Showing posts with label Election 2022. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Election 2022. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Hans Riemer TV ad makes closing argument he is the "Best Guy" for Montgomery County Executive

Montgomery County Councilmember Hans Riemer (D - At Large) is launching an ad blitz on cable, streaming services, and - tomorrow - broadcast television, to make the closing argument that he is the "best guy" to serve as Montgomery County Executive. Interspersed with scenes of Riemer with family and meeting constituents around the county, the ad takes some sharp swipes at his opponents in the July 19 Democratic primary, businessman David Blair and incumbent County Executive Marc Elrich.

"Blair's tryin' to buy it," the narrator says over an image of a business-suited Blair, who has spent record amounts of his own money in his two campaigns for the executive seat. According to The Washington Post, Blair has spent $2.5 million on this year's campaign, and dropped $5.4 million in his 2018 run in which he lost to Elrich by only 77 votes. The most expensive County-level campaigns in history earn him a "Rich Guy Blair" moniker in Riemer's ad.

"Current Guy" Elrich let bars stay open late, while schools were forced to stay closed, the ad recalls from recent pandemic history. The spot hones in on education issues through the narrative that Riemer is the only executive candidate with children in County public schools, that he will support univeral pre-K. Riemer will keep schools open, the narrator promises, while providing mental health services to address the widely-acknowledged impact of the pandemic and closures on children. Elrich is also criticized in the ad for blocking forced vaccinations for County employees.

Riemer, the ad concludes, is the "Best Guy" for the job. "Good thing we've got Hans Riemer," the narrator states, as a quote from the Post is superimposed on the screen citing Riemer as a " leader."

The Post, as many expected, once again endorsed Blair. But its endorsement editorial was also effusive in praise of Riemer, and notably did not criticize him, weakening its argument for Blair in the context that both men are neck-and-neck in what little polling has been done. The Post has had incredible sway over Democratic voters since it was purchased by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos; prior to Bezos' acquisition, voters had often ignored the Post's endorsements. While the harshly anti-labor editorial board's Ahab-like pursuit of its nemesis Elrich fell short in 2018, the razor-thin margin again showed the grip the Post now has on many voters. When the Post editorial board says, "Jump!" a surprising number of voters these days ask, "How high?"

Along with the question of the Post's influence on the election result will be the impact of Republican and independent voters who plan to vote in this Democratic primary. An informal movement in 2018 has become more organized in 2022, and has been given a push by backers of Blair, a former Republican himself. Switch to the Democratic Party for July, then switch back to GOP or independent affiliation in August, voters are being told online. The suggestion has been appealing this time around for many public and private school parents furious over pandemic school closures, and County interference in the operations of private schools during that period.

Polling has suggested these party-switching voters are currently splitting their vote between Blair and Riemer. Elrich - the most popular politician in Montgomery County by total votes over the years - appears to be retaining his base of progressives and residents concerned about the overwhelming influence of developers on County zoning and planning decisions, such as the controversial Thrive 2050 plan, which would allow replacement of single-family houses with duplexes, triplexes and small apartment buildings.

The ad buy is critical for Riemer. Blair has been hitting the local TV airwaves hard for several weeks. Riemer's campaign feels it is in a good position to respond now, with a $1 million fundraising haul comprised of small donors and corresponding public financing.

“Our campaign plan is right on schedule. I’m confident that voters will pick Hans when introduced to him in what’s clearly a three way race,“ Riemer campaign manager Aziz Yakub said in a statement. “David Blair has $6 million and Marc Elrich has insider special interest groups. We have people power and motivated voters, and that will matter most on July 19th.” Upcounty businessman Peter James is also running in the Democratic primary. Early voting begins July 7.

Donald Trump phones in to rally for GOP Maryland governor candidate Dan Cox

Maryland governor hopeful Delegate Dan Cox (R) got an assist from his highest-profile endorser, President Donald Trump, at a rally this past weekend in Carroll County. "We're going to get rid of the stench of Larry Hogan," Trump vowed to rallygoers by speakerphone, referring to the current Maryland governor, who has been one of the most prominent never-Trump Republicans in America over the last six years. Hogan was again on Trump's mind, as he praised Cox as his choice over Hogan-endorsed Kelly Schulz in the contest.

"Dan is MAGA all the way and I say that very strongly," Trump said on the call, "unlike his opponent named Kelly Schulz who is, along with Larry Hogan, bad news. And I'll tell you, Larry Hogan is bad news. He's a RINO." Trump promised that Cox would do "a full forensic audit" of the 2020 election, and cut taxes and regulations. "I’ve known Dan for awhile and he’s a great, highly respected lawyer, he’s tough and smart, and as a businessman very successful. He fought really hard to expose the 2020 election scam," Trump added.

Trump also praised Cox's running mate, Gordana Schifanelli, calling her "fantastic," and the Republican nominee for governor of Pennsylvania, Doug Mastriano, who was the headlining guest of the rally. He also complimented the boisterous crowd, who chanted, "Trump, Trump, Trump!"

"Go out and get Dan Cox elected," Trump exhorted attendees at the Hampstead rally. "You’ve got to go out and you’ve got to vote for Dan Cox. I love you all and Dan, to Dan I say, you’re a great, courageous patriot, you’re going to win, and you’re going to win big." “It was a tremendous honor to host the President of the United States at my campaign Rally via live telephone," Cox said in a statement, "and once again President Trump provided a momentous point in our campaign." Former delegate Robin Ficker and attorney Joe Werner are also running for the GOP nomination in the July 19 primary. Early voting begins July 7.

Photo via

Friday, June 24, 2022

UPDATED: Donald Trump-endorsed Maryland governor hopeful Dan Cox to hold car rally in Bethesda

UPDATE - June 25, 2022, 10:11 PM: A representative of the Cox campaign said she has been in touch with the event organizers, and that they have not mentioned any change in plans for Sunday's rally as of this hour.

