What the heck is going on in the Maryland Senate race?

posted at 4:01 pm on February 13, 2016 by Jazz Shaw

For such a small state, Maryland has been making a lot of news lately. From the Freddie Gray case to the riots to their unusual approach to finding new voters which we mentioned earlier today, they’re grabbing up a lot of headline space. But something’s in the political wind in the Old Line State recently which is hard to put your finger on. First they elected a GOP governor in 2014, sending shock waves through the Democratic establishment. And now, there’s something very peculiar taking place in their upcoming senate race. Barbara Mikulski has held that seat for nearly thirty years, but she recently announced her retirement. This set up a fight for the Democratic primary, which traditionally is the same as the general election there since the entire state is the property of their party with the anomalous exception of Hogan.

Two members of congress stepped up quickly as candidates, largely clearing the rest of the field. They were Chris Van Hollen of the 8th and Donna Edwards of the 4th. (Elijah Cummings was a heavy favorite but passed on the race just before the filing deadline.) Both Van Hollen and Edwards have led remarkably scandal free careers (all the more amazing being Maryland Democrats) and neither seems to have any major impediments to election. But their demographics couldn’t be further apart. Van Hollen’s district borders DC and is one of the richest (and whitest) sections of the state. Edwards, an African American, covers a vastly gerrymandered district with a majority black population. Given the current ebb and flow of racial politics in Baltimore, as well as across the nation in Democrat circles, it seems like she’d be a pretty sure bet, and she’s won all her previous races with 70 to 80 percent or more of the vote. (Van Hollen has done well also, but in the two most recent outings a Republican took more than a third of the vote.)

And yet Van Hollen has been holding a lead in the polls for months. Now, to make matters even more muddled, the Congressional Black Caucus has refused to endorse Edwards. (Politico)

The political action committee behind the Congressional Black Caucus passed on endorsing Rep. Donna Edwards in her Maryland Senate primary — a public snub of the African-American lawmaker who has a contentious relationship with many of her colleagues.

The CBC PAC voted late Thursday evening during a hastily called meeting to table the question of endorsing Edwards in her primary challenge against Rep. Chris Van Hollen, according to a half-dozen sources familiar with the meeting.

The endorsement is unlikely to be voted on again, multiple members of the PAC’s board said.

Passing on an endorsement for a fellow black caucus lawmaker in a competitive primary is unusual for the CBC PAC. Sources said the PAC felt uncomfortable giving Edwards a nod of support after hearing from local elected African-American officials in Maryland who support Van Hollen.

Van Hollen doesn’t just have the support of the CBC. He’s getting endorsements from prominent black Democrats in Maryland as well. This seems totally out of character for Maryland in 2016 when Edwards doesn’t really have any dings in her electoral armor from scandals or major flubs. After the election of the Governor in 2014, could the Democrats actually be worried about losing another state wide race? Have the conditions on the ground really shifted that much?

I’m not sure who they might be afraid of on the Republican side. The primary is a muddled mess, with 17 declared candidates on the ballot. They haven’t drawn any truly national level names, though they do have Kathy Szeliga, the Minority Whip from Baltimore County in the running. Still, there’s something strange taking place in Maryland. Could this actually be the first traditional Democratic stronghold to finally react to years of destructive management and test the waters of conservatism (at least a little bit) to see if things improve?

DonnaEdwards


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Comments

Perhaps Dr. Carson would like to take a look at this race once his faded position in the presidential contest becomes more apparent.

Jill1066 on February 13, 2016 at 4:14 PM

Very interesting.

rbj on February 13, 2016 at 4:17 PM

The “quiet” civil war taking place in the democratic party between the (Leninist and the Stalinist)that the media ignores.

b1jetmech on February 13, 2016 at 4:18 PM

Maryland like Virginia is a Wellfare State, hanging on the Teet of the Federal Government.
Who gives a RIP?

SayNo2-O on February 13, 2016 at 4:21 PM

Nonpartisan. Its racist.

Indiana Jim on February 13, 2016 at 4:23 PM

Nonpartisan. Its racist.

Indiana Jim on February 13, 2016 at 4:23 PM

haha. exactly. ever notice how partisan “non-partisan” really is?

Senator Philip Bluster on February 13, 2016 at 4:26 PM

Could this actually be the first traditional Democratic stronghold to finally react to years of destructive management and test the waters of conservatism (at least a little bit) to see if things improve?

