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Special Report: Bellamy Genn Group 2020 Election Preview
As your government relations team on the ground in Annapolis, BGG wanted to provide our clients with an election preview on what we think will happen in certain races throughout the state of Maryland. In addition to individual races, we will be highlighting the two statewide ballot initiatives that voters will have to weigh in on. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to our team.
Bellamy Genn Group Pre-Election Day of the Maryland Delegation and Maryland Constitutional Amendment Questions
Serious public policy differences and styles in addressing the critical issues confronting Americans has come down to the final hours with withering rhetorical bombs being thrown on the airwaves and social media – build walls or build bridges among Americans; billionaire individuals and corporations paying $750 or nothing in taxes or pay fair share of taxes; ‘herd immunity’ to fully open up the economy or safe controlled openings in businesses and schools; law and order; institutional racism; offshore production and Presidential accounts in China or repatriate our economy; climate change is a hoax or transition from fossil fuels, to frack or not to frack; repeal Obama care; protect pre-existing conditions and so much more.
The people will speak on the differing visions culminating in the election returns, but the issues will continue to be vigorously fought regardless of who is elected President and which political party controls the U.S. Senate or House of Representatives.
The Maryland Federal incumbents are likely to be returned by their constituents. The most important impact on Maryland will be the potential increased influence of the Maryland Senate Delegation, Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, in Chairmanship or leadership positions if the Democrats win the control of the U.S. Senate. Neither Senators Cardin or Van Hollen are on the ballot this year but could be substantial beneficiaries if the Republicans lose U.S. Senate control.
U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES RACES IN MARYLAND
1st Congressional District, (Eastern Shore),
Andy Harris (R) vs. Mia Mason (D)
Andy Harris, the incumbent, is a former Maryland State Senator and has represented the 1st Congressional District since 2011. He was elected in part on the platform of the Tea Party and repeal of Obamacare. He has supported expansion of H-2B visas that would allow migrants to work the crab houses and chicken farms on the Shore. However, he supports the Trump Administration’s strict policies on illegal immigration. Harris is an Anesthesiologist, has been a strong opponent of cannabis decriminalization, adult use, D.C. Statehood and anti-discrimination bills such as the Equality Act.
Mia Mason, a twenty-year U.S. Military veteran, human rights advocate, and transgender woman, is the Democrats choice to take on the incumbent. While she was honorably discharged from the military on the basis of her gender identity, she pledged to support legislation intended to prevent discrimination or disparities in education, the environment and the workplace, among other things. She also supports federal cannabis legalization and wants greater use of masks to fight the Coronavirus.
2nd Congressional District, (Parts of Baltimore County, Anne Arundel, Harford)
Dutch Ruppersberger (D) vs. Johnny Ray Salling (R)
Ruppersberger, a former Baltimore County Executive, won the congressional seat in 2002 and has won every reelection bid since with more than 60 percent of the vote. The 2nd congressional district is home to the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command. Ruppersberger has long been focused on national defense and cybersecurity, serving on the House Appropriations Committee and previously as ranking Democrat of the House Intelligence Committee. His priorities are military readiness, security and domestic gun violence prevention.
State Senator Johnny Ray Salling is a former steelworker and Army veteran. He remains popular in the State Senate as one who is personable and can work across the aisle. Salling serves on the State Senate’s Budget and Taxation Committee, on the Health and Human Services Subcommittee and describes his priorities as “pro-business,” supporting cutting taxes and regulations while also pushing for better funding for trade and vocational education.
3rd Congressional District, (Parts of Baltimore County, Anne Arundel, Howard and Montgomery)
John Sarbanes (D) vs. Charles Anthony (R)
John Sarbanes, son of former U.S. Senator Paul Sarbanes, won the 3rd Congressional seat in 2006. Sarbanes serves on the House Energy & Commerce Committee and on the Health Subcommittee as well as the House Oversight Committee where he served with the late Chairman, Elijah Cummings. He was a strong supporter of the Affordable Care Act and subsequent health care reforms. He has also been an advocate for election system reforms, expanding voting rights, end partisan gerrymandering and overhaul and supporter of environmental reforms to protect the Chesapeake Bay.
