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Every State. Every race. Right here.

This is number twelve in a planned series of 50 entries between now and November, looking at each of the 50 states in terms of every race on that state's ticket--Presidential, Gubernatorial, Senate, House, State legislatures--the whole soft-shell crab kettle.  Special attention paid to identifying and promoting the most important contests per state.

Today, we will explore the wonderfully blue state of MARYLAND!

The good news is, Maryland is a solid blue state. The Democrats in Baltimore and Prince Georges Counties alone are enough to outnumber all Republicans, and the rest of the corridor between Philadelphia and DC is solidly Democratic as well.  The mixed news is that what Republicans there are are concentrated in comparatively thinly populated but geographically large pockets hugging the Pennsylvania and Delaware borders.  The Congressional map was drawn by Democrats to elect six Democrats and two Republicans, and you can easily see the Republican parts of Maryland outlined in the two largest Congressional districts:

East bay voters are slightly closer to Dixie and less socially conservative than panhandle voters, who are closer to Appalachia.  Also, those two large districts are where the action is at in Maryland 2008.

BLOGS: Free State Politics provides in depth discussion on all things Maryland:

PRESIDENT: Safe Obama. An easy ten electoral votes.

SENATORS, GOVERNORS AND OTHER STATEWIDE: They’re all Democrats, all safe, and none of them facing the voters in 2008. What could be better?

STATE LEGISLATURE:  Maryland has a safe supermajority in both houses, at 33D, 14R in the State Senate and 104D, 37R in the lower house.  The Wikipedia entry for both houses even has a legislative map showing party breakdown by district, which is useful in showing the political makeup of the state (predictably, the Republicans are almost all in few but geographically large districts along the PA and DE border) and in forming redistricting strategy. I’ve included links to both pages here.


District 1—Frank Kratovil (D) v. Andrew Harris (R).  THIS IS MARYLAND’S BIG ONE FOR 2008. The Club for Cancer Growth managed to primary veteran incumbent Wayne Gilchrest, leaving this seat open.  Although the district was drawn to concentrate Republicans, and Maryland progressives complain about how conservative the 1st and 6th districts are, remember that "conservative for Maryland" is not the same thing as "conservative for America".  Put East Maryland in the middle of west Texas, and they’d look like a dangerous bunch of radicals.  Besides this, and in addition to the benefits of a Democratic wave year with heavy Obama coattails, I’m calling this race for Kratovil for the following reasons:

  1. Maryland doesn’t have anything better to do. With all the other Democrats safe, and Obama likely to get a landslide, Maryland’s many activists, as well as the Governor, two Senators and six representatives, plus the state government system, should go to the mat for Kratovil.  The State GOP is in a shambles, with nothing to compete with Maryland’s Democratic machine, while the national GOP has other fish to fry. Of course, there’s always Club for Growth money on Harris’s side, but we’ll counter that with some Kos love, right?
  1. Gilchrest, a popular moderate who has been in office since 1988, is somewhat ambivalent about endorsing the guy who primaried him. Go figure.  The BEST Harris can hope for is that Gilchrest remains silent.  If Gilchrest actually endorses Kratovil—which isn’t unlikely—Kratovil wins.
  1. More than half the population of the district—and a good percentage of the Republicans--is in Maryland’s East Bay, which hates Baltimore the way upstate New York hates NYC, or pretty much the way any rural section of America hates the nearest big uppity city.  Now guess where Kratovil is from. Right, he’s East Bay, and well known there as a favorite son. Now guess where Harris is from. C’mon...begins with a "B"...  People from this part of Maryland tell me the East-West divide is going to sink Harris, and I trust them.  But help make it so by contributing to Maryland’s seventh Democratic Congressman:

District 2—Dutch Ruppersburger (Inc. D). Safe Dem. How can anyone whose name is so fun to say NOT be safe?

District 3—John Sarbanes (Inc D) Safe Democrat. Sarbanes got in easily last election when Ben Cardin moved up to the Senate, and he’ll win even more easily as an incumbent.

District 4—Donna Edwards (D).  OK, I lied, sort of. The 1st district isn’t the only big contest in Maryland for 2008. There was one here, too, but we already won it by trading up corrupt DINO Al Wynn for the wonderful Donna Edwards in the primary.  A real victory for the More and better Democrats strategists in a district that could safely primary a Democratic incumbent—and did. Edwards makes me think of Susan from the Sesame Street episodes I imprinted on in my formative years, and it’s hard to imagine a more trustworthy face for my generation.

District 5—Steny Hoyer (Inc D), the House Majority Leader. He’s safe.

