Middleton Upset in Senate Race, Among Numerous Annapolis Leaders Departing

Senator Thomas “Mac” Middleton, Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and longtime county champion, was upset in his District 28 primary by challenger Arthur Ellis. With all precincts reporting, Ellis holds a 52-48% edge, likely enough to withstand any remaining provisional and other as-yet-uncounted ballots.

Middleton served as President of the Charles County Commissioners, and a member of the MACo Legislative Committee, before pursuing the State Senate seat in 1994. In the Senate, he rose through leadership to become a well-respected committee chair, and frequent floor “broker” of politically complicated compromises. He was also a stalwart defender of local governments, reflecting on his time as a county commissioner often as he weighed policy matters in the General Assembly.

Middleton was one of several General Assembly leadership victims. House Judiciary Committee Chair Joe Vallario was also a primary victim, running third in his two-member sub-district. Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affair Committee Chair Joan Carter Conway was slightly behind after Tuesday’s vote-counting in her Baltimore City primary bid.

Maryland Matters has prepared a thorough discussion of leadership changes in Annapolis from this week’s primaries, available online under the title “Stunning Developments.” Few political observers expected the Middleton primary defeat.

Coupling the primary defeats with a number of voluntary retirements or departures, the General Assembly in 2019 will likely see its greatest leadership transformation in a generation.

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties