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Stories about Maryland

Wes Moore projected to win Maryland Democratic gubernatorial primary

Major media outlets projected Wes Moore as the winner of Maryland’s Democratic gubernatorial primary. With uncounted mail-in votes remaining, Moore received 33.8% of the vote, followed by Tom Perez with 28.3% and Peter Franchot with 21.5%.

Moore worked in the finance sector and as CEO of the Robin Hood Foundation, in addition to writing books about race, equity, and opportunity in America. Moore’s key policies included accelerating the state’s adoption of a $15 minimum wage, public safety and criminal justice, and increasing equity in public transportation. U.S. Reps. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), Kweisi Mfume (D-Md.), and Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.), at least 33 members of the legislature, and the Maryland State Education Association endorsed Moore. 

Moore will face Dan Cox (R), David Lashar (L), and Kyle Sefcik (I) in the Nov. 8 general election. Three independent forecasters rate the general election as Lean Democratic or Likely Democratic. Gov. Larry Hogan (R) is term-limited and not running for re-election.



Cox wins GOP primary for Maryland governor

Dan Cox defeated Robin Ficker, Kelly Schulz, and Joe Werner in the Republican primary for Maryland governor on July 19, 2022. With 80% of results reported, Cox received 56% of the vote, followed by Schulz with 40%. Incumbent Gov. Larry Hogan (R) is term-limited and endorsed Schulz in the primary. Former President Donald Trump (R) endorsed Cox.

Cox served in the Maryland House of Delegates since 2018. In an interview with O’Connor & Company, Cox said he was running to “give freedom back to the people. After two years, we’ve been working to renew a vision of constitutional leadership that our party believes in.”

Schulz served as Maryland’s secretary of commerce from 2019 to January 2022. Schulz said she graduated from college and worked in Maryland and her “campaign is about offering those same opportunities to Marylanders all across the state that deserve the opportunity to exceed and excel.”

Maryland has had a Republican governor since Hogan’s election in 2014. Joe Biden (D) defeated Trump in Maryland in the 2020 presidential election 65% to 32%.

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Maryland 2020 President Results



Contested state legislative primary numbers remain similar to recent election cycles in Maryland

With all 118 state legislative districts in Maryland up for election this year, there are 236 possible primaries. Of that total, 36.4%, or 86, are contested, similar to recent cycles in 2014 and 2018, which had 84 and 89 contested primaries, respectively.

A primary is contested when more candidates file to run than there are nominations available, meaning at least one candidate must lose.

The 86 contested primaries this year include 51 Democratic primaries and 35 for Republicans. For Democrats, this is down from 64 in 2018, a 20% decrease. For Republicans, that number increased 40% from 25 in 2018 to 35 in 2022.

Overall, 444 major party candidates—260 Democrats and 184 Republicans—filed to run for the state’s 141 House and 47 Senate seats.

Thirty-nine of those seats are open, meaning no incumbents filed. This guarantees that at least 21% of the legislature will be represented by newcomers next year.

There are 151 incumbents who filed for re-election: 108 Democrats and 43 Republicans. Of this total 95 (63%) face contested primaries, a lower rate than in 2018 (71%) and 2014 (67%).

Maryland has had a divided government since voters elected Gov. Larry Hogan (R) in 2014. Hogan is term-limited and unable to seek re-election this year. Democrats hold a 99-42 majority in the House and a 32-15 majority in the Senate.

Maryland’s state legislative primaries are scheduled for July 19, the ninth statewide primary date of the 2022 state legislative election cycle.

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Four candidates running in the Republican primary for governor of Maryland

Four candidates are running in the Republican primary for governor of Maryland on July 19, 2022. Incumbent Governor Larry Hogan (R) was term-limited and could not run for re-election. As of June 2022, Dan Cox and Kelly Schulz led the primary field in endorsements and media attention.

Cox is an attorney and currently serves in the Maryland House of Delegates representing District 4 since he was elected in 2018. In an interview with O’Connor & Company, Cox said he was running to “give freedom back to the people. After two years, we’ve been working to renew a vision of constitutional leadership that our party believes in.” Former President Donald Trump (R) endorsed Cox.