District 6—Jennifer Dougherty (D) v. Roscoe Bartlett (Inc R). The panhandle and Pennsylvania border, this district was redrawn in 2002 to concentrate Republicans and make the 8th super-safely blue.  Democrats do have a chance here and should keep fighting; however, in 2008, the consensus in Maryland seems to be to focus on the 1st district and wait for what will surely be an easier shot in another year.  Bartlett is nearing retirement age, and after 2010 Democrats will have a chance to redistrict again, possibly combining the 6th and 8th districts into two blue-leaning districts. If that happens, Bartlett is likely to call it quits, giving us an open blue seat during Obama’s re-election year.

For those reasons, this one isn’t on the map for now. We do have a candidate in case lightning strikes.  

This district is Carnacki’s turf, and he is the one to consult on all things related to Maryland’s panhandle.

District 7—Elijah Cummings (Inc. D)  Another super-safe minority district, this one centered in Baltimore.

District 8—Chris Van Hollen (Inc. D), the DCCC chair who has done so much to expand our map, and a safe Democrat himself.

REDISTRICTING MARYLAND:  I first became interested in aggressive redistricting due to a Kos diary by Silver Spring, on the subject of redistricting Maryland to produce one solid GOP district and a seventh Democratic district. That diary was so thorough that instead of reinventing the wheel, I’m just going to link to it here:

However, if Kratovil wins the first district, we can even do better than that. Kratovil can be made safer by simply swapping the red Baltimore/Ann Arundel county (west bay) parts of the 1st with blue territory in the 3rd and 5th districts (Hoyer and Sarbanes are super-safe no matter what you do to their districts). The 3rd district should also extend south of Baltimore into Howard County to take in the white parts of the existing 7th.   Afterwards, the remaining five districts (2, 4, 6, 7 and 8) may be redrawn like the spokes of a wheel, with each district starting in Republican sixth district territory and extending deep into the Atlantic corridor.  Specifically, the existing 2nd should take in Harford county, and possibly exchange Cecil (the northeast literal corner of the state) with the 1st; the 7th take in north Baltimore; the 4th Caroll, the 8th Frederick, and the 6th the thinly populated panhandle counties of Washington, Allegany and Garrett before taking a sharp southward turn at Hattiesburg and adding the partisan Democrats of Montgomery.  (This is a rough model, and should be designed more by population factors than county borders, but it works). And that would create eight blue-leaning districts.

Doing this does mean the risk that, in a Republican wave year, some of these seats might be vulnerable to flipping.  But the risk is not as great as it might be in other, less partisan states.  In a state that elects 104 Democrats to a 141 member legislative body, it seems to me that the population can be arranged to elect eight out of eight Democrats.

Previous diaries in this series:




Texas, Part One:

Texas, Part Two:



North Carolina:





Originally posted to AdmiralNaismith on Wed May 28, 2008 at 08:12 AM PDT.


Are thoughts of the coming HUGE Dem win in November getting you horny?

17%7 votes
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10%4 votes
12%5 votes
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7%3 votes

| 39 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tips, recs and soft-shell crab (14+ / 0-)

    It's nice to do a solid blue state again.

    What part of America do you want to see next?

    "...And I woulda got away with it, if it hadn't been for that meddling Kos!" ---attributed to Tom DeLay

    by AdmiralNaismith on Wed May 28, 2008 at 08:13:29 AM PDT

  •  Agree with your analysis (4+ / 0-)

    As a Marylander who is moderately well informed I agree with your analysis.  Roscoe Bartlett will be tough to beat this year, unfortunately.  

    I love your line "Maryland doesn't have anything better to do" and that's sort of true but we definitely will be pitching in in Virginia, PA, W. Va, anywhere reasonably close where we can be helpful.  

    •  Same in CT (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      We ain't got nothing better to do than make sure Chris Shays, the last republican rep standing in New England is gone.

      3 of the 4 Democratic rep incumbents are ridiculously safe, including frosh Chris Murphy in CT-05 and the 4th Dem will get plenty of support to to make sure he gets a second term.  There is no Governors race or Senate race and Obama will win the state by minimum of 10%.  

  •  Edward will be an incumbent (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AdmiralNaismith, davybaby

    in November, since slimey Wynn is retiring in a few days and there will be a special election to fill his seat on June 17th.

    MD 1 is on my list of races to donate to. I can't afford to give to everyone but this one is almost right next door-I'm in MD 8.

    You fell victim to one of the classic blunders, the most famous of which is "Never get involved in a land war in Asia".

    by yellowdog on Wed May 28, 2008 at 08:35:33 AM PDT

  •  MD-04 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Don't forget that lame duck Al Wynn has resigned, and that there will be a special election next month. Donna Edwards will win easily and take office immediately.