UPDATE - June 25, 2022, 8:38 AMA public relations firm representing Westfield Montgomery Mall issued the following statement regarding Sunday's rally: "We were just made aware of this event—permission to use the property was never requested or granted. We have contacted the organization hosting the rally to let them know they need to find an alternate location." Stay tuned for further updates.

Concerned Americans Seeking Truth will host a car rally for Maryland Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Cox at Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda this Sunday, June 26, 2022 at 10:00 AM. "Bring your cars, vans, SUVs, trucks and parade with us to support Dan Cox for governor of the great state of Maryland," the event announcement reads. Cox, a Maryland state delegate from Frederick County, has been endorsed by President Donald Trump. He faces Gov. Larry Hogan-endorsed Kelly Schulz, attorney and former state delegate Robin Ficker, and attorney Joe Werner in the July 19 GOP primary.

Monday, June 20, 2022

Reardon Sullivan earns police union endorsement in Montgomery County Executive race

Republican Reardon Sullivan has been endorsed by the Montgomery County Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 35 in the primary election for County Executive. Increasing crime countywide has become a hot-button issue in the campaign for both of the major political parties. The police union criticized County leaders last year for defunding 27 police officer positions, amid a spike in armed carjackings that has continued through this year. 

Amidst local and nationwide anger over police-involved deaths, and calls from some Democrats in 2020 to "defund the police," County Police Chief Marcus Jones said morale among his force was the lowest he had ever seen during his career here. Officer retirements are up, and recruitment of new officers has been difficult. Where applications once numbered in the thousands, the 2021 recruit class numbered only 14. This past January, the chief told the County Council that he is losing an average of 4 officers per month to retirements.

Reardon has zeroed in on this crisis in his campaign messaging, promising to "fully fund the police," and to "give the men and women of law enforcement the respect they deserve." He has also vowed to return Student Resource Officers to public schools, where several violent incidents including a shooting have led to calls for bringing SROs back to campuses. "We all know that crime is on the rise in the County," Sullivan said in a statement. "The time for change and new leadership is now. We need leaders that can bring common sense back to our local government."

Monday, June 13, 2022

Hans Riemer raises $1 million in Montgomery County Executive race

Montgomery County Councilmember Hans Riemer (D) has passed the $1 million fundraising mark in the race for County Executive, his campaign announced this morning. The million-dollar haul caps a week of good news for Riemer. A Data for Progress poll last week found that, while incumbent Marc Elrich (D) had the most support at 33%, Riemer is tied for second with businessman David Blair at 14%. Blair is self-funding his campaign, and spent $5.7 million in his 2018 bid for the same office; he can't be pleased to find he is tied with a candidate who is using public financing with $250 maximum individual contributions.

Riemer's campaign noted that his fundraising total of $1.04 million through June 12 now exceeds the amount spent by Elrich, Roger Berliner, Rose Krasnow, George Leventhal, and Bill Frick in the 2018 Democratic primary race for executive. He also holds the new record for most individual contributions in a campaign for County Executive in a primary in the past decade.

"This report puts numbers behind what I see everyday on the campaign trail -- our supporters are fired up to bring new leadership to Montgomery County,” Riemer said in a statement this morning. “Enthusiasm determines who wins and loses primaries,” Riemer campaign manager Aziz Yakub said. “With this fundraising milestone, we will have the resources to reach voters with a powerful media campaign. Although we’ll keep raising, I am confident that we’ll have enough to win despite what any other candidate may spend."

Blair has hit the airwaves with a barrage of ads on local broadcast TV stations over the last week, showing what his budget will allow. That will put pressure on Riemer, Elrich and businessman Peter James (D) to boost media exposure in the final weeks before the July 19 primary. Republicans Shelly Skolnick and Reardon Sullivan are also running for executive, as is Devin Battley for the Green Party.

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Maryland governor candidate Kelly Schulz launches Law Enforcement for Kelly coalition

Republican Maryland governor candidate Kelly Schulz launched a Law Enforcement for Kelly campaign coalition yesterday. "No other candidate in the race has received such strong and explicit backing from law enforcement leaders like Kelly Schulz has," a statement issued by the campaign said. "With the backing of seven current sheriffs, law enforcement across the state know that Kelly Schulz is the only candidate who will take action to address violent crime and who will undoubtedly stand up for and support them."

Schulz's plan to address rising violent crime includes increased funding for hiring and training of additional police officers, and for their equipment. She would seek legislation to keep violent criminals behind bars, and create new penalties for those convicted of illegal gun crimes. 

The coalition will be steered by a committee made up of seven sheriffs from across Maryland:  Sheriffs Craig Robertson of Allegany County, Jim Fredericks of Anne Arundel County, Mike Evans of Calvert County, Jim DeWees of Carroll County, Jeffrey Gahler of Harford County, Gary Hoffman of Queen Anne’s County, and Tim Cameron of St. Mary’s County. "Kelly Schulz is just the lady who can get the job done," Gahler declared in a video released by the campaign. Additional law enforcement professionals are invited to join the coalition via an online form.

“For me it is simple: as governor I will treat members of law enforcement like heroes and criminals like criminals,” Schulz said in a statement. “I always have and always will stand firmly with the brave men and women in law enforcement who put their lives on the line to protect us. It is humbling to have earned the trust and support of so many of these heroes from across the state – they deserve a governor who has their back, and that’s what they’ll have when I’m elected.”