The Republicans put up Charles Anthony in a rematch with Sarbanes where Anthony received 31% of the vote last time. Anthony is a retired Walter Reed National Military Medical Center employee and Army lieutenant colonel. Anthony has said he supports ensuring health care is affordable and lowering taxes as a way to create jobs, but there is scant detail on his website.
4th Congressional District, (Parts of Prince George’s and Anne Arundel)
Anthony Brown (D) vs. George McDermott (R)
Anthony Brown is a two-term congressman, former state lawmaker and Lieutenant Governor, and a 30-year career in the Army, including tours of duty in Iraq and Europe, has helped promote his position on the House Armed Services Committee. Brown has focused on reducing racial disparities in health care, education and the criminal justice system. He has been a staunch advocate for victims of domestic violence, seeking to increase available support and resources. Brown is a strong advocate for environmental protections for the Chesapeake Bay and supports offshore wind energy for energy independence.
The Republicans have again selected George McDermott to challenge Brown as McDermott did in 2016 and 2018, losing each time by more than 50 percentage points. McDermott’s website reflects various conspiracy theories, incoherent diatribes and cites “secretjustice.com” as one of his sources.
5th Congressional District, (Parts of Prince George’s, Anne Arundel, Charles, Calvert, St. Mary’s)
Steny Hoyer (D) vs. Chris Palombi (R)
Steny Hoyer is not only the Dean of the Maryland House Delegation, having served 40 years in Congress, but is the Number Two Democrat in the House as Majority Leader. He is intimately involved in all budget decisions, negotiates legislation with the Senate, and helps formulate policy as part of leadership with Speaker Nancy Pelosi, including fighting the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Hoyer was the House Sponsor of the American for Disabilities Act (ADA) and has long prioritized workers’ rights, job creation, and public education.
Hoyer is being challenged by Chris Palombi a former U.S. Capitol Police officer and a Web programmer. Palombi is running to protect the free market and individual freedoms, including gun ownership; eliminate federally mandated testing in public education, push for greater oversight and regulation of the technology industry, and his website notes fiscal responsibility and limited government are key policy pillars.
6th Congressional District, (Parts of Montgomery, Frederick, Washington, Allegany and Garrett)
David Trone (D) vs. Neil Parrott (R)
David Trone, founder of the national beverage chain, Total Wine & More, represents one of the most litigated drawn congressional districts. It’s a district that runs from conservative Western Maryland under Pittsburgh, PA, all the way down to a more liberal region just a few miles from the Washington DC line. Trone has a focused agenda reflecting his background and personal experiences. He has prioritized combating the opioid epidemic after losing a nephew to an overdose, seeking to boost resources for families who have a loved one fighting addiction, increasing mental health resources and gun safety among many issues. Trone has kept up his push for alternatives to incarceration and pretrial justice changes.
Parrott, the founder of a traffic engineering firm, has been in the House of Delegates since 2011. A tea party conservative, he is known for launching petition drives to force statewide referendums on laws he and his colleagues want to repeal, including same-sex marriage, in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants and congressional redistricting. Maryland voters ultimately upheld each of the laws. Parrott also tried to undo a bill repealing the death penalty and to restrict bathroom access for transgender people, but he didn’t get enough signatures for those efforts to require a popular vote.
7th Congressional District, (Baltimore City, Parts of Baltimore County and Howard)
Kweisi Mfume (D) vs. Kimberly Klacik (R)
Kweisi Mfume represented the majority-Black Baltimore area for almost 10 years before stepping down in 1996 to become president of the NAACP. Mfume filled the late Elijah Cummings’ seat in a special election in April, soundly defeating Republican candidate Kim Klacik and faces her again on November 3rd. Mfume has indicated his priorities are voting and civil rights legislation, lowering prescription drug costs, banning assault weapons and improving economic opportunity in low-income neighborhoods and revitalizing these areas.
Klacik, founder of a nonprofit for disadvantaged women, has raised her profile nationally and drawn the endorsement of President Trump with provocative advertisements highlighting blight and trash in West Baltimore, urging Black voters to ditch Democrats and promising she will do better. Her messaging echoes the videos that launched her into the national stage in the first place. Last year, she circulated footage of dumping grounds and abandoned buildings that led Trump to refer to Cummings’s district as a “rat and rodent infested mess,” setting off a weeks-long feud before Elijah Cummings’ death.