  •  Mostly Agree (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I mostly agree with your analysis with the exception of District 6. Jennifer Dougherty has no chance of winning the 6th district. Roscoe has consistently won this distrcit by 20-30% and is well known in the district. On the other hand, Jennifer Dougherty has very little name recognitionin the area outside the city of Frederick and doesn't have a lot of cash. If you are thinking Obama coattails, think again, Most of my neighbors seem to get their info from Fox and are of the opinion that Obama is a Muslim. Unfortunately, I just don't see Jennifer Dougherty having any chance of winning.

    •  When I say "not on the map" about a race (0+ / 0-)

      That pretty much means what you just said, only a little more diplomatic, maybe.

      However, when you say "no chance" I believe you really mean "ALMOST none", since there's always a chance, however small, that Bartlett ends up caught with a live boy, or a dead girl, or muslim kickback money, or something completely unforeseen like that suddenly puts the race in play.

      I believe in being nice to anyone willing to carry the Democratic brand proudly in unfriendly territory where everyone expects her to lose. Unless we're interested in watching a lot more seats go uncontested completely because we've laughed off the valiant Davids, we should appreciate the courage of the Jennifer Doughertys of the world.

      And something useful short of a win could come out of MD-6.  If she can't win, maybe she shaves off a few points from what Bartlett got last time around, and then the next cycle we shave a few points more than that, and then in 2012 we've redistricted, and there's more Democrats in the district from Montgomery County who weren't there before, and maybe Bartlett sees he's not getting the big margins he used to, and maybe the seat opens up and a Democrat takes it. Maybe Dougherty. Or maybe Dougherty gets her name recognition up from this race and later becomes Mayor of Frederick and goes on to be a Maryland rock star Democrat.  Maybe she just brings up the Panhandle Democrat vote overall enough to make a difference in a state house district race.

      The point is to fight everywhere, all the time.  The panhandle may not change overnight, maybe not soon. But if we stick to it, relentlessly, then one day we will win.  Preparing the district for 2012 is a worthy long term goal.

      Remember--Newt lost three consecutive elections as a GOP nobody in what was a "safe Democrat" Georgia district in a solid Democratic state, before he finally got his foot in the door. He eventually became largely responsible for transforming most of the state into one-party Republican over the course of two decades.  We can do the opposite.

      "...And I woulda got away with it, if it hadn't been for that meddling Kos!" ---attributed to Tom DeLay

      by AdmiralNaismith on Wed May 28, 2008 at 01:34:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Redistricting MD to be 8-0 Democratic would (0+ / 0-)

    very hard. I say this because the current map is producing the alignment that the Democrats intended in the 2000 redistricting: 6-2 Democratic. The Democratic legislature basically confined Republicans to the 1st and the 6th districts.

    But if you were to try to create an 8-0 balance, perhaps this is what I might do. Creating even a 7-1 balance would be hard. I'm just not sure how you would create such a balance.

    The only way that I could envision is if you took Montgomery County and somehow appended the most liberal parts of the county to the 6th. Then the real problem you run into are Carroll and Frederick Counties, although you could perhaps make one super-Republican exurban district encompassing Carroll, Frederick, western Howard, and parts of Anne Arundel County. It could perhaps follow MD 32.

    And the other way would have to involve using the blackest parts of PG County and somehow marrying those precincts to either the Eastern Shore district or to neutralize suburban Baltimore and Anne Arunel counties. I'm not sure how you would do that.

    •  I don't know that redistricting is necessary... (0+ / 0-)

      .... at least not for that reason. I'd rather see boundaries re-drawn so the districts make more geographic SENSE.  If you've ever looked at MD-04 on a map, you'll see what I mean -- and I think Sabanes' 03 is even worse.  And having a slice of Baltimore included with the Eastern Shore makes no sense either.

      There are parts of Maryland that are simply more conservative, and I think they should have representation that actually represents their views.

      •  Sorry (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Republicans don't think that way and we can't afford to.

      •  Talk to me when the GOP lets that happen to Texas (0+ / 0-)

        Until then, the choice is to fight back on their terms, or to be the party of appeasement and risk permanent minority status.

        Yeah, they'll call us dirty names, but then, they'll do that anyway.  Maybe if we control and ruthlessly gerrymander MD, CA, OH, IL, NY, PA and MI into GOP-free zones, they'll be willing to come to the bargaining table and agree to release Texas, Florida and the rest of the south, if we do the same.  

        Republicans respect only power.