Maryland governor candidate Doug Gansler releases Safe Maryland plan to tackle rising crime

Former Maryland Attorney General and current Democratic candidate for governor Doug Gansler released a detailed plan to address surging crime in the state at a news conference in Baltimore yesterday. Called "Safe Maryland," the 21-point plan provides a framework for Gansler's stated goal of "bringing crime down and justice up." The City of Baltimore is the state's most crime-afflicted jurisdiction, but the plan would also bring policies and resources to bear in the suburban counties around D.C. "Carjackings and other crimes are on the rise in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties," the plan's introduction notes.

The introduction also points to the lower homicide rate in Montgomery County when Gansler, a County resident, was State's Attorney there. It mentions some of his prominent and successful prosecutions of notorious criminals like the D.C. sniper, who terrorized the D.C. Metro area in 2002. Gansler cites the troubling statistic that "you have a better chance of getting away with murder in Baltimore than you do of going to jail," referring to the 41% closure rate of homicide cases in the city.

In contrast, Gansler's plan would set a goal of solving every murder. He would provide resources to hire 1000 police officers statewide, and establish better training, including tactics of de-escalation of violent confrontations between police and civilians or suspects. Gansler would prioritize gun crimes and pursuit of gun traffickers. His plan would put more armed police into schools across the state, a "first line of defense" in the event of a school shooting.

Carjackings would be another area of focus. The Safe Maryland plan calls for 10,000 new streetlights in Baltimore, and surveillance cameras across the state, both of which Gansler argues would help to catch carjackers and other offenders. He would also employ technology not only in cutting edge forensic tools, but to reduce traffic stops by having ticket-issuing dash cams in police cruisers.

Gansler would target hate crimes, and hold social media companies accountable for their role in criminal and violent activity. He referred to his past experience in applying pressure to websites like Myspace and Craigslist on issues like sex trafficking and cyberbullying as examples.

In addition to a focus on criminality, the plan would also address some of what Gansler sees as the root causes of crime and recidivism in Maryland. Safe Maryland calls for fast-track funding for infrastructure, social services and recreation programs in high-crime areas. It would prioritize employment opportunities for those released from prison, and establish drug courts in every jurisdiction. Community prosecutors would be assigned to work with community police to handle all crimes in a particular neighborhood. A "papering" policy would subject all charging documents to immediate prosecutorial review.

Gansler would also fund community programs that have shown statistical success in lowering crime rates elsewhere. His plan refers to a study of the impact of non-profits on crime rates. That study concluded that for every 10 organizations that focus on crime and community life in an area of 100,000 people, the murder rate dropped by 9% there. Greening vacant lots into park space has been shown to reduce crime rates in the surrounding neighborhood, the plan states. 

Safe Maryland would also set a goal of zero police shootings, and reduce "overpolicing" of African-Americans. It would provide more mental health resources for law enforcement personnel statewide.

"Crime is what is on everyone's mind," Gansler told reporters assembled in front of Baltimore City Hall. "People sit at the red light wondering whether they're going to be the next victim of a carjacking or not, and there is no other person in either party that is running for governor right now who has a scintilla of a background in criminal justice." In addition to highlighting his own extensive resume as a prosecutor, State's Attorney and Attorney General, Gansler was joined by Baltimore City State’s Attorney candidate Thiru Vignarajah and the Rev. Al Gwynn of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance at the news conference, in support of the ideas Gansler is putting forth.

Gansler's running mate, former Hyattsville Mayor Candace Hollingsworth, also spoke. She referred to the now-discredited crime policies of the 1990s, and how the Safe Maryland plan would go in a different direction. "The two of us are focused on building safe communities with an attention to justice," Hollingsworth said.

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Surging Wes Moore, Donald Trump-endorsed Dan Cox top Google searches in Maryland governor race

Democrat Wes Moore (left) and
Republican Dan Cox top Google searches
in Maryland governor race

The lack of polling in the Maryland race to decide who will succeed Republican Larry Hogan as governor is leaving pundits, candidates and voters alike in the dark. On the Democratic side of the contest, all prognosticators have had to look at recently are a straw poll, a tracking poll obtained by WUSA 9, and a poll conducted for the Wes Moore campaign by a well-known polling firm; no major polling data has been released on the Republican side of the race. One other data point we can look at is Google search data in Google Trends. It doesn't tell us who voters will cast their ballots for, but it does indicate whom the voters want to know more about, and which candidates' names are on the minds of the public.

Wes Moore (red) vs. Dan Cox (blue) in 
Google searches over the last year

Democrat Wes Moore is by far the most-searched for candidate in the governor race over the last year, according to Google Trends data. Among Republicans, Delegate Dan Cox is the most-searched for by a wide margin. Democrat Tom Perez is very competitive with Cox over the last year, making him the second most-searched for Democrat. Moore easily tops all Democrats, although it is difficult to get an accurate result for John King, as searches for the CNN journalist of the same name are mixed in with those for the gubernatorial candidate. "John King, Jr" produces a trend line far below that of Moore's.

Wes Moore (blue) vs. Democrats Tom Perez (yellow), 
Peter Franchot (red), Doug Gansler (green) and
Rushern Baker (purple)

Each of the three boast big-impact endorsers, and their popularity in Google search is consistent over the last year, less dependent on events to spike interest. All three also benefit from having a national profile. While Republican candidate Kelly Schulz is well-known in Maryland GOP circles, she is still introducing herself to voters outside of the party, including a six-figure radio and TV ad buy this month in the Baltimore and Washington markets. 

Dan Cox (blue) vs. Republicans Kelly Schulz (red),
Robin Ficker (yellow), Joe Werner (green)

Google Trends won't tell us definitively who the actual frontrunners are, or who is likely to win. But they tell us who is on the minds of the voters, and who they want to know more about. They provide another intriguing view of the race for political junkies, and another data point to synthesize with what little else is out there - fundraising totals, endorsements, event turnout, etc. - to give us some insight into one of the most competitive and fog-shrouded horse races for Maryland's top office in recent history.

