Primary School 7/30
We won't have Bill de Blasio to kick around anymore
Outside $ Watch
$913K of TV and digital ads for Maxwell Frost from Protect Our Future PAC. Total POF spending: $913K
$61K of mailers and digital ads supporting Jared Moskowitz from Moving Broward Forward PAC. The digital ads are all simple text/image pieces touting Moskotwitz’s support of gun control. Total MBF spending: $126K
$15K of TV ads and $9K of mailers supporting Sergio Alcubilla from Our Hawaiʻi PAC. Our Hawai’i Action is a group founded last year by Sunrise co-founder Evan Weber and former state Rep. Kaniela Ing whose original goal was to pressure Ed Case to support Build Back Better. They say they’ll be spending about $425,000 this primary season on all races combined. The ad attacks Case for helping to kill Build Back Better as one of the Unbreakable Nine. Total Our Hawaiʻi spending: $24K
$303K in TV and radio ads supporting Patrick Pihana Branco from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus BOLD PAC. Total BOLD PAC spending: $303K
$250K of TV ads attacking Jill Tokuda from VoteVets. Total VV spending: $250K
$178K of mailers attacking Jill Tokuda from Mainstream Democrats PAC (Reid Hoffman). Total MD spending: $178K
$37K of mailers supporting Patrick Bronco from DAO for America. Total DAO spending: $37K
$2.2M of TV and digital ads supporting Haley Stevens from Women Vote! (EMILY’s List). One ad touts her support of abortion rights and lower drug costs, and there may be others. Total WV! spending: $3.2M
$867K of mailers, ads, and phone calls supporting Haley Stevens and attacking Andy Levin from United Democracy Project (AIPAC). One of the ads is a direct response to the J Street ad attacking Steven for accepting AIPAC’s help. Specifically, it says Levin should be ashamed for the ad and that Stevens voted to impeach Trump. Total UDP spending: $4.2M
$286K of ads (we’re guessing TV) supporting Andy Levin from Future Progress. Total FP spending: $518K
$79K of mailers for Andy Levin from the Congressional Progressive Caucus PAC. Total CPC PAC spending: $40K
$15K of GOTV canvassing for Andy Levin from Emerge Political Action Committee. Total Emerge spending: $15K
$3,700 of texts for Andy Levin from Friends of the Earth (Action) PAC. Total FotE spending: $9K
$5K of GOTV texts and calls for Rashida Tlaib from Friends of the Earth (Action) PAC. Total FotE spending: $23K
$2,300 of GOTV organizing for Rashida Tlaib from Engage Political Action Committee. Total Engage spending: $2,300
$412K of TV and/or digital ads for Adam Hollier from Web3 Forward. Total Web3 spending: $412K
$3,300 of digital ads for Betty McCollum from SEIU COPE. Total SEIU spending: $3,300
$3,000 of canvassing for Amane Bahasso from TakeAction MN Federal Action. Total TAMN spending: $3,000
$45K of digital ads for Don Samuels from Make a Difference MN05. More may be coming from this group - Make a Difference MN05 has raised $125,000, mostly from two men: Kelly Doran, a developer with a history of GOP campaign contributions who briefly ran for governor in 2006 as a Democrat, and Vance Opperman, a medical industry heir who has been bemoaning what he sees as extremism from the Democratic Party (such as the Dodd-Frank bill) for a while. Total MaD spending: $45K
$19K of canvassing for Ilhan Omar from TakeAction MN Federal Action. Total TAMN spending: $23K
$3,300 of digital ads for Ilhan Omar from SEIU COPE. Total SEIU spending: $3,300
$20K of canvassing and $25 of digital ads for Cori Bush from WFP National PAC. Total WFP spending: $45K
$35K of TV/Digital/Radio ads for Cori Bush from Justice Democrats PAC. Total JD spending: $35K
$62K of mailers for Becca Balint from Equality PAC. Total Equality spending: $127K
$45K of digital ads for Becca Balint from the Congressional Progressive Caucus PAC. Total CPC spending: $150K
Q2 FEC Reports
CA-15: As much as David Canepa has his work cut out for him after finishing behind Kevin Mullin 41-24 in the primary, he at least has the comfort of Mullin blowing most of his money on that race and the two starting on equal financial footing
CA-16: Lol at Rishi Kumar having negative money
CA-29/CA-30/CA-34: All 3 of these contests have a challenger with basically no money taking on an incumbent. If any of them win, it won’t be for financial reasons.
