campos

Local Elected Officials:
  • Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker
  • Brentwood Mayor Rocio Treminio-Lopez

Anthony Brown

Organizations:
  • VoteVets PAC


Once again, if you think we've missed anything, please contact me at matt@marylandjuice.com.

POLL: MD Supports Obama, Hogan, Pot & Immigrants (1 Is Not Like The Others) // PLUS: Marylanders on Presidential Race

Below Maryland Juice provides highlights from a new Goucher Poll on the Presidential race, Governor Larry Hogan and a few policy debates. You can see the summary data below. A few quick items of interest:
  1. Slim majorities of Marylanders approve of Larry Hogan & Barack Obama's jobs, but many residents don't yet have an opinion on Hogan.
  2. Governor Hogan's issue ratings are lower, and he receives his lowest marks on education -- the most important issues facing the state and the only issue where Democrats disapprove 
  3. Marylanders support marijuana legalization, and a super-majority of residents support a path to citizenship for undocumented residents.
  4. Marylanders disapprove of the job Congress is doing by a whopping 83%.
  5. It's early in the Presidential race, but Hillary Clinton tops the polls for Maryland Democrats & Martin O'Malley is scraping the bottom in his own state

Who Would Maryland Democrats Vote for in Presidential Primary?
  • Hillary Clinton: 43%
  • Joe Biden: 23%
  • Bernie Sanders: 17%
  • Martin O'Malley: 2%

Who Do Maryland Democrats Think Will Win Nomination?
  • Hillary Clinton: 54%
  • Joe Biden: 14%
  • Bernie Sanders: 8%

Marylanders' Approval of Governor Hogan's Job as Governor:
  • Approve: 58%
  • Disapprove: 18%
  • Don't Know: 23%

Marylanders' Approval of Governor Hogan's Handling of Issues (ranked by importance):

Approve Disapprove
Public education 40 33 +7
Taxes 51 29 +22
Economic growth 52 21 +31
Job creation 42 28 +14
Crime 43 32 +11
Transportation 50 29 +21
Environment 43 27 +16


Marylanders' Approval of President Obama's Job as President:
  • Approve: 53%
  • Disapprove: 38%
  • Don't Know: 7%

Marylanders' Approval of Congress' Job:
  • Disapprove: 83%
  • Approve: 9%
  • Don't Know: 7%

Marylanders on Marijuana Legalization:
  • Support Legalization: 52%
  • Oppose Legalization: 42%

Marylanders on Who Should Decide Marijuana Policy:
  • States Should Decide: 64%
  • Federal Government Should Decide: 31%

Marylanders on Redistricting:
  • Prefer Independent Commission: 73%
  • Prefer Redistricting by Electeds: 21%

Marylanders on Starting School After Labor Day:
  • Support Starting After Labor Day: 72%
  • Oppose Starting After Labor Day: 19%

Marylanders on Undocumented Immigrants:
  • Allow Them to Stay In Jobs With Path to Citizenship: 62%
  • Make Them Leave Jobs & the USA: 20%
  • Allow Them to Stay Temporarly In Jobs Without Path to Citizenship: 13%

GOP War on Voting Comes to MoCo // MD Board of Elections to Vote OCT 15 on Ending Early Voting Sites: Here's the Process

Here we go again.... Four months after Governor Larry Hogan vetoed a bill to restore voting rights to 40,000 people returning to society from prison, the Maryland GOP is back at it. The Washington Post reported on controversy swirling around a recent decision by the Republican-led Montgomery County Board of Elections (MCBOE) to replace two of nine high-performing early voting sites with less populated polling locations closer to Republicans (excerpt below, emphasis mine):
WASHINGTON POST: The Republican majority on the Montgomery County Board of Elections, led by an appointee of Gov. Larry Hogan (R), voted Monday to shift two heavily used early-voting sites to less populous locations, prompting Democratic charges­ of voter suppression. 
The board voted 3 to 2 to move early voting from the Marilyn Praisner Community Center in Burtonsville, which serves high-poverty East County communities along U.S. 29, to the Longwood Community Recreation Center in Brookeville, 13 miles to the northwest. The panel also shifted early balloting from the Jane Lawton Community Recreation Center in Chevy Chase, about a half-mile from the Bethesda Metro station, to the Potomac Community Recreation Center, on Falls Road, 10 miles to the northwest....

