Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Maryland U.S. Senate- Race of the Day

76 Days Until Election Day

Maryland U.S. Senate

Status: Democrat Incumbent
2016 Presidential Result: Blue State (East)

Outlook: Safe Democrat

While Marylanders seen quite content with a moderate Republican as Governor, the same cannot be said for any Republican in a statewide federal race. Democrat Ben Cardin is expected to easily win a third term in the U.S. Senate.

The soon to be 75 year old Cardin has held elected office continuously for over half a century. Having first been elected to the State House while a law student in 1966, he certainly embodies the definition of "career politician." He was first elected to Congress 32 years ago. Through all these decades, Cardin has been liberal on most issues, but has gone his own way on some foreign policy matters. In the Senate, he is the ranking Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee and has consistently advocated a strong U.S. relationship with Israel. The Jewish-American lawmaker was one of just a handful of Democrats to oppose Barack Obama's Iran nuclear deal.

Lots of candidates seem to be able to get on the ballot in Maryland. It might have been politically interesting if a sole credible African-American candidate would have primaried him, but instead Cardin's highest profile opponent was Chelsea Manning, the 30 year old former Army private, and transgendered activist, who saw her military prison sentence for espionage commuted in the final days of the Obama Administration in what was a very controversial move. Detractors of Manning and her relationship with Wikileaks and Julian Assange, had her as nothing more than a traitor who put numerous American lives at risk in the eyes of detractors (many of whom insist on still calling her Bradley.). Those on the left who agreed with Obama showing mercy and freeing her from prison of course should ask themselves how they can reconcile that considering that Wikileaks is a front of the Russian government that deliberately and illegally interfered in the American elections of 2016.  In any event, Manning did not make too many headlines as a candidate, especially after she made comments on social media alluding to a suicide attempt. Cardin defeated her and six others with 80 percent of the vote.

The Republican primary was also crowded, but relatively few people knew who any of the candidates were. The 11 candidate field was won with 29 percent of the vote by Tony Campbell, an African-American political science professor. A former Army officer, he seemed to have the most support among the state's lower level elected Republican officials. There does not seem to be any indication that the state's popular GOP Governor has attempted to do much to build up the party below him. Running five points behind Campbell was Chris Chaffee, a small business owner who also ran in 2016. He seemed to be more of a Trump-styled Republican. Receiving about 18 percent of the primary vote was attorney Christina Grigorian.

With the June primary setting the stage for the general election, there is no indication that Cardin is at any risk. It is interesting though that activists who are working for a "centrist" movement nationally have made this race one of their focuses and are supporting the Independent candidacy of businessman and philanthropist Neal Simon. His policy positions seem to be towards the left side of center-left, but it is hard to see where he would get much traction against Cardin, whom these days is not exactly among the most liberal in his party and has a pretty placid image overall. The Republicans have also nominated a diverse candidate with an interesting backstory, albeit a candidate with little chance of winning.

This "Centrist Project" group would have been better served going next door to Virginia, where the GOP U.S. Senate nominee is an abomination.

U.S. Senate races predicted thus far: 
7 D (5 Safe, 1 Likely, 1 Tossup), 
2 R (2 Tossup)

Total with predictions thus far:
30 D (23 holdovers, 5 Safe, 1 Likely, 1 Tossup)
44 R (42 holdovers, 2 Tossup)


At 4:16 PM, Blogger Steve Boudreaux said...

2018 will be Cardin's last political campaign.


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