Dan Cox (blue) neck-and-neck with Tom Perez (red)
in Google searches over the last year

Wes Moore (blue) vs. Democrats John King, Jr. (red),
Jon Baron (yellow), Ashwani Jain (green) and
Jerome Segal (purple)

Wes Moore (blue) vs. Kelly Schulz (red)

Friday, May 20, 2022

Pennsylvania's Doug Mastriano to campaign for Donald Trump-endorsed governor candidate Dan Cox in Maryland

Fresh off his victory as the Republican nominee for Pennsylvania governor Tuesday, State Senator Doug Mastriano is coming to Maryland on June 25, to campaign for fellow Donald Trump endorsee Dan Cox in his run for Maryland governor. Mastriano will headline a rally for Cox, a state delegate in the Maryland House, at Leaping Greenly Farm in Hampstead. In addition to having Trump's endorsement in Maryland, Cox sees himself in a similar position as Mastriano in another way, taking on the establishment of his state party and being attacked as a result.

Mastriano has energized the GOP base in Pennsylvania like no statewide candidate since Rick Santorum in the mid-1990s. Unlike many Trump-backed hopefuls, Mastriano was already well-positioned for victory before receiving the Mar-a-Lago endorsement. A retired colonel in the U.S. Army who holds a PhD., Mastriano's ability to mobilize the religious right in his state has resulted in dozens of negative media reports describing him as a "Christian nationalist." He has been a focus of controversy for his efforts on behalf of Trump's "stop-the-steal" campaign in Pennsylvania after the 2020 election, and for his proposed changes to election laws, controversies that have only boosted his appeal among Republican voters.

Most controversial has been Mastriano's proposal to require all Pennsylvania voters to re-register to vote, to weed out inactive names on the state's voter rolls. Election integrity is sure to come up at the June 25 Cox rally in Maryland, as "voter integrity advocate" Captain Seth Keshel is also on the list of speakers for the event. Integrity of elections was also a central theme when Mastriano announced his endorsement of Cox last year.

Like the Trump endorsement, the Mastriano appearance is likely to thrill the large number of Maryland Republicans who still support the former president. Establishment Republican operatives concerned about relitigating the 2020 election when Gov. Larry Hogan-endorsed candidate Kelly Schulz is seen as most-likely to hold Hogan's broad coalition together in November 2022 are less intoxicated. Hogan and surrogates have unleashed attacks against Cox, while Schulz has touted her successful work as Commerce Secretary, which was bolstered further this week with Greenland Technologies Holding Corporation's announcement it will build an industrial vehicle manufacturing plant in White Marsh. Greenland's decision, like those of Hitachi and United Safety Technology to build Maryland plants, was made during Schulz's tenure at Commerce.

Cox is counting on high-profile endorsers like Trump and Mastriano, and the enthusiasm they generate, to outmaneuver the advantages Schulz may have. Polling of the GOP race in Maryland has been minimal compared to Pennsylvania, meaning that there is little sense of where likely voters stand on the Republican hopefuls, who also include former state delegate Robin Ficker and attorney Joe Werner. 

The June 25th Cox rally with Mastriano is currently described as "free admission," and sponsorships are going for as high as $6000. An announcement says all attendees must register online to gain admission, however.

Photo via Dan Cox for Governor

Doug Gansler endorsed by 8 current and former Maryland State's Attorneys in governor race

Former Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler picked up another round of endorsements in the Democratic race for Maryland governor on Thursday. Underlining his campaign theme of "bringing crime down and bringing justice up," Gansler was joined by eight current and former State's Attorneys from across Maryland for a press conference to receive their endorsement of his campaign in a crowded Democratic field. He was also joined by running mate Candace Hollingsworth, who served six years as the first black mayor of Hyattsville, and founded Our Black Party after the death of George Floyd.

Current Anne Arundel State’s Attorney Anne Colt Leitess said she has known Gansler for over twenty years, and has modeled her office operations after the way Gansler ran his when he was State's Attorney of Montgomery County. "There is no other candidate on either side of the ticket that has the experience that he has — the 22 years in law enforcement on three different levels," she noted. "[H]e has gained the trust of the voters over the years because he works hard and gets the job done.”

“It’s my pleasure to be here, because as with Anne, I’ve known Doug Gansler for almost a quarter-century now – from the time he started as State’s Attorney in Montgomery County where he was for eight years and his eight years as Attorney General for the state of Maryland," current Talbot County State’s Attorney Scott Patterson said during the press conference. "I also know that he is someone, as he indicated, [who believes] we have too many people in jail, and I know that he believes that the people that should be in prison and jail are the ones that are violent offenders that make it unsafe for the citizens to live their lives peacefully, raise families, and conduct their businesses — which is a major emphasis for him. And that’s the progressive part of him," Patterson added.

"There is no candidate I would trust more to make Maryland safe,” former Somerset County State’s Attorney Kristy Hickman said of Gansler, arguing that no gubernatorial ticket could match the experience of the Gansler-Hollingsworth team. She said she was confident the Eastern Shore would be "stronger and safer" under their leadership.

Former Worcester County State’s Attorney Joel Todd kept the focus on the Eastern Shore, a critical area for Gansler to do well in if he is to win the primary on July 19, and among the most receptive regions of the state to the tough-on-crime message that has set his candidacy apart from others in the Democratic field. "Doug will be a governor the Eastern Shore can put their trust behind, and I am proud to endorse his candidacy," he said, recalling that Gansler "has always been a champion of the Eastern Shore and our community needs."

Gansler was also endorsed by four other past State's Attorneys, Michelle Barnes (Dorchester County), Chris Eastridge (Cecil County), Leonard C. Collins, Jr. (Charles County), and Dario Broccolino (Howard County).

