Sunday, November 29, 2015

Rep. Chris Van Hollen Jumps Into Lead in Maryland's Open Seat US Senate Race After Early Ad Campaign Spending


With 150 days left to go until Maryland’s April 26 primary, Representative Chris Van Hollen has leapfrogged over Congresswoman Donna Edwards to take a large lead in the Democratic primary according to a new poll by the The Baltimore Sun and the University of Baltimore.

Vote
Van Hollen
45
Edwards
31
Other
3
Undecided
21

A BIG JUMP: A month after a random digit dial The Washington Post-UMD poll gave Edwards a large 10 point lead (38-28), Van Hollen is now up a whopping 14 points. 45% of likely primary voters choose him, while only 31% side with Edwards. An August Global Strategy Group internal poll for the Edwards campaign said Van Hollen was behind 37-42.

While one should be cautious when comparing polls by different organizations, the newest numbers suggest not only a significant uptick in support for Van Hollen but a dramatic erosion of support for Edwards. While the Sun has not released full crosstabs of their poll, they note that Van Hollen is performing “remarkably well” with women and African American voters. Van Hollen is winning female voters by 7% and is attracts almost 30% of support from black voters.

One of five voters remain undecided, and Edwards would need almost all of them to break for her.

REAPING THE REWARDS : Unknown in the Baltimore region - even though Ambassador Chris Van Hollen Sr. was born there - Van Hollen’s campaign decided to invest resources in early ads on broadcast and cable television in the relatively inexpensive Baltimore media market . In three introductory spots, Baltimore voters heard Chris Van Hollen was “a hero to environmentalists, education groups and gun control advocates,” is “not afraid to take on the special interests” and “led the fight to stop Republican cuts to Social Security and end their special deals for Wall Street.

The exact size of the month long ad buy is unknown, they seem to have been incredibly effective. Van Hollen is leading by 16 points in Baltimore City - a jurisdiction that both Anthony Brown and Kweisi Mfume won convincingly in their primaries. In the wider Baltimore region, Van Hollen’s lead expands to 2:1.

STICK A FORK IN IT? The Edwards camp who had been loudly touting her strong poll numbers until now, cannot be happy. She was already running out of cash and this new poll is a broadside on her continued viability as a statewide candidate. The demographics may be on her side, but attracting new supporters could be difficult if they don’t believe she can win. And another disappointing fundraising quarter could give any national organization serious reservations about bailing out a floundering campaign facing an uphill climb.

Edwards likely knows the facts on the ground. She’s been spending a lot of time in Baltimore and her campaign just opened up an office in the City last week. But unless she can compete on the airwaves, the campaign will not be able to reach enough voters to make a difference. The three #McConnelling B-roll videos she has put up simply won’t do the trick.

STILL WAITING ON CUMMINGS: Everyone’s still formally waiting on Representative Elijah Cummings to make his intentions on the US Senate race publicly known, but signals still point to the Baltimore Congressman staying in the House.

This poll finds Cummings leading the field by 12 points with 40%, Van Hollen second at 28% and Edwards bringing up the rear with 19%.

State Senator Jamie Raskin Leads In Internal Poll // First Look at Maryland 8th Congressional District Democratic Primary

The first publicly released poll in 8th Congressional District Democratic primary finds State Senator Jamie Raskin with an early lead over his closest competitor - Kathleen Matthews. GBA Strategies - which polled in Maryland in 2014 - conducted the poll for the Raskin campaign.

We tend to take internal polls with a grain of salt, but still this is our first look at where the race stands as we head into 2016.

TOP LINE: Raskin leads the crowded field with 30% of the vote. The poll surveyed 500 likely Democratic primary voters and has a margin of error of +/- 4.4%

Vote
Name ID
Raskin
30
49
Matthews
21
53
Gutierrez
11
42
Barve
5
30
Anderson
3
Jawando
2
22
Rubin
0
Other/Unsure
28


FRONTRUNNERS: The poll seemingly confirms that Raskin and Matthews are the frontrunners in the race. Raskin’s lead isn’t particularly surprising given his longstanding work with and popularity among Montgomery County’s progressive base, many of whom have cast ballots for him before. On the other hand, while it is likely that primary voters may remember and like Matthews from her time as a news anchor, they may not be ready to vote for her until they know  more about this first-time candidate's positions and other relevant experience. This will likely change during the course of the campaign.

The polling memo notes that Raskin posts large leads over Matthews in his home district D20 (+43) and in nearby D18 (+30), but his smaller district-wide lead suggests Matthews is  stronger in Bethesda, Rockville and outside Montgomery County. The polls fails to mention if there is a gender gap (which could be critical for a Matthews victory).

