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On Sunday June 8th, and Monday June 9th, the Baltimore Sun published its polls for the Democratic and Republican primaries for governor of Maryland, and the Democratic primary for Attorney General.  Jeffrey Pritzker, a Towson tax attorney (and my elementary and Hebrew school classmate), is running unopposed in the Republican "primary."

First, the Democratic race for governor.  Among likely voters:

Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown:                               41%
Attorney General Doug Gansler:                    20%
House of Delegates member Heather Mizeur:  15%
Undecided:                                                   15%
Refused to say:                                               9%

Anthony Brown has run as the heir apparent to term limited Governor Martin O'Malley. Poised to become Maryland's first AA governor, Brown enjoys majority support among black Marylanders, and leads in every area of the state except Baltimore County, where Doug Gansler leads.  To date he has distanced himself from O'Malley on only one issue - at the last debate Brown stated he would have vetoed legislation, supported by Gansler and strongly opposed by Mizeur, that raised the minimum taxable estate from $1 million to $4 million. During this debate, Brown joined Mizeur in denouncing this tax cut for a handful of millionaires - a tax cut that Brown's boss, Martin O'Malley, signed into law.  

Brown, however, did not help himself by boycotting the second debate.  The local Fox News outlet placed an empty podium with Anthony Brown's name on it next to Delegate Mizeur and Attorney General Gansler.  Brown's excuse was that he had only agreed to two debates, not to three.

Although Gansler's past record has been more progressive, Gansler has been running to the right of Brown, sounding often like a Republican as he condemns the high taxes that he claims O'Malley and his fellow Democrats have imposed on Maryland taxpayers.  Gansler, like his Republican counterparts, claim that these taxes have driven away business large and small, and forced an exodus of refugees fleeing for the tax havens of Pennsylvania and Virginia. Gansler points to a Gallup poll from this April which found that 47% of Marylanders would like to leave the state, with 67% responding that taxes were too high.  However, this week's Baltimore Sun poll found that 59% of Democrats think Maryland is on the right track, but 84% of Republicans state that Maryland is on the wrong track.  Clearly, Doug Gansler is not appealing to the Democratic base.  

Gansler has made his mistakes.  Last October, Gansler made national news when video was released showing him at his son's high school graduation beer party at a Delaware beach house.  (As the father of two former teenagers, I salute him and the other parents for chaperoning the kids - allowing beer but no hard liquor, no driving from the party, and no boys with girls alone behind closed doors.)  But, more recently, he made a jerk of himself by attacking Anthony Brown's military service as a JAG officer in Iraq as "not a real job." Gansler, of course, never served a single day of military service.  And Gansler's effort to blame Brown for the failure of Maryland's ACA website seems to have fallen on deaf ears - few see Brown as the computer nerd actually responsible for the screw up.

Finally, a word about Heather Mizeur, who has submitted diaries to Maryland Kos, is an outstanding progressive, and, if elected, would be Maryland's first woman governor as well as Maryland's first openly gay governor.  Mizeur not only denounced the estate tax giveaway to the 1 percenters, but she supports raising the state's minimum wage to $16.70 per hour and legalizing and taxing marijuana, using the tax revenue to support universal kindergarten. (Come on now - is "pot for tots" any worse than "slots for tots"?)

Second, The Sun poll shows a tighter race in the Republican primary.  Actually, in Maryland, Republican primaries are as rare if not rarer than Republicans winning general elections - I think the last contested Republican primary for governor was in 1994 between teahaddist prototype Ellen Sauerbrey and the relatively moderate Helen Bentley.  Here are the poll results:

Larry Hogan:                                        27%
Harford County Executive David Craig:   12%
Charles Lollar                                       12%
House of Delegates Member Ron George  6%
Undecided                                            37%
Refused to say                                       6%

Larry Hogan served as cabinet secretary to Governor Ehrlich, and had one unsuccessful run for Congress against Steny Hoyer, in 1992, winning 45% of the vote - Hoyer's closest election.  Hogan is primarily known as the son of Congressman Larry Hogan, who served on the House Judiciary Committee and was one of 8 Republicans on the committee to vote to impeach Richard Nixon.  All eight Republicans were defeated for reelection in 1974.  Hogan has a reputation for being relatively moderate, primarily because he is the son of his dad.

David Craig seems to be a genuine tea bagger, calling for the abolition of the state income tax and replacing it with - well, nothing.  He's been unclear about where he would cut state government, but the cuts will be massive - far beyond the call of Ellen Sauerbrey, who came within 6,000 votes of being elected governor in 1994, to cut taxes and all state spending save police and prisons by 1/3.  Under the Maryland constitution, the state legislature does not have the power to increase the budget proposed by the governor, so a Governor Craig could be really dangerous.