“I’m honored to be endorsed by eight current and former State’s Attorneys who trust me to make Maryland safe, and to do so in a way that is fair,” Gansler said. “As the only candidate in this race with a background in criminal justice – specifically, 22 years of experience as Attorney General, Montgomery County State’s Attorney, and a federal prosecutor – I am prepared to bring crime down and justice up across the state on Day One. I have prosecuted some of the state’s worst criminals, including the Beltway Sniper, and was the first office in the nation to successfully incorporate community prosecution. As governor, I will hire 1,000 additional police officers across the state, will put 10,000 lights in Baltimore, and will get guns out of the hands of violent offenders. Furthermore, crime disproportionately impacts communities of color and underserved communities. We need to make Baltimore safe for Baltimoreans, not just tourists or people who want to do business there.” 

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Maryland governor candidate Kelly Schulz launches Women for Kelly coalition at Ellicott City event

Kelly Schulz
, a Republican candidate for Maryland governor, helped launch a new Women for Kelly coalition at an event in Ellicott City last night. The event was held at Manor Hill Brewing, a farm brewery in Howard County. Schulz, who has been endorsed by incumbent Gov. Larry Hogan (R), served as Secretary of Labor and Secretary of Commerce in Hogan's administration over the last seven years. 

Schulz announced this afternoon that she has been endorsed by Taneytown Mayor Bradley Wantz. Delegate Dan Cox, former Delegate Robin Ficker and attorney Joe Werner are also competing for the Republican nomination in the July 19, 2022 Maryland gubernatorial primary.

Photos via Kelly Schulz for Governor campaign

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Wes Moore only Democratic candidate for Maryland governor surging in new poll, 42% still undecided

A new poll in the Maryland Democratic primary race for governor conducted for Wes Moore for Maryland by Garin Hart Yang Research Group could be seen as a positive for many candidates ahead of the July 19 vote. With 42% of Maryland Democratic primary voters still "undecided," there are a lot of votes out there for the taking in the next eight weeks. And despite a very quiet spring, Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot finished first in the poll with 19%. But Moore's campaign, which has been gaining momentum in endorsements and straw polls in recent weeks, is energized by the finding that Moore is the only candidate to surge in the results since GHYRG's November 2021 poll; Moore increased his support from 7% to 13%, giving him a second place finish.

"Wes Moore is the ONLY candidate who has increased his support and as a result he has moved into second place, within striking distance of the lead," the polling firm wrote in a memo to the Moore campaign. The memo declares Franchot's campaign "stagnant, with literally NO movement since last September." Poll results show former Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker holding steady at 11% in third place, and former U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez, former Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler, and former U.S. Education Secretary John King essentially tied for fourth, within the +/-4.1% margin of error.

The firm surveyed 601 likely Democratic primary voters between May 5 and May 9, 2022, with the exception of Mother's Day. Results also showed that Moore's voters are more committed (54%) than Franchot's (45%) to supporting their candidate "strongly" in the primary. And among voters who have heard of Moore, he is beating Franchot 27% to 19%. 

“Wes Moore for Maryland is the only campaign moving forward in the polls and we are the only campaign with the momentum, the resources, the path, the vision, and the leaders to win this primary in July and the general election in November,” Moore's campaign manager Ned Miller said in a statement. “We have the momentum and a unique opportunity to win and build a more inclusive, safer, and prosperous Maryland, and we are going to continue connecting with voters across the state in the next two months," Moore said after his campaign released the poll results. 

Poll graph courtesy Garin Hart Yang Research Group

Monday, May 16, 2022

Marc Elrich endorsed by transit union in Montgomery County Executive race

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich (D) has been endorsed by the Amalgamated Transit Union  Local 689 in his run for reelection in the July 19, 2022 Democratic primary. It is the latest labor endorsement for the incumbent, who is already backed by the Montgomery County Education Association, the Service Employees International Union 32BJ and Local 500, and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 868. 

"I am very grateful for their support and trust in my leadership," Elrich said in a statement. "ATU Local 689 is comprised of over 13,000 members and retirees performing occupations within the many skilled transportation crafts for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), and MetroAccess, among others. I have been committed to supporting our workers and expanding and improving transit opportunities is part of that commitment." Elrich is running against Democrats David Blair, Peter James and Hans Riemer in the primary. Shelly Skolnick and Reardon Sullivan are running for the Republican nomination in the race.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Wes Moore wins, Doug Gansler a surprise second in Western Maryland Democratic Summit straw poll

Wes Moore (right) and running mate
Aruna Miller after winning 2022
Western Maryland Democratic Summit
straw poll in MD governor race

Democrat Wes Moore continues to gain momentum as he attempts to break away from a crowded field in the July 19 Maryland gubernatorial primary, taking first place with 153 votes in what many consider the first major contest in a statewide race, the 2022 Western Maryland Democratic Summit straw poll. That might not have been too shocking, but the real surprise was the second-place finish by former Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler, who beat once-assumed-to-be-frontrunner Peter Franchot 7 to 1 in the poll with 71 votes.

Former Montgomery County Councilmember and U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez took a distant third place with 48 votes, John King with 45 votes, Peter Franchot in a big dropoff at only 10 votes, Ashwani Jain at 5 votes, Rushern Baker and Jon Baron tied at 2 votes apiece, and Jerome Segal bringing up the rear with a single vote.

"Today's straw poll results from the #WesternMaryland #DemSummit2022 speak for themselves," Moore tweeted after the vote. "Our movement is strong statewide, and Marylanders are excited about the opportunity our vision presents. Together, we will build a state where we leave no one behind."

Doug Gansler

The Gansler campaign was thrilled with the result, which it did not find as surprising, because their candidate has been gaining notice locally for having a presence west of Hagerstown in this campaign. “Candidates like former Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler, a Democrat, and Kelly M. Schulz, a Republican, former state delegate and labor secretary under Gov. Larry Hogan, have come through the region during the course of the campaign” the Cumberland Times-News editorial board opined. “[M]ost [of the other candidates] have been ghosts, relegated to the eastern half of the state, more a series of pictures and words than person.” 

Gansler and running mate Candace Hollingsworth, a former mayor of Hyattsville, thanked voters for the strong show of support at the Rocky Gap Casino Resort in Flintstone, Maryland. “I’m grateful to all the Western Maryland Democrats who cast their vote for Candace and me in today’s straw poll, and as governor I will make sure the rural parts of Maryland help lead the way as we build a better, safer and greener future for our state,” Gansler said in a statement. “This is a two-person race, and crime is the number one issue voters care about. As a former prosecutor and attorney general, I am the candidate best-equipped — in fact, I am the only candidate at all equipped — to address the massive rise in crime across our state and make Maryland safe.”

“Peter Franchot’s entire rationale for his candidacy just completely fell apart; he is not the candidate who runs strongest statewide. Doug beat Franchot 7 to 1 in a region of the state where Franchot himself claims to be strong,” Gansler campaign manager Shaun Daniels said after the vote. “This is the first public poll where Democrats put pen to paper to publicly declare their choices. Doug Gansler placed second, far outpacing the next place finishers. It is obvious the field is narrowing. We have more than a million dollars on hand and every Democrat in Maryland is going to know that Doug and Candace are the best candidates, not just to take on Kelly Schulz in November, but to keep us safe.”

Gansler has been endorsed by Western Maryland’s only Democratic Senator, Sen. Ron Young.

Monday, May 9, 2022

Doug Gansler, Wes Moore tout latest endorsements in Maryland governor race

Wes Moore speaks after receiving
the endorsement of Maryland House
Speaker Adrienne Jones in
Catonsville Saturday morning

Two Democratic candidates for Maryland governor have announced prominent endorsements in the crowded primary field. Perhaps the most powerful Democrat in the state, Maryland House Speaker Adrienne Jones, has endorsed Wes Moore in the race. "Wes Moore has the fortitude, lived experience, and motivation to lead us into a new era of equity, opportunity, and achievement for all Marylanders,” Jones said at the Benjamin Banneker Museum in Catonsville on Saturday. “He is the governor Maryland needs to put us on the best path forward.”

“It is an honor to receive the support of Speaker Jones, a stalwart champion for equity and opportunity in Maryland,” Moore said in a statement. “I’ve been proud to work with her on her groundbreaking Black agenda, on the blueprint for Maryland’s future – and I will be so proud to be her partner as we usher in a new era of opportunities.” In a race that many thought Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot would lead through a hefty campaign treasure chest and political influence, Moore has appeared to have the momentum in the final months, racking up endorsements from power players across the state including longtime Congressman Steny Hoyer and Prince George's County Executive Angela Alsobrooks. Franchot, in contrast, has made very little news at all.

(L-R in Baltimore): Rev. Dr. Alvin J. Gwynn,
Maryland Governor candidate Doug Gansler, 
Lt. Governor candidate Candace Hollingsworth

Former Maryland Attorney General and current Montgomery County resident Doug Gansler meanwhile received an endorsement that could boost his turnout in the City of Baltimore, where he has placed much of his effort during his campaign. The Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance of Baltimore has endorsed Gansler and his running mate, former Hyattsville Mayor Candace Hollingsworth, for Governor and Lieutenant Governor of Maryland.  “The IMA believes that former Attorney General Doug Gansler and former Mayor Candace Hollingsworth are the best-suited ticket to meet the needs of Black Marylanders across the state,” IMA President Rev. Dr. Alvin J. Gwynn, Sr. said in a statement. “Doug has spent much of his career serving communities of color in Maryland and working to keep the state safe but never at the expense of justice. Candace led revitalization efforts when she served as mayor of Hyattsville. The IMA believes that Doug and Candace are the right team to create not only a safer Baltimore, but a safer Maryland, and we look forward to helping them win this primary in July.”  

“It’s a deep and profound honor for us to receive the IMA’s endorsement,” Gansler said. “Not only because of what IMA represents historically for Baltimore, but also because of the pastors that represent the citizens of Baltimore. We’re excited to work with the pastors of IMA and the communities on the ground to help Baltimore realize its promise as a safe and vibrant city.” The significance and weight of the IMA endorsement is seen in two other politicians who have received it in the past, the late Congressman Elijah Cummings (D), and current Congressman Kweisi Mfume (D).

Donald Trump meets with Maryland governor hopeful Dan Cox at Mar-a-Lago in Florida

Fresh off a major victory in the Ohio U.S. Senate primary, former President Donald Trump is redoubling his efforts to play a similar kingmaker role in the Maryland Republican primary this July. Trump held a private meeting at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida last week with his endorsed candidate in the Maryland gubernatorial race, Dan Cox. A Republican state representative in the Maryland House of Delegates, Cox was heartily endorsed by Trump last year. In a statement, Trump urged Maryland Republican voters to turn out for Cox. "I want you to help him," Trump said. "He's going to win big."

The impact of Trump's endorsement in a state like Maryland won't be known until after those voters head to the polls on July 19. While Trump was almost single-handedly responsible for the win of J.D. Vance in the Ohio U.S. Senate primary, the Buckeye state is a solid Republican redoubt in 2022. Trump remains popular among large numbers of Republicans in Maryland, but victory there requires a larger percentage of independent and moderate Democratic votes than in Ohio. Current Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) has sailed to victory twice, the second time - in part - due to his trashing of Trump loudly and repeatedly in the national media.

