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Election 2022 Energy & Environment

Political notes: House races by the numbers, green group’s birthday, Bill Ferguson at a crab house, targeting Black male voters, and Hogan in Vegas

The cake at the Chesapeake Climate Action Network’s 20th anniversary celebration Thursday night. Photo by Josh Kurtz.

Everybody has a theory, or a gut feeling, or an armload of statistics, to tell them how the race for control of Congress is going to go — and whether Maryland is going to play a role in determining whether the Democrats cling to their slim House majority or whether Republicans make big gains.

Our sense for a while is that Maryland will keep its 7-1 Democratic edge in U.S. House seats, despite the 6th District becoming far more competitive and despite good challengers emerging who are making three other entrenched incumbents — Reps. Andy Harris (R), Dutch Ruppersberger (D) and John Sarbanes (D) uncomfortable.

The latest analysis to back up our theory comes from the Daily Kos, which looked at all 435 congressional districts and determined which are most at risk of changing hands. The website has compiled a list of which Democratic House seats are likely to flip, in order, and which Republican House seats are likely to flip, in order.

The lists look at district fundamentals, like how an incumbent did two years ago, how the presidential nominees did two years ago, and tries to factor in redistricting. Other factors could emerge that make a race here or there more competitive (or less) than they appear on paper, like candidate quality, top-of-ballot dynamics, and fundraising.

That said, the Daily Kos makes Maryland’s 6th District, held by Rep. David Trone (D), the 33rd Democratic seat most likely to change hands. So yes, his race with Del. Neil Parrott (R-Washington) is competitive — close enough for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R) to want to campaign there this weekend — but by the numbers, it would have to be a pretty big Republican wave for that seat to change hands.

Taking that argument a few steps further, the Daily Kos rates Maryland’s 2nd District, where Republican National Committeewoman Nicolee Ambrose is challenging Ruppersberger, the 85th most likely Democratic seat to flip, and the 3rd District, where former WBAL radio personality Yuripzy Morgan is up against Sarbanes, the 100th most likely Democratic seat to flip. In other words, there would have to be a major pro-Republican tsunami for either of those veteran incumbents to truly be in danger. Other Democratic districts in the state are considerably farther out of reach.

And what about the 1st District, where Harris is facing a spirited challenge from former Del. Heather Mizeur (D)? Daily Kos rates that the 79th most likely Republican-held seat to flip, meaning a pro-Democratic tsunami would have to be emerging for that seat to be in play.

For the record, Republicans need to flip just five Democratic seats to take control of the House in January, which seems extremely likely. Real Clear Politics has an average projection of a 27-seat GOP pickup. Given that prediction, many other Democratic seats are likely to fall before Trone’s does.

Yes CCAN

Some of the top political leaders from the region crowded into a restaurant overlooking the Potomac River by the Washington, D.C., Navy Yard Thursday evening to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, a feisty climate group that works in Maryland, Virginia, D.C., West Virginia and on Capitol Hill.

The organization was started and is helmed by Mike Tidwell, who launched the CCAN from a desk and laptop in his home in Takoma Park — something we can certainly relate to — and now has 23 employees and offices in Takoma Park, Richmond, Va., and Norfolk, Va.

The celebration, at D.C. Winery, drew political leaders, activists, philanthropists, and admirers, who munched on vegetarian food and sipped wine made on the premises.

Speeches were offered by Bill McKibben, an international climate activist who inspired Tidwell to get involved decades ago; the Rev. Lennox Yearwood, chair of the Hip Hop Caucus, a national climate action group; and U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.). Other leaders offered testimonials on a video.

One long table featured artifacts from many of the group’s campaigns over the past two decades, including a megaphone, photos of bill signings, a framed newspaper from when Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act earlier this year, complete with a pair of President Biden’s aviator sunglasses, and a suction device used on a glass window, a relic from the time CCAN activists conducted a protest at the headquarters of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration.

A humorous five-minute video recounted many of the same struggles,

“What do we do for a living?” Tidwell asked in the video. “We keep carbon in the ground.” The crowd cheered.