Charles Lollar, who is black, has never held office and describes himself as a proud tea partier. Delegate George seems to be fairly moderate - which may explain why he is doing so poorly in the polls.

Third, the race for the Democratic nomination for Attorney General.  Two of the contestants are members of the House of Delegates, the third, Brian Frosh, is a state senator.  According to the Baltimore Sun poll of likely voters published this morning:

Jon Cardin        26%
Brian Frosh       16%
Aisha Braveboy   7%
Undecided         42%
Refused to say     9%
First, Jon Cardin, nephew of U.S. Senator Ben Cardin.  He can thank the Cardin name for getting him elected to the House of Delegates in 2002, where Uncle Ben, Great Uncle Maurice, and Granddad Meyer had all served.  While endorsing Brian Frosh yesterday, the editorial had these nice words to say about the latest would be member of the Cardin dynasty:  

His chief experience in the General Assembly has been in election law, which gives him a window into civil rights issues and he has also made a name for himself in recent years through his work on cyber crimes and online bullying.  He says the next attorney general will need to be focused on those sorts of emerging threats, and we have no doubt that's true.
But the youngest Delegate Cardin has committed stupid after stupid.  In 2009, Cardin enticed on-duty Baltimore County marine and helicopter police officers to stage a phony raid on his yacht while he was proposing marriage to his girl friend.  Story here.  After he was caught, Cardin agreed to reimburse the county for this misuse of the police department.  Last month, the Sun reported that Cardin had missed 75% of his committee votes during the most recent House session, story here.  Cardin explained that he needed to be with his pregnant wife during the three month session.  I am not aware of any complications in the pregnancy, and Mr. Cardin is now happily a daddy.  However, it was also revealed that, while he was at home missing votes and missing General Assembly sessions, he was drawing not only his salary as a state delegate but $42 a day per diem for meals he was not having at Annapolis restaurants. Most recently, the Sun reported that Cardin had accepted the support of a rapper who, when not recording, operates a prostitution ring and is facing charges of human trafficking.  I don't fault Cardin for this, he met the rapper-pimp at a fundraiser and likely had no idea of who he was.  But I do fault him for having the fundraiser - sponsored by a former attorney disbarred for stealing his clients' money.  

But hey, Cardin leads in the polls - that's the advantage you get when you belong to a prestigious family.  (Note:  I do have some personal ties to the Cardin family, although not to Jon, so my inclination had been to vote for him.)  

Brian Frosh, who does not have a famous name, has served in the Maryland Senate since 1995 and served in the House of Delegates for the eight previous years.  As chairman of the Judicial Proceedings Committee, he was instrumental in enacting marriage equality and gun control and other measures.  He has been endorsed by Governor O'Malley and by the Baltimore Sun.

The third candidate, Delegate Aisha Braveboy, would be the first black, and the first female, attorney general of Maryland.  The Sun's editorial endorsing Frosh did praise her as

an intelligent lawmaker with poise beyond her years.  Her work on behalf of youths caught up in the juvenile justice system is commendable, as is her focus on civil rights and economic justice issues.  We hope and believe she will have a bright future in public service.
To which I respond, Amen!  Election day is June 24th, with early voting June 12 to 19.
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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (12+ / 0-)

    "Corporations exist not for themselves, but for the people." Ida Tarbell 1908.

    by Navy Vet Terp on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 03:53:40 PM PDT

  •  I had been hoping to see Mizeur overtake Gansler (6+ / 0-)

    but she remains in third place.

    I am very underwhelmed by Brown and have really not liked the unnecessarily negative mailers I have received from his campaign against Gansler.  It seems to me that rather than attacking Gansler he should be sending me things giving me a reason to vote for him.  I have not liked Gansler either.

    Initially, I was supporting Mizeur because she was not Brown and not Gansler but the more I read about her the more I like her, and so now I can say I am strongly voting for her.    But based on the Baltimore Sun poll it seems that she will be unlikely to turn things around. which is too bad because this is such a blue state and she is the type of candidate that I would like to see in office.  

    •  My thoughts as well. (4+ / 0-)

      I have been liking what Mizeur has to say, and I've been hating the Brown and Gasler videos on TV.

      If the Sun,would take Mizeur seriously, and note that she is a candidate who has ideas and is saying the right stuff, maybe she could take off. I think she'd be great in office. What's the point of living in a deep blue state if it doesn't go for a candidate like her?

    •  She started with two big disadvantages (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      night cat, Lujane

      1.  Money
      2.  The only one of the three candidates not holding a state wide office.  Every Marylander who voted in 2006 or 2010 voted for or against Brown (as O'Malley's running mate) and Ganzler.

