Packed field al­ters tac­tics

Demo­cratic hope­fuls for gover­nor fo­cus on seg­ments of vot­ers

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - FRONT PAGE - By Erin Cox

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

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