Hogan's attacks have the candidate he has endorsed to succeed him, Kelly Schulz, on the receiving end of Trump's own attacks.  The popular Republican governor is exploring a possible presidential run in 2024, and that no doubt has played a role in Trump's engagement in the Maryland race. As Maryland's commerce secretary, Schulz scored major wins in attracting a Hitachi railcar factory, and two new manufacturing facilities for United Safety Technology and Niagara Bottling, to a state that has seen those industrial jobs evaporate in recent decades.  

Schulz did not wage a similar public campaign against Trump while serving in Hogan's administration, but has earned Trump's ire simply for being Hogan's choice, and for carrying out Hogan's policies during the coronavirus pandemic lockdowns. Cox rose to prominence as a critic of those policies, going so far as to sue Hogan in court.

Schulz' primary political message has been that she is the only candidate who can maintain that Hogan coalition at the polls this November. “If you approve of how we have led Maryland, then Kelly Schulz is your choice for governor,” Hogan declared in his endorsement speech. With two impressive wins in a blue state under Hogan's belt, and high marks from even many Democratic voters, that's a compelling case for sure.

In contrast, Cox has wider goals than the continuation of the Hogan status quo. He has promised to audit the 2020 election, "stop the indoctrination of our kids in schools," end taxpayer funding of abortions, block the federal release of immigrants apprehended at the border into Maryland communities, and double police salaries. That's an agenda diehard Trump supporters in Maryland would strongly support. Establishment Republican operatives looking at a Democratic field that hasn't produced the clear, strong frontrunner many had expected...not so much. Which side of that GOP coin will have the numbers July 19 is anybody's guess at this point.

Cox, for his part, is confident of the positive impact of a Trump endorsement in Maryland. "The most powerful endorsement in America is the one I am blessed to have - President Trump's endorsement," he said in a statement after the Mar-a-Lago meeting. Cox said that Trump called several unnamed Republican leaders on the telephone during their meeting, exhorting them to support the Cox campaign.

Photo released by Dan Cox for Governor campaign

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Maryland in a "state of lawlessness," gubernatorial candidate Doug Gansler says in crime-focused campaign

Democrat Doug Gansler is the former Attorney General of Maryland and a past State's Attorney in his native Montgomery County. Given that resume, it's not surprising that crime has been a major focus of his campaign as the July 19, 2022 Democratic primary approaches. In a statement released this morning after a police detective was carjacked in Baltimore Tuesday night, Gansler says, "Maryland is in a state of lawlessness when people feel at liberty to carjack, shoot, or assassinate doctors, police officers, and people who are just minding their own business trying to get through their day."

Carjackings, often by armed robbers, have become a frequent occurrence in Montgomery County as well in the pandemic era. Drivers from Bethesda to Silver Spring and Gaithersburg have found themselves in the crosshairs of carjackers over the last two years. Even Potomac hasn't escaped the trend.

Gansler is tacking against the "defund the police" sentiment of some in his party. He sees a police shortage, and is promising to instead put "more and better-paid police officers on our streets." Gansler says he would balance a tougher stance on crime with funding for programs that address the root causes of lawbreaking. "We will...invest in the necessary resources to solve every murder and every carjacking while also fast-tracking funding for community infrastructure projects like youth recreation centers in high-crime areas," Gansler says in today's statement, which also accuses the state of having neglected the City of Baltimore "for too long."

In a crowded Democratic race, Gansler carries the advantage of having been elected to a statewide office before. He has been endorsed by more than 40 current and past attorneys general from across the country, and was named a 2022 Moms Demand Action Gun Sense Candidate. Gansler's path to victory would likely have to include a strong turnout in his home base of Montgomery County, Baltimore residents fed up with crime, and a sizable chunk of moderate Democrats in Southern Maryland and on the Eastern Shore. He could benefit from being the only candidate in his lane, which is relatively moderate and tough-on-crime, while the other candidates are vigorously competing to be seen as the most-progressive. The question remains, is that a winning lane in the Maryland Democratic Party circa 2022?

Also running for governor are Democrats Rushern Baker, Jon Baron, Peter Franchot, Ralph Jaffe, Ashwani Jain, John King, Wes Moore, Tom Perez, and Jerome M. Segal. Republicans Dan Cox, Robin Ficker, Kelly Schulz and Joe Werner will face off in their own July 19 primary. Libertarian David Lashar and Unaffiliated candidate Kyle Sefcik will take on the winners of the two major party primaries in the November general election.

Photo via Friends of Doug Gansler

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Maryland gubernatorial candidates react to Supreme Court leak suggesting Roe v. Wade will be overturned

An unprecedented leak of a purported U.S. Supreme Court draft majority opinion striking down Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey published Monday night by Politico has dominated political discussion in the hours since. Maryland candidates for governor weighed in on the document, which Politico claims it has confirmed was authored by Justice Samuel Alito. Voters in Maryland approved a ballot measure in 1992 that preserved abortion on-demand up until the point of viability if Roe were to be overturned. Democrats in Annapolis widely expanded the number of healthcare professionals who could perform abortions in the General Assembly's 2022 session, over the objections and veto of Maryland's Republican Governor Larry Hogan.

Despite those legal precedents, Democrats running for Hogan's job aggressively responded to the potential SCOTUS decision. Wes Moore called it "deeply disturbing and dangerous," in a statement. "It cannot be overstated how many people will die as a result of this decision," Moore added, promising he would press for an amendment to Maryland's constitution, among other efforts.

"It will be the duty of Maryland's next Democratic governor to unapologetically protect and expand a pregnant person's right to an abortion," John King tweeted. "This assault on women, on a woman’s right to abortion care, is absolutely abhorrent," King wrote.

