Packed field alters tactics
Democratic hopefuls for governor focus on segments of voters
With the conclusion of the 2018 General Assembly session, Maryland’s race for governor is about to kick into a higher gear, and political analysts say Democratic voters can expect a contest unlike any in state history.
The competitive seven-person race to claim Maryland’s Democratic nomination in June has created an unusual dynamic and a peculiar goal for many candidates: winning the race is likely to require not the majority of votes, but as little as 25 percent.
The Democratic primary race for governor is so crowded that the most popular candidate will need an unusually small number of votes to win — as few as 125,000, some analysts predict, less than it takes to win some county executive seats.
That low threshold in a state of 2 million Democratic voters has inspired some candidates to unconventional strategies.
Campaigns say they are microtargeting voters — focusing resources on specific regions or particular constituencies, to the exclusion of a broader statewide strategy. Most are unlikely to buy much costly broadcast television advertising. Primary voters are more likely to see candidates showing up on their doorsteps, directed there by data that predicts in advance how they might vote.
“The campaigns and the independent expenditures that are able to chop up voters and microtarget them are the ones with the best chance of getting through,” political strategist Raymond Glendening said. His Maryland First super PAC is backing Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker