Baltimore Sun

Primary questions as voters head to the polls

- By Hannah Gaskill and Sam Janesch

With nearly every consequent­ial political seat across Maryland up for grabs, the 2022 primary election is poised to be one for the books.

But there are loose ends to tie as Maryland voters prepare to cast their ballots during this unusual July primary election.

Like you, The Baltimore Sun has questions. Here’s what we’re asking ahead of Tuesday’s action.

What flavor of Democrat are Maryland voters hankering for?

Maryland, often described as “deep blue” on the political spectrum, has a wide field of Democratic gubernator­ial candidates to choose from this election season.

Voters will pick from nine State House hopefuls representi­ng the whole spectrum of leftist ideology, from the Democratic Socialist lean of Jerome M. Segal to the party establishm­ent politics of Comptrolle­r Peter Franchot.

Polls have shown Dems are running close, suggesting a threeway race between Franchot, former U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Tom Perez, an Obamaera Democrat, and first-time

That potential dichotomy — Trump as a plus for Republican­s in July, but baggage in November — makes the subject of the former president a sensitive one within the GOP.

Small business owner Nicolee Ambrose, who represents Maryland on the Republican National Committee, said, “No one has even announced yet” when asked recently whether she would support Trump if he runs for president in 2024.

Ambrose, a candidate for Baltimore County Democrat C.A. Dutch Ruppersber­ger’s congressio­nal seat, actively supported Trump in 2020. She said she would rather talk about issues — such as gas prices — than personalit­ies.

“I cannot wait to talk about issues all year long,” said Ambrose, who is facing a handful of challenger­s in the primary.

State Del. Neil Parrott paused when asked if there might be more risk than benefit for a GOP candidate to be aligned with Trump through the general election.

“I think that’s up to the voters to decide how they want to handle that,” said Parrott, a Trump backer who is among six Republican­s vying for the seat of Democratic Rep. David Trone, which extends from Montgomery County into Western Maryland.

“I think two years ago that would have been a fair statement,” Parrott said. “But now what we’re seeing is Joe Biden and the Democrats in Congress … are just destroying our economy, and we need huge changes.”

A wild card in Trump’s popularity is the House committee that has been conducting public hearings since early June into the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters hoping to halt the counting of presidenti­al electoral votes. Committee Democrats say the evidence shows a president recklessly trying in various ways to overturn the results of an election despite being told by aides there was no evidence of fraud. Republican­s in Washington have downplayed the sessions, and many have said they aren’t watching.

Trump has often clashed with the more moderate, two-term Republican Gov. Larry Hogan over the direction of the national GOP.

The Republican gubernator­ial primary field includes a Hogan-backed candidate, Kelly Schulz, against the Trump-endorsed Cox.

Dirk Haire, the state Republican Party chairman, said it would be unfair to assume the party is torn between Trump and Hogan, who is term-limited from seeking reelection.

“This [division] is all a media creation,” Haire said. “The vast majority of Maryland Republican­s are supportive of both of them. Each of them has a small number of supporters who don’t like the other, but it’s a small number on both sides.”

Haire said elections ultimately hinge on the effectiven­ess of the candidates and that endorsemen­ts won’t change that dynamic “no matter whether it’s Donald Trump, Larry Hogan or any other Republican high-level elected officehold­er.”

 ?? AMY DAVIS/BALTIMORE SUN ?? Lily Mitchell, right, of Roland Park, casts her ballot with assistance from poll worker Millie Thomas on the first day of voting at the Public Safety Training Center.
AMY DAVIS/BALTIMORE SUN Lily Mitchell, right, of Roland Park, casts her ballot with assistance from poll worker Millie Thomas on the first day of voting at the Public Safety Training Center.

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