Friday, May 22, 2009

Free State GOP Fades to Black, Part Five

In Part Four, we discussed how the Democrats have made major gains in voter registrations throughout the state over the last two years. Today, we look at five counties where they have done especially well.

Charles County
October 2006: 50.0% Democrat, 33.5% Republican, 16.6% Other
October 2008: 55.1% Democrat, 29.4% Republican, 15.5% Other

Over the last eight years, Charles County’s total voter registration has increased by 47%, the top growth rate in the state. And the fastest-growing Maryland county is now the fastest-growing county for the Democratic Party. All of Charles County’s state legislators are Democrats and population-adjusted redistricting may add more Democratic seats there in the next round.

Prince George’s County
October 2006: 74.5% Democrat, 11.1% Republican, 14.5% Other
October 2008: 77.6% Democrat, 9.5% Republican, 12.9% Other

Prince George’s County has the greatest number of registered Democrats in the state (383,541) and the third-highest total registered voters (494,275). One of every five Maryland Democrats lives in Prince George’s County. That guarantees a marquee role for the county in every statewide Democratic primary. Attorney General Doug Gansler and Comptroller Peter Franchot defeated Baltimore-area candidates in 2006 in part by rolling up substantial margins in Prince George’s County. If the next County Executive after Jack Johnson builds a credible record, that person will be a serious contender for the Governor’s chair.

Montgomery County
October 2006: 54.2% Democrat, 24.7% Republican, 21.2% Other
October 2008: 56.6% Democrat, 22.4% Republican, 21.0% Other

Montgomery County has the highest number of total registered voters in the state (553,366), about ten percent more than Baltimore County (500,711). The GOP’s utter collapse in Montgomery (see Part Three) is a major reason for its statewide troubles.

Frederick County
October 2006: 36.5% Democrat, 45.3% Republican, 18.3% Other
October 2008: 38.5% Democrat, 42.4% Republican, 19.1% Other

State Senator Alex Mooney (R-3) is one of the most conservative legislators in the General Assembly. His district includes the City of Frederick, the most Democratic area in Frederick County. In 2006, Mooney defeated Democrat Candy Greenway by a tight vote of 21,844 to 20,111. The fact that the Democrats have now almost caught up to Republicans in registrations puts Mooney in danger. District 3B, which borders Montgomery County, is currently represented by Delegate Richard Weldon. Weldon recently changed his registration from Republican to unaffiliated and announced his intention to retire in 2010. His seat could easily be picked up by the Democrats.

Howard County
October 2006: 46.7% Democrat, 33.8% Republican, 19.5% Other
October 2008: 48.4% Democrat, 31.6% Republican, 19.9% Other

District 9A in Northern Howard County is represented by two Republicans: Delegates Gail Bates and Warren Miller. In 2006, Bates (22,862 votes) and Miller (18,533) defeated Democrat David Osmundson (16,162) in the general election. Next time around, the Democrats should be able to field two Delegate candidates and will have a chance to knock off one or both of the GOP incumbents. They are already making preparations. Districts 12A, 12B and 13 are already represented by Democrats who were elected with healthy margins in 2006. Senate Minority Leader Allan Kittleman (R-9) is probably protected by the fact that his district is partially located in more conservative Carroll County.

Numbers can be relentless. And in Maryland, they point to the utter collapse of the Republican Party at every level. Has the GOP bottomed out? Can it ever be revived? We’ll have some answers in 2010.