In a state already dominated by Democrats, Maryland voters further consolidated the party’s power Tuesday.
The voters defeated the longest serving Republican congressman, clobbered congressional challengers to six Democratic incumbents, and approved all the ballot measures the great majority of Republican legislators had opposed, including same-sex marriage and expanded gambling.
In the final hours of Maryland’s most closely contested congressional race on Sunday, 6th district incumbent Republican Roscoe Bartlett was marching in a veterans parade and then phoning voters for hours, while Democratic challenger John Delaney was knocking on doors in Hagerstown and urging on volunteers at his own phone banks.
Congressional incumbents in Maryland are crushing their challengers in the crucial fundraising contest, except in the highly competitive 6th Congressional District, according to the latest campaign finance reports.
Maryland is still the undisputed U.S. champion when it comes to drawing sprawling, weirdly shaped congressional districts, according to a soon-to-be-released national study. Maryland has the least compact congressional districts in the nation, based on four mathematical tools for compactness, Azavea, a geographic information services firm in Philadelphia, plans to report in a white paper.
With the U.S. Farm Bill of 2008 about to expire Sept. 30, advocates from Maryland and across the nation are pressuring Congress to quickly pass the 2012 bill that would end the subsidies for big corporate farms before Congress breaks for the election. But Maryland lawmakers are not hopeful it will make that deadline. Both the Senate and the House bills spell the end for Direct Payment subsidies in favor of crop insurance programs. The gridlock stems from disagreement over cuts to the food stamp program.
For some analysts, the 6th Congressional District race is all but over for incumbent Republican Rep. Roscoe Bartlett. Last week, several national, independent political reporting firms moved the race from “leans” Democratic to “likely” Democratic. But also last week, Bartlett’s campaign began to show a pulse.
State Republican Party Chairman Alex Mooney is now working part time on the staff of U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett as community outreach director. “It’s part time because I’m staying on as party chairman,” said Mooney, who was elected to the unpaid party post last year. ||“Dump Dutch” or “Ditch Dutch” — Republican state Sen. Nancy Jacobs isn’t sure which is the better slogan for her campaign to unseat five-term Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger.
The torrent of comment on the Supreme Court decision to uphold most of the Affordable Care Act fell predictably along party and ideological lines: Democrats and progressives were exulting; Republicans and conservatives were disgusted, except for the ruling that the individual mandate was a tax. It will take several days to digest the full implications, but here are lightly edited versions of over two dozen Maryland reactions.