Maryland resident here. No. PG County, Montgomery County, Howard County and Baltimore City control Maryland politics. Larry Hogan’s election was a fluke.

Unfortunately.

BKeyser on February 13, 2016 at 4:36 PM

Maryland resident here. No. PG County, Montgomery County, Howard County and Baltimore City control Maryland politics. Larry Hogan’s election was a fluke.

I was afraid of that.

Jazz Shaw on February 13, 2016 at 4:53 PM

OT: seen a couple of tweets that Scalia died. Hopefully not true. If so, this election so very important. RIP if confirms.

kim roy on February 13, 2016 at 4:57 PM

OT: seen a couple of tweets that Scalia died. Hopefully not true. If so, this election so very important. RIP if confirms.

kim roy on February 13, 2016 at 4:57 PM

Could be, but everything on Google News on that is like within the last 3 minutes.

anotherJoe on February 13, 2016 at 5:01 PM

There’s a big difference, though, between the Democrats’ loss in 2014 and what might happen in 2016. Minorities don’t usually come out in large numbers to vote in non-presidential elections the way they do for presidential elections. Although, I’m a minority and live in Maryland and I voted. (For Hogan – first time I ever voted Republican.)

I think we’ll see a huge minority turnout in 2016, especially if it comes down to Clinton and Trump. That could benefit Edwards. On the other hand, as an election worker, I see a lot of voters come in and (it appears) only vote on the first page of the ballot – for the president – and then skip to the end and cast their vote.

sydneyjane on February 13, 2016 at 5:02 PM

Here’s one story: http://www.sfgate.com/news/us-world/article/Senior-Associate-Justice-Antonin-Scalia-found-6828930.php

GOP should pledge to block an appointment by Dear Liar.

rbj on February 13, 2016 at 5:02 PM

oh oh, Justice Scalia died.

Senator Philip Bluster on February 13, 2016 at 5:09 PM

Justice Scalia found dead of “natural causes”

lovingmyUSA on February 13, 2016 at 5:09 PM

Scalia dead !!! ??? OMG!!!

VorDaj on February 13, 2016 at 5:10 PM

I just heard about Scalia. Very sad and scary as hell as Obama will choose his replacement.

MJBrutus on February 13, 2016 at 5:12 PM

Obama with his lick spittle McConnell and GOPe overjoyed.

VorDaj on February 13, 2016 at 5:13 PM

If true, condolences to his family. I will count him and them in on my prayers this evening, along with this great Country of ours.

Indiana Jim on February 13, 2016 at 5:16 PM

Okay. Time to stand together, unite & hold the nomination process until the new president is sworn in. That’s up to McConnell & the senate to refuse all nominations.

kim roy on February 13, 2016 at 5:17 PM

Justice Scalia found dead

fossten on February 13, 2016 at 5:22 PM

Can’t believe it. Prayers ascending for a great man and true public servant.

Prayers for our Court and nation, too. We cannot let Obama have any nomination on that Court, period.

TXUS on February 13, 2016 at 5:25 PM

Justice Scalia found dead of “natural causes”

lovingmyUSA on February 13, 2016 at 5:09 PM

…didn’t have a food taster!

JugEarsButtHurt on February 13, 2016 at 5:25 PM

…didn’t have a food taster!

JugEarsButtHurt on February 13, 2016 at 5:25 PM

Wouldn’t put it past Obama or others who believe they are doing what they know he wanted. I just hope the others on our side are very, very careful. Then again I’ve said that over and over since January 20, 2008.

TXUS on February 13, 2016 at 5:30 PM

Wow. Chuckle head Obama gets to pick.

What a downer

SpongePuppy on February 13, 2016 at 5:31 PM

“He was the solid rock who turned away so many attempts to depart from and distort the Constitution,” Abbott said. “We mourn his passing, and we pray that his successor on the Supreme Court will take his place as a champion for the written Constitution and the Rule of Law.

…who will do the autopsy?

JugEarsButtHurt on February 13, 2016 at 5:32 PM

Scalia’s death changes everything GOPe must insist on concervative nominee or no confirmation. May God bless the Scalia family and friends. May God bless this country. 0bama’s statist court must be stopped.

nuclearoptional on February 13, 2016 at 5:33 PM

Watch Turtle McButtface rush to get Obama’s pick through the senate.

BobMbx on February 13, 2016 at 5:34 PM

…Lord Help us…Ryan and TurkeyNeck are watching over us!…gun sales will go through the roof…stock market… for gun manufacturers will go nuts!

