Monthly Archives: June 2014

Analyzing the Frederick County vote

The unofficial precinct results for Frederick County in the primary election are now online which affords a chance for an initial look.

TURNOUT. 23% overall. Ignoring very small precincts, that ranges from a low of 9.30% at Cornerstone Fellowship Church on Waverley Drive in Frederick to a high of 29.57% at Talley Rec (Baker Park). Turnout rates below 18% were mostly seen in in-town neighborhoods in Frederick but also included Spring Ridge at 16% and 17%, Oakdale at 17%, and one of Urbana Library’s two precincts at 13%.

GOVERNOR. On the Democratic side, Anthony Brown easily bested Heather Mizeur and Doug Gansler 45-25-24 (Gansler ran third in Frederick County, though second statewide). Gansler carried Thurmont. Mizeur carried Brunswick Middle and Burkittsville and ran competitively in affluent/hip downtown precincts in Frederick. On the Republican side, Larry Hogan beat David Craig, Ron George, and Charles Lollar 39-23-21-17 in that order. Hogan and Craig had reasonably even support. George ran well in the city of Frederick and carried some precincts there, quite possibly because of the boost given by running mate and former Frederick alderman Shelley Aloi. Although a key tenet of the Charles Lollar campaign is the idea that he can bring black voters over to Republicanism, Lollar in fact did not run strongly in precincts such as Hillcrest and Lincoln with many black voters. Instead, his strongest support came from outlying, mostly Eastern parts of the county: New Market, Mount Airy, Urbana, Thurmont, and Emmitsburg. Most of these are in the 8th Congressional District, where Lollar running mate Ken Timmerman may have benefited from support built during his 2012 Congressional bid.

ATTORNEY GENERAL. As he did statewide, Democrat Brian Frosh well outdistanced Jon Cardin, with large majorities at relatively well-educated precincts such as Talley Rec, Braddock Heights, and Linganore High. Third-place finisher Aisha Braveboy, at 13%, ran strongest in Hillcrest and Cornerstone at 27% but not strong enough to carry those precincts.

STATE SENATE DISTRICT 4. Sen. David Brinkley lost 32-68 to challenger Michael Hough and there were no bright spots for him: he lost every precinct, his best showings being 3-to-2 losses on his home turf of New Market. In combined Urbana precincts, Hough’s percentage came near a staggering 80 percent. (Part of the district lies in Carroll County and will not be considered in this post.)

HOUSE OF DELEGATES DISTRICT 3B. While newcomer Darren Wigfield ran competitively in parts of the district, he could not overcome former Sheriff candidate Bill Folden’s strength in close-in Ballenger Creek, Tuscarora, Crestwood, and Orchard Grove, as well as Adamstown.

HOUSE OF DELEGATES DISTRICT 4. Incumbent Del. Kathy Afzali ran first at 28 percent, her strongest precincts Urbana High at 31% and Wolfsville at 30%; everywhere else she was in the twenties. Incumbent Kelly Schulz placed second at 25%, running well in northern and eastern parts of the district and weakest in Green Valley/Kemptown, center of anti-development activism, as well as Brunswick/Burkittsville. In an outcome that surprised many observers (and both surprised and disappointed me), the third seat went not to Wendi Peters but to Afzali/Hough slate-mate David Vogt who ran ahead of Peters 19% to 15%. Peters, like Schulz, lagged in Green Valley/Kemptown (Afzali sent out a mailer attacking Peters as supposedly too friendly to development) as well as Brunswick/Burkittsville and other western parts of the district at a remove from her Mount Airy base. Vogt was strongest in Middletown and Brunswick. (Again, part of the district lies in Carroll County and will not be considered in this post.)

COUNTY EXECUTIVE. Blaine Young, chair of the current board of county commissioners, was always the presumptive Republican nominee, but the margin separating him from David Gray and Mark Sweadner (both of whose campaigns essentially functioned as “anyone but Blaine” efforts) was 53-35-12, narrower than many expected. Among places with noticeable Republican skepticism toward Young were Walkersville, where he got about 48% each at the middle and high school precincts, Monocacy Middle and Thomas Johnson Middle (50%), and in a class by themselves the development-furor precincts of Green Valley, Kemptown, and Urbana High (30-32%). Best showings for Young included Tuscarora, Spring Ridge, and Monocacy Elementary among close-in areas, as well as many outlying towns such as Knoxville, Emmitsburg, Creagerstown, Sabillasville, and Brunswick-Burkittsville.

