Maryland voters will go to the polls next Tuesday to select their nominees for November’s gubernatorial election. All the action is on the Democratic side, as Maryland has only elected one Republican governor since Spiro Agnew. Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown is heavily favored over Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler and Del. Heather Mizeur. Brown is running a cautious campaign for, essentially, Gov. Martin O’Malley’s third term.
Marylanders’ tax burden ranks seventh among the states, compared to 20th place for the District and 30th for Virginia, according to the nonprofit Tax Foundation. But while the Post survey found that six in 10 voters — including large majorities of blacks and whites — want the next governor to lead the state in a new direction, it also showed large majorities of Democrats backing Brown.
A recent Washington Post poll showed O’Malley with fairly impressive approval numbers (55%-39%), but lagging Hillary Clinton badly (72%-6%) in a prospective presidential run. He is also among the most polarizing governors in America. Having legalized gay marriage, raised the minimum wage, enacted stricter gun control laws, eased access to college for undocumented people, and banned the death penalty, O’Malley has the support of only 19% of Republicans, while 79% of Democrats report that they are satisfied with his performance.
Those numbers may become problematic for him if he makes the short list for vice-president, but his list of achievements will look impressive to Democratic primary voters if he gets a chance to make a case for himself. If, for whatever reason, Hillary Clinton declines to run for president, Gov. O’Malley will definitely be in the mix.