CA-37: Much like the matchup in CA-15, it looks like the primary served as a financial equalizer here. Though, with the 44-18 finish Kamlager had over Perry in that, Perry probably needs more money of her own, not just less for Kamlager.
CT-01: Muad Hrezi actually outspent Larson this quarter, but that seems more like an artifact of Larson not paying attention to the race spending most of his money while Hrezi is fighting just to stay on the ballot
FL-10: Alan Grayson was the only candidate who had a shot at breaking Maxwell Frost’s lock on the money race, but he didn’t put that much into his campaign account, despite being worth many millions. It may be a sign he won’t be too much of a factor in this race, but he can also add to his stockpile whenever he wants. Frost, meanwhile, has slowed down somewhat, but he’s still thoroughly lapping the rest of the field.
FL-20: That’s pretty bad for Holness, especially since he’s going up against a self-funder. This rematch has been weak sauce so far.
FL-23: This one’s actually a surprise. Given that nearly everyone of any stature in Broward County politics has already endorsed Moskowitz, we expected Sorensen was going to be far behind in raising money, but he’s really pretty close. Holtzhauer does look like she’ll be a nonfactor though.
HI-01: Oof. We have no idea how a candidate with all that union support could be raising so little. Alcubilla is the biggest enigma running right now. Most signs point to him barely registering in the final results, but a couple, like Case’s sudden spending, point to a closer race.
HI-02: It’s a good thing for Branco that he’s got those outside groups spending for him, because this race would be totally over otherwise. He’s flat broke.
MI-11: We knew it was coming, but this was still hard to see. Though there’s no commensurate scandal in this race, the spending disparity for a moderate to take down a not-quite-Squad fellow incumbent in a district suburban to a Midwestern city reminds us of IL-06, where Sean Casten ultimately beat Marie Newman by a comfortable margin.
MI-12: Rashida Tlaib - the only Squad member about to bury her opponents in ads. It’s genuinely quite promising to see Tlaib so clearly in the driver’s seat here considering how Bowman, Bush, and Omar are all making us just a little nervous.
MI-13: What do you even say about this kind of financial disparity? Thanedar has millions in his own ads, Hollier has millions spent on his behalf, and everyone else is getting left behind. Roberson and Griffie at least have the money for functional campaigns, which has translated into viability for Roberson, but not for Griffie. On the other end of the spectrum, this is as good a sign as any that McPhail’s flirtation with potential frontrunner status is over.
MN-04: Is it a good sign or a bad sign that Betty McCollum ultimately decided not to go all-in defending herself this year. It’s probably bad on net - it’s not like she can’t afford pollsters - but it does raise the chances that everyone watches election returns with an open mouth wondering why she didn’t spring for a few big ad flights.
MN-05: It’s frankly a little embarrassing that Omar is letting herself get outraised at this stage. It’s not as worrying as it was in 2020, when Anonte Melton-Meaux put up $5 million against her - if Omar could survive that, then she should probably survive this - but she still shouldn’t be letting it happen
MO-01: Thanks to the magic of self funding, Steve Roberts has made Cori Bush the second Squad member of the quarter to be outraised by her centrist opponent. Like with Omar, it’s kind of embarrassing that she let it happen, but unlike Omar we don’t have a good comparison to last cycle to judge this race against. The lack of outside help makes Roberts’s number still not that large, but we’d feel a lot better if it was about half that.
NY-04: It looks like this is going to be a two-candidate race between Corbett and Gillen. While neither excites us much, Gillen at least isn’t a Jay Jacobs protege, so it’s good to see her outraising Corbett.
NY-10: Where the hell is Dan Goldman getting all that money from? This race has three tracks: those who can run TV ads (Jones, Goldman), those who still have the money for an otherwise full campaign (Rivera, Niou, Simon, Holtzman), and the fringe conservatives (Maron, Robinson). We were hoping Rivera wouldn’t be outpacing Niou by that much, though.
NY-12: Carolyn Maloney really, really wants to cling onto this seat, huh? She plopped down $900K of her own money for this election, something she didn’t even do in 2020 when she almost lost to Patel (she did self-fund, just much less). Speaking of Patel, he’s raising enough money to be in the scrum as well. Overall, we’re just kind of surprised that the Upper East Side-Upper West Side deathmatch is as cheap as it is. These are two of the richest neighborhoods in America - you’d expect massive spending here.