8th Congressional District, (Parts of Montgomery, Carroll, and Frederick)
Jamie Raskin (D) vs. Gregory Coll (R)
Jamie Raskin, a former Maryland State Senator and constitutional law professor, is running for his 3rd term. Raskin has used his Harvard Law background on House Judiciary to lead on election changes, such as a national popular vote, expansion of voting rights, including D.C. statehood, and ranked-choice voting. After President Trump was diagnosed with Covid-19, Raskin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi introduced a bill that would establish a commission to “help ensure effective and uninterrupted leadership” in the presidency. On the House Oversight Committee, he fought against the Trump administration’s attempt to include a citizenship question in the census and has investigated deaths of immigrants in custody and white supremacists’ infiltration of police departments, among other causes.
Republican Gregory Coll is a systems engineer for an aerospace and defense company.
Coll, who has never held public office, lists his priorities as responsible spending, a stronger military, supports early childhood education, is Pro-Life and is pro-Second Amendment gun rights.
Bellamy Genn Group Pre-Election Day Analysis of Baltimore City elections
Baltimore City Mayor, Brandon Scott (D), Bob Wallace (I), vs. Shannon Wright (R)
One of the most watched races in the State of Maryland is the race for Baltimore City Mayor. City Council President, Brandon Scott, is the heavy favorite to replace current Mayor Bernard C. Jack Young. Council President Scott has served in city government inside Baltimore City Hall since 2011 as a city councilman and city council president. City Council President Scott is running against independent Bob Wallace and Republican Shannon Wright. The candidates for mayor have been focusing on addressing the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, addressing violent crime in the city, improving trash collection, and reforming the city’s procurement process to favor small businesses.
Bob Wallace, an Independent, is a Baltimore native and a businessman. He said he is running for Mayor to bring change and uses his business acumen to improve Baltimore’s economy. His other top priority is to combat violent crime in Baltimore.
To learn more about the candidates running for Mayor and the issue that they are campaigning on, check out this voter guide: https://bit.ly/35VJLfu
Baltimore City Council President, Nick Mosby (D) vs. Jovani Patterson (R)
Another closely watched race in Baltimore City government is the race for City Council President. The favorite to become the next City Council is delegate and former city council member, Nick Mosby.
Delegate Mosby’s priorities include improving access to healthcare, improving the state’s unemployment system, increasing educational opportunities for Baltimore students, and making our streets safer.
Jovani Patterson’s priorities include improving Baltimore’s economy, reducing the number of abandoned homes, and increasing job opportunities for city residents.
Baltimore City Comptroller, Councilman Bill Henry (D)
City Councilman Bill Henry is likely to be the next Comptroller for the city of Baltimore. Councilman Henry ran as a reform minded candidate hoping to bring change to the city comptroller’s office. Councilman Henry wants to improve how our city is run and increasing transparency. In addition to reform changes, Councilman Henry has created a plan that will audit city government and bring efficiency to city agencies.
City Council Races
Most of the city council races in Baltimore are uncontested. For those that aren’t uncontested, the incumbents and Democrats running for the office are the heavy favorite. To learn more about the candidates for Baltimore City Council, visit: https://bit.ly/35VJLfu
Statewide Constitutional Amendments on the ballot
Constitutional Amendment – Question 1
The proposed constitutional amendment gives state lawmakers new powers to reallocate spending within the state budget. The General Assembly can only reduce spending in the governor’s budget, but it cannot increase the budget for its perceived priorities that are different from the governor. This would finally put the budgetary balance of power in line with how the 49 other states operate. In a concession to increasing legislative power, the amendment would grant the governor the power of a line-item veto if he or she disagreed with a legislative spending priority. Legislators would then have an opportunity to override that veto with a three-fifths majority at a later date. If the Amendment passes, it would not go into effect until Fiscal 2024 so it would have no impact on the current governor.
Constitutional Amendment – Question 2
This Amendment would allow sports betting by authorizing the state to pass a law that would then work out the details on who would be eligible for a sports and events betting license, what form the gambling would take, and how it would be conducted and where.
While the intent is the revenue would be used for education, the Maryland General Assembly would need to pass an enabling bill detailing the method of revenue distribution, who will get the gaming licenses, where the gaming will occur, casinos, racetracks, on-line gaming, and whether collegiate sports or any other kind of betting will be allowed.