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Afternoon Read: Candidates in Maryland, D.C. Play Final Moves Before Tuesday's Primary

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With less than a day until the primary, Maryland’s 6th Congressional District primary battle is intensifying as both the Republican and Democrat races are playing out closer than expected.

The race has gained national attention because the district is listed as one of the few districts where—because of some purposeful redistricting—Democrats stand a strong chance of unseating a Republican congressman.

Ten-term incumbent Republican Congressman Roscoe Bartlett currently holds the seat, but even he isn’t completely safe during the primary.

Highlighting the uncertainty this election, a group supporting Bartlett apparently sent out an email to Republicans in Montgomery County’s newly drawn 6th Congressional District attacking his GOP primary opponent Sen. David Brinkley, according to The Maryland Reporter.

The blast email came just hours after a newly released poll—commissioned by the Brinkley campaign—showed a tight race between Bartlett and Brinkley, with Bartlett leading over Brinkley marginally 34 percent to 31 percent.

The email contains links to two YouTube videos, one featuring the recording of the 911 call Brinkley’s former wife made during an apparent domestic dispute and another criticizing Brinkley for supporting all of Democrat Gov. Martin O’Malley’s past budgets. (But, as The Maryland Reporter points out, O’Malley did not support the budgets this year or last year.)

The Brinkley campaign responded (via The Reporter):

“As a last, pathetic act of desperation, Bartlett is willing to do or say anything, to destroy a family and his own reputation in order to give cover to his own anemic record and cling to power,” Brinkley Campaign spokesman Don Murphy wrote in an email.

John Fritze of The Baltimore Sun tweeted today that the Bartlett campaign said it is not behind the 91l video.

Bartlett recently picked up an endorsement from Rep. Paul Ryan

 

On the Democrat side of the primary, financier John Delaney and state Sen. Rob Garagiola are battling it out, each touting their celebrity endorsements in the days leading up to the primary.

Delaney had former President Bill Clinton issuing robocalls on his behalf urging residents to go to the polls and vote for him.

Delaney was a top fundraiser for Hillary Clinton in 2008.

Garagiola, the state Senate majority leader, has the backing of Gov. O’Malley and most of the state’s organized labor groups.

But Politico reported that Garagiola’s “Insider” label complicates his run.

Garagiola was initially considered to be a shoo-in for the Democratic nomination, but thanks to Delaney, who has outspent the state senator 4 to 1, that outcome is now far from certain.

Via Politico:

With no Democratic presidential battle at the top of the ticket and many of the area’s students on spring break, low voter turnout is expected. And Garagiola is hoping that shoe-leather campaigning combined with his decade of legislative service will push him across the finish line.

In the final days of the primary, many of the politicians and organizations that work closely with Garagiola have come to his aid. O’Malley joined the candidate at a news conference to formally announce his support, while Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown and former AFL-CIO President John Sweeney hosted a rally in Rockville.

As Delaney greeted voters at the Shady Grove metro station one afternoon last week, the 48-year-old founder of the Chevy Chase, Md.-based commercial lender Capitol Source argued that local voters were rejecting the idea that an establishment-chosen politician should be the party’s standard-bearer in November. 

* Mitt Romney, unsurprisingly, is expected to have easy victories in Maryland and D.C. in tomorrow’s primaries.

But, as The Washington Examiner notes, the win does not necessarily translate to a positive showing in the general election for Romney.

Turnout in both the District and Maryland is expected to be low, heightening doubt about Romney’s ability to excite conservative voters enough to get them to the polls and beat President Barack Obama.

Via The Examiner:

"I think there will be a big Romney win; it's a state that's tailor-made for him," said John White, a political scientist at Catholic University. "But I don't see a lot of excitement on the Republican side. What I'll be looking for is the ability of Mitt Romney to win independents. That will absolutely be crucial in the fall, and Maryland provides a great test in that regard."
 
Romney has a decisive 17-point advantage over Santorum, according to a poll conducted by Rasmussen Reports last week.

* In D.C. the local political scene seems to be playing out on Twitter.

In the weekend before the D.C. primary, At-Large Council member Vincent Orange took to Twitter to tell his followers what he truly thinks about his primary opponents.

LooseLips pointed