NY-16: We have no goddamn clue how Vedat Gashi, a county legislator who doesn’t even live in the district has outraised Bowman, but it’s happened. The good news is it looks like Catherine Parker is running a real campaign, and Bowman should have an easier time against two of basically the same candidate
NY-17: We knew Sean Patrick Maloney would have more money in this race, but the extent of the difference is still painful. Hopefully outside groups will help her make up some of that gap
RI-02: Everything looks like it did in Q1 - Magaziner is blowing everyone away, but Morgenthau and Segal are raising surprisingly healthy amounts for a race every party bigwig in the state wants to be over with. Joy Fox meanwhile… we’re not sure what she’s doing in this race
VT-AL: Balint’s slowly climbed into the lead here, either by a little or by a lot (see VT-AL below for more) and it was in part powered by outspending Gray without outraising her. Gray has a lot of money for a last-minute ad blitz if she wants it, but she’ll still stay outspent thanks to Baltin’s help from the LGBTQ Victory Fund and the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
The Orlando Sun-Sentinel has endorsed Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick for reelection, as did the Palm Beach Post. Dale Holness may have come within only 5 votes of winning the special election, but so far he’s found little appetite to replace Cherfilus-McCormick. That perhaps explains the texts he’s been sending to voters that include hard negative attacks against her. While most have gone without notice, one caught the Congressmember’s attention. Asking for campaign contributions, Holness’s message said “We don’t need to embezzle $6 million in taxpayer dollars to buy a seat in Congress. Our opponent may think she can do that. (She probably needs to do so to win).” Holness is apparently referring to $6 million in income that Cherfilus-McCormick received from companies she owned that were doing consulting work for Trinity Health Care Services, Inc, of which she was CEO at the time. Questionable ethics, but there’s been no accusations from either the company or the government that the arraignment was illegal.
Cherfilus-McCormick responded by taking his ass to court. She’s suing him for libel, and seeking damages of over $1 million. Regardless of whether she succeeds, there’s a reason why candidates tend not to craft attack messages that accuse their opponents of specific crimes unless they’ve already been convicted.
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Jared Moskowitz got the endorsement of billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried’s Protect Our Future PAC, meaning he can probably count on air support from the crypto billionaire. This situation strikes us a lot like what happened with Nikki Budzinski in IL-13, where Bankman-Fried found an inevitable-looking frontrunner and ran ads for her to (what looks like to us anyway) curry favor.
The newly formed PAC arm of Our Hawai’i announced a TV ad buy to support Sergio Alcubilla. The size of it turned out to be $15K on TV and an $8K round of mailers. That’s not much, but it is something for a cash-strapped campaign like Alchubilla’s. Despite public polling that shows Ed Case crushing Alcubilla, Case is at least paying attention to this race. He’s put out a reelection ad, despite having a relatively low cash-on-hand amount.
Target Insyght polling has produced this race’s first nonpartisan poll, and it looks bad for Andy Levin, who trails Haley Stevens 31% to 58%. However, it’s important to remember who took this poll. Target Insyght has one of the worst records of any pollster that 538 tracks, and has had some embarrassing misses in the past, the most memorable for readers of this newsletter being the poll of theirs that found Rashida Tlaib only leading Brenda Jones by a margin of 9% (43% to 34%) in 2020. The actual margin in that election was 33% (66% to 34%). The Levin team says their internals have them “within the margin of error”.
As noted above, Bakari Sellers’s Urban Empowerment PAC has dropped close to $500K on TV ads attacking incumbent Squad member Rashida Tlaib, such as this one, attacking her for being insufficiently pro-police, and for, we shit you not, not being “responsible”. This is only half of the group’s announced $1 million investment into the race, but Sellers has told reporter Daniel Marans that they’ll be spending all $1 million. As part of her reelection campaign, Tlaib recently hosted a rally with The Squad, while her opponents have been relying less on large public gestures.
