Q&A: How Maryland’s Primary Election choices could impact national politics
MARYLAND – Elections aren’t just about the numbers. 47ABC sat down with Delaware State University political science professor Dr. Samuel Hoff.
Is Maryland historically a red or blue state? Could that change in the upcoming Midterm Election?
Dr. Hoff says Maryland has a long history of voting Democrat. “We can date Maryland’s politics between the Democrats and the Republicans to the founding of the Republican part back in 1856,” he said.
“We look, for instance, at the results of the presidential election since 1856. The Democrats have won 29 times, Republicans 12,” said Dr. Hoff. “We can look at the governorship going back, and it’s 24 to 7 on behalf of the Democrats.”
Both U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen are Democrats. And, all but one of Maryland’s eight U.S. Representatives are also blue. On the state level, both the Maryland Senate and House of Delegates are controlled by Democrats.
“Really, it’s been the governorship where the last two of four governors have been Republican, that we’ve had some competitive nature of the parties recently,” said Dr. Hoff. “Maryland seems to have that emphasis of mostly Democratic, and when you get a Republican in for those national or executive state offices, they tend to be a moderate.”
How would flipping Maryland’s Congressional seats impact national politics and President Joe Biden’s agenda?
“We have seven out of eight members of the Maryland House being Democrats. There’s just one opening among those eight seats, and it looks like that’s in a Democratic district, with the likelihood of another Democrat,” said Dr. Hoff. “I’m predicting an overturn to the Republican Party, based on the number of announced retirements among House members.”
Dr. Hoff says chances for President Biden to gain more Democrats in Congress are likely slim. “We’ve only had four instances in the last century plus where the president’s party has gained seats in the Midterm Election,” he said. “With Senator Van Hollen up for re-election in the Senate, and a 50/50 Senate, that’s going to be an important race.”
Sen. Van Hollen will likely be re-elected, according to Dr. Hoff. “That’s going to be very important to the Democrats, who are trying to retain control of the U.S. Senate,” he said.
But, Dr. Hoff says Maryland’s gubernatorial choice could also influence national politics. Currently, there are 27 Republicans and 23 Democrats serving as governor across the nation. Delegate Dan Cox has secured the Republican nomination. While there is no clear winner on the Democratic ticket, Wes Moore and Tom Perez are in the lead.
“The chair of the National Governors’ Association certainly has an influence nationally, as do governors in terms of their normal executive function, and campaigning for folks,” said Dr. Hoff.
Looking at preliminary results, what can we glean about the upcoming General Election in November?
“When we think about the Midterms on a national level, we usually think it’s a referendum on the president,” said Dr. Hoff.
Dr. Hoff says issues that the United States has been grappling with the most, like inflation, crime, and climate change will be top talking points for candidates.
“We have a number of issues, starting with the economy. Most recent inflation figures going from last year to this year at 9.1%. So, that’s pretty serious,” said Dr. Hoff. “Those issues are not simply going to be issues that are talked about at the national level. I predict that they’re going to come up in the Maryland governor’s race, they’re going to come up in a lot of the races for the Maryland House and Senate.”
Dr. Hoff says ultimately, if enough Maryland Congressional seats are flipped from blue to red, it could make progress made in President Biden’s agenda harder won.
“That’s going to make it a little tougher for the president to govern, and the Democrats to govern, as opposed to what they have now,” said Dr. Hoff. “The House has been very supportive of the president’s agenda. That could certainly change if the House changes to Republican control, which I’m predicting it will.”