I live in metro DC- Gaithersburg, Maryland to be exact. That means that all local politics are national in a way. For instance, the Congressman for my district, Democrat Chris Van Hollen, is also the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) Chairman. When he’s not working for Maryland’s 8th District, he’s trying to get Democrats elected in every other district in the country. Inevitably, that means everything local is national.
It’s also local because his district is strongly Democrat-leaning, a place where liberal politics aren’t just acceptable, they’re the norm. Personally, I like it that way though if I were a conservative I’m sure it would grate on me a bit. But realistically and as I’ve written before, Van Hollen will have no problem with his re-election bid this year.
If only our Governor could be that sure of himself. Governor Martin O’Malley is facing former Governor Bob Ehrlich, and according to the latest polls from Rasmussen Reports, he’s sailing against the wind. With a three point lead, O’Malley needs to convince a small minority of undecided voters that he deserves a second term as Maryland’s Democratic Governor, and with the state’s budget issues, unemployment rates, and the general ill-will towards Democrats this election, he will need a bit more luck to make that case.
Ehrlich’s latest strategy of focusing on O’Malley’s stronghold and my home county, Montgomery County, will ether be lauded or lambasted after the results come in this November. The county is geographically the largest and most populous in the state, but trends strongly Democratic, just as Baltimore and Prince Georges do. However, there are some conservative populations in the rural edges and upcounty, while some of the wealthy upscale D.C. suburbs shouldn’t be considered a lock for Democratic candidates. Ehrlich has gone so far as to place his headquarters in an old car sales lot on Rockville Pike, a location I run past regularly during my evening commute home. That shows a bold frontal attack on the Governor’s voting base.
However, like all political calculations, resources must come into play. Van Hollen needn’t worry about his race; after all, his district is overwhelmingly Democratic. Ehrlich must be concerned as a Gubernatorial candidate as he has the entire state to think about. If he neglects those towns or counties that are more on the fence or even assumes too much about his base, he could find that either O’Malley makes inroads with the electorate in those places or the base and independents decide to stay home, feeling disenfranchised.
It’s impossible to predict who will win, but odds still slightly favor O’Malley. As for Van Hollen and Senator Barbara Mikulski, they seem to be well on their way to another win, though with diminished numbers of Democrats to greet them in both the House and Senate this fall.
Rasmussen Reports, “Election 2010: Maryland Governor”
Christopher Berenger, “Candidates Line up to Challenge Van Hollen in Maryland 8th District Race” Associated Content