Sun’s Political Retrospective Captures Maryland’s Ups and Downs in 2018

Baltimore Sun article (2018-12-20) by Luke Broadwater offered a retrospective of the rough-and-tumble political happenings of 2018. The article covered: (1) the fortunes and misfortunes of Maryland’s Republicans, (2) the role United States President Donald Trump played in shaping the state’s political dynamics; (3) issues regarding Maryland’s Congressional Delegation; (4) the changing face of the Maryland General Assembly; (5) key legislation passed in 2018; and (6) the fate of several state constitutional amendments that were on the 2018 ballot.

Maryland’s Republicans

President Trump loomed large in the Maryland elections, despite not being on the ballot. The article indicated that in addition to indirectly affecting the outcomes of several races, Trump’s policies have resulted in multiple legal challenges from Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh (some with the support of Hogan). From the article:

“We had President Trump say the election should be about him, even though he’s not on the ballot,” Hogan told reporters the day after the election. “In Maryland, that’s exactly what happened. It was a repudiation of the president, who lost this state by 30 points.”

Exit polls from The Associated Press and Fox News back up that analysis. Many Marylanders said they were voting against Republicans as a protest against Trump. Two-thirds of Marylanders said Trump was a factor in their vote, and about two-thirds said they have an unfavorable view of Trump.

The article noted that Hogan declined to support Trump in 2016 and has opposed some Trump policies.

Maryland in Congress

The article discussed the potential changes facing the 6th District (won by Democrat David Trone) after a federal court found that the district was gerrymandered and ordered that a new district map be created before the 2020 election. Frosh has appealed the ruling to the United States Supreme Court and Maryland has until the Supreme Court rules or July 1, 2019 (whichever comes first) to act on the district.

The General Assembly

The article highlighted the criminal indictments of several (now former) General Assembly members and candidates and the failed Republican “Drive for Five” effort that would have switched five Senate seats to Republican in order to sustain Governor Hogan’s vetoes.

Legislation

The article noted Maryland’s banning of firearm “bump stocks” (which can make a semi-automatic weapon fire like an automatic weapon) and the effects of a “red flag” law that allows judges to temporarily remove firearms from people who may be a danger to themselves or others.

Constitutional Amendments

The article discussed the passage of two amendments to the Maryland Constitution, including same-day voter registration and a “lock box” for using gambling revenues on public education.

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