Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Party Performance in Western Maryland

Welcome to rural and mountainous Western Maryland, a region almost as unfriendly to Democrats as is Baltimore City to Republicans.

Frederick County
4.0% of Registered Voters (8th)
Solid Republican

Shifting voter registrations have caused some to believe that Frederick is trending Democratic. Not so fast. The Democrats had only three wins here this year: Ron Young’s narrow defeat of Senator Alex Mooney, Delegate Galen Clagett’s reelection and Doug Gansler’s unopposed candidacy. The third “win” doesn’t really count and Mike Miller had to invest tens of thousands of dollars in negative mail to take down Mooney. The GOP won every County Commission election and the Democrats did not come close. Even the City of Frederick, the most Democratic area in the county, has a Republican Mayor. The Democrats may have to redistrict a piece of Montgomery County, maybe Clarksburg, into Young’s district to save his seat.

Carroll County
3.0% of Registered Voters (9th)
Solid Republican

William Donald Schaefer (running for Comptroller in 2002) and Doug Gansler (running unopposed for Attorney General this year) are the only Democrats to score wins here in the last three cycles.

Washington County
2.4% of Registered Voters (11th)
Solid Republican

The only Democrats who won state or county office here in 2010 are Gansler, Delegate John Donoghue, the Treasurer and the Clerk of the Circuit Court (who both ran unopposed), the Register of Wills and the Sheriff. The GOP controls both the state delegation and the county government. The voters even elected this guy to a Delegate seat. Frederick Democratic Senator-elect Ron Young will represent a small piece of the county in Annapolis.

Allegany County
1.2% of Registered Voters (16th)
Solid Republican

Delegate Kevin Kelly will be the county’s only Democratic elected officeholder this term.

Garrett County
0.5% of Registered Voters (21st)
Solid Republican

The only ways for a Democrat to win here might be to run unopposed (as did Gansler) or for the Republican candidate to die right before the election. That actually happened this year and the GOP still won with a write-in candidate.

There is no question that the Republicans thoroughly dominate Western Maryland. The problem is that its five counties only account for 11% of the state’s registered voters – just slightly more than Baltimore City. The GOP needs to add a lot more reliable areas before it can be truly competitive on a statewide level.

We’ll look at Baltimore and Harford Counties and the upper Eastern Shore tomorrow.