State Sen. Adelaide Eckardt (R-Middle Shore), a 28-year veteran of the General Assembly, was trounced in her re-election bid Tuesday, losing the GOP primary in the 37th District to Del. Johnny Mautz by a 3-1 margin.
With all 93 of election day precincts reporting, Mautz, who is completing his second term in the House of Delegates, took 76.81% of the vote to Eckardt’s 23.19%. Mautz had attacked Eckardt from the right, arguing that the Eastern Shore district deserved “real conservative leadership” in the state Senate.
“We need an effective fighter who will stand up to the progressives and fight for Eastern Shore values and principles,” Mautz, a tavern owner, said on his campaign website.
Eckardt was one of six General Assembly incumbents who appear to have lost on Tuesday — and the only senator — though the fate of several others could be determined over the next few days by the pending count of more than 213,000 mail-in ballots.
Eckardt, a registered nurse, was first elected to the House of Delegates in 1994 and served there for 20 years. In 2014, she ousted scandal-scarred Sen. Richard Colburn in the Republican primary. In the Senate, she has served on the Budget and Taxation Committee, where she’s been a top advocate for Eastern Shore funding projects.
Other incumbents who appear to have fallen short Tuesday night:
- Del. Joseph Boteler (R-Baltimore County), who finished fourth in a four-way GOP primary for two seats in District 7A. That primary was won by Del. Kathy Szeliga, who racked up 36% before mail-in ballots were counted, and Szeliga’s preferred running mate, businessman Ryan Nawrocki, who got 27.61%. Steve Redmer, a firefighter and brother of former Del. Al Redmer (R), took 21.74%, while Boteler took 14.65%. Boteler had served in the House for four non-consecutive terms in the adjoining District 8, but his home was drawn into District 7A in the General Assembly’s latest round of legislative redistricting.
- Del. Rick Impallaria (R-Harford), another conservative legislative veteran who finished second with 34.35% of the vote in a four-way primary for one seat in District 7B, with Del. Lauren Arikan topping the field with 53.75%. Impallaria has served in Annapolis for the past two decades.
- Del. Susie Proctor (D-Prince George’s), who was not on anyone’s watch list heading into primary day, was trailing Kevin Harris, a Navy veteran and community activist, 57% to 43% in District 27A. Proctor has been in the House since 2015; she was appointed to replace her husband, the late Del. James Proctor (D). The boundaries of the subdistrict changed some during redistricting.
- Del. Rachel Jones (D-Calvert), who was appointed to fill a vacancy in District 27B in 2021, appears to have lost to Jeffrie Long, a minister and Democratic activist, who took 55% of the vote to Jones’ 40% — a margin of 530 votes. In a Facebook post Wednesday, Long stopped short of declaring victory. “As Democrats and Marylanders, we firmly believe in the right to vote and in counting every vote, and I am committed to making sure every vote is counted,” he wrote. “There are over 1,000 votes by mail, and we want to make sure every vote is counted, and are confident when they are that we will be able to declare victory.”
- Del. Lisa Belcastro (D-Baltimore County) was trailing two other incumbents, Dels. Dana Stein and Jon Cardin, in a primary for two seats in District 11B. Stein was at 36.27%, with 4,124; Cardin racked up 4,029 votes, for 35.44%, while Belcastro was at 28.29%, with 3,210 votes. It seems unlikely that mail-in ballots will reverse the trend.
Half a dozen other state lawmakers found themselves in limbo following early voting and Tuesday’s primary — and won’t learn their fates until after mail-in ballots are counted.
In Harford County’s District 34B, Del. Susan McComas (R), who has served for 20 years, was trailing Jay Ellenby, the owner of a travel business, by 34 votes. Ellenby was expressing confidence Wednesday.
“While we have to hold our celebration until July 29th for the mail-in ballots to be counted, good things come to those who wait!” he wrote on Facebook.
Two other delegates were hanging on by the barest of margins.
In Baltimore City’s three-member District 45, Del. Stephanie Smith (D) was running third in the Democratic primary, with 22.73% of the vote, behind Jackie Addison, a community activist and member of the Baltimore City Democratic Central Committee who works for the mayor’s office, who took 25.11%, and Del. Chanel Branch, who took 23.23%. Caylin Young, an attorney who is the deputy director of the Baltimore City Office of Equity and Civil Rights, was running just behind Smith with 22.58% — just 35 votes out of the money.
In Cecil County’s District single-member 35B, Del. Kevin Hornberger (R) — the husband of County Executive Danielle Hornberger (R) — was running just 43 votes ahead of Adam Streight, a sheriff’s deputy and former president of the local Fraternal Order of Police chapter. Hornberger had 38.46% to Streight’s 37.27%. A third candidate, Rising Sun Mayor Travis Marion, finished with 24.27%.
In Prince George’s County’s three-member District 22, eight-term Del. Anne Healey (D) was sitting in third place in her primary with 15.88% — just 220 votes ahead of Ashanti Martinez, a policy analyst for CASA, the immigrants’ rights organization, and well behind the other two incumbents, Dels. Alonzo Washington (30.51%) and Nicole Williams (25.45%). Healey’s opposition to abortion rights has made her vulnerable in the Hyattsville-Greenbelt district.
In Washington County’s District 2B, Del. Brenda Thiam (R), who was appointed to the seat in 2020, was leading Thomas Stolz, who has associated himself with former President Trump, by 120 votes.
In Prince George’s County’s District 23, Sen. Ron Watson (D) has a tenuous lead over his nearest competitor, former Prince George’s Board of Education member Raaheela Ahmed, in the three-way Democratic primary. Watson had 42% to Ahmed’s 37.9% and businesswoman Sylvia Johnson’s 20.1%. His raw vote edge over Ahmed was about 640 votes. But Ahmed’s family has constructed a solid political operation in the Bowie area and knows how to target voters — meaning her campaign may close the gap in that primary when the mail-in votes are counted.
A handful of other lawmakers who were on Maryland Matters’ recent list of 12 most vulnerable incumbents in this week’s primaries appear to have prevailed.
In Montgomery County’s District 18, Sen. Jeff Waldstreicher (D) was ahead of his progressive challenger, Max Socol, 62% to 38%.
In Baltimore County’s District 6, Baltimore City’s District 43A and Baltimore City’s District 46, Dels. Ric Metzgar (R), Regina Boyce (D) and Robbyn Lewis (D), were running first in their respective primaries. And in Montgomery County’s District 39, Del. Gabriel Acevero (D), who was targeted by the district’s other incumbents, was running second in his primary, more than 1,300 votes ahead of the fourth-place finisher.