Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) is ineligible to seek a third term in 2022, and already potential open seat candidates are beginning to stir. There is clear reason to believe this Governor’s mansion will return to the Democratic column after the 2022 election since Maryland is one of the bluest states in the country.
Three names surfacing this week as potential Democratic candidates are State Comptroller Peter Franchot, US Rep. Kweisi Mfume (D-Baltimore), and Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski. Former Lt. Governor and Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele is the only prominent Republican so far being discussed.
Local Greenbelt, Maryland Mayor Colin Byrd announced that he will challenge House Majority Leader and 21-term incumbent Representative Steny Hoyer (D-Mechanicsville) in the 2022 Democratic primary. Mayor Byrd, who was elected to his position when just 27 years of age, said that Mr. Hoyer "can no longer represent adequately more diverse places like Prince George’s County and Charles County." In 2020, Mr. Hoyer also faced a Democratic primary challenge and was re-nominated with a 64-27% margin.
Though he is not likely to unseat the veteran congressional leader, Mayor Byrd has the potential of becoming a credible challenger, so this situation merits watching.
Staring at another difficult US Senate map in 2022 where Republicans are forced to protect 20 Senate seats as opposed to the Democrats’ 13, new National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman Rick Scott (R-FL) looks to have his sights set on three GOP Governors, attempting to convince them to challenge incumbent Democratic Senators.
The reported Republican Senate candidate wish list includes Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (term-limited in 2022; would potentially oppose Sen-Elect Mark Kelly who must run for the full six-year term). The others are Govs. Larry Hogan (against Sen. Chris Van Hollen) and Chris Sununu (versus Sen. Maggie Hassan). There is no guarantee that any of the Governors will run for the Senate, but they represent the most formidable potential challenger to the Democratic incumbent in each situation.
As we look to the next election cycle that will feature a preponderance of 38 gubernatorial bids, several will be open due to state term limit laws. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D), who is the only state chief executive limited to just one term, is barred from seeking re-election in 2021. The 2022 open gubernatorial races are: Arizona (Gov. Doug Ducey-R), Arkansas (Gov. Asa Hutchinson-R), Hawaii, (Gov. David Ige-D), Maryland (Gov. Larry Hogan-R), Nebraska (Gov. Pete Ricketts-R), Oregon (Gov. Kate Brown-D), Pennsylvania (Gov. Tom Wolf-D), and Rhode Island (Gov. Gina Raimondo-D).
A story in the June 6th Business Insider publication reports that mail voting was handled well in certain states for last Tuesday’s primary, and poorly in others. Getting good marks, according to the BI story, are Iowa, Michigan, and Montana. Doing poorly, where voters were not sent their ballots, receiving incorrect ballots for their districts, or facing crowded polling stations for those who chose to vote in person, were the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.
With voter turnout being way down in Pennsylvania, for example (34% under 2016 Democratic primary participation totals and 55% for Republicans), a great deal of the reasoning for such a steep fall off could be that thousands of voters simply weren’t well enough informed that the April 28th election had been moved to June 2nd. We will be hearing much more about the all-mail experience while undoubtedly seeing calls for increasing mail options for this year’s general election.
A total of 24 states will host nomination elections in June, ten of which are postponed from earlier dates. Tomorrow is the biggest day, with ten states holding elections. Eight will vote in their presidential primaries (Iowa and Idaho held their presidential nominating votes earlier in the year).
June 2nd hosts regular state primaries on their originally scheduled date in Iowa, Montana, New Mexico, and South Dakota. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) has postponed the presidential and state primary to July 7th, thus opting out of its traditional early June nomination date because of Coronavirus precautions.
A presidential stand-alone event is occurring in Rhode Island tomorrow, necessary since their regular state primary is scheduled as one of the latest in the country on September 15th. Postponed state primaries from earlier in the year are happening in the District of Columbia, Idaho, Indiana, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.
Currently, 22 states have adopted some type of election law changes that will allow more mail voting to various degrees for at least their upcoming primary elections.
To the more extreme extent, five states, according to the Ballotpedia organization, are doing away with the application process and simply sending absentee ballots to every voter. They are: California, Maryland, Montana, Nevada, and New Jersey. Lawsuits to institute similar changes or make even more drastic alterations such as allowing ballot harvesting and extending the deadline to return the ballot to ten days past the election, are alive in nine additional states.
In an election that was a foregone conclusion after Kweisi Mfume won the special Democratic primary on February 4th, the former Congressman completed his political comeback with a 73-27% win over sacrificial Republican Kim Klacik last night. Mr. Mfume left the House in 1996 to assume the Presidency of the NAACP. In 2006, he returned to elective politics with an unsuccessful run for Senate.
The former Congressman will now again be sworn into the House to serve the balance of the current term and appear on the ballot in the delayed June 2nd primary and likely November for the full term. Mr. Mfume replaces the late Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Baltimore) who passed away in October.
Gov. Larry Hogan (R), who first moved Maryland’s April 28th primary to June 2nd as a Coronavirus precaution, signed legislation to send all voters an absentee ballot and limit the number of in-person polling places for the upcoming intra-party contests.
Surprisingly, a group of Maryland Democratic state legislators have asked Gov. Larry Hogan (R) to reinstate an in-person option for the state’s June 2nd primary. Originally, the vote was scheduled for April 28th. This move is opposite of most requests we see being made in other places, which center around moving to all-mail voting. Gov. Hogan has reportedly not yet responded to the request.
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