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Posted at 10:18 AM ET, 04/04/2012

Storm clouds for Cardin and Delaney

The headline of course is the Romney sweep of Maryland. Romney won the state and all eight congressional districts. He won every county accept for Somerset and Garrett. Add that to the Wisconsin (and D.C.) win, and this race is over — whether Rick Santorum wants to admit it or not. Santorum was strongest where one would expect — in the west, the south and the Eastern Shore. But in those areas he was not a s strong as he should have been. He won Garrett but lost Allegany. In the south, he ran well in St. Mary’s but was crushed in Calvert, a pattern repeated on the shore. Romney won the state by 20 percentage points and is on the cusp of 50 percent of the vote in a four-man race. Maryland delivered the nomination to Romney.

In the Senate contest between Ben Cardin and Anthony Muse, Muse failed catch fire. Muse claimed 16 percent of the vote, but only ran strong in his home base of Prince George’s, where he pulled nearly 40 percent. In Baltimore City, he finished shy of 20 percent. Muse should have focused his efforts on Baltimore City. That said, Cardin received just under 75 percent of the vote and received 42,000 fewer votes than President Obama.

In 1970, incumbent Democratic Sen. Joseph Tydings was seeking reelection against a relatively unknown GOP challenger. That same election, Gov. Marvin Mandel was running and was widely expected to win comfortably. Indeed Mandel did win, but a sufficient number of voters withheld their vote from Tydings (he had taken some actions that angered the party base) that he lost narrowly. Cardin needs to find out why 25 percent of voting Democrats opted for someone else. Cardin was weakest in Baltimore City, Charles County and Prince George’s — clearly suggesting a weakness with African American voters. The lesson to learn for Tydings is that Cardin cannot take for granted that folks who turn out in November to vote for President Obama will vote for Cardin as well. Cardin is the clear favorite to win, but there is an opening for the GOP nominee Daniel John Bongino.

The other big story of the night was in the newly drawn 6th Congressional District. The 6th District had been a reliably Republican district, but Maryland Senate President Mike Miller redrew it specifically for Maryland Senate Majority Leader Rob Garagiola. He took care to draw the boundaries such that potential challengers lived outside the district. Garagiola had the backing of state Democratic Party establishment, including Steny Hoyer and Martin O’Malley. But he was crushed last night by John Delaney. Delaney has never held elective office and — to add insult to injury — he doesn’t even live in the district. This was an embarrassing defeat for many Democratic bigwigs, especially O’Malley. Delaney was endorsed by current O’Malley foil Peter Franchot, Maryland’s comptroller. Delaney’s victory raises questions about O’Malley’s level of influence in the state and boosts Franchot’s expected run for governor in 2014.

Another interesting aspect of the 6th District contest was the number of Republicans and Democrats voting. As redrawn, Democrats hold a voter registration advantage over Republicans of 183,000 to 141,000, with “unaffiliated/other” at about 90,000. The real contest in the 6th was in the Democratic primary, as everyone expected GOP incumbent Roscoe Bartlett to win. Yet in this newly created Democratic district, with a hard-fought Democratic contest, more Republicans cast ballots. In every other district (except the conservative 1st), Democrats outvoted Republicans. Come November, the presence of several high-profile ballot measures (same-sex marriage, the Dream Act and possibly even the new congressional districts) will boost turnout by Republicans and social conservatives. I would not be surprised to see the GOP hold onto the 6th District seat.

Todd Eberly blogs at The FreeStaterBlog. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.

By  |  10:18 AM ET, 04/04/2012

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