As horrible as it would be to see Shri Thanedar get elected to Congress, it’s becoming increasingly hard to stomach what looked like his main opponent, Adam Hollier, either. Hollier has gladly accepted help from Republican-funded ant-left PACs like AIPAC and DMFI, as well as crypto billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried’s PACs, Protect Our Future and Web3 Forward, the latter of which is very explicitly for candidates who are going to promote the interests of crypto moguls in Congress. We’re relieved at a new poll that suggests there may be a decent option here who could actually win: Human Rights Commissioner Portia Roberson. She may be establishment through and through, but, given the alternatives, we’re not complaining (as much as we could be, that is)
Shri Thanedar: 22%
Portia Roberson 17%
Adam Hollier 16%
John Conyers III 7%
Sharon McPhail 7%
Sherry Gay-Dagnogo 5%
Michael Griffie at 5%
Sam Riddle at 4%
Lorrie Rutledge <1%
The poll also suggests Hollier is running much stronger with white voters than Black voters, Thanedar is the opposite, and Roberson has more even support among voters of different races. Target Insyght has, as we said in MI-12, a pretty bad record, but without them, we’d be flying totally blind in this race.
Without a doubt, more happened in this election than anywhere else in the country. Let’s explore
First, Bill de Blasio dropped out. You can take a moment to laugh if you want, it’s pretty funny. De Blasio had dismal approval ratings as mayor, dropped out of a gubernatorial bid because he was getting absolutely zero traction, and then ran for a Congressional district that was comprised of his old district in the City Council, and other territory like it, only to poll so low he was likely to finish closer to fringe anti-trans lawyer Maud Maron than any other “real” candidate. As he exited the race, and with it, electoral politics, he acknowledged just how unpopular he was. There’s a certain irony to it. If he’d run for Congress instead of mayor, he might be recognized as one of the old guard of progressive voices who held down the fort until the recent resurgence of the left. Instead, it was a run for Congress that convinced him his time as mayor had made him too toxic to ever be elected to anything again.
Then there were the interviews with magazine Harmodia, in which Daniel Goldman and Carlina Rivera managed to find very different ways to cram their feet in their mouths. Goldman expressed openness to abortion restrictions. The actual exchange is a little too long to reprint, but when Goldman was asked about “limitations” to the right to abortion, he first said he believed it should be limited to the point of viability, subject to exceptions. That was already a concession to the right, but then, in a later question, he said he wouldn’t object to a law making it illegal to terminate a pregnancy after the point of viability without any extenuating circumstances. Then, two questions later, an aide ran up to Goldman, had a whispered conversation with him, and Goldman immediately walked back the position he had just taken on aboriton. Fantastic stuff here. Of course, Goldman was hammered for this by his opponents.
Rivera’s foul-up wasn’t on abortion, but on gay rights. She expressed openness to allowing businesses to discriminate against gay couples:
Interviewer: “I want to ask, specifically about a case like if what happens in Colorado would happen in Boro Park. If someone wants make a wedding that would that goes against the Biblical values, and force a wedding hall in Borough Park to hold the wedding, and say that if don’t, then you’re violating civil rights, you’re discriminating. What would be your view in a case like that? Where would religious protections play into any civil rights legislation that you might consider voting for? And if there’s a progressive social value you believe in, would you support a religious exemption or not?”
Rivera: “I think that a religious exemption is certainly something that I would consider when it comes to certain pieces of legislation. We’ve certainly done it in the Council, and I’d be willing to explore that and do it on the federal level.”
Interviewer: “But you’re not committing to that.”
Rivera: I would love to have the conversation. And again, we have actually put religious exemptions in legislation that I have sponsored in the City Council. So I understand the need for it and the discussion.”
We chopped off a lot of her answer to the second question because it’s just her talking in circles repeating herself. The actual point being made here, that in the case of Masterpiece Cakeshop, the bigoted owners, who were in the news for several months in 2014 and 2018 for instituting a straights only policy for wedding cakes, had a reasonable argument, and that anti-gay discrimination should be in “the discussion” as long as long as the justification for it is religious, is every bit as represensiblea nd cowardly as what Goldman said in support of laws taking away women’s reproductive choice. Unlike Goldman, Rivera didn’t have any aides willing to run to her side to stop her as she was saying these things, and instead chose to let the interview get published as-is and only walked back what she’d very clearly said after the public backlash.