      But she just made her first ad buy and I just saw her ad on TV - unlike her opponents, 100% positive.  During the two debates (I missed the one with Brown absent) she seemed to be the only adult in the room as Brown and Gansler kept going after each other.  And the Sun article (print version) has this to say:  

      While Mizeur's grass-roots campaign continues to run in third place, the poll suggests she has the most momentum . . .  Nearly a quarter of Mizeur's supporters said they made up their minds to vote for her within the week before the poll was conducted - more than either of the other Democrats' supporters.
      I remember 1978 when Harry Hughes came back from nowhere in the polls to defeat Governor Blair Lee - who became governor when Mandel went to prison - and Attorney General Bill Burch, who had just cut a sweet heart plea deal with Father Carcich, head of the Palatine Fathers, who had pockets millions of dollars of donations for the hungry people of Africa into his own pocket, and all he got was 6 months of weekly visits to the Maryland Pen to counsel prisoners.  If I recall, the last poll had Hughes at 20% but that was before the Carcich plea bargain.

      "Corporations exist not for themselves, but for the people." Ida Tarbell 1908.

      by Navy Vet Terp on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 04:56:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  They had a someone analyzing the poll on WYPR (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Navy Vet Terp, Lujane

        this morning who distinguished this year from the year when Hughes ran.  He said that when Hughes ran there was a lot of dissatisfaction with the Maryland government.  By contrast, he  said this year people in Maryland are basically satisfied with the direction of the state under O'Malley/Brown so that another upset like Hughes is unlikely to happen.

        Listening to him convinced me that he is right, and that Mizeur is unlikely to win but I still think that we should try.  

        •  Very true abut 1978 (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          night cat, Lujane

          Mandel was in prison and Agnew should have been in prison and Blair Lee was linked to Mandel.  Then came Burch's plea deal with Carcich.  The feds had wanted to prosecute Carcich as almost all the Palatine donations came from out of state - they deliberately did not fund raise in Maryland - but Burch convinced the feds that there were still honest souls in Maryland that could prosecute crooks.  There was some evidence that Carcich was funneling some of his stolen loot back to Maryland pols - I think Carcich and Mandel were jointly "invested" in a housing development on the eastern shore for which there was never a prosecution.

          Hughes had been Mandel's Secretary of Transportation but resigned at a news conference alleging corruption - kickbacks from contractors to award bids to high bidders.

          In 1978 we were probably the most corrupt state in the union and Harry Hughes may not have been an inspiring governor but he was super clean.

          "Corporations exist not for themselves, but for the people." Ida Tarbell 1908.

          by Navy Vet Terp on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 05:37:10 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Wasn't Gansler unopposed in the last primary? (0+ / 0-)

        Thump! Bang. Whack-boing. It's dub!

        by dadadata on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 06:50:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yeah, and I think in 2006 also (0+ / 0-)

          The race I remember in 2006 was for Comptroller - 3 way between William Donald Schaefer, Anne Arundel County Executive Janet Owens, and Peter Franchot who I guess has the job for life.  It was very close.  Schaefer was in a nursing home within a year, he had no business running again.  These guys don't know when to quit.

          "Corporations exist not for themselves, but for the people." Ida Tarbell 1908.

          by Navy Vet Terp on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 02:19:41 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Brown's an empty suit. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JanetT in MD

      I don't hear ideas from him and I picture mike miller and whoever the other guy is, house speaker mike, getting with him to cut deals.


      Thump! Bang. Whack-boing. It's dub!

      by dadadata on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 06:54:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  A while back (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lujane, night cat, Navy Vet Terp

      we had a (respectful) argument about this race. I said I leaned toward Brown in order to beat Gansler. You disagreed.

      Well . . . I've come around. Brown has completely underwhelmed. So much so that I now can't be confident he is more than marginally better than Gansler.

      So -- while I still believe that voting pragmatically and for the lesser of the two evils is often the best way to move things forward, I can't bring myself to vote for Brown. Mizeur has demonstrated she would make a superb Governor. So this time, I'm voting for the best candidate, period.

      •  Glad to hear that you are voting for Mizeur (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Navy Vet Terp

        And I have on occasion voted for the lesser of two evils myself but not usually when there is a candidate in the race that I actually like.  

        I am glad that Mizeur is in the race this time.  Because otherwise I would have had a hard time figuring out who was the lesser of the evils--Brown or Gansler.  

  •  To hell with the polls (4+ / 0-)

    Heather is by far the best candidate.

    The other two are, at best, mediocre.

    She has my vote, hands down.

  •  I'm voting Heather. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    livosh1, Navy Vet Terp

    I think she is doing better than people think.

    She is far and away the best candidate.

    •  Think - who will do best in a debate? (0+ / 0-)

      If Hogan isn't as centrist as some think.  Or if one of the two self proclaimed tea baggers win.

      "Corporations exist not for themselves, but for the people." Ida Tarbell 1908.

      by Navy Vet Terp on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 02:21:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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