THE PROCESS: WHAT HAPPENED & WHAT COMES NEXT: Notably, the party of the Governor (now a Republican) gets to appoint members to county boards of election. Montgomery County's board is now made up of three Republicans and two Democrats:
  • Jim Shalleck, President - Republican
  • Nahid Khozeimeh, Vice President - Republican
  • Mary Ann Keeffe, Secretary - Democrat
  • Alexander Vincent, Board Member - Republican
  • David Naimon, Board Member - Democrat

Notably, Jim Shalleck was the 2014 Republican candidate for Montgomery County Executive and formerly chaired the MoCo Republican Party. After listening to public testimony on Montgomery County's early vote locations, the MCBOE took a partly line vote (3-2) to close two early voting centers and replace them with locations closer to Republicans. The Montgomery County Republicans' proposal now heads to the five-member State Board of Elections (SBOE) for a final vote on October 15th. Notably the SBOE also now has a Republican majority, but one more person has to weigh in before this vote occurs: Linda Lamone, the State Administrator of the Board of Elections. Code of Maryland Regulation 33.17.02.02F states (excerpt below):
MARYLAND CODE: Upon receipt of a form for a proposed early voting center, the State Administrator shall review and make a recommendation to the State Board as to whether to accept or reject the proposed early voting center....
Lamone could base a recommendation against the GOP's early voting proposal based on criteria listed in state regulations, including provisions that polling locations be "served by public transportation and roads" and have "parking facilities sufficient for early voting." Notably Lamone has served as Maryland's State Administrator since Governor Paris Glendening and previously foiled an attempt by Republican Governor Bob Ehrlich to remove her from her position.

The provision that sites be "served by public transportation" could be problematic for the Republicans' proposal to close the Burtonsville site and replace it with one at the Longwood Community Recreation Center in Brookeville. Only one bus route serves the Brookeville site (Ride On Route 53, with a stop .3 miles from the polls), and the bus only runs in the morning and evening on weekdays. Meanwhile, early voting is open all day.

If Lamone were to recommend against the early voting changes, it would take a super-majority of the SBOE to approve the Montgomery County Republicans' proposal. And if all else fails in stopping the Republican voter suppression effort, there is one final backstop: A few state legislators representing Montgomery County are contemplating legislation to increase the county's number of early voting sites from nine to eleven, using the two additional sites to restore polling locations in Chevy Chase and Burtonsville. The Washington Post's Bill Turque reported on this backstop legislation (excerpt below):
WASHINGTON POST: State Sen. Rich Madaleno (D-Montgomery) said Wednesday that when the general Assembly reconvenes in January, he and Del. Eric Luedtke (D-Montgomery) will introduce a measure to expand the number of early voting sites in the county from nine to 11. The bill would restore the Marilyn Praisner Community Recreation Center in Burtonsville and the Jane Lawton Community Recreation Center in Chevy Chase to the list while retaining the two new sites selected by the board, Longwood Community Recreation Center in Brookeville and Potomac Community Recreation Center in Potomac....

[GOP MCBOE Chair] Shalleck said his only goal was to improve the “geographic diversity” of the sites, creating access to early voting for communities that have had none. But County Council staff have raised questions about whether the Longwood site meets all the Maryland criteria for early voting centers, specifically access to public transportation. [County Counicilmember Nancy] Navarro said the measure sponsored by Madaleno and Leudtke was “ a great idea. I’m really hoping this could be a fix,” she said....

 

VIDEO OF GOP BOARD OF ELECTIONS MEMBERS DISCUSSING THE CHANGES: In response to the controversy, Montgomery County Councilmembers held a public hearing to question the county Board of Elections (MCBOE) about the motivation for these changes. In the video clip below (posted by Councilmember Tom Hucker) you can see the recently appointed Republican Chair of the MCBOE Jim Shalleck admit that:
  1. Replacing the Burtonsville and Chevy Chase early voting sites with ones closer to Republicans would mean fewer voters live close to an early vote polling location
  2. Not a single person who testified at a public hearing about polling locations called for closing the Burtonsville or Chevy Chase polling locations
  3. Not a single person testified in favor of the proposed new sites in the less densely populated neighborhoods
  4. Republican members of the MCBOE held private calls with Republican Party leaders about changing the early voting sites


