Wait! The primaries aren’t over yet

Welcome to the Tuesday, October 18, Brew. 

By: Douglas Kronaizl

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. America’s final partisan primary
  2. Previewing Minnesota’s gubernatorial election
  3. Maryland one of five states to decide whether to legalize recreational marijuana

America’s final partisan primary

And you thought the primaries were all over!

Today, Oct. 18, Democratic voters in Connecticut’s House District 127 are casting their ballots in the country’s final partisan primary of the year.

This is a court-ordered redo election. The initial primary took place on Aug. 9. After two recounts, initial results showed challenger Marcus Brown defeating incumbent John Hennessy by two votes, 573 to 571. The Superior Court of Bridgeport invalidated the original results on Oct. 4 and scheduled a new election.

Following the second recount, Hennessy, first elected in 2004, appealed the results. An evidentiary hearing found that four voters cast absentee ballots they received after submitting ineligible applications. Those four voters said their applications were signed and sent without their knowledge in violation of state law, making their submitted ballots ineligible.

Judge Barry Stevens said he had to infer the final recount included the four ineligible absentee ballots. Since the margin of victory was fewer votes than the number of ineligible ballots, Stevens did not approve the results of the final recount.

Officials must certify the results of the new primary by 5 p.m. on Oct. 19.

The winner of the new primary will face Anthony Puccio (R) on Nov. 8. 

Connecticut is one of eight states that allows fusion voting, in which candidates can receive nominations from more than one party. Regardless of the outcome of the new primary, Hennessy will appear on the general election ballot as a candidate for the Working Families Party.

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Previewing Minnesota’s gubernatorial election

Next, in our previews of battleground elections this year, is Minnesota’s gubernatorial election.

Incumbent Gov. Tim Walz (D), former state Sen. Scott Jensen (R), and four other candidates are running.

Walz was first elected in 2018, defeating Jeff Johnson (R) 54% to 42%. He represented Minnesota’s 1st U.S. House District from 2007 to 2019. Walz said he “balanced every budget while cutting taxes … and making critical investments to expand access to training opportunities and community college programs.”

Jensen, a physician, was a member of the Waconia School Board from 1993 to 2002, and, later, served in the state Senate from 2017 to 2021. Jensen said, “Our great State has suffered under unilateral control, partisan bickering, and political brinksmanship … We need a new vision, a new prescription.”

Minnesota has had a Democratic governor since the 2010 election of Mark Dayton. The last incumbent governor to lose re-election in Minnesota was Rudy Perpich (D), who lost to Al Quie (R) in 1978.

An average of three recent polls found Walz leading Jensen 49% to 40%, though the most recent poll, released on Sept. 18, found Walz at 48% and Jensen at 45%.

Two election forecasters rate the election as Likely Democratic and one rates it as Lean Democratic.

Other candidates on the ballot include Steve Patterson (Grassroots-Legalize Cannabis), Hugh McTavish (Independence), James McCaskel (Legal Marijuana Now), and Gabrielle Prosser (Socialist Workers). 

Minor party candidates received 5.5% of the vote in the 2014 gubernatorial contest and 3.7% in 2018.

In 2016, Hillary Clinton (D) beat Donald Trump (R) in Minnesota 46% to 45%. In 2020, Joe Biden (D) defeated Trump 52% to 45%.

This race could affect Minnesota’s trifecta status. Minnesota is one of 13 states with a divided government, with Democrats controlling the governorship and state House and Republicans controlling the state Senate. Since 1992, Minnesota has had a divided government for 28 out of those 30 years.

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Maryland one of five states to decide whether to legalize recreational marijuana

Today is the 36th day of our 50 States in 50 Days series, and we’re featuring Maryland, the Old Line State!

Week One: Pennsylvania, Indiana, South Dakota, Nebraska, North Dakota
Week Two: California, Georgia, Texas, Montana
Week Three: North Carolina, Virginia, New Mexico, Illinois, Idaho
Week Four: Kentucky, Michigan, Arkansas, Minnesota, West Virginia
Week Five: Vermont, Nevada, Wyoming, Arizona, Ohio
Week Six: South Carolina, Iowa, Kansas, Oregon, Tennessee
Week Seven: Colorado, New Jersey, Washington, Alabama, Utah
Week Eight: Mississippi

On the ballot in Maryland

At the federal level, Marylanders will elect one U.S. Senator and eight U.S. Representatives. One House district—the 4th—is open.

