March 23, 2023
Annapolis, US 52 F

Blue Wave or New Wave? Are the establishment candidates scared?

If you are running for office and have aligned yourself with the establishment candidates or the “old guard” of Maryland politics, you likely have a race on your hands. Nationally, progressive ideals have been energizing voters and winning elections. And you should be scared.

For years, the incumbent was the status quo. We only need to look to the City election to see how that was turned upside down. On the State level, Democratic Peter Franchot (nearly assured another term) is publicly campaigning and funding candidates to unseat Democratic Senate President Mike Miller.

In years past, aligning with the Speaker of the House of Delegates, Mike Busch, nearly assured a win. However, for the past two election cycles, Busch’s performance at the polls has been dwindling. Both former Delegate Ron George and outgoing Delegate Herb McMillan both earned more votes than the Speaker to win their seats.

Now Maryland is typically a blue state, so naturally there are more Democrats running than Republicans. And many are decrying a “Blue Wave” in November, where the Republicans are ousted. I do not see it like that.  I think a combination of the tenor in Washington, combined with the rise of the #MeToo movement, and the eight-plus years of a “do nothing congress” has energized the electorate to endorse change–not necessarily color. It’s a “New Wave.”  We saw that when Governor Hogan was elected in 2014. We saw that when Mayor Pantelides was elected in 2013 and again when Mayor Buckley was elected in 2017.  Today’s voters are no longer afraid to vote for change. And I believe the old guard realizes this. And is running scared.

Case and point. A recent push poll on April 26th (presumably commissioned by Speaker Mike Busch) seems to suggest that the establishment candidates are concerned about the new batch of progressives in the upcoming primary election.  Busch, in the past, has not commissioned a push poll for a primary race. And a push-poll is not a simple sampling.  Look at the definition from Wikipedia.

push poll is an interactive marketing technique, most commonly employed during political campaigning, in which an individual or organization attempts to manipulate or alter prospective voters’ views/beliefs under the guise of conducting an opinion poll.

If Busch and the candidates aligned with him are shoo-ins, why the need to push poll? Busch is also thumbing the scale in the Senate District 30 race by providing office space and big support to only one Democratic candidate, Sarah Elfreth, his establishment pick and County Executive Candidate Steuart Pittman.   The progressive Democratic candidate Chrissy Holt, a self-described change agent, is also running for Senate and received no support from Busch, the leader of the party.

Take a look at the questions below. My comments in parenthesis.

Questions from Thursday April 26th push poll to an Annapolis Democratic voter from Standage Market Research LLC in Colorado.

Are you registered as Democrat?

How certain to vote in primary?
• Almost certain, maybe, not certain, not voting.

Rate feelings as very favorable, somewhat favorable, somewhat unfavorable, very unfavorable towards:
• Mary Reese
• Alice Cain
• Mike Busch
• Aron Axe
• Chrissy Holt
• Sarah Elfreth

If Democratic primary today who would you vote for?
• Sara Elfreth or Chrissy Holt
• Aron, Alice, Mary, or Mike

Rate public officials performance.   Answers:  good, not so good, excellent, not sure:
• Larry Hogan
• Peter Franchot
• Mike Miller

List of attributes (Most of these attributes describe the establishment candidates and those aligned with them. In fact, it nearly reads like a political mailer for Speaker Busch)
• Been in office too long
• Stands up to special interests
• Sticks up for middle class
• Puts personal interests ahead of district
• Has grit to make tough decisions even when knows they will be unpopular
• Too conservative to represent our area
• Use position as speaker to help our district

Two statements on Democratic party — Which one resonates more with you?

1. With Trump and Republicans on rampage we need experienced Democrats to lead in House now more than ever to protect MD from radical agenda

2. It’s time for new bold progressives to get into government (this is likely the key question in the poll and one that has the establishment candidates concerned)

I am going to read a statement and you decide if it makes you more/less likely to vote for Mike Busch, or no change, or false statement?

1. Mike Busch cares deeply about preserving bay, fought to get more funding than ever

2. When Trump passed tax cut, Mike Busch passed bill to fix MD taxes and offset

3. Mike Busch recognizes hardship of college, established $15M fund for students

4. Passed sensible gun laws, banned bump stocks

5. Ensure all students have quality education, fought full funding for K-12 and tech

6. Believes healthcare is a right not privilege — Stood up to Trump, stabilized individual markets and prescription drug costs with commission

7. Secured funds for Tyler Heights & Edgewater ES, MD Hall for Creative Arts

Seeing how people can change their minds, I want to ask you again, if primary today, who would you vote for?

• District 30A Delegate candidates were named again

What is your:
• Age
• Education
• Marital status

Which best describe race?

In the end, a push poll does not vote. A yard sign does not vote. People will vote. The Democratic field is crowded in the 30-A Delegate race with Busch, Aron Axe, Alice Cain, and Mary Reece. Is the Speaker concerned? I think so!

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