Several people made reference to the fact that as a regional environmental group, CCAN “punches above its weight.”

“We don’t just punch above our weight,” Tidwell said. “We knock you out with a hundred blows.”

He also described the organization’s formula for success: “Hard work + creative fun = power.”

Just after the video played, Tidwell surveyed the room: “I think half of you, I recognized you marching or getting arrested in this film.”

Ferguson’s crab-picking

State Senate President Bill Ferguson (D-Baltimore City) has cut an unusual 90-second video that he’s airing on social media as he seeks a fourth term in Annapolis. The ad shows an exterior of Captain James crab house in the Canton neighborhood of Baltimore, and then moves inside, where Ferguson aims to tell the audience all the good things the Maryland Senate has accomplished since he became president three years ago.

“I’m going to try do this in less time than it takes to pick this crab,” he says as he sits in front of a tray of steamed crabs and a pitcher of beer. “A challenge, but given the O’s winning season, anything’s possible.”

He then goes to work separating crab parts as he ticks off his list: the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future education reform plan; historic support for HBCU’s; extra funding for school construction; public safety funding; police reform; extra funding for MARC train service and buses; paid family and medical leave legislation; $3 billion in tax relief and pandemic aid; and address climate change and preserve green spaces.

“All we’ve accomplished is because of your trust,” Ferguson says. “And serving you and all Marylanders in Annapolis is the honor of a lifetime.”

The ad ends, with the list complete and the crab disembodied.

Radio ad on Black turnout hits Baltimore airwaves

The national advocacy group People For the American Way began airing a series of radio ads in Maryland, North Carolina, and Wisconsin, as part of its 15-state “Defend the Black Vote” campaign. which is focused on mobilizing 1 million Black male voters between 18-60 before Election Day, through radio, text messaging, and social media.

The minute-long ad, titled “They Can’t Stop Us,” is airing in Baltimore and in media markets in other states with a high percentage of Black voters or states where there has been a history of voter suppression and intimidation and where Black voters have been persistently given misinformation about changes to voter ID laws, mail-in voting, early voting, and Election Day voting.

“Injustice toward Black men has been described as the greatest stain on America’s history,” a narrator says as the ad begins. “And through the many years, Black men have used the power of our vote to overcome this injustice. Yet even today, anti-democratic forces are at work engaging in scams and tricks to take away our right to vote or intimidate us from showing up.

“But they. Can’t. Stop us.”

The ad continues by reminding Black men that voting isn’t just a right but a responsibility.

“While this ad has been paid for by the People for the American Way, the price of not voting will be paid by us all,” the narrator says as the ad closes.

“The Far Right recognized that silencing Black voters means that they maintain power, so they’ve gone through extraordinary lengths to intimidate and suppress voting rights and the Black vote,” said Ben Jealous, the 2018 Democratic nominee for governor in Maryland who is now president of People For the American Way. “Black men, our families and our communities bear the burden of those voter suppression tactics. Through our Defend the Black Vote campaign, we’re reminding Black men that the antidote to massive voter suppression is massive voter registration and mobilization and we can make a difference on the issues that matter like abortion, job security and healthcare, in 2022 and for decades to come.”

What happens in Vegas…

Gov. Larry Hogan’s presidential exploration tour is taking him next month to Las Vegas, where, according to a Fox News report, he’s one of a dozen potential 2024 GOP presidential candidates who will be addressing the Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual leadership meeting.

Over a two-day period in mid-November, the RJC will hear from Hogan; former Vice President Mike Pence; former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo; former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley; Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Ted Cruz of Texas, Bill Hagerty of Tennessee, Rick Scott of Florida and Tim Scott of South Carolina; Govs. Ron DeSantis of Florida and Chris Sununu of New Hampshire; and former Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey.

“Republican Jews from across the country will be celebrating big 2022 victories, and ringing in the first ‘kosher’ 2024 cattle call of the Presidential election cycle,” RJC national political director Sam Markstein told Fox News.