Also worth talking about are the polls of the race that dropped this week. Yuh-Line Niou’s allies at the Working Families Party Commissioned a poll from Justice Research that found:
Yuh-Line Niou 16%
Carolina Rivera 16%
Dan Goldman 10%
Mondaire Jones 8%
Jo Anne Simon 6%
Elizabeth Holtzman 4%
Bill de Blasio 3% [taken before he dropped out]
Maud Maron 2%
All others 0%
Meanwhile, Elizabeth Holtzman’s campaign commissioned a poll from Change Research that came back with the results of:
Dan Goldman 14%
Elizabeth Holtzman 12%
Mondaire Jones 10%
Yuh-Line Niou 10%
Carlina Rivera 10%
Jo Anne Simon 10%
Maud Maront 2%
Brian Robenson 1%
All others 0%
Even though we included it in the last issue, we’ll print the results again for Data For Progress’s poll, which was taken around the same time as Niou’s, to give a full picture of the state of the race.
Carolina Rivera 17%
Yuh-Line Niou 14%
Dan Goldman 12%
Elizabeth Holtzman 9%
Mondaire Jones 7%
Jo Anne Simon 8%
Bill de Blasio 5% [taken before he dropped out]
Maud Maron 1%
Let’s start analyzing these polls by looking at the differences between them. WFP’s poll was run July 1 – 11, 2022, DFP’s was in the field, July 7-10, and Holtzman’s was run July 19-23, which explains why hers didn’t include de Blasio on it. WFP’s 11 day field time is longer than is ideal, and Holtzman’s has more than a week of recency advantage. DFP and Change only polled in English, while the Working Families Party’s poll did not say. DFP didn’t give a racial breakdown, but the WFP and Holtzman internals were quite similar. There is one key difference between the WFP and Holtzman poll that could explain the stark difference in results. WFP’s poll had 44% of respondents under 50 and 56% in the 50+ group, while the analogous numbers for Holtzman’s poll were 34% and 66%, respectively. No poll produced crosstabs, but older, cable news-watching voters preferring moderates like Goldman and Holtzman wouldn’t shock us.
A few big endorsements were made this week. Rep. Adriano Espaillat endorsed Carlina Rivera, as did Transit Workers Local 100. This may be the last major union endorsement in the race - most are intentionally staying out. Assemb. Marcela Mitaynes backed Yuh-Line Niou. While Mitayes has served in the same chamber with Niou, and is ideologically more similar to her than Rivera, Mitaynes represents Red Hook and Sunset Park, Hispanic areas that are expected by most observers to vote for Rivera.
It’s the war of the internal polls. On Monday, both Sean Patrick Maloney and Alessandra Biaggi released polls. Both agreed that Maloney is currently in the lead, but they diverge sharply when it comes to margin. Maloney’s poll shows him with an overwhelming 52% to 18% lead over Biaggi, while Biaggi’s showed her losing only 34% to 21%.
In terms of polling quality, Biaggi clearly paid for a better one. Hers had a sample size of 400, which is low but pretty standard for the budget available to a Congressional primary campaign. Maloney’s had a sample of just 233, which is quite frankly unacceptable. Still, even if Biaggi’s poll winds up being substantially more accurate, it’s still a candidate being down double digits in their own poll, something that’s generally considered a sign things are going poorly for them. A more promising sign from that poll is that it finds voters who have an opinion of both candidates prefer Biaggi by a margin of 45% to 37%. The suggestion would be that Maloney, a 10 year incumbent who has recently begun blanketing the airwaves, is leading only because voters are familiar with him but not with his relatively unknown opponent. If that’s true (big if) Biaggi now only has a few weeks to massively expand the pool of voters familiar with her. That’s not an easy task.
Nita Lowey, who represented this district in Congress until retiring last cycle rather than run in a tough primary against Mondaire Jones, endorsed Sean Patrick Maloney. Maloney announced her endorsement on Twitter with a caption mentioning Biaggi had been endorsed by zero “unions, county chairs, local Democratic cmtes, and elected officials”, a dubious claim considering AOC endorsed Biaggi at launch. This led to a minor Twitter tiff, where, once a reporter pointed this out, Maloney responded with “Um, local electeds, bud.” Charming guy. Biaggi responded by releasing an open letter from current Democratic committee members and former elected officials who had endorsed her, calling on Maloney to stop lying.
Former Ayanna Pressley staffer Sianay Chase Clifford dropped out of the race, citing insufficient fundraising. Chase Clifford had been endorsed by the Vermont Progressive Party, but had little other institutional support, and had raised very little money. This reduces the field down to LG Molly Gray, and State Sen. Becca Balint, with the only other name on the ballot being Louis Meyers, a retired doctor who had, prior to this cycle, repeatedly run for, and gotten about 2% in, a few state senate races. Both candidates picked up new supporters this week. The Working Families Party endorsed Becca Balint, while Marcelle Leahy, wife of Sen. Pat Leahy’s wife endorsed Molly Gray.
