(CNN) — The Maryland Primary they are set to test Democratic voters’ views on the party establishment and Republicans’ willingness to stick to what has been a winning formula for the GOP in the deep blue state.
Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, who is among the more moderate figures in his party and has frequently criticized former President Donald Trump, cannot seek re-election due to term limits.
His departure has turned the primary into a gubernatorial race — one taking place in a state where Democratic voters outnumber Republicans roughly two to one — but where the Republican Party has held the governorship for 12 of the last 20 years, in a window into the biggest battles unfolding in both parties on the national stage.
Republican voters have four candidates on their gubernatorial primary ticket, but the race is mostly a clash between Hogan’s moderate wing and Trump devotees and his brand of politics.
Kelly Schulz, a Hogan-backed former Maryland commerce secretary, is taking on Dan Cox, a far-right state lawmaker who sued to block Hogan’s coronavirus pandemic-related mandates and tried to impeach the Republican governor for those measures. of public security.
Democrats, meanwhile, are set for an open showdown with 10 candidates, a field that includes former Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez; Oprah Winfrey-endorsed author Wes Moore; State Comptroller Peter Franchot; former US Secretary of Education John King and Doug Gansler, the Maryland and unsuccessful 2014 gubernatorial candidate.
The primary in the gubernatorial race is the most closely watched contest on Tuesday’s slate in Maryland, where the election was delayed three weeks due to litigation over the state’s legislative maps.
Election results could take days or even weeks to finalize. According to the Maryland Board of Elections, more than 508,000 people applied for ballots by mail, breaking previous records for the primary. Counties can’t start counting those ballots until Thursday, and election officials say some counties could still count mail-in ballots in the first week of August.
Several gubernatorial candidates would make history in a state that has elected only white men as its chief executive.
Perez, the former president of the DNC, has emphasized his national experience as well as his local roots. He is a former Montgomery County Councilman who was Maryland Secretary of Labor before joining former President Barack Obama’s Department of Justice as Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights and later Obama’s US Secretary of Labor.
An ad for Perez used Obama’s earlier comments about Perez, with the former president calling Perez “tireless” and “wickedly smart.”
Moore, meanwhile, aired an ad in Winfrey’s voice, in which the reality TV star calls Moore a friend and reviews her resume. Winfrey calls Moore “the kind of transformational leader these times demand.”
Schultz is a rare Republican who could take advantage of Hogan’s unusual popularity in Maryland, a reality that could appeal to electability-focused Republican voters but alienate those who have grown angry with Hogan after years of criticizing Trump.
The Democratic Governors Association has pumped more than $1 million into television ads seeking to boost Cox, whom Democrats see as the weakest candidate in the November general election.
Those ads highlight Cox’s positions that might be popular in a Republican primary but politically problematic in a blue state general election, including his opposition to gun restrictions and abortion rights and his endorsement of Trump. One ad calls Cox “too close to Trump, too conservative for Maryland.”
Schultz, at a news conference with Hogan last month, said Democrats are trying to “spend a million now and save $5 million by not having to face me in the general election.”
Meanwhile, Cox has stoked fears about voter fraud. She said in December 2020 on Facebook that Trump should take over the voting machines. She chartered three buses for Trump’s January 6, 2021, rally in Washington. And he tweeted in the midst of the insurrection: “Pence he is a traitor.”
Also has threatened to sue for mail-in ballots.
On a hot election day in Maryland, voters showed up at their polling places. Portia Thompson, who said she has been voting since 1974, voted for Perez at the Colmar Manor City Hall and Community Center.
“I think I would represent everyone. African Americans, Latinos, everyone. She also worked in President Obama’s administration, so I thought she had the experience,” Thompson said of Perez.
down the ballot
Among the negative contests set to be resolved Tuesday are a Democratic Senate battle, a House race and a primary for attorney general, one that is effectively the general election in a state that has not elected a Republican to office. in more than 100 years. (A Republican, Edward Rollins, was appointed to the position in 1952.)
Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen, who suffered a minor stroke in May, faces a primary challenge from Michelle Smith, a Freedom of Information Act policy analyst at the US Agency for International Development. Ten Republicans are vying to face the winner of that primary, but Van Hollen is the heavy favorite to win a second term.
One of Maryland’s eight congressional seats is open this fall: The heavily Democratic 4th District seat, currently held by Democratic Rep. Anthony Brown, features former Rep. Donna Edwards facing former Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Glenn Ivey, in the Democratic primary.
Edwards has high-profile supporters, including Hillary Clinton and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Ivey is bolstered by ads attacking Edwards from the super PAC affiliated with the US-Israel Public Affairs Committee.
Thompson said he decided to vote for Glenn Ivey in the District 4 race because he believes he is a “great gentleman.”
“I don’t really have a negative opinion of Donna Edwards, but I do like Glenn Ivey and his family. I like his wife. She comes and sits on your porch and she talks to you,” she said.
Sharda Ramdat, a 46-year-old mother, said gun violence and abortion rights are her top priorities.
“I am worried about my children every day and I feel like there is no place where you can have a moment of your own space. That’s a big problem. I really want change, especially with gun laws,” she said.
Ramdat said she was excited for Moore and believes he is a better fit because “he had a difficult life growing up” and “would understand where the middle class and poor people come from.”
The Democratic primary for Maryland attorney general is another key contest on Tuesday. Brown, the former lieutenant governor to Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley who is leaving his House seat after three terms, is up against O’Malley’s wife, Katie Curran O’Malley, a former New York City district court judge. Baltimore.
In an announcement, O’Malley said that Brown “is a good congressman, but he has never tried a criminal case in Maryland and does not have the right experience for this job.”
Brown, a Harvard-educated former military lawyer, is endorsed by VoteVets, which supports Democratic candidates with military experience. In an ad criticizing O’Malley, VoteVets criticizes O’Malley’s ad as “a disgrace” and says it “simply discounts the experience of one of the most qualified people ever to run for attorney general.”
Both would be historic candidates: Brown as the first black person to serve as Maryland’s attorney general and O’Malley as the first woman to serve.
Marcela Orellano, 38, was at the East County Community Recreation Center in Silver Spring at 9:30 a.m. because she is “terrified about the presidential election.” Although she said there is no specific candidate she is very excited about in the Maryland primary, she wants to see change and she is concerned about gun laws, women’s rights and immigration policies.
“I want to make sure that I make a difference at least at the state level. I am looking for Democrats to fight for the things that are important to me,” Orellano said.