As expected, Matthews' campaign manager's response was on-message:  
MATTHEWS CM ETHAN SUSSLES: This poll shows that a majority of Democratic voters are looking for a fresh approach and Kathleen has a track record of getting things done, putting women and families first, and the international experience we need in these challenging times,
BRINGING UP THE REAR: The second tier of candidates is led by Delegate Ana Sol Gutierrez who has been significantly outraised by Delegate Kumar Barve and Will Jawando - both of whom now trail her significantly in this poll. Gutierrez - who is the only Hispanic candidate in the race - benefits from greater name ID having been in public office for the last quarter century

With five months to go and barely any paid advertising in the race, nearly 1 out of 3 voters remain undecided. The composition of the group is key but unspecified.

You can read the full Raskin polling memo here.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Gov. Larry Hogan Tows Trump & Carson's Party Line on Syrian Refugees // Will HoCo's Exec Allan Kittleman Break With GOP?

A SHAME IN MARYLAND: In the week following the tragic terrorist attacks in Paris, 30 Governors have said they won’t allow Syrian refugees to resettle in their states until security concerns are concerned. All but one of those governors have been a Republican.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan - who is huddling with his fellow Republican Governors at their conference in Las Vegas this week - had initially sought more time to make a “reasoned and careful decision“ but a day later followed the direction of  almost all the Republican candidates for President and called on federal authorities to “cease any additional settlements of refugees from Syria in Maryland.

Granted, Hogan - nor any of his fellow governors - don’t really have anything with whether refugees are allowed into the US or where they are resettled. Though they can make the lives of women and children fleeing a violent civil war even more miserable. Also it doesn’t seem to matter that of the 2 million refugees welcomed in the US since 1990, zero have been involved in a terrorist attack.

THE ACTUAL SCREENING PROCESS FOR SYRIAN REFUGEES: The US - which has a stringent 18-24 months process to vet and approve refugees - admitted less than 200 Syrian refugees between 2011 and 2014, and only recently quickened the pace. According to the US State Department, 39 such refugees have resettled in Maryland since 2011 - 79% of them arriving in 2015. The United States had planned to accept 10,000 refugees in 2016. In contrast, French President Francois Hollande said his country would accept 30,000, and expend 50 million euros to support refugee housing.

MARYLAND DEMOCRATS RESPOND: Hogan’s decision has drawn widespread criticism from Democrats. Rep. Cummings called Hogan’s actions “heartless” and “a betrayal of America’s values” while Rep. Van Hollen decried the Governor’s “shameful” demagoguery. Former Governor O’Malley - who was the first Democratic candidate for President to call on the Obama Administration to accept more refugees fleeing Syria’s civil war -- called on Americans to “overcome fear and remain true to [our] values.”

Local Democratic leaders have also sought to separate themselves from the Governor. Baltimore Mayor Rawlings-Blake released the following statement (emphasis mine):
BALTIMORE MAYOR STEPHANIE RAWLINGS-BLAKE: Baltimore, Maryland and the United States have proud traditions of welcoming refugees seeking assistance from crises around the world. There are few among us who can claim that their ancestors were indigenous to the United States. Welcoming immigrants and New Americans is a critical part of my strategy to grow Baltimore, and I hope that refugees from Syria will look to our city as a potential place to call home.
This call was echoed today by the Democratic members of the Howard County Council. On Thursday, In a letter to Governor Hogan, the four Democratic members of the Council - Mary Kay Sigaty, Calvin Ball, Jenn Terrasa and Jon Weinstein - stated (emphasis mine):
HOCO DEMOCRATIC COUNCILMEMBERS: In Howard County, we know that our diversity is our strength. Your request to end the settlement of Syrian refugees under the guise of protecting Marylanders erodes that strength by succumbing to fear—a fear that leads to overt racial profiling, which is an affront to our values. Opening our doors to those who are fleeing violence does not endanger our safety; it shows our compassion and hope.
1 in 5 of Howard County’s residents are foreign born and come from over 90 countries. None of Maryland’s current Syrian refugees are located in the County.

WAITING FOR KITTLEMAN: A spokeswoman for Governor Hogan reiterated his stance on Friday. There has been no response from Republican County Executive Allan Kittleman. Blinding following national Trump-Carson Republican herd not only threatens Hogan and Kittleman image as as kinder, gentler Republicans - but their compelling sales pitch as non-ideological, post-partisan executives. Sure, there may be no direct political risk (and as the Huffington Post wrote - hating refugees is pretty much as American as apple pie) - but calls into question their reputation. Hogan and Kittleman still need Democrats to govern - and and mean-spirited decisions could poison the well and erode trust.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Elections Today for Maryland Cities: Rockville, Salisbury, Gaithersburg, College Park, Greenbelt, Takoma Park & More!

