Join Sun reporters Erin Cox and Michael Dresser for a live chat about the June primary elections. Submit your questions now.
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Hi, all. Ready and waiting for your questions.
This is Michael Dresser from the State House in Annapolis. Fire away.
At the moment, there's not a concrete answer to that. Early voting in primaries is relatively new here in Maryland. Over all, though: elections officials are expecting pretty low turnout. Each campaign has been rallying their supporters to get out to vote, and Gov. O'Malley is holding a press event to encourage people to turn out.
This is looking like a low-turnout election, especially because voters aren't used to the June primary. State board of elections chief says they're ready for 30% turnout. Strike me as optimistic.
The Cantor race is a good illustration of why reporters don't trust internal campaign polls.
I think what Gansler is saying is in the script for trailing candidates. Remember Romney 2012.
Steven - I can only speculate why Gansler has not released it, but internal polls can also tell you a lot of things candidates would not want to share publicly - their unfavorability rating, how poorly they might be doing with a certain demographic, etc. He has told me that he believes his poll has a more accurate sampling than others - but it still shows him behind.
The implication here is that we're spending too much time! I bet a number of Republicans would disagree.
Even though Democrats outnumber Republicans 2 to 1 in Maryland and dominate state offices, there are more than 950,000 registered Republicans in the state. Those folks deserve to know about the candidates running for office, and all voters deserve to know about whomever is in the general election.
Back after a brief interruption. The Sun is covering the GOP primary because 2002 showed that you can't write off the Republican candidate. Voters are often ready for a change after 8 years of one party or one governor. The Republicans have a narrative that a lot of people buy into, and Gansler is echoing parts of it. We don't know where Gansler's voters go in the general if Brown wins.
After the Eric Cantor upset, I'm loathe to make any predictions, but I'd say it depends on the messaging we see from candidates over the next two weeks their ability to turn out supporters. The voters who make up their minds early in a contest can often do so for different reasons than the 11-th hour voters. I wouldn't assume they would break the same way.
It's such as small electorate that the GOP race really is hard to predict. But Hogan has the money and the apparent momentum.
I personally find that 57 percent number a pretty sad commentary on voter engagement. Political experts say voters aren't engaged for a few reasons: candidates have not engaged them and the new primary date is an awkward time of year. The primary contests used to be held in September, when people refocus their lives after the summer. Voters aren't used to voting on a Tuesday in June, or paying attention to political ads at the same time they're wrapping up the school year.
And, to echo Mike: This is still pretty normal for a primary in Maryland.
The dynamics are much different, and so far polls show nobody's been able to cut into Brown's solid support among African-Americans. Unless someone can make inroads there, it's hard to see an upset taking place. Among the Republicans, I'd say the chances of an upset are greater. The VA7 results show that under some circumstances all the money in the world doesn't matter. If there's a surprisingly good showing per dollar spent, it'll probably be Lollar. But only if there's a microscopic turnout that is heavily tea party.
There's a number of candidates who see the upset defeat of Eric Cantor as validation for their own strategy: pushing loyal supporters to the polls in a low turn out election to defeat the clear front runner. Doug Gansler, Heather Mizeur and Charles Lollar all put out that messaging today, and they've long pointed out that trailing in the polls doesn't necessarily mean defeat on Election Day. However, you can be sure that in the wake of the upset, the campaigns of front-runners in Maryland are rallying their supporters too. Take a look at Anthony Brown's negative campaign mailers against Gansler. He hasn't been taking his lead for granted.
Mizeur's best chance has always been a scenario where Brown and Gansler tear each other down so much that voters can't stand either of them. My sense is that Brown has been aware of that and his campaign has refrained from going in too deep with the negative ads. Of course, the last 2 weeks are the nastiest. Gansler's going negative on Mizeur today tells me he sees her as a threat. I don't see the Democratic polls as a big surprise. On the GOP side, I think the weak performance of David Craig is a real puzzler.
Mizeur has the best chance of making a late move because many voters are just learning about her. It's still hard to see her catching Brown without getting at least a quarter of the African-American vote, though. That could be one-third of the electorate.
I'm a little surprised the Baltimore City Jail problems haven't been more of a factor. Gansler raises it, but it doesn't seem to have stuck to Brown. I think that is more identified with O'Malley.
I think it does. The odds are still with the Democratic nominee, but Brown will have eight years of unpopular decisions to defend. Do Gansler's voters turn out? If they do, will they vote for Brown? The one thing they can't count on is Brown making unforced errors. He's run a very disciplined campaign. He's no Martin O'Malley, but he's a better campaigner than Kathleen Kennedy Townsend.
Brown soaks up most of the Democratic voters who give O'Malley high marks for his tenure, but loses two-thirds of those who think the state is headed in the wrong direction. Could that be enough for a GOP candidate to overcome his millions in the bank, his sophisticated operation, his establishment support and his registration advantage? Perhaps, but it would need to be a very strong and well financed GOP candidate. As we saw with Ehrlich v. Townsend in 2002, it's theoretically possible. The question is whether the GOP has a candidate who can offer that kind of performance.
I don't know of any strong evidence that cross-over voters made much of an impact on those races, but I haven't been reporting on them. I don't see any appetite in the conservative base for opening up the Maryland GOP primary to anyone who isn't deep red. The last thing they want to do is nominate moderates.
I'm no expert in VA politics, but from what I've read online so far this morning, Eric Cantor's loss had more to do with a motivated Tea Party base behind his opponent, and a negligible impact from Democrats casting a ballot for David Brat. I'm sure there will be a lot more analysis on this in the days to come.
Last question coming now ...
It's likely the third-largest pool of votes in the primary and there's no hometown favorite. Gansler, in particular, needs to run up the score there. I don't see any evidence that missing the WBFF debate hurt Brown that much.
Thanks for your questions. Off to cover the governor. Great answers, Erin.
The county and city offer the third and fourth highest concentration, respectively, of Democratic voters in the state. Candidates have been competing pretty heavily for votes there. It's numerically possible to sweep the Washington suburbs and win without the Baltimore, but no candidate has locked up that region and each needs support from Baltimore to win. In other words: it's an important pool of voters and you can't get elected without it. As for the debate, I've not seen any evidence one way or another that it hurt Brown with voters. The imagery of an empty lectern sure didn't do Brown any favors, but I'm not sure voters who haven't made up their minds were paying attention to that kerfuffle.