JugEarsButtHurt on February 13, 2016 at 5:37 PM

Prayers for his soul,his family…
and his country.

ReggieA on February 13, 2016 at 5:55 PM

Both dems. and gop are in such weakened positions, theres simply not enough time for dear leader to fill this vacancy b4 October, which is when the next SC session starts.

Indiana Jim on February 13, 2016 at 5:56 PM

Can’t believe it. Prayers ascending for a great man and true public servant.

amen

Senator Philip Bluster on February 13, 2016 at 6:01 PM

Excited when Hogan won but nothing has changed. Still have the rain tax and all the other left wing taxes O’Malley imposed. Howard county elected a GOP county executive. Again, property taxes going up again and road services suck. It doesn’t matter who is elected. When you have more than half the population on the public dole, you keep taking from the middle class to pay for sneakers, cell phones and big screen TVs.
As far as Edwards goes, her commercials are running now and her claim to fame is being a single mother (no surprise) and living on welfare until she snagged a taxpayer funded job.

fishstick on February 13, 2016 at 6:19 PM

That was remarkably information free. On what points have Edwards and the CBC disagreed?

nemo on February 13, 2016 at 6:25 PM

Heh. MD Democrats, Van Hollen, and the CBC are racists.
But we knew that anyway.

22044 on February 13, 2016 at 7:01 PM

Perhaps Dr. Carson would like to take a look at this race once his faded position in the presidential contest becomes more apparent.

Jill1066 on February 13, 2016 at 4:14 PM

I’ve said the exact same thing for months

If Carson actually cared about making a difference, he’d pay his dues and try to steal this Senate seat, and then in the future maybe he could run for POTUS again and not embarrass himself so badly

Jeb, Huckster, Pataki all could have flipped Dem held Senate seats in their states over the past several years– but none of them could be bothered to stoop so low, they all think they deserve to be POTUS and nothing less

thurman on February 13, 2016 at 7:20 PM

There’s a big difference, though, between the Democrats’ loss in 2014 and what might happen in 2016. Minorities don’t usually come out in large numbers to vote in non-presidential elections the way they do for presidential elections. Although, I’m a minority and live in Maryland and I voted. (For Hogan – first time I ever voted Republican.)

I think we’ll see a huge minority turnout in 2016, especially if it comes down to Clinton and Trump. That could benefit Edwards. On the other hand, as an election worker, I see a lot of voters come in and (it appears) only vote on the first page of the ballot – for the president – and then skip to the end and cast their vote.

sydneyjane on February 13, 2016 at 5:02 PM

Good if they’re Dem, bad if they’re GOP — need some education out there.
At least do a block vote for Rs.

Excited when Hogan won but nothing has changed. Still have the rain tax and all the other left wing taxes O’Malley imposed. Howard county elected a GOP county executive. Again, property taxes going up again and road services suck. It doesn’t matter who is elected. When you have more than half the population on the public dole, you keep taking from the middle class to pay for sneakers, cell phones and big screen TVs.
As far as Edwards goes, her commercials are running now and her claim to fame is being a single mother (no surprise) and living on welfare until she snagged a taxpayer funded job.

fishstick on February 13, 2016 at 6:19 PM

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss OR really, really hard to beat back entrenched leftist policies?

How much support did Hogan have in the legislature and bureaucracies IF any?

AesopFan on February 13, 2016 at 8:22 PM

I never try to read too much into states like Maryland. Sure, they have a Republican governor, but he has to deal with a Democrat legislature so, basically, it’s who signs the bills.

bflat879 on February 13, 2016 at 9:05 PM

nonpartisan. Its racist.
.
Indiana Jim on February 13, 2016 at 4:23 PM

.
haha. exactly. ever notice how partisan “non-partisan” really is?
.
Senator Philip Bluster on February 13, 2016 at 4:26 PM

.
Why, no … I never noticed that before . . . . . I mean, except for the multiple, numerous times (I’ve lost count) that I have.

Other than that, it has completely escaped my notice.

listens2glenn on February 13, 2016 at 11:49 PM

Wow……..nobody mentioned Talbot County .
Very R .

Lucano on February 14, 2016 at 8:05 AM

Have the conditions on the ground really shifted that much?

Well, hell. How do you gerrymander an entire state? Affirmative districting will only take you so far…

jbspry on February 14, 2016 at 8:56 AM