Election Day 2015 is upon us. Nationally, Democrats and progressives have a number of competitive races to watch: Attorney General Jack Conway battling to keep the Kentucky Governor's mansion in Democratic hands; Republicans trying to fortify their one-seat State Senate majority in battleground Virginia; 3 open Pennsylvania State Supreme Court seats that could determine which party controls redistricting in 2022; Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood trying to keep his title as the last Democratic statewide official in the Deep South; and, a number of ballot measures including initiatives to legalize medical and recreational marijuana in Ohio and a referendum on the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance.

In Maryland, some of the largest municipalities head to the polls. The vast majority of municipal elections are non-partisan. Baltimore City (elections in '16), Frederick ('17), Annapolis ('17), and Hagerstown ('16) are among the few exceptions.  Many of the contests this year feature open races, multi-candidate fields challenging incumbents, and the usual accusations of stolen yard signs. With many town and city officials going on to run for higher office, Maryland Juice runs through some races to watch.

ROCKVILLE: Incumbent Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton faces a stiff challenge from political organizer and consultant Sima Osdoby, with development and growth being among the top issues in the race. Osdoby is part of Team Rockville slate - which includes incumbent city Councilmembers Julie Palkovich Carr and Virginia Onley, former Councilmember Mark Pierzchala and first-time candidate Clark Reed. Also running are Councilmember Beryl Feinberg, Twinbrook Civic Association President Rich Gottfried, former candidate Brigitta Mullican, Planning Commission member David Hill, and businessowner Patrick Schoof. The Mayor and Council are being elected to a 4-year term for the first time.

Mayor
  • Bridget Donnell Newton (i)
  • Sima Osdoby

At-large Council (4 seats)
  • Beryl Feinberg (i)
  • Richard Gottfried
  • David Hill
  • Brigitta Mullican
  • Virginia Onley(i)
  • Julia Palakovich Carr (i)
  • Mark Perirzchala
  • Clark Reed
  • Patrick Schoof

GAITHERSBURG: Current Mayor Jud Ashman - who was appointed to the post after Mayor Sidney Katz was elected to the Montgomery County Council,  longtime Councilmember Henry Marraffa and Darline Bell-Zuccarelli are running to fill the balance of Katz's term. Ashman has been endorsed by Mr. Katz. Running for the 3 at-large Council seats are City Council Vice President Ryan Spiegel, appointed Councilmember Neil Harris, African American Democratic Club President Laurie Anne-Sayles, and attorney Robert Wu.

Mayor
  • Jud Ashman (i)
  • Darline Bell-Zuccarelli
  • Henry Marraffa

At-large Council (3 seats)
  • Neil Harris (i)
  • Laurie-Anne Sayles
  • Ryan Spiegel (i)
  • Robert Wu

BOWIE: 21 year city council veteran Dennis Brady is challenging Mayor G. Frederick Robinson, who has the position since 1998. A number of newcomers are challenging incumbents as Bowie residents elect councilmembers who will now serve a 4 year term. These include veteran Kelly Rowe challenging Councilmember Diane Polangin in District 2, and former President of the Bowie Chamber of Commerce Craig Muckle trying to oust Councilmember Isaac Trouth. Two open city council races have attracted Comptroller Senior Advisor Monica Best-James, former Senator Peters aide Michael Esteve, and County Executive Baker intergovernmental affairs attorney Courtney Glass among others.  Dufour Woolfley, Jimmy Marcos and Henri Gardner - all sitting Councilmembers - are vying for 2 at-large spots.

Mayor 
  • Dennis Brady
  • G. Frederick Robinson (i)
  • Keith Alphonso Jackson

At-large Council (2 seats)
  • Henri Gardner
  • James L. Marcos
  • Dufour Woolfley (i)

Council District 1
  • Jenmaire Dewberry
  • Michael P. Esteve
  • Pauletta G. Handy
  • Monica Best-James

Council District 2
  • Diane M. Polangin (i)
  • Kelly P. Rowe

Council District 3
  • Babatunde O. Alegbeleye
  • James Scott Hessberger, Jr.
  • Courtney D. Glass

Council District 4
  • Isaac C. Trouth (i)
  • Craig M. Muckle

COLLEGE PARK: District 4 Councilwoman Denise Mitchell and District 1 Councilman Patrick Wojahn are vying to succeed Mayor Andy Fellows, who is stepping down after three terms. Mitchell would be the first African American woman to hold the post, and Wojahn would be the City's first openly gay mayor. Incumbent Councilmembers Faziul Kabir, P.J. Brennan, Monroe Dennis, Robert Day, Stephanie Stullich and Alan Hew all face competitive races. Interesting to note that 6 out of 18 candidates running in College Park are either UMD alumni, professors or students.