Leave a comment

Filed under Politics

An endorsement no one should want

Among the various groups devoted to opposing same-sex marriage, the group associated with Robert Broadus called Protect Marriage Maryland stands out for its intense hostility toward gay people, its very explicit grounding of that hostility in religious doctrine, and its willingness to use invective seldom found in polite company any more. Its website refers to the rise of same-sex marriage as “rebellion against God,” and denounces “the folly of attempting to accommodate those who practice Sodomy,” which it calls a “sinful lifestyle” and “abomination.” During Del. Heather Mizeur’s unsuccessful bid for governor, it criticized her running mate, the Rev. Delman Coates, for “running for Lieutenant Governor on the ticket of an openly lesbian woman.”

Can you believe there are Maryland politicians who covet the endorsement of a group like this — who send back its questionnaire hoping to get its seal of approval? If they are candidates who present themselves as pro-business, what do they think of being endorsed by a group that calls for boycotts of a long list of major companies it deems too gay-friendly, including such major Maryland employers as PNC Bank, Marriott, and Home Depot?

Here’s a list of the PMM endorsees who made it onto the November ballot. (Many lost in the primary, including PMM’s only gubernatorial endorsee, Republican Charles Lollar.) Because PMM has not published (at least not where I can find them) the contents of the questionnaire, we are left to imagine what sorts of commitments and promises were needed to get the highest recommendation, “Very Strong,” from PMM. (The other levels of recommendation are “Strong” and “Good.”) To seek out PMM’s endorsement — thus making common electoral cause with those who denounce gays as an “abomination” — says much about a candidate’s judgment, and what it says is not good.

[all candidates Republican unless otherwise noted]

U.S. CONGRESS

District 7 — Corrogan Vaughn

STATE SENATE

District 4 – Michael Hough, Very Strong
26 – Kelley Howells, Very Strong
28 — Allen Donnelly, Very Strong
29 – Steve Waugh, Very Strong
34 – Bob Cassilly, Very Strong

HOUSE OF DELEGATES

District 1C – Mike McKay, Very Strong
2A – Neil Parrott, Strong
3A – Victoria Wilkins, Very Strong
5 – Susan Krebs, Very Strong
5 – Justin Ready, Very Strong
6 – Jake Mohorovic (Dem), Strong
9A – Warren Miller, Strong
10 – William Newton, Very Strong
16 – John Andrews, Very Strong
21 – Kathy Butcher, Good
24 – Cy Okoro, Strong
29B – Deb Rey, Very Strong
29C – Tony O’Donnell, Strong
31B – Meagan Simonaire, Very Strong
32 – Mark Chang (Dem), Very Strong
33- Tony McConkey, Very Strong
42B – Susan Aumann, Very Strong
46 – Roger Bedingfield, Very Strong

[EDITED TO ADD:]

PMM also endorses candidates for county council/commissioner, but its endorsement levels for that level of office include only “Strong” and “Good.” Here are the ones who made it onto the November ballot (all “Strong” and all Republican Party unless otherwise noted).

Anne Arundel 1 – Bill Heine
Anne Arundel 3 – Theresa Martin (Dem)
Anne Arundel 4 – Chike Anwanyu
Baltimore 2 – Rudy Stoler (“Good”)
Frederick At-Large – Bud Otis
Frederick 5 – Kirby Delauter
Prince George’s 6 – Kenn Blanchard (“Good”)
Washington At-Large – LeRoy Myers
Worcester 4 – Ted Elder

5 Comments

Filed under Politics

“House Republicans might accidentally legalize marijuana in DC”

Way to go, Rep. Andy Harris (R-Eastern Shore)!

Leave a comment

Filed under DC area, Policy

Density at the Takoma metro

When transit-oriented development begins to get real for Montgomery County neighbors — in particular, when a substantial apartment building is proposed atop the Takoma metro at the D.C. border — you might expect progressives to be all in favor of it, given its recommended benefits in averting sprawl. Yet leading progressive Democrats like Chris Van Hollen, Heather Mizeur, and Jamie Raskin instead play along with locally powerful NIMBY forces demanding lower density. David Alpert at Greater Greater Washington wonders why.

Leave a comment

Filed under DC area, Policy

Before Francis Scott Key got to it

The original melody to which “The Star-Spangled Banner” is set: listen to a rendition of “To Anacreon in Heaven” at the Smithsonian site.

