From Todd Eberly, professor of political science at St. Mary’s College of Maryland writing at Maryland Reporter.
On a night when conservative insurgents scored dramatic victories in Delaware and New York and battled to a near tie in New Hampshire, Bob Ehrlich defeated Brian Murphy 76% to 24%. Given Murphy’s finances, organization, and recent media exposure, 25% should have been his vote floor and not his ceiling.
On the other side of the ballot, Democrat Martin O’Malley has to deal with the unexpected surprise of losing 14% of the vote to two unknown candidates, with 10% going to J.P. Cusick, a candidate whose entire campaign was based on reforming child support and custody laws. This is like Kathleen Kennedy Townsend losing 20% of the vote to grocery store clerk Robert Fustero in 2002.
Winning 76% to 24% against a known and financed candidate in a year of upsets is a more impressive victory than winning 86% to 14% over
two unknowns with no campaign organizations of which to speak.
Worse, the ratio of Democratic turnout compared to Republican turnout is lower than in any recent primary election. With all but the provisional and overseas absentee ballots counted, O’Malley is on track to underperform his own vote total of 524,000 votes in 2006 and to finish only slightly ahead of Kathleen Kennedy Townsend’s 400,000 votes in 2002. Though Ehrlich received only 76% of the GOP vote, he is on track to receive only a few thousand less votes than he did unopposed in 2006. (Editor’s note: Ten percent more Republicans voted for governor in this year’s primary than in 2002, another banner year for the GOP. Ten percent fewer Democrats voted in the governor’s race this year than in 2006.)
All of this indicates an energized Republican electorate and a less than enthusiastic Democratic electorate. I have argued for weeks that this race will be decided by about 25,000 votes. After last week’s primary, I still think that the race will be close, but I now give a slight advantage to Ehrlich.
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Remember what Brian wrote about the only numbers that matter from last week’s primary?
Martin O’Malley is in trouble what’s more he knows it, hence the attack ads from his campaign and the tweens running the Maryland Democratic Party.
Republicans are energized for Bob Ehrlich and Democrats that aren’t his bootlicks are treating him like a warm up act no one wants to see.