        "...And I woulda got away with it, if it hadn't been for that meddling Kos!" ---attributed to Tom DeLay

        by AdmiralNaismith on Wed May 28, 2008 at 10:34:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Redistricting (0+ / 0-)

      The 2002 redistricting was designed to remove two existing Republicans from what had been a 4-4 split. It made the 8th and 2nd districts lopsidedly Democratic.  The 8th, especially, had been represented by the only popular Republican in Montgomery County, and it can be easily and safely diluted with a lot of panhandle Republicans.  The 2nd, maybe a little riskier.

      For a 7-1 split, see the Silver Spring entry I linked to, which is based on a lot more population research than my musings.  That map creates on GOP district that pretty much hugs the PA border and drips down where appropriate. Neither Frederick nor Hattiesburg are in it.

      Going for 8-0 would mean districts that resemble the spokes of a wheel, taking in some rural territory and extending fingers into the densest parts of Baltimore/Montgomery/AA/PG.  Doing so would probably mean sacrificing one of the two minority districts, and would make at least four of the eight potentially vulnerable to a Republican wave, so there is a price, and reasonable people might disagree on whether to do it.  Depends on your priorities.

      You can also plan for an 8-0 blue Maryland by looking at the State Senate/State House maps and trying to draw eight districts, each of which has at least one but not more than two of the 14 GOP held Senate seats, or at least four but not more than six of the 37 House seats.

      "...And I woulda got away with it, if it hadn't been for that meddling Kos!" ---attributed to Tom DeLay

      by AdmiralNaismith on Wed May 28, 2008 at 10:31:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I tried reading it (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        but the maps are no longer there. Again making a 7-1, let alone an 8-0 map, would be very hard. I live in the area and for them to do it would require creating districts that look extremely bizarre.

        •  We can't do 7D-1R (0+ / 0-)

          while keeping MD-04 & MD-07 AA-majority. Those are contradictory goals.

        •  Districts that look extremely bizarre (0+ / 0-)

          As opposed to, I guess, the current MD-2, 3, and 4. Nothing weird about those, eh?

          Seems to me, weird-shaped districts are a legitimate part of the redistricting business.  I'll bet you mine would look no worse than some of what already exists.

          It just means separating some of those PA border counties.

          I agree that going for the full 8 seats makes sense only if one of those is occupied by an East shore/East bay native like Kratovil.  If he's there by 2011, all we'd need to do to keep him safe is to swap out the AA/Baltimore part of that district for something bluer from Hoyer's district.  As for the 6th, it's so long and horizontal that it wouldn't be hard to slice into strips, with each strip going into a different district.  Remember--the only undividable part (the panhandle) is, according to the Senate district map, just 1/47th of the state's population. Easily fittable in one district that hugs the VA border and has a majority of its population in blue Montgomery county.

          "...And I woulda got away with it, if it hadn't been for that meddling Kos!" ---attributed to Tom DeLay

          by AdmiralNaismith on Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:32:10 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Again (0+ / 0-)

            I could envision a 7-1 map, but making an 8-0 would be extremely tricky.

            To make a 7-1 map you probably have to do this:

            1. Make a totally exurban Baltimore/Washington district. That means probably taking the Damascus section of Montgomery County, almost all of Frederick County, Carroll County, northern Baltimore County, the rural part of Howard County, the northern part of Harford County, and the reddest parts of Anne Arundel County and making one Congressional district. This would be the one safe Republican district in the state.
            1. Take what is left with MD-6 and extend into MD-8. That means perhaps marrying the western Panhandle counties to the bluest precincts in Montgomery County.
            1. Make one very narrow inside-the Beltway district circling from Potomac, Bethesda, Silver Spring, Takoma Park and into PG County.
            1. Take Baltimore City and have what is MD-7 then extend across the shore and pick up the rural black precincts in the Eastern Shore.
            1. That means probably having Steny Hoyer pick up more of what is left of Anne Arundel County, while keeping most of PG County.

            But this is just off the top of my head. I haven't crunched the numbers in their entirety.

  •  Marylanders in 04 -- mark June 17 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    on your calendars and remember to VOTE!

    There will be at least two other candidates on the ballot, and there's traditionally a much lower turnout for special elections, so the more voters actually go to the polls, the better off we'll be. Donna should win handily, but the bigger the margin, the better! And she'll be another super-delegate for Obama (replacing Wynn, who had also endorsed Obama).

    (I'll be out of town that week, must find out if they will be taking absentee ballots for this....)

  •  Al Wynn (0+ / 0-)

    was corrupt, but he wasn't exactly a DINO.

    In 2004, he got a 95 from Am. Democratic Action, 70 for ACLU, 20 from American Conservative Union....

    Mind you, I'm glad we've got Edwards instead, but Wynn wasn't a DINO

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