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Democrats Have Strong Showing in Maryland Midterms

After spending months in preparation for and anticipation of a “blue wave,” the 2018 midterm elections proved to be favorable for nearly all Democrats running in the Bethesda-Chevy Chase area. A heavily Democratic area, Montgomery County has just under 60% of voters registered as Democrats.

In the 8th district Congressional race, incumbent Jamie Raskin handily defeated Republican John Walsh, who was given a less than .1% chance of winning according to a forecast from FiveThirtyEight. This gives Raskin, who was a speaker on political compromise at the student-led Doomocracy conference at B-CC, a second term in the House of Representatives. In a tweet celebrating his victory, he promised to “keep working 8 days a week” for his 8th district constituents. Senator Ben Cardin was elected to his third six-year term in the Senate, as his Republican opponent Tony Campbell gave him no trouble. Maryland has not sent a Republican Senator to the Capitol since 1987, and Cardin’s 33 point victory continued that trend.

The race for Montgomery County Executive was predicted to be more contentious, with longtime County Councilmember Nancy Floreen entering the race after the primaries as an independent. Throughout the race, Floreen had attacked Elrich as too far to the left to represent the County. Elrich, who won the race with 64% of the vote, had gone after Floreen for funding her campaign through large donations from real estate developers. Robin Ficker, the Republican in the race, came in third, a few percent behind Floreen.

The sole Republican who won statewide office in this election was Governor Larry Hogan, who was re-elected without much trouble. Despite the heavily Democratic tilt of the state’s electorate as a whole, Hogan was able to secure 56% of the vote. His opponent Ben Jealous, the former president of the NAACP, struggled to connect with voters, becoming the second straight Democratic gubernatorial candidate to fall to Hogan.

Democrats swept the two other state-wide posts up for election in 2018, with state Attorney General Brian Frosh and Comptroller Peter Franchot both winning their campaigns for re-election.

Two amendments to the state Constitution were also on the ballot. The first was a proposal to dedicate commercial gaming revenues that were for state education as a supplement for existing education funding for public schools. The other ballot issue was a question as to whether or not the state should allow same-day voter registration. Both passed, with 87% and 67%, respectively.

Montgomery County also had a trio of ballot questions for voters to approve. The first one, which received 83% approval, is set to reduce the influence of party central committees in choosing members of the Redistricting Commission every 10 years. Maryland is one of the most heavily gerrymandered states in the country, so this reduction in partisan influence may play a role in changing this.

The second county ballot proposal would require an affirmative vote by every County Council member to approve a property tax increase. The last proposal would allow Council members to have multiple non-merit aides. These too passed with little trouble.

Nationally, Democrats were successful in retaking the House of Representatives, giving them control of the chamber for the first time since the 2010 midterms. Republicans, helped by the number of incumbent Democrats running in states that President Trump won in 2016, were able to retain control of the Senate. Turnout numbers for both parties were significantly elevated, surpassing levels reached in the past several midterms.  

Sasha Frank-Stempel

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