The Maryland primary election at the end of June resulted in several big surprises. Longtime senator and well-respected chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Mac Middleton, was ousted by a political unknown, shaking up the establishment and opening the question of who will lead this key committee. The primary defeat of Senator Steve Waugh, a moderate Republican known for thinking logically and building consensus made national news after Governor Larry Hogan came out against him for voting too often with Senate Democrats. When the dust settled, only one of the four major committee chairs in the Senate remained, and only two of the vice chairs. In the House, Delegate Joseph Vallario, a Maryland legend, lost his primary bid, creating a vacancy that had a chain reaction through the leadership as members took on new roles. These changes leave voids in institutional knowledge on the complicated issues that come before legislative committees.
In the Gubernatorial race, Governor Larry Hogan won the Republican primary and former NAACP Chair Ben Jealous was chosen for the Democratic nomination. Jealous has been vocal about bringing a single-payer healthcare system to Maryland, a move that the nonpartisan Department of Legislative Services has measured would add $24 billion to state expenses, but would eliminate the $51 billion Marylanders paid in healthcare costs in 2014 (an estimated $65 billion this year). Governor Hogan has been a supporter of stabilizing the ACA insurance market and keeping private coverage premiums down. For a state where healthcare is both a point of pride and a major economic generator, this is sure to be discussed often in the run-up to the election.
Across the state, primary elections re-affirmed the mantra that every vote counts. Results remained too close to call for days after the Baltimore County executive primary showed a win for former state Delegate Johnny Olszewski over state Senator Jim Brochin and County Councilwoman Vicki Almond by only nine votes. After a manual recount, the win was confirmed by a margin of 17 votes (of 84,601 total cast in the race). Legislative primaries across the state had similar results but garnered less attention. See Maryland’s elections website for the full results. If you have any questions about our legislative priorities for Maryland, don’t hesitate to reach out to me.