By Philip Van Slooten, Capital News Service

Capital News Service — The Maryland State Board of Elections’ Oct. 28 daily totals show Democratic voters still dominate mail-in ballot counts, but Republicans have higher in-person turnout at many early voting locations across the state. These early patterns so far do not indicate any surprise upsets in any Congressional district race.

This trend favors incumbents such as District 1 Rep. Andy Harris, R, who faces a challenge from Democrat and transgender military veteran Mia Mason in a district that has historically and consistently voted Republican.

Counties that delivered for candidates in the past are expected to deliver again — some counties fall into more than one district — if early patterns continue.

District 2 Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, D, is defending his seat against state Sen. Johnny Ray Salling, R-Baltimore County. Though Anne Arundel and Harford counties so far report higher Republican than Democrat in-person early vote totals, Baltimore City and Howard and Baltimore counties are delivering expected majority-Democratic turnouts, boosted by mailed-in ballot numbers which, as of Wednesday, stood at roughly 70,000 to 14,000. The numbers continue to surge upward along noted trend lines.

Rep. John Sarbanes, D, and Republican Charles Anthony in District 3 are also seeing predictably high Democratic early turnout in both their counties’ mail-in and in-person totals so far, as is District 4 Rep. Anthony G. Brown, D, who faces Republican George McDermott, whom he defeated in 2018 with 78% of the vote.

House Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer, D, is expected to fend off District 5 challenger Republican Chris Palombi with over 100,000 of the nearly 145,000 of the mailed in ballots received coming from Democratic voters.

Though in-person numbers in the 5th district favor Republicans in Anne Arundel, Calvert and St. Mary’s counties, early voter turnout in Charles and Prince George’s counties is still mostly from registered Democrats.

Democrats have returned mail-in ballots in high numbers in District 6 also, where Rep. David Trone, D, faces a challenge from state Sen. Neil C. Parrott, R-Washington, but the in-person numbers again are higher for Republican voters than Democratic.

Each county in the 6th district, except population-dense and deep blue Montgomery, voted for Trump in 2016 and Republicans’ early in-person turnout exceeds Democrats’, particularly in Allegany and Garrett counties.

This early trend of increased Republican in-person turnout continues for Caroll and Frederick counties, though in-person voting in Montgomery County still has an early Democratic lead, which matches the majority of Democratic mailed-in ballots received in District 8 overall.
Rep. Jamie B. Raskin, D, faces challenger Republican Gregory Coll for his legislative seat this year.

In District 7, where Rep. Kweisi Mfume, D, is challenged by Republican Kimberly Klacik, both high Democratic turnout and historical voting patterns favor the incumbent.

Mfume previously represented the district until 1996 before leaving to lead the NAACP. He won the April 7 special election, with 73% of the vote, to succeed the late Rep. Elijah Cummings, D.

But Democratic and Republican voting patterns alone do not tell the entire story for an unusual election year, marked by a pandemic and protests against racial violence.

Fifty-seven-year-old Baltimore County voter Eric Blitz, a member of the Libertarian Party of Maryland, told Capital News Service that neither major party candidate, for either district representative or president, reflects his values.

This is why he voted for Libertarian Presidential Candidate Jo Jorgenson.

“A big issue for Libertarians is ending qualified immunity (for police),” he said. “In Maryland we are in favor of getting rid of the Law Enforcement Bill of Rights, which limits accountability.”

Similarly, Tim Willard of the Montgomery County Green Party in an email told Capital News Service their party members were encouraged to write in Nancy Wallace, the Green Party candidate for District 8.

As of Wednesday, over 900 Libertarians and around 230 Green Party members have cast their votes in person while over 176,000 “other” mail-in ballots have been received statewide.


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