Leave a comment

Filed under History

The IRS Scandal’s Hometown Maryland Angle

In contrast to online media and the talk-show world, the metropolitan newspapers that define the old-line press have been caught flat-footed by the re-emergence of the IRS nonprofit targeting scandal (an exception: the Wall Street Journal opinion page). Last Friday it was disclosed that more than two years’ worth of external emails by former IRS nonprofit director Lois Lerner had been wiped out in a computer crash, and more recently it was revealed that email records of another half-dozen key players in the scandal have also been lost. The Washington Post ran only AP coverage of the June 13 revelation, while the New York Times did not go even that far, ignoring the story entirely for more than three days. Many other newspapers, too, played down the story with back-pages coverage or none at all. And no doubt one contributing factor was that as budgets have been cut in the newspaper business, many papers have gutted or even closed their Washington presence, and are willing to devote independent resources only to stories that involve some local angle.

But the IRS scandal does involve a local angle for citizens of many places, for a simple reason: individual members of Congress were among those pushing hardest for an IRS crackdown on politically adverse nonprofits. Democratic Senators from Michigan (Carl Levin), Illinois (Dick Durbin), New York (Chuck Schumer) and Rhode Island (Sheldon Whitehouse) were among those leading the pack, as, on the House side, were Reps. Chris Van Hollen and Elijah Cummings (both D-Md.) This is the crackdown that soon proved abusive, and one of the questions to be answered is whether the members of Congress were in direct touch with agency insiders seeking to make life difficult for the nonprofits. It’s known, for example, that Lois Lerner inquired of staff whether they had handled a request from Rep. Elijah Cummings regarding a conservative group he disliked by the name of True the Vote. Another agency email suggests that Rep. Chris Van Hollen’s appearance on a talk show may have been part of a public relations push coordinated both inside and outside the agency to build support for a crackdown.

Wouldn’t it make sense for the Frederick News-Post (whose circulation includes a large stretch of Van Hollen’s MD-8 district, and a small portion of Cummings’s MD-7) to look into these connections a little more closely? Or the other newspapers such as the Washington Post and Gazette papers?

Some links to get an editor started on Van Hollen’s role are here, here, here, here, and here.

Some links on Cummings’s role are here, here, here, here, here, and here.

2 Comments

Filed under Politics, Scandals

Marijuana legalization

Tom Coale’s case. Coale is running for the Democratic nomination in District 9B (Ellicott City) against Rich Corkran.

Leave a comment

Filed under Policy

Latest House of Cards deal

Yes, it’s a terrible deal for Maryland taxpayers, Veronique de Rugy confirms. My earlier take at Cato here.

1 Comment

Filed under Policy

In today’s Baltimore Business Journal

I’ve got an opinion piece on the Maryland False Claims Act, which came near passage in the recent legislative session, in this morning’s Baltimore Business Journal. More on the bill, including its political background, here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Policy, Politics

“Hatchet job disguised as praise for Brinkley”

I have a letter to the editor in this morning’s Frederick News-Post boiled down from a longer blog post that appeared in this space on Friday:

On June 6 you ran a letter to the editor signed by Delegate Sam Arora, D-Rockville, ostensibly praising Sen. David Brinkley as an ally of liberal Democrats.

Any readers who took this letter at face value got fooled. Looked at closely, it was plainly meant to hurt Brinkley, not help him, with conservative Republican primary voters.

Whatever would motivate retiring Delegate Arora, a very liberal Montgomery County Democrat, to do that? Maybe it’s that Sen. Brinkley single-handedly derailed the False Claims Act sponsored by Arora, which would have stood as the major legislative accomplishment of his brief Annapolis tenure (and would have pleased some wealthy trial lawyers, even as it appalled business groups).

I conclude that Arora (1) bears a deep grudge against Brinkley precisely because of Brinkley’s success in blocking Democratic legislation; (2) doesn’t mind doing a favor to Brinkley’s opponent, Delegate Michael Hough, who broke with most Republicans to back Arora’s pro-lawsuit bill.

I also wonder whether Delegate Arora thought up this little stunt all by himself, or had help.

WALTER OLSON
New Market

My Friday post has more backstory about how many of his own liberal allies came to shun Del. Arora for what they saw as double-dealing and opportunism.

Leave a comment

Filed under Politics