On November 7th, 2012 we begin a historical new journey. That journey won’t change too much depending on whether Barack Obama or Mitt Romney win, because it is the journey to the 2014 and 2016 elections and Maryland will be front and center for both. 2014 will be a new gubernatorial election where several Republicans including Harford County’s David Craig, Frederick’s Blaine Young, and Change Maryland’s Larry Hogan will fight to go up against the Democrat’s top echelon of Attorney General Doug Gansler, Lt. Governor Anthony Brown or Comptroller Peter Franchot.
It will also serve as the first election for the General Assembly since redistricting. While the new districts were drawn by those in power, and will not be affected by the referendum since that only applies to the Congressional districts, it does represent the largest chance for turnover. In addition, several members of the General Assembly will try to move up to state wide offices such as Senator Brian Frosh seeking the Attorney General’s seat that Doug Gansler will vacate. Maryland will not have a U.S. Senate election that year.
2016 will be looming large for another Maryland Democrat, Governor Martin O’Malley is already working hard to build his national network and campaign in Iowa and New Hampshire. Instead of dealing with problems here in Maryland, he has spent the summer campaigning for Obama and headlining fundraisers for the re-election campaign of Iowa’s Tom Harkin, who isn’t up for re-election this year, but it’s a priorities thing. Of course, it must be looming large in Governor O’Malley’s mind that a recent Washington Post poll found that he had pretty solid approval ratings in Maryland, yet those that approved of him didn’t think he’d be a good president. There are many national Democrats that will give O’Malley a run for his money, most notably Governor Andrew Cuomo from New York.
But the only thing you can bet on is that all attention will be on elections and not much will get done in Annapolis. That’s an exciting prospect because it seems that anytime that group of people get together trouble happens. Not all of that is good though, because we could use some real reforms in this State, especially when it comes to the Public Service Commission, something Governor Martin O’Malley promised to do and did not accomplish in the six years he has had so far. It will also lead to the General Assembly ceding more power to bureaucrats in the O’Malley Administration out of fear of having to make an unpopular decision before election time.
2013-2014 will mark the longest election season in Maryland’s recent history. Not only will it begin sooner, but it will be so much more prevalent and in your face that we will begin to feel like children in the back seat, “are we there yet?” All this will play out on the back end of the 2016 race that begins on November 7th (actually I believe the 2016 race won’t start for much later because everyone will be focused on lawsuits around the 2012 election).
So get your Aspirin, and good luck.