Mayor
  • Denise Mitchell
  • Patrick Wojahn

Council District 1 (2 seats)
  • Faziul Kabir (i)
  • Christine Nagle
  • Cory Sanders

Council District 2 (2 seats)
  • Daniel Blasberg
  • P.J. Brennan (i)
  • Vivian Conway
  • Monroe Dennis (i)

Council District 3 (2 seats)
  • Ryan Belcher
  • Robert Day (i)
  • Robert McCeney
  • John Rigg
  • Stephanie Stullich (i)

Council District 4 (2 seats)
  • Mary Cook
  • Oscar Gregory
  • Alan Hew (i)
  • Dustyn Kujawa

SALISBURY: The Eastern Shore's largest city has revamped its electoral system for 2015 -- moving elections from the spring tot he fall, synchronizing terms of all elected officials, creating five single-member districts and eliminating their primary election. Current Mayor Jim Ireton decided against running for reelection, and instead filed to run for Council. City Council President Jake Day is running opposed for Mayor. All four City Council members are running for reelection - with Jack Heath and Tim Spies contesting from the same district. In the open District 2, former candidate and Libertarian Muir Boda seems to have the inside track.

Mayor
  • Jake Day

Council District 1
  • Sarah Halcott
  • April Jackson
  • Shanie Shields (i)

Council District 2
  • Keyvan Aarabi
  • Marvin Ames
  • Muir Boda
  • Justin Gregoli

Council District 3
  • Jack Heath  (i)
  • Kevin Lindsay
  • Tim Spies (i)

Council District 4
  • Jim Ireton
  • Roger Mazullo

Council District 5
  • Laura Mitchell (i)

LAUREL: Mayor Craig Moe running unopposed for a fourth term, and all five City Council incumbents are favored to win reelection. Laurel has been in the news recently over the possible closure of Laurel Regional Hospital and the local MARC train station.

Mayor
  • Craig Moe (i)

At-large Council
  • Michael Leszcz (i)

Council Ward 1 (2 seats)
  • Carl Dewalt
  • Jeffrey Mills
  • Valerie Nicholas (i)
  • H. Edward Ricks (i)

Council Ward 2 (2 seats)
  • Donna Crary (i)
  • Fred Smalls (i)
  • Mansoor Zia

GREENBELT: Residents elect a 7 member at-large Council with the highest vote getter traditionally being selected as mayor. Emmett Jordan -  who became the City's first African American Mayor in 2013 - is running for reelection, along with former longtime Mayor Judith 'J' Davis and the 5 other incumbent members of the City Council.

At-large Council (7 seats)
  • Silke I. Pope (i)
  • Susan H. Stewart
  • Emmett V. Jordan (i)
  • Leta M. Mach (i)
  • Konrad E. Herling (i)
  • Rodney M. Roberts (i)
  • Edward V. J. Putens (i)
  • Judith F. Davis (i)
  • Kathleen Marie Shaw
  • Bill Orleans
  • George R. Boyce

TAKOMA PARK: Councilmember Kate Stewart and local landlord Warren Holmes are facing off to become Takoma Park's next Mayor. Outgoing Mayor Bruce Williams - who is completing his 22nd year on the City Council - was the region's first openly gay elected official. Stewart - who has been endorsed by Williams, State Senator Jamie Raskin and County Councilmember Tom Hucker - is the frontrunner. The only other contested race is in Ward 1 where former HUD Assistant Secretary Peter Kovar and two others are running to replace Seth Grimes.

Mayor 
  • Warren Holmes
  • Kate Stewart

Council Ward 1
  • Peter Kovar
  • Victor Thuronyi
  • Elizabeth Forbes Wallace

Council Ward 2
  • Tim Male (i)

Council Ward 3
  • Rizzy Qureshi

Council Ward 4 
  • Terry Seamens (i)

Council Ward 5
  • Jarrett Smith (i)

Council Ward 6
  • Fred Schultz (i)

ABERDEEN: Incumbent Mayor Michael Bennett who prevailed in 2011 by only 26 votes, is fending of challenges from the City's first elected Mayor Ruth Elliott, Republican activist and perennial candidate Patrick McGrady, and former teacher and Delegate candidate Marla Posey-Moss. The City Council race includes incumbents Sandra Landbeck and Stephen Smith, and a 3 person slate aligned with McGrady. Mayor Bennett has endorsed both current Councilmembers as well as Appeals Board member Melvin Tyalor and  teacher Tim Lindecamp.

Mayor 
  • Michael Bennett (i)
  • Ruth Elliott
  • Patrick McGrady 
  • Marla Posey-Moss

Council (4 seats)
  • Carol Bruce
  • Sean DeBonis
  • Daniel Forte
  • Jason Kolligs
  • Barbara Kreamer
  • Sandra Landbeck (i)
  • Tim Lindecamp
  • Stephen Smith  (i)
  • Melvin Taylor