Maryland to Host July's Only Primary Election: Here's What You Need to Know

Maryland holds its primary election next Tuesday in a quiet month for primaries as the November midterms approach. Come November, the most notable race in the state will be the gubernatorial race, as Democrats seek to replace incumbent Governor Larry Hogan, a Republican, with a Democratic governor in the solidly blue state. Other races include a Senate primary and eight House races.

Context

  • July has been a break for the primaries before the midterms. Maryland is the only state to hold a series of primary elections in July.

  • The midterm elections, which mark the midpoint of President Joe Biden’s presidency, are drawing near. Thirty states have already held their primary elections.

  • General elections are scheduled for November 8.

Moderate Republicans are trying to get away from Trump

Hogan will leave office in January 2023 because he is term-limited, freeing up a governor’s seat in a state Biden outscored by more than 30 percentage points in the 2020 election.

During his term, Hogan enjoyed favorable support from Maryland Democrats despite being a Republican in the deep blue state. He has stayed away from former President Donald Trump and has openly criticized him during a time when the former president is demanding absolute loyalty of members of the Republican Party.

As Hogan leaves the seat, Trump is eager to replace him with Dan Cox, a Maryland state representative who tried to impeach Hogan over Maryland’s COVID-19 restrictions. On January 6, Cox also called former Vice President Pence a “traitor” on Twitter for certifying the 2020 election results.

Hogan has endorsed Kelly Schulz, a former official in his administration, for the nomination. The race is set to be another battle between trump’s influence and the more moderate wing of the Republican Party who is trying to alienate the party from the former president.

Kelly Schulz, who is seeking the Republican nomination for Governor of Maryland, waves after being endorsed by Governor Larry Hogan, right, whose term is limited, on March 22, 2022 in Annapolis, Maryland.

Kelly Schulz, who is seeking the Republican nomination for Governor of Maryland, waves after being endorsed by Governor Larry Hogan, right, whose term is limited, on March 22, 2022 in Annapolis, Maryland.

The gubernatorial race also includes two lesser-known candidates, Robin Ficker, a recently disbarred attorney, and Joe Werner, a lawyer entering Republican politics for the first time.

the great question

  • Maryland is a historically Democratic state, but its current governor is a Republican popular with voters of both parties.

  • in a goucher college survey conducted in March, Hogan received 71% approval among Republicans, 69% among independents and 61% among Democrats.

  • Democrats want to win back the seat and for the state’s governor to reflect their heavily Democratic voter base.

  • Changing the seat would add to the current list of 22 Democratic-led state legislatures, especially important at a time when Democrats seek to bolster abortion rights at the state level after the The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade which established the constitutional right to abortion.

A crowded Democratic ticket for Governor

The Democratic gubernatorial ticket is much more crowded with 10 candidates on the ballot. Three main candidates have emerged as possible candidates to face the Republican nominee in November: Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot, former nonprofit CEO and author Wes Moore, and former Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez., who served as Secretary of Labor for President Barack Obama.

A Goucher College survey conducted in partnership with Baltimore Banner and WYPR found a three-way statistical tie between Franchot, Moore and Pérez among likely Democratic voters, with Franchot at 16% and both Moore and Pérez at 14%.

A secure Democratic seat in the Senate

One of Maryland’s Senate seats is up for grabs in this year’s midterm elections when Democratic incumbent Sen. Chris Van Hollen defends his seat in November.

Republicans clamored for Hogan to run against Van Hollen because of Hogan’s popularity in a heavily Democratic state. Hogan ultimately refused, giving the incumbent a relatively clear path to re-election. Cook Political Report he rates his seat as solidly Democratic.

Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., speaks to reporters after a news conference on the proposal "Law Without Tax Exemptions for the Elimination of Unions"  at the United States Capitol on May 12, 2022 in Washington, DC.

Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., speaks to reporters after a news conference on the proposed “No Tax Exemptions to Eliminate Unions Act” at the U.S. Capitol on May 12 2022 in Washington, DC.

“You can rest easy and get a good night’s sleep,” Hogan joked of Van Hollen at a February news conference announcing his intention to finish his term as governor until 2023.

There are 10 candidates on the ballot for Republican voters to decide on a candidate to take on Van Hollen. The most notable candidate is businessman James Tarantin, who is the only candidate to raise more than $100,000.

Despite the effort to undo the election, Harris was expected to remain the only Republican member of Congress from MD.

Democrats are seeking to unseat Maryland’s only Republican representative, Andy Harris, in the state’s 1st congressional district, where Trump carried by 14 percentage points in the 2020 election. Harris is running unopposed in the solidly red district’s Republican primary.

the January 6 Seventh public hearing of the Committee held Tuesday revealed that Harris was one of at least 10 House Republicans who attended a White House meeting in December 2020 and discussed plans and pathways to nullify the 2020 election and keep Trump in office. Harris was also one of 147 Republicans in Congress who voted to overturn election results after Jan. 6.

Two Democrats are vying for the nomination to take on Harris, former Maryland state Rep. Heather Mizeur and David Harden, a national security consultant. Mizeur is the favorite to win the primary, with name recognition and fundraising behind her, beating Harris.

What is at stake?

  • This year’s midterm elections are shaping up to be favorable for Republicans, who are expected to at least gain control of the US House of Representatives. The owner pHistorically, the residents’ party has done poorly in midterms, but this year could turn out much worse for Democrats amid high inflation and growing disapproval of Biden.

  • northNational Democrats have emphasized the need to choose state-level pro-abortion officials to protect and expand access to abortion. Switching to blue Maryland is key for Democrats working to safeguard abortion rights, as several red states have either banned abortion outright or are currently in the process of enacting abortion restrictions.

  • The November general election will also take a look at the effects of redistricting. Although the state governor is a Republican, both chambers of the state legislature are led by Democratic majorities. Democrats tried to pass a new map that made seven of their eight congressional seats safe for Democrats while redesigning their only Republican seat to be more competitive. A judge later tossed the map, calling it “extreme partisan manipulation.” The new map preserves the state’s 7-1 split between Democrats and Republicans, but makes a blue seat more competitive.

One of many vulnerable Democratic seats

As Democrats eye Harris’s seat, Republicans are looking to make inroads elsewhere in Maryland, focusing on Maryland’s 6th congressional district, currently held by Democratic Rep. David Trone.

In this Wednesday, April 20, 2016 photo, David Trone, right, owner of the wine supermarket chain Total Wine and More, greets passengers at the Shady Grove subway station in Derwood, Maryland.

In this Wednesday, April 20, 2016 photo, David Trone, right, owner of the wine supermarket chain Total Wine and More, greets passengers at the Shady Grove subway station in Derwood, Maryland.

In the 2020 election, Biden carried the Trone district by close to 10 percentage points. But redistricting has made the seat less blue. While still a Democratic-leaning district, the Trone seat is by far the most competitive compared to other seats Biden won.

Republican voters in the district will choose one of six candidates to take on Trone. Neil Parrot, currently serving as a Maryland State Representative, lost to Trone in the 2020 general election by nearly 20 percentage points and is looking for a rematch.

But national Republicans have thrown their support behind Matthew Foldi, a former journalist who is endorsed by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and No. 3 House Republican Elise Stefanik, R-Calif. NY. Foldi also has Hogan’s endorsement.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Maryland Primary Election: Gubernatorial Race and More

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