This election started out as a jump ball, with Gray perhaps even a mild favorite, but has slowly fallen away from her as progressives consolidated, and Balint simply out-campaigned her. Gray’s recently taken to complaining about Balint accepting outside spending in this race, but that line of attack barely registers when the outside spending in question is millions from the Republican-supporters at AIPAC – going in on your opponent for a few ads from the LGBTQ Victory Fund and the Congressinal Progressive Caucus is a sure sign of desperation.
Even still, we were shocked at how badly she was doing in the new poll, taken by UNH. UNH has never been the best pollster, but they’re still a reputable, practiced group, and conducted this with a sample size that is unclear but evidently several hundreds. The margin? A blowout of 63% for Balint and 21% for Gray. This is the first polling we’ve seen of the election since April, when UNH found Balint up 28% to 21% over Gray, with then-candidate Kesha Ram Hinsdale at 19%. A 40% landslide seems too good to be true for Balint, but if it does come to pass it’ll be a sound rejection of the party’s moderate wing in the state’s first ever federal Democrat-primary-as-main-contest ever. It may even end Gray’s career.
Nicholas Kristoff running for governor in Oregon for a year before finding out he wasn’t eligible to do so has to take the crown for the most disastrous gubernatorial bid this year. That means Kai Kahele will have to settle for the #2 spot. After giving up a seat in Congress to run for governor against the, by all metrics, popular LG Josh Green, who was dominating in the polls, Kahele has somehow seen his support erode. The latest poll of the race shows him not only losing to Green 55% to 16%, but actually coming in third to former First Lady of Hawai’i Vicky Cayetano, who takes 19%. Furthermore, at the most recent debate, Josh Green finally decided to go negative on Kahele, and he hit hard. Green accused Kahele of being a “slumlord” for some little-noticed properties in Tennessee Kahele owns through an LLC, where over a dozen eviction lawsuits were against tenants in a 5 year period. Hawai’i has a very high rate of renting vs. owning compared to the rest of the country. That’s a damning charge if Kahele can’t explain it, which he has thus far not tried to do. Rather he’s accused the media of bias for not investigating a “mystery LLC” held by Green.
The AFL-CIO and NEA both endorsed Dan McKee this week, a serious boon to the incumbent in this labor-heavy state. McKee has never been the favorite of either union, but neither Gorbea nor Foulkes were able to capitalize on that, and Brown, as a progressive outsider, never really stood a chance of getting their support. It’s the latest sign that McKee, after a long fight for it, has finally managed to get the institutional backing an incumbent would normally expect. This comes as his actual support among voters is an all-time low according to recent polls, and the headlines surrounding his tenure have never been worse. A senior adviser to the governor was just charged with trespassing and “mischief” for an incident in Vermont and a different McKee ally (the president of the state’s building trades union and a prominent campaign surrogate) just got charged with a DUI. On top of that, the AG’s office just found that McKee’s top staffer didn’t break any laws with the real estate deal that was the firs major controversy of McKee’s tenure, but did act with “poor judgment.” That ruling is preferable to an indictment, naturally, but not dredging up those stories is even more preferable.
As far as bad news for non-McKee candidates goes, Helena Foulkes just lost her campaign manager. Her second campaign manager. Burning through top level staff is generally a sign of a campaign that’s going well, right?
Maryland Election Results
Statewide: This was mostly a status quo election for Maryland in the legislature and local offices, but that wasn’t the case at the top of the ballot. Republican Gov. Larry Hogan will be handing the keys to the governor’s mansion over to businessman and Oprah favorite Wes Moore, who was able to overcome former DNC Chair Tom Perez’s strength with non-Black suburban liberals and Comptroller Peter Franchot’s strength with white conservatives and moderates by winning handily among Black voters, especially in PG County, and keeping a strong enough baseline elsewhere to stay ahead of Perez. We went out on a limb predicting Franchot—the polling leader throughout this entire race—would end up in third place, and we’re glad we did: Franchot ended up essentially getting no new voters, only winning the roughly 20% of the electorate that had been supporting him in every poll. Perez and Moore scooped up all the late-deciding voters, even though Franchot is a sitting statewide elected official who’s won four consecutive statewide elections. This is great news—Perez and Moore aren’t exactly progressive favorites, but both are normal Democrats who made overtures to progressives, while Franchot was a consistently conservative-leaning Democrat who tacitly supported Hogan’s reelection. Franchot himself will be replaced by Baltimore Del. Brooke Lierman, a generally progressive legislator who crushed Bowie Mayor Tim Adams, a wealthy Department of Defense contractor who self-funded his campaign. And Rep./ex-Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, whose lackadaisical 2014 campaign made Hogan governor in the first place, will return to Annapolis as the state Attorney General after he defeated Katie Curran O’Malley, a judge married to Martin O’Malley, though the 56-44 margin was tighter than many expected.