Schulz worked in the defense and cybersecurity industries before serving in government. She most recently served as Maryland’s secretary of commerce from 2019 to January 2022. In an interview with Fox 5 DC, Schulz said she graduated from college and worked in Maryland and her “campaign is about offering those same opportunities to Marylanders all across the state that deserve the opportunity to exceed and excel.” Schulz was endorsed by Governor Hogan.

Both candidates highlighted education as a key issue of their respective campaigns. Cox said he supported parents’ rights in schools, and would oppose “the use of taxpayer dollars to teach divisive, anti-American Marxism and pit students against one-another”, mask requirements in schools, and “ban males from competing in female sports.”

Schulz said, “I introduced a parental bill of rights providing real school choice, record funding and accountability with education transparency.” She said she opposed school closures and mask and vaccine requirements in schools.

Robin Ficker and Joe Werner are also running in the primary. Cox is running with lieutenant gubernatorial candidate Gordana Schifanelli, Schulz with Jeff Woolford, Ficker with LeRoy Yegge Jr., and Werner with Minh Thanh Luong.

Maryland has had a Republican governor since Hogan’s election in 2014. As of June 2022, The Cook Political Report and Inside Elections rated the 2022 general election as Lean Democratic, while Sabato’s Crystal Ball viewed the race as Likely Democratic.



Ten candidates running for Governor of Maryland in July 19 Democratic primary

Ten candidates are running in the Democratic primary for governor of Maryland on July 19, 2022. The candidates leading in polling, endorsements, and fundraising are Peter Franchot, Wes Moore, and Tom Perez.

Franchot was elected as Maryland Comptroller in 2006 and served in the Maryland House of Delegates from 1986 to 2007. Franchot’s campaign has highlighted his experience in public office and said his priorities included a jobs program based on infrastructure development and restoring trust in state government. Twelve members of the Maryland General Assembly endorsed Franchot.

Moore worked in the finance sector and as CEO of the Robin Hood Foundation, in addition to writing books about race, equity, and opportunity in America. Moore’s key policies include accelerating the state’s adoption of a $15 minimum wage, public safety and criminal justice, and increasing equity in public transportation. U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), 29 members of the legislature, and the Maryland State Education Association endorsed Moore.

Perez served as chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 2017 to 2021 and as the U.S. Secretary of Labor in the Obama administration from 2013-2017. Perez said that Maryland needed a “multitasker-in-chief,” highlighting these public positions and his professional experience. U.S. Sens. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) and Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and eight other members of the U.S. House, 17 members of the legislature, and The Washington Post Editorial Board endorsed Perez.

Based on reports filed with the Maryland State Board of Elections in June 2022, Moore led in fundraising with $6.03 million, followed by Franchot ($3.61 million) and Perez ($3.26 million). Moore also led in spending with $4.27 million, followed by Franchot ($4.23 million) and Perez ($2.88 million). In a poll by The Baltimore Sun released in early June, Franchot led with 20% support, followed by Moore (15%) and Perez (12%) with 34% undecided.

Also running in the primary are Rushern Baker III (unofficially withdrawn), Jon Baron, Douglas F. Gansler, Ralph Jaffe, Ashwani Jain, John King, and Jerry Segal.



Maryland sees its fourth open U.S. House seat in the past decade

The filing deadline for candidates running for Congress in Maryland this year was April 15, 2022. Sixty-five candidates are running for Maryland’s eight U.S. House districts, including 31 Democrats and 34 Republicans. That’s 8.12 candidates per district, less than the 9.87 candidates per district in 2020 and more than the 6.87 in 2018.

  • This is the first election to take place under new district lines following the 2020 census. Maryland was apportioned eight districts, the same number it was apportioned after the 2010 census.
  • Rep. Anthony Brown (D) is running for attorney general of Maryland, making the 4th district the only open seat this year and only the fourth U.S. House seat to open up in Maryland since 2012. 

  • Twelve candidates — nine Democrats and three Republicans — are running to replace Brown, the most candidates running for a seat this year. 
  • There are 15 contested primaries this year, eight Democratic and seven Republican. That’s one less than in 2020 and one more than in 2018.
  • Rep. Andrew Harris (R), who represents the 1st district, is the only incumbent not facing a primary challenger this year. That’s one more than in 2020, when all eight incumbents faced primary challengers, and the same as in 2018.
  • Republican and Democratic candidates filed to run in all eight districts, so no seats are guaranteed to either party this year. 

