The U.S. Senate Primary Gets Interesting

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re now aware that House Minority Whip Kathy Szeliga has entered the Republican Primary for U.S. Senate. Amazingly enough, that was not the most interesting development in the Republican Primary yesterday.

Late last night Len Lazarick reported that another candidate may be looking at getting into the fray:

Harford County Executive Barry Glassman, just a year into his new post, is exploring a run for U.S. Senate, at the urging of campaign advisors, he said.

Glassman, a Republican, authorized a poll by his campaign that shows him relatively popular in the Baltimore region and able to beat the other candidates in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate. That includes Del. Kathy Szeliga who represents part of Harford County and formally announced her candidacy Tuesday.

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“I enjoy what I’m doing,” Glassman said in an interview, “but it’s kind of unconventional year.”

Getting into the weeds of a poll conducted by Gonzales Research commissioned by Glassman’s team and released to shows a few interesting things:

  • Glassman would lead a primary right now over all of the contenders, with 19% of the electorate;
  • All of the candidates have next to no name identification among Republicans. Glassman himself sees 57% of the electorate with no opinion of him, and that’s the best figure of the bunch of them;
  • All of the candidates have a lot of room to maneuver until April 26th.

Needless to say this is all of this is an interesting development. I for one had not heard of any interest on Glassman’s part to run for the U.S. Senate, and this would give Republicans two experienced Republicans with legislative experience in the race, plus Richard Douglas, who ran a strong second-place showing in the 2012 Senate primary.

This also shows how little traction that Chrys Kefalas has among Republican voters. Kefalas is running a quixotic campaign, choosing to run a general elections strategy at a time in which there are serious questions as to whether or not he can even be competitive in a Republican primary. So far the Kefalas strategy of emphasizing that he is “different” and his actions in blowing off speaking engagements with some Republican clubs to fundraise out of state hasn’t endeared him to a lot of Republican voters. That fact has been show in our October Red Maryland poll results which showed Kefalas a distant 4th behind Douglas, Szeliga, and Greg Holmes. Given the fact that he’s been “exploring” for a long time and has yet to formally file his candidacy, you have to wonder if Kefalas is looking for an exit strategy.

The revelation that Glassman is considering a run makes for interesting political theater, and the fact that two Republicans in major office are among the candidates running or considering a run for U.S. Senate is a drastic improvement from some past primary elections and shows how strong and competitive the Republican Party has become here in Maryland.

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