Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Senate 14 Voting Records: Kramer vs. Montgomery

Senator Rona Kramer and Delegate Karen Montgomery were each first elected in 2002, when District 14 was essentially re-invented through redistricting. Montgomery is now challenging Kramer for her Senate seat. Here is how Progressive Maryland, the Maryland League of Conservation Voters and Equality Maryland have scored both candidates over the last term.

Progressive Maryland


Kramer: 65% in 2007, 46% in 2008, 52% in 2009
Montgomery: 95% in 2007, 95% in 2008, 95% in 2009


Kramer: 6-1 in 2007, 4-2 in 2008, 5-3 in 2009
Montgomery: 7-0 in 2007, 5-0 in 2008, 5-0 in 2009

Reasons for Scoring Against

Kramer: Voted against campaign finance reform in 2007, progressive income tax and flexible leave in 2008, campaign finance reform, apprenticeship opportunity, False Claims Act in 2009
Montgomery: None

Maryland League of Conservation Voters


Kramer: 67% in 2007, 70% in 2008, 50% in 2009
Montgomery: 100% in 2007, 90% in 2008, 100% in 2009


Kramer: 6-5 in 2007, 7-3 in 2008, 4-4 in 2009
Montgomery: 8-0 in 2007, 9-1 in 2008, 7-0 in 2009

Reasons for Scoring Against

Kramer: Voted against coastal bays dredging regulation in 2007, voted for amendment to weaken energy standards in 2007, voted to weaken Global Warming Solutions Act and Critical Areas Act Reform in 2008, voted to exempt utilities from forest preservation in 2009, voted against stormwater fees in 2009, voted against requiring nitrogen removing technology in new septic systems in 2009
Montgomery: Voted to delay a ban on phosphorous discharges into the Bay in 2008

Equality Maryland


Kramer: 100% in 2008, 75% in 2009
Montgomery: 100% in 2008, 100% in 2009


Kramer: 3-0 in 2008, 3-1 in 2009
Montgomery: 3-0 in 2008, 5-0 in 2009

Reasons for Scoring Against

Kramer: Did not co-sponsor anti-transgender discrimination in 2009
Montgomery: None

Average, All Groups

Kramer: 65.6%
Montgomery: 96.9%

Kramer: 38-19
Montgomery: 49-1

Our Take:

There are VERY significant differences in this race on labor and environmental records. Montgomery is a reliable vote for labor and environmentalists whereas Kramer often strays. Additionally, Kramer has a reputation for trying to weaken progressive bills before ultimately voting for some of them. Maryland LCV lowered Kramer’s score multiple times for voting for amendments designed to weaken pro-environmental legislation.

But Kramer is holding an ace on voting record: Montgomery skipped the entire 2007 special session to go to China. The special session was the seminal event of the entire term since it dealt with slots, budget adjustments and a very large tax package. Kramer will argue that a person who misses votes as important as those does not deserve to be in the Senate. We do not see how Montgomery will be able to effectively respond other than by changing the subject.

There is reason to question whether a hard-left message will sell in District 14. The district has three population centers: Burtonsville, which has large numbers of African-Americans and other people of color; Olney, a heavily white area that is politically moderate; and Damascus, which may be the most conservative locality in the entire county. The district voted for the slots amendment and the Ficker Amendment in the 2008 general election, but those voters are not the same group that will show up in a low-turnout Democratic primary. Karen Montgomery’s supporters should find out what issues are truly on the minds of District 14 voters and tailor their message accordingly rather than assume that labor and environmental issues will automatically carry the day against a rich and tough incumbent like Rona Kramer.