Who will Maryland Democrats pick to avenge 2014’s shock loss for governor?

Who will Maryland Democrats pick to avenge 2014’s shock loss for governor?

July 19, 2022 0 By Ellen Novack

Ten Democrats are facing off to retake a post the party lost to Hogan in an upset in 2014, though most polls show that only three of them are in a position to win. The only sitting elected official is state Comptroller Peter Franchot, a moderate Democrat who has enjoyed a good relationship with Hogan. Another well-funded contender is Wes Moore, a former nonprofit leader and nonfiction author who has endorsements from House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Reps. Kweisi Mfume and Dutch Ruppersberger; Moore has also run commercials starring Oprah Winfrey.

The final major contender is Tom Perez, the former U.S. secretary of labor and Democratic National Committee chair who has the support of several unions. Moore would be Maryland’s first Black governor, while Perez, who is of Dominican heritage, would be the first Latino to lead the Old Line State. Almost every poll has found Franchot in first place with Moore and Perez both close behind, though no one has released any surveys since the end of June.

A fourth candidate, former U.S. Secretary of Education John King, has publicized internal polling showing him also in contention, though every other poll has placed King far behind the other three candidates. (King would also be the state’s first Black governor.) Also in the running are former Attorney General Doug Gansler, who lost in 2014; nonprofit leader Jon Baron; and Ashwani Jain, a one-time Obama administration official who lost a 2018 primary for the Montgomery County Council.

On the Republican side, Hogan is backing Kelly Schulz, who previously served in his cabinet. Donald Trump’s choice, meanwhile, is Del. Dan Cox, who played a role in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol by organizing a busload of people to attend the rally that preceded it. A pair of June polls showed the two locked in a close race, though they disagreed on who had the edge. The remaining two contenders, wealthy perennial candidate Robin Ficker and attorney Joe Werner, barely registered in either survey.  

Democrats very much believe the far-right Cox would be an easier opponent to beat than Schulz in a general election in this blue state, so they’ve taken steps to boost his candidacy. The Democratic Governors Association used the final weeks of the contest to drop $2 million to promote Cox, which is considerably more than either leading GOP candidate has spent on their own. Cox and Trump have tied Schulz to Hogan, who is one of Trump’s least-favorite Republicans in the nation; Schulz has hit back by casting Cox as a “nut” who would cost the party the governorship.

MD-04 (D) (89-9 Biden): Democratic Rep. Anthony Brown is leaving one of the bluest House districts in America, which is based around Prince George’s County in the D.C. suburbs, and two very familiar names are the leading candidates to replace him in what’s become a very expensive contest.

In one corner is former Rep. Donna Edwards, a progressive who left the House in 2016 to unsuccessfully run for the Senate and has House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on her side. (The new 4th includes about two-thirds of Edwards’ old constituency.) The other is former county State’s Attorney Glenn Ivey, whom Brown beat 42-34 in the 2016 primary to replace Edwards. Five other candidates, including former Del. Angela Angel, are also in, but they’ve attracted little attention.

An early June poll apparently commissioned by a pro-Edwards group showed Ivey ahead 33-28, but that was before the hawkish pro-Israel group ​​AIPAC launched a nearly $6 million ad campaign arguing that Edwards had done a poor job serving her constituents during her time in office. J Street, a progressive pro-Israel organization that often finds itself at odds with AIPAC, has responded with a considerably smaller $730,000 offensive portraying Ivey as a lobbyist for “big business.”

MD-06 (R) (54-44 Biden): Democratic Rep. David Trone faces a potentially tough general election now that redistricting has dramatically cut Joe Biden’s margin of victory (the president won it 61-38 under the old lines), and six Republicans are competing to face him in a seat based in western Maryland and the D.C. exurbs. Gov. Larry Hogan and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy have both lined up behind Matthew Foldi, a 25-year-old former writer for the conservative Washington Free Beacon. Foldi’s most prominent intraparty opponent is Del. Neil Parrott, whom Trone turned back 59-39 last cycle.

MD-AG (D) (65-32 Biden): The Democratic primary to succeed retiring Democratic incumbent Brian Frosh is a duel between two well-connected candidates who would each make history. One of the contenders is former Baltimore Judge Katie Curran O’Malley, who served as Maryland’s first lady when her husband, Martin O’Malley, was governor from 2007 to 2015. The other is Rep. Anthony Brown, who served as O’Malley’s lieutenant governor and lost the 2014 race for governor to Republican Larry Hogan. Curran O’Malley would be the first woman to hold this office, while Brown would be Maryland’s first Black attorney general.

Two polls were conducted for different media organizations in June, but they had very different takes on the race. An OpinionWorks survey put Brown ahead 42-29, but Goucher College showed Curran O’Malley up by a tiny 30-29 spread. The winner will be the favorite for an office the GOP last won in 1918.

Other races to watch: Baltimore State’s Attorney & Baltimore County State’s Attorney