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Election 2022 Government & Politics

Political Notes: DNC delays early-state decision, Emerge Maryland celebrates, Montgomery ballot counting continues

Voters cast ballots in Nashua, N.H., in February 2016, part of that state’s claim to the first-in-the-nation primary. But Democrats in Maryland — and across the country — are seeking to shake up the party’s primary calendar. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

The Democratic National Committee will wait until November to decide which states should take leading roles in the 2024 presidential nominating calendar.

Maryland is one of 17 states vying to become the “fifth state” in the frequently make-or-break early stage of campaigning.

The national party is looking to rejigger its presidential primary and caucus lineup, which currently includes longtime leadoff states Iowa and New Hampshire along with relative newcomers Nevada and South Carolina, which were added to add Latino and Black voters to the mix. Iowa and New Hampshire are among the least diverse states in the nation. Their place at the top of the White House selection process has long drawn criticism.

>>RELATED: Road to the White House Should Run Through Maryland, State Dems Tell the DNC

The DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee told committee members about the delay in an email on Saturday, a week before the committee was originally set to vote on a new presidential primary calendar.

“Following the midterm elections, we will reconvene to update our evaluation of the applicant pool and work towards a final decision to present to the full DNC for a vote, which DNC leadership has assured us they will make happen as soon after the midterm elections as possible,” the committee co-chairs, Jim Roosevelt Jr. and Minyon Moore, wrote in a letter to committee members.

At a hearing of the Rules and Bylaws Committee in June, Maryland Democratic Party Chair Yvette Lewis played up Maryland’s status as “America in miniature,” and its robust racial and ethnic diversity.

“Maryland is the most diverse state on the east coast,” Lewis said in her presentation. “In a party that boasts its inclusivity as the big tent party, our state is the most symbolic of that.”

Lewis also noted at the meeting that Maryland’s congressional delegation and General Assembly are dominated by Democrats and she touted the state party’s aggressive outreach to Black, Latino, LGBTQ, Asian-American, veteran, female, disabled and working-class residents.

The Maryland Democratic Party issued a brief statement on the delay Tuesday: “If the DNC decides to delay, we understand and agree with the decision. The current election is crucial and our party’s focus is on getting Democrats elected up and down the ticket. We’re eager and hopeful we’re still under consideration for early-state status when the DNC resumes the 2024 primary schedule process.”

Emerge Maryland celebrates successful candidates

Emerge Maryland, a candidate training program for Democratic women in Maryland, said more than 70% of the program’s graduates on the ballot in the July primary were successful.

Sixty-three candidates who took part in the program ran for election on July 19, and 45 have emerged victorious.

Emerge Maryland Executive Director Diane Fink said 71% of the organization’s primary winners are among the “New American Majority,” which includes people of color, unmarried women, LGBTQAI and young voters.

Seventeen of the Emerge Maryland primary winners are under the age of 40, including Jessica Fitzwater, Democrats’ nominee for county executive in Frederick County.

Other Emerge candidates won primaries for state comptroller (Del. Brooke Lierman), 16 General Assembly seats, 10 county council seats, two county commissioner seats, one state’s attorney spot (Anne Arundel’s Anne Colt Leitess), two board of education seats, and 12 Democratic central committee seats.

Sixteen of the organization’s graduates were the top-vote getters in multi-seat races, Fink said.

Montgomery County executive race remains close

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich (D) maintained a slim lead against challenger David Blair as vote-counting in the July 19 primary continued on Tuesday.

Elrich was leading the race by 173 votes after additional ballots were reported to the State Board of Elections on Tuesday evening. Elrich had 50,765 votes, or 39.3% of ballots cast in the Democratic primary, over 50,592 votes (39.17%) for Blair.

Maryland law allows for a no-cost recount of election results if the margin of victory is .25% or less; the race remains within that threshold.

In 2018, Blair requested a recount in the Democratic primary for the same office against Elrich. That contest concluded with Elrich winning by 77 votes, and taking office after a general election.

The mail-in ballot canvass in Montgomery County will continue on Wednesday.


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Political Notes: DNC delays early-state decision, Emerge Maryland celebrates, Montgomery ballot counting continues