Candidates up and down the ballot are criss-crossing the state, making their final pleas to voters ahead of Election Day on Tuesday.
Over the weekend, Democratic gubernatorial nominee Wes Moore appeared on the campaign trail with several other candidates, waving signs at passersby and attending church services in Prince George’s County, rallying crowds in Wheaton and Annapolis, and planning an election eve rally with President Joe Biden and others.
Del. Dan Cox, the Republican nominee, spent part of the weekend campaigning in his Frederick County home base, marching in the Brunswick Veteran’s Day parade and a later holding rally that featured sheriff Chuck Jenkins, former congressional candidate Kim Klacik, Trump spokesperson Liz Harrington, and Del. Neil Parrott, who is running in Western Maryland’s 6th District against incumbent Democrat, Rep. David Trone.
In addition to the races for governor and Congress, voters will choose a new state comptroller and attorney general, elect all seats in the General Assembly, pick school board members and decide ballot questions, including whether to legalize adult recreational use of cannabis, a policy that’s anticipated to pass.
Maryland Democrats have fielded a potentially barrier-breaking top of the ticket: Moore could become the state’s first Black governor alongside former Del. Aruna Miller, who would be the state’s first immigrant and woman of color to serve as lieutenant governor. And Del. Brooke Lierman (Baltimore City) is hoping to become the state’s first woman comptroller, while Rep. Anthony Brown is running to be the first Black attorney general.
Republicans, meanwhile, are more fractured headed into the general election. Cox, at the top of that ticket, is endorsed by former President Donald Trump but has been characterized by Maryland’s popular and term-limited Republican Gov. Larry Hogan as a “QAnon whack job.” Attorney general candidate Michael Peroutka is a former member of the League of the South, which is labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Harford County Executive Barry Glassman, the party’s nominee for comptroller, has distanced himself from the other GOP nominees and is endorsed by Hogan.
Recent polls show that Moore is heavily favored to flip the governor’s mansion back to Democratic control; a Baltimore Banner/Goucher College poll released late last month showed Moore with 31-point lead over Cox among likely voters. About 8% of voters said they were still undecided or would not give their choice for governor. Third-party candidates attracted single-digit support: Libertarian David Lashar polled at 3%, Green Party candidate Nancy Wallace attracted 2% support and David Harding of the Working Class Party was supported by 1% of those polled. Unaffiliated candidate Kyle Sefcik also appears on Tuesday’s ballot.
The Banner poll also showed wide margins among the candidates for comptroller and attorney general, with Democrats Lierman and Brown favored to win.
Control of Congress
Nationally, control of Congress could be at stake on Tuesday, with Republicans hoping to gain significant ground in the U.S. House of Representatives and flip at least one seat to gain control of the Senate.
In Maryland, the closest race is between Trone and Parrott in Western Maryland. That contest is rated as a “toss up” by Real Clear Politics, and “likely Democrat” by the Cook Political Report.
Last month, pollster and former Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway released a partisan poll that showed Trone leading the race by 5 percentage points.
Trone beat Parrott by 20 points in 2020, but the 6th District, which begins with a piece of Montgomery County and runs west to Garrett County, picked up a significant chunk of conservative territory in the last round of congressional redistricting.
Parrott’s campaign was boosted at a rally late last month by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R), but Trone has seriously outspent the challenger, raising $13,029,661 this election cycle — $12,552,000 from his own pocket.
During the last campaign finance reporting period, Parrott spent $166,287 and retained $471,926 in the bank on Sept. 30. Overall this election cycle, Parrott has raised $622,754 and spent $301,807.
On the Eastern Shore, former Democratic state Del. Heather Mizeur’s campaign was touting a Washington College poll last week that showed incumbent Andy Harris — the only Republican in Maryland’s congressional delegation — with 45% percent support in the district he’s represented for 12 years.
The same poll, which has a 4-point margin of error and was conducted over text messaging between Oct. 28 and Nov. 1, showed Mizeur with 39% support and 13% of likely voters undecided.
Ballot counting underway — in some counties
As of Saturday, more than 754,000 Marylanders — about 18% of registered voters — had already voted in person at early voting centers or by mail ballots.
After the Maryland State Board of Elections waged a legal battle to count ballots earlier following a protracted primary season in some counties, local boards of election have settled on different policies to count general election ballots.
In some counties, local boards have already begun processing mail ballots to speed up results reporting after Election Day. They are the Baltimore City Board of Elections and the Allegany, Baltimore, Calvert, Frederick, Howard, Montgomery, Prince George’s, Saint Mary’s and Washington county boards.
In Frederick and Howard counties, voters are likely turning out, in part, because of competitive races for county executive.
One large jurisdiction, Anne Arundel County — home to its own closely watched race for county executive — is among those local boards that will begin canvassing mail ballots on Thursday.
In 2018, incumbent Steuart Pittman was elected with 52.3% of the vote. This year he faces County Councilmember Jessica Haire (R) on the ballot.
Wicomico County, home to three candidates vying to be the next county executive of the most populated county on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, will also begin counting mail ballots on Thursday.
Polls are open Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Anyone in line at 8 p.m. will be allowed to vote.