Let’s break the Republicans' decision down:

IMPACT OF THE GOP'S PROPOSED EARLY VOTING CHANGES: The move by the GOP Board to "expand the geographic reach of early voting" may seem innocuous, but is hard to see as anything but a partisan move -- instead of one based on fair and efficient election administration. Congressman Van Hollen points out that Chevy Chase's Lawton Community Center is the only western down-county early voting site within walking distance of a Metro station. The Republicans are proposing to close this polling location and open a new one in a far-less populated area in Potomac that is not Metro-accessible.

But what is most suspect about the GOP’s proposal is how it moves early voting away from the high concentration of minority voters in East County. You can visualize what the impact of this change by using the Racial Dot Map from the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service. The black star on the map below is the current Burtonsville early voting center. The shading around the star represents the concentration of minority voters:

Borders reflect approximately 5 mile radius from Praisner Center

The same voter suppression in Burtonsville holds true for lower-income voters. The following map was created using the Synthetic Population Viewer developed by RTI International. Again, the star represents the Burtonsville early voting site, and the shading near the site represents lower income voters:



Unsurprisingly, these voters tend to vote Democratic. By comparison, the precincts around the Republicans proposed new site in Brookeville are among the handful of areas that Governor Hogan won in Montgomery County in 2014. The black star below represents the GOP's proposed new site in Brookeville, and the shading around the star represents the concentration of the Republican vote:



Thousands of low-income minority and Democratic-leaning voters will now be over 10 miles away from the nearest early voting center. But election data in Maryland show that the closer you are to an early voting site, the more likely you are to use it.

WHY THIS MATTERS IN 2016: Early voting use has surged (especially among young voters, African Americans and Hispanic voters)  but its impact on turnout is mixed. Should we care then about these changes to early voting, especially when our friends across the aisle portend we don’t even need early voting since we can vote by absentee for any reason at all?

One big reason is a new Maryland law taking effect that allows same day voter registration. Starting in 2016, Maryland residents can register to vote and cast a ballot at any early voting center for 8 days. According to Demos, same-day registration would increase overall turnout especially among young adults, voters of color and low-income families. Research even suggests  that voter turnout is maximized when same day registration is coupled with early voting. Moving early voter centers away from the voters most likely to benefit from same day registration? This is surely not the intention of the GOP....

BUT IT COULD’VE BEEN WORSE (HA): Facing perhaps unexpected pressure from the press and elected officials to fully explain their rationale for the early voting changes  -- Republican MCBOE Chair Jim Shalleck warned Kate Ryan of WTOP that it could’ve been much worse (transcript below, emphasis mine):
JIM SHALLECK: If we wanted to be political we could’ve cut Silver Spring and Wheaton - the two most heavily Democratic voting sites. But we didn’t.
The Republican Chairman's defense boils down to the fact that they could've suppressed even more voters than they did.  Beyond that Mr. Shalleck’s friends in the Montgomery County GOP put out a near incoherent statement of support spreading falsehoods - asserting that the Praisner site is “heavily used by residents of PG County” (unlikely per Maryland Election Law §3–305) or that Republicans are “making the early voting process more convenient” (tell that to the Burtonsville voters who has to take a 2 hour one-way bus ride to register to vote or cast a ballot).

EARLY VOTING WORKS WELL FOR MINORITIES AND LOW-INCOME VOTERS: The Washington Post’s Emily Badger makes a persuasive economic case about why early voting is important to minorities and low-income voters (excerpt below, emphasis mine)
WASHINGTON POST: Early voting is intimately bound up in race, not simply because minorities are more likely to take advantage of it, but because the policy itself addresses systemic barriers they face. When we decide to vote, we're not simply making a calculation about whether we like the candidates, or care about the issues at stake, or value the abstract idea of democracy. We also have to make calculations about how to get to the polls, whether we can spare the time to go there, and who will watch the kids while we're gone. 
These costs associated with voting — in lost pay, in childcare, in transit fares — are higher for minorities and the poor. Which is why they are among the largest beneficiaries of early, flexible voting.

Act now to stop the Maryland Republicans' voter suppression efforts: