By Len Lazarick
Most of the pundits, forecasters, pollsters and politicos had it right about pretty much all the races in Maryland’s primary Tuesday. They just weren’t right enough — the winners did even better than predictions and poll numbers.
CLINTON: Hillary Clinton didn’t just defeat Bernie Sanders, she clobbered him by 30 points, winning 63% of the vote and CORRECTION 4/27, 10:15 a.m. every county except for Allegany, Carroll and Garret counties, losing them only by a combined 400 votes.
TRUMP: Donald Trump didn’t just win Maryland, he triumphed. He won 54% of the vote statewide, claiming every congressional district and county against two candidates, John Kasich and Ted Cruz, who also campaigned here. Trump gets all Maryland convention delegates on the first two ballots, and is now most likely the party nominee.
Congressman Andy Harris, who again got 78% and more votes against three opponents than he did against one challengers two years ago, agreed Trump will be the nominee. “Bring it on,” Harris said. Like all the earlier predictions of Trump’s demise, Harris said current forecasts of a big Trump loss to Clinton will prove untrue. And their likely one debate — Hillary won’t want more, he said — “will be the most watched presidential debate in history.”
UPDATED 1 p.m.: Not only did Trump win the congressional districts, the delegates listed on the ballot as designated by him won by big margins in every district as well. Only a couple are elected officials — Dels. Wendell Beitzel, Garrett, and Barrie Ciliberti, Frederick — but most are not part of the GOP establishment. So even in the unlikely event of a contested convention, these Trump supporters are likely to stick with him for the duration. In an interesting little side note, one of those Trump delegates is Joeylynn Hough, a member of the Frederick County Republican Central Committee, and wife of Sen. Mike Hough. She got 14,000 more votes than her husband the state senator, who was a Cruz delegate and chairman of the Cruz campaign in Maryland.
VAN HOLLEN: In the races to replace Barbara Mikulski in the U.S. Senate, Rep. Chris Van Hollen easily bested fellow Democratic Rep. Donna Edwards by 117,000 votes, 53%, fully benefitting from his dominance in money, advertising, endorsements and field organization. Edwards beat him in the two majority black jurisdictions, Baltimore City and Prince George’s, and in Charles County, but not by enough to make up for him trouncing her in the rest of the state.
SZELIGA: Republican Delegate Kathy Szeliga as expected will face him in the general election; she got 36% of the vote against a huge field of 12 guys and one gal. Like Van Hollen, she had both the dough and the endorsements of the entire political establishment, but unlike him, she was virtually unchallenged on TV where she portrayed herself as a down-home, business-owning, motorcycle-riding grandma.
Szeliga said she never even met her closest competitor, Chris Chafee with 14%, whose campaign was based on roadside signs. While her serious competitors, Richard Douglas and Chrys Kefalas, made the rounds of GOP political clubs and got just single digits, Szeliga passed on forums and all but a couple debates, spending her time dialing for dollars.
RASKIN: Dollars were not enough for Total Wine millionaire David Trone in the mostly Montgomery County 8th Congressional district, Van Hollen’s seat, where he spent $12 million, the most ever in any congressional primary in U.S. history. Trone came in second to Sen. Jamie Raskin, the liberal Takoma Park state senator and constitutional law professor who was the early favorite backed by every progressive group imaginable.
Raskin got 34% of the vote to Trone’s 27%, with former TV anchor and Marriott executive Kathleen Matthews a close third at 24%.
BROWN: The 8thCD is a solidly Democratic district as is Donna Edwards’ 4th Congressional District mostly in Prince George’s County. There, former Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown benefited from his name recognition and another big personal loan to get 42% of the vote against another Harvard law school grad, former state’s attorney Glenn Ivey, who got 34% and 8,000 votes less on election day voting. The two men were almost even in heavy early voting with 10,200 some votes apiece. Del. Joseline Peña-Melnyk came in third with 19%.
HOEBER: In the 6th Congressional District Republican primary race to face Democrat John Delany, Amie Hoeber beat a crowded field of seven men with 27%. She had the most moderate views on abortion and other issues, which were frequently challenged in debates and blogs, but she also had the most money in this low turnout race.
PUGH: In the most watched local race, State Senate Majority Leader Catherine Pugh squeaked out a victory against former Mayor Sheila Dixon, 37% to 35%, beating Dixon by less than 3,000 votes despite an edge in money, and campaign ads. Dixon actually beat Pugh in election day voting, but Pugh handily won the early voting. She had the backing of a diverse group of white and blacks, lobbyists and developers.
HOWARD SCHOOL BOARD: In a couple of down ballot races followed here at Maryland Reporter, two of three incumbents on the Howard County school board lost their reelection bids against a slate of candidates backed by the teachers union and a bipartisan coalition. Only incumbent Janet Siddiqi survived, but came in fourth for three seats in the nonpartisan race. (Voters could only vote for three, but six candidates go on to the general election.)
JUDGES: In Anne Arundel County, one of the challengers to the four sitting judges on the Circuit Court, Claudia Barber, edged out Judge Glenn Klavans in the Democratic primary, and so will appear on the November ballot. The three women Circuit Court judges handily won their elections.
In this slightly crazy system, the judge candidates run not in a nonpartisan race like school board members but in both party primaries.
Showing the oddity of this system, in Baltimore City, the six sitting judges handily won the Democratic primary, but in the Republican primary, retiring city council member Jim Kraft, a life-long liberal Democrat, apparently knocked off Judge Wanda Keyes Heard, and will appear on the general election ballot against the sitting judges. Heard is black; Kraft is white.
In Prince George’s County in the Democratic primary with four sitting judges, county council member Ingrid Turner came in fourth, knocking off Judge Erik Nyce, a Hogan appointee who won the Republican primary. Nyce is white; Turner is black.