Maryland is holding primary elections on July 19, the 31st state to do so this year. In Maryland, the winner of a primary election is the candidate who receives the greatest number of votes, even if he or she does not win an outright majority of votes cast.

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Maryland parents oppose state health education framework

Some Maryland parents, according to The Washington Post, have expressed opposition to a state health education framework that outlines how educators should teach students about mental and emotional health; substance abuse prevention; family life and human sexuality; safety and violence prevention; healthy eating; and disease prevention and control. Parents argue that the standards for family life and human sexuality education are not age-appropriate and that parents should be allowed to offer input on how their children are taught certain topics. 

The Maryland State Board of Education adopted the framework in 2019 and school districts have recently begun discussing how to implement the family life and human sexuality lessons in their schools. The framework states that students in pre-kindergarten through third grade should be taught about what the framework considers to be healthy relationships and gender identity, such as recognizing that there is “a range of ways people identify and express their gender” and “that there are different types of families.” The framework permits parents to opt their children out of the family life and human sexuality standards beginning in fourth grade. 

A Carroll County resident said at a school board meeting in April, “The government has no right to attempt to replace parents or their decisions regarding what their children learn,” according to the Post.

Brad Young, the president of the Frederick County school board said, “[The school board’s] job is to set policy for the school system, listen to the community, and adopt [the curriculum]. And if they would let that process work, I think in the end, people would be fine with the outcome,” according to the Post

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Maryland voters will decide on a ballot measure to require Howard County Circuit Court judges to serve as orphans’ court judges in November

On April 8, the Maryland General Assembly voted to send a ballot measure to voters in November to require Howard County Circuit Court judges to serve as orphans’ court judges and remove the election requirement of three orphans’ court judges. The bill would also make changes to state law, if the amendment is approved, to clarify that an appellant from the orphans’ court does not appeal to the circuit court but directly to the Maryland Court of Special Appeals. 

The Maryland Constitution requires a simple majority vote in the state and the affected county in order for the amendment to pass, meaning a simple majority must also be achieved in Howard County for the amendment to be adopted.

To put a legislatively referred constitutional amendment before voters, a 60% supermajority vote is required in both the Maryland State Senate and the Maryland House of Representatives.

This amendment was introduced as House Bill 868 on February 7, 2022. On March 18, 2022, the state House passed HB 868 in a vote of 119-10. On April 8, 2022, the state Senate passed HB 868 by a vote of 41-4. 

The Howard County Circuit Court is part of the ​​Maryland Fifth Circuit. ​​Maryland Circuit Courts hear criminal cases and civil cases, including juvenile and other family law cases such as divorce, custody, and child support. The Maryland Orphan’s Court has jurisdiction over wills, estates, and other probate matters.

Howard County would join Montgomery and Harford counties in overlapping circuit and orphan court jurisdictions. 

Maryland voters will also be deciding four other constitutional amendments related to marijuana legalization, renaming the Maryland Court of Appeals, the amount in controversy in civil jury trials, and the state legislature’s residency requirement.

The Maryland General Assembly was set to adjourn on April 11. 

From 1996 through 2020, 33 of 36 ballot measures appearing on statewide ballots were approved.

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Maryland enacts revised congressional district boundaries

Maryland adopted new congressional district boundaries on April 4 when Gov. Larry Hogan (R) signed revised redistricting legislation that the General Assembly had finalized on March 30. Hogan signed the new map after state Attorney General Brian Frosh withdrew his appeal of Circuit Court Judge Lynne Battaglia’s March 25 ruling overturning the state’s previous congressional redistricting plan.

Maryland was apportioned eight seats in the U.S. House of Representatives after the 2020 census, the same number it received after the 2010 census. This map will take effect for Maryland’s 2022 congressional elections.

The state Senate approved the revised congressional district boundaries 30-13 with all votes in favor by Democrats and all votes opposed by Republicans on March 29. The House of Delegates approved the revised map on March 30 by a vote of 94-41 with votes in favor by Democrats and 40 Republicans and one Democrat voting “no.”