Candidate and current Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot called on lawmakers to "enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution" in a tweet. "But we must not stop there. It is not enough to preserve the status quo in the face of attacks on reproductive healthcare. So much more must be done to expand the accessibility of abortion care services."

Rushern Baker, former Prince George's County Executive now running for governor, considered the nationwide impacts of the possible Supreme Court decision. In a tweet, he exhorted state lawmakers to "prepare NOW for the many who may soon have to travel here for care."

Jon Baron also called for amending the state constitution. "This ruling, if made official, would cause immeasurable harm to millions around the country. It’s appalling — and a reminder of the imperative of state-level leadership on abortion rights," Baron tweeted.

"Guns have more rights than women in America," former Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler tweeted this morning. He promised to be a "brick wall" against any reduction of abortion rights. Like Baker, he forsaw Maryland becoming a destination for women in other states seeking abortions if such a ruling passed.

Ashwani Jain joined Baker and Gansler in seeking to position Maryland as an "abortion sanctuary." He tweeted that "There’s no such thing as 'Pro-Life.' You’re either FOR safe abortions or AGAINST healthcare access."

"I'm disgusted. And infuriated," former Montgomery County Councilmember and U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez tweeted. "This is another step toward the Court forfeiting legitimacy. Make no mistake: people will lose their lives. Abortion and reproductive freedoms are fundamental freedoms—and always will be. We're going to fight like hell."

The only Republican ticket to speak on the leak so far was that of Delegate Dan Cox and his running mate Gordana Schifanelli. " I pray God it’s true," Cox posted on Facebook. "And because of the three SCOTUS seats appointed by President Trump, Roe v. Wade and abortion on demand are no more. May it ever be forgiven our land and may the blood of the innocent be part of the cloud of witnesses that triumphantly proclaim with all Americans 'we are endowed by our Creator with unalienable rights…of Life…!' And may the healing of women who’ve been lied to or overwhelmed by their decision, overflow with grace."

"Leaking draft opinion from the Supreme Court is another example of destructive behavior of the radical left - the fascists and haters of our country," Schifanelli tweeted. 

Republicans Robin Ficker and Kelly Schulz have yet to publicly comment on the potential SCOTUS decision. 

Unaffliated candidate Kyle Sefcik tweeted his support for the "weakening and overturning of Roe v. Wade."

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Hans Riemer endorsed by former MD governor Parris Glendening in Montgomery County Executive race

Former Maryland Governor Parris Glendening (D) has endorsed Montgomery County Councilmember Hans Riemer (D - At-Large) for County Executive. A video message from the two-term former governor supporting Riemer will be released this morning. Riemer's campaign cites the endorsement as the first from a current or former statewide leader for any candidate in the executive race.

Prior to his gubernatorial career, Glendening served as County Executive in Prince George's County. “As a three-term former County Executive," Glendening said in a statement this morning. "I know what the position takes. I know that Hans has the ideas and experience to create a more prosperous, connected, and inclusive Montgomery County.” The former governor touts Riemer as "a visionary with a record of success."

By the time Glendening left the governor's mansion in Annapolis, he was known for championing smart growth. In his video message, Glendening says Riemer is "carrying the smart growth vision forward. When I was governor, there was no Pike & Rose. We were not building housing on top of Metro. The idea of a Purple Line Innovation Corridor was just a pipe dream." Glendening says he was impressed with Riemer's emails to constituents during the long construction of the Purple Line, and would often discuss the project with the councilman. 

Combined with Riemer's $725,000 fundraising haul in the first quarter of 2022, which was approximately double what incumbent executive Marc Elrich's raised, his campaign is feeling a new sense of momentum in the race. “These past few weeks have shown us one thing: our campaign has the momentum and energy to decisively win this thing,” Campaign Manager Aziz Yakub said. He observed that the more than 1,100 grassroots campaign donors responsible for the fundraising success are now being joined by establishment figures like Glendening. “We’ve always known that Hans has a record and vision that speaks to the electorate," Yakub said. "Now, we’re seeing that real institutional forces in Maryland politics, like Governor Glendening, know that Hans has a clear path to victory. When Governor Glendening speaks, people listen.”

Riemer faces Elrich, David Blair and Peter James in the July 19 Democratic primary. Republicans Shelly Skolnick and Reardon Sullivan are competing for the GOP nomination.

Image via Hans Riemer for County Executive

Monday, April 18, 2022

Mariela Roca announces campaign for Maryland 6th Congressional District seat

Mariela Roca
, a U.S. Air Force veteran and Department of Veterans Affairs contractor, has filed to run for U.S. Congress in Maryland's 6th Congressional District. Roca had filed to run in District 8, but the new district map approved by Gov. Larry Hogan (R) placed her Frederick home into District 6. She joins a crowded Republican field in a district that is now in play for the GOP.

If elected, Roca would be the first Latina to represent Maryland in the U.S. Congress. Roca was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and is a 12-year resident of Maryland. She deployed to Afghanistan in 2007, and holds a DBA from the University of Maryland Global Campus, an MBA from Mount St. Mary's University, and a BS from the University of Maryland University College.

"With over 16 years of experience between my time in the Air Force and working with the Department of Defense and VA, I understand what it means to serve," Roca said in a statement. "I will listen to you. I will learn from you. And I will lead with you. We need new leadership in Washington that will focus on what unites us, fight inflation, and support both local law enforcement and our armed forces."

Roca will take on fellow Republicans Colt Black, Matthew Foldi, Jonathan Jenkins, Neil Parrott, and Robert Poissonnier in the July 19 GOP primary. Incumbent Democrat David Trone has three Democratic primary opponents and a hefty war chest anchored by his own wealth. Trone's district isn't as favorable for a severely left-wing Democrat as it was a few weeks ago, making this the top Congressional race to watch in Maryland this year.