Four state executive offices are up for election: governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, and comptroller.

All 188 state legislative seats—141 in the House and 47 in the Senate—are up for election. State legislators in Maryland serve four-year terms, meaning the winners of these races will hold office until 2026.

One seat on the state’s supreme court—called the Court of Appeals—and four seats on the intermediate appellate court—the Court of Special Appeals—are on the ballot, with the current officeholders standing for retention.

We are also covering local elections in Baltimore and eight school districts.

Redistricting highlights

The number of U.S. House districts in Maryland remained the same at eight following the 2020 census.

Congressional and state legislative elections will take place under new district lines following the census. Our side-by-side map comparison tool allows you to compare each district. Here’s an example of what Maryland’s congressional map looked like before and after the 2020 census:

You can interact with our map comparison tools by visiting our Maryland redistricting page here.

Partisan balance

  • Both of Maryland’s U.S. Senators—Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen—are Democrats.
  • Democrats represent seven of the state’s U.S. House districts and Republicans represent one.
  • Maryland has had a Republican governor since Larry Hogan’s election in 2014. Hogan is term-limited this year.
  • Democrats hold a 32-15 majority in the Senate and a 99-42 majority in the House.
  • With a Republican governor and Democratic legislature, Maryland is one of 13 states with a divided government. It has held this status since Hogan’s election.
  • In addition to the governor, Maryland has a Republican secretary of state, while the attorney general is a Democrat, making the state one of nine without a state government triplex.

Seats contested by only one major party

This year, 93 state legislative seats in Maryland, or 49% of those up for election, do not have major party competition. When a candidate from only one of either major party runs for a state legislative seat, the seat is all but guaranteed to be won by that party.

Democrats are running for 160 seats (85%). Twenty-eight seats (15%) do not feature a Democratic candidate, meaning Republicans will likely win.

Republicans are running for 123 seats (65%). Sixty-five seats (35%) do not feature a Republican candidate, meaning Democrats will likely win.

Key races

  • Governor: Wes Moore (D), Dan Cox (R), and four others are running. Gov. Larry Hogan (R) is term-limited. This is one of six governorships Republicans are defending in a state Biden  won in 2020. Our trifecta vulnerability analysis found Maryland to be one of four states where Democrats have a moderate chance of forming a new trifecta.
  • House of Delegates District 29B: incumbent Brian Crosby (D) faces Deb Rey (R) in a rematch from 2018. That year, Crosby defeated then-incumbent Rey 53% to 47%.

Ballot measures

There are five measures on the ballot this year, including:

  • Question 4: would amend the state constitution to legalize recreational marijuana for individuals 21 years or older. Maryland is one of five states with a measure related to recreational marijuana on the ballot this year. Lawmakers legalized medicinal marijuana in 2013 and decriminalized possession in 2014.
  • Question 1: would rename the Maryland Court of Appeals, the state’s court of final resort, to the Supreme Court of Maryland and rename the Maryland Court of Special Appeals to the Appellate Court of Maryland. Maryland is, along with New York, one of two states that do not refer to their court of final resort as a supreme court.

Between 1985 and 2020, 54 ballot measures appeared on statewide ballots. Forty-nine were approved and five were defeated.


  • Polls are open on Election Day from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • In most cases, Maryland does not require voters to present identification while voting. To read about cases where an ID is required, click here.
  • Early voting is available from Oct. 27 to Nov. 3.
  • Today, Oct. 18, is the voter registration deadline. Voters may register online, by mail, or in person. Mailed registrations must be postmarked by Oct. 18. Maryland also allows same-day registration during the early voting period and on Election Day.
  • All voters are eligible to vote absentee. Election officials must receive absentee/mail-in ballot applications by Nov. 1. Completed ballots must be either returned in person by 8 p.m. on Election Day or postmarked on or before Election Day and received within 10 days after the election.

Want to learn more about the elections you’ll be voting in this year? Click here to use our Sample Ballot Lookup tool! 

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