The Maryland primary election at the end of June resulted in several big surprises. Longtime senator and well-respected chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Mac Middleton, was ousted by a political unknown, shaking up the establishment and opening the question of who will lead this key committee. The primary defeat of Senator Steve Waugh, a moderate Republican known for thinking logically and building consensus made national news after Governor Larry Hogan came out against him for voting too often with Senate Democrats. When the dust settled, only one of the four major committee chairs in the Senate remained, and only two of the vice chairs. In the House, Delegate Joseph Vallario, a Maryland legend, lost his primary bid, creating a vacancy that had a chain reaction through the leadership as members took on new roles. These changes leave voids in institutional knowledge on the complicated issues that come before legislative committees.
In the Gubernatorial race, Governor Larry Hogan won the Republican primary and former NAACP Chair Ben Jealous was chosen for the Democratic nomination. Jealous has been vocal about bringing a single-payer healthcare system to Maryland, a move that the nonpartisan Department of Legislative Services has measured would add $24 billion to state expenses, but would eliminate the $51 billion Marylanders paid in healthcare costs in 2014 (an estimated $65 billion this year). Governor Hogan has been a supporter of stabilizing the ACA insurance market and keeping private coverage premiums down. For a state where healthcare is both a point of pride and a major economic generator, this is sure to be discussed often in the run-up to the election.
Across the state, primary elections re-affirmed the mantra that every vote counts. Results remained too close to call for days after the Baltimore County executive primary showed a win for former state Delegate Johnny Olszewski over state Senator Jim Brochin and County Councilwoman Vicki Almond by only nine votes. After a manual recount, the win was confirmed by a margin of 17 votes (of 84,601 total cast in the race). Legislative primaries across the state had similar results but garnered less attention. See Maryland’s elections website for the full results. If you have any questions about our legislative priorities for Maryland, don’t hesitate to reach out to me.
Election season is officially upon us! The governorship and every seat in the legislature is on the ballot in 2018. Primary Day is on June 26 and the General Election will be November 6. Gov. Hogan, a popular Republican in a traditionally heavily Democratic state, faces an uphill battle. The field for the Democratic nomination currently has eight active candidates. Across the country, a blue wave is expected in November, with many Republicans expected to be unseated by Democrats. Maryland’s legislature currently stands at 123 Democrats to 64 Republicans. But no matter how the votes fall across party lines, the legislature is sure to include a lot of new faces in 2019–nearly 20% of senators have announced they will not run for re-election.
Submitted by Lee Dobson, Area Director, Government Affairs (GAO)
NC Special Session Focuses on Redistricting. While the “Long” Legislative Session adjourned back in July, lawmakers have been called back to Raleigh twice. The General Assembly was directed by the US Supreme Court to re-draw the 28 voting districts that were found unconstitutional due to Gerrymandering. After much debate along party-lines, the redrawn maps have been sent back to the courts. If approved the new districts will be used in the 2018 elections.
Submitted by Louise Lindenmeier, Director, NJ Government Affairs (GAO)
On June 15, 25 Hearts for Home Care Ambassadors met in Trenton for a Town Hall meeting hosted by our lobby group, Capital Impact Group. Chief Government Affairs Officer David Totaro and lobbyists Gene Mulroy and Paul Crupi discussed the upcoming election, budget, and what we will see in the next administration. Dave addressed what is happening in Washington with health care changes and possible impacts on our state. After a quick lunch, the group toured the State House, where they were able to meet legislators in the halls and gain an overview of the State House history. Everyone enjoyed the day.
Submitted by Shannon Gahs, Associate Director, DE Government Affairs (GAO)
In a special election, widely considered an indicator of the political climate following the presidential inauguration, Democrat Stephanie Hansen won in Senate District 10, 58%-42%, with a surprisingly large voter and volunteer turnout. The seat was vacated by now Lieutenant Governor Bethany Hall-Long. This victory keeps the chamber under a Democratic majority. I met Senator-elect Hansen at an event in January. While healthcare was not one of her core campaign issues, we have seen indicators that she could be a champion for home health care.