After Gov. Hogan signed the maps, Greg Giroux at Bloomberg Government wrote, “The new map will continue to favor Democrats in seven of eight districts while restoring a strongly Republican district for Rep. Andy Harris (R)….The new map replaces a more aggressive Democratic proposal that the legislature enacted in December over Hogan’s veto. That map created seven safe Democratic districts and converted Harris’ eastern 1st District into a swing district, raising the possibility Democrats could win all eight districts. Democrats won seven of eight districts in the past decade of House elections.”

After signing the revised map, Gov. Hogan said, “When these maps came out in December, I said they were unconstitutional and violated the law. The courts agreed, described it as extreme partisan gerrymandering, and a clear violation of the Constitution, ordered the legislature to go back and draw new maps, which they did. Now they weren’t, in my opinion, as good as the ones drawn by the citizen commission, and we shouldn’t have wasted so much time—but they are a huge improvement.” After Gov. Hogan announced he would sign the revised district boundaries, Frosh released a statement which said, in part, “We are pleased Governor Hogan has agreed to sign the proposed congressional redistricting map approved by the General Assembly. This map, like the one previously passed by the General Assembly, is constitutional and fair. Both sides have agreed to dismiss their appeals, and our state can move forward to the primary election.”

As of April 5, 39 states have adopted congressional district maps. Four states have not yet adopted congressional redistricting plans after the 2020 census, and New York’s maps were overturned by court action. Six states were apportioned one U.S. House district, so no congressional redistricting is required.

Congressional redistricting has been completed for 365 of the 435 seats (83.9%) in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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Maryland voters will decide on a marijuana legalization amendment in November

On April 1, the Maryland General Assembly voted to refer a constitutional amendment to voters in November that would legalize marijuana for adults 21 years of age or older beginning in July 2023 and direct the state legislature to pass laws for the use, distribution, regulation, and taxation of marijuana.

To put a legislatively referred constitutional amendment before voters, a 60% vote is required in both chambers. The constitutional amendment was introduced as House Bill 1. On February 25, it passed the state House in a vote of 96-34. On April 1, the Senate passed the bill with amendments by a vote of 29-17. The House concurred with the amendments by a vote of 94-39. It does not need the governor’s signature to appear on the ballot.

On the same day, the legislature passed implementing legislation, House Bill 837, which would take effect if the amendment is passed by voters. HB 837 would legalize the personal use and possession of up to 1.5 ounces or 12 grams of concentrated cannabis for individuals 21 years of age or older. It would also legalize the possession of up to two cannabis plants. It would change the criminal penalties for persons found possessing cannabis under the age of 21. The bill would also automatically expunge convictions for conduct that would be made legal under the law, and individuals serving time for such offenses would be allowed to file for resentencing. The bill would require specific studies on the use of cannabis, the medical cannabis industry, and the adult-use cannabis industry. It would also establish the Cannabis Business Assistance Fund and the Cannabis Public Health Fund.

If approved by voters, Maryland would join 18 states and Washington, D.C., in legalizing marijuana for recreational use. The amendment is the first related to marijuana to qualify for the 2022 ballot. In 2020, ballot measures to legalize recreational marijuana were approved by voters in Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota. The New Jersey measure was the first legislatively referred measure to legalize recreational marijuana. The measure in South Dakota was ruled unconstitutional on February 8, 2021. The case was appealed to the state Supreme Court, which upheld the lower court ruling.

Olivia Naugle, a legislative analyst with the Marijuana Policy Project, said, “Marylanders have long awaited a new approach to cannabis policy and the passage of these bills is a promising step forward. We applaud the legislature for taking decisive action this session to finally end the era of cannabis prohibition, a policy that is both long overdue and supported by a majority of constituents. We look forward to working with Maryland legislators on this issue moving forward.”

State Senator J. B. Jennings (R), who voted against the amendment, said, “I just don’t think it should be in the constitution.”

Maryland voters will also be deciding on three other constitutional amendments in November that would make the following changes:

  • Rename the Maryland Court of Appeals to the Supreme Court of Maryland and the Maryland Court of Special Appeals to the Appellate Court of Maryland
  • Increase the amount in controversy in civil proceedings in which the right to a jury trial may be limited by legislation from $15,000 to $25,000
  • Require that state legislators reside and maintain a place of abode in the district in which they wish to represent for six months prior to the date of election

From 1996 through 2020, 33 of 36 statewide ballot measures were approved, and three were defeated.