That brings us to Brown’s House seat, MD-04. Ooooof.
Thanks to a staggering $6 million in attack ads from AIPAC’s United Democracy Project super PAC, conservative donors were able to purchase a deep-blue seat in suburban DC for former Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Glenn Ivey, thwarting progressive former Rep. Donna Edwards’s comeback bid. Edwards was on good terms with the Democratic establishment—it’s not often you find Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton on the same side of a primary as Our Revolution and the Congressional Progressive Caucus, but that was the case here. AIPAC didn’t care, because they saw a chance to prevent progressives from taking another seat in Congress, and they had a long-running grudge against Edwards for her early support of J Street, a more liberal rival to AIPAC. In the end, Edwards lost 52-35 to Glenn Ivey. All of Maryland’s incumbent members of Congress easily won renomination, including Steny Hoyer and David Trone despite their past primary weakness.
A couple state legislative races aren’t yet decided, but most of the big ones are. In the state Senate, Dels. Mary Ann Lisanti (who used the n-word to refer to predominantly Black Prince George’s County) and Jay Jalisi (a conservative infamous for abusing his staff) were unsuccessful in their attempts to move up to the Senate; Lisanti lost to former Del. Mary-Dulany James in SD-34, and Jalisi lost to Del. Ben Brooks in SD-10. Every Democratic state senator won another term (including Prince George’s Sen. Ron Watson and Montgomery County Sen. Jeff Waldstreicher, who faced vigorous challenges from the left from PG County School Board member Raaheela Ahmed and socialist organizer Max Socol, respectively.) The same was not true of Democratic delegates: in HD-11B, a newly-created subdistrict, three delegates ran for two seats, and Del. Lisa Belcastro was the odd one out. In HD-27A, a Prince George’s County/Charles County district, voters dumped longtime Del. Susie Proctor in favor of Navy veteran Kevin Harris, and next door in HD-27B voters dumped appointed Del. Rachel Jones in a contest that was more geographical than ideological. in favor of self-described “fiscal conservative” Jeffrie Long Jr. In Baltimore’s HD-45, an effort by state Sen. Cory McCray to take out Del. Stephanie Smith—a fairly uncontroversial standard Democrat he had personally clashed with—appears to have misfired massively: while McCray’s two endorsed challengers, Jackie Addison and Caylin Young, both appear to have finished in the top three in this three-member district, it’s Del. Chanel Branch, not Smith, who finds herself shut out. Branch is an appointed incumbent whose father, Majority Whip Talmadge Branch, currently holds one of HD-45’s three seats but is retiring; the elder Branch is a social conservative and the younger Branch (who was not officially endorsed by McCray, but did collect a $1,000 donation from him) is a nepotism case, so neither will be missed. All other Democratic incumbents held on, including DSA-affiliated Del. Gabe Acevero in HD-39, who faced a concerted effort to oust him by his district’s state senator and two other delegates, but finished in second, far ahead of not just the challenger his seat-mates recruited, but one of the other incumbents.
In Baltimore, indicted State’s Attorney Marylin Mosby crashed and burned in her reelection bid, finishing third. Ivan Bates, the less conservative of her two opponents, won instead. Former deputy Sam Cogen managed to unseat incumbent Sheriff John Anderson by a narrow margin. In Baltimore County, Republican-friendly tough-on-crime incumbent John Shelleberger managed to stave off reform DA challenger Robbie Leonard by a couple percent. One Montgomery County local race was decided on election day – Sheriff John McCarthy only took 52% of the vote but none of his opponents reached 20% – but the other is still undecided – David Blair leads Marc Elrich for County Executive by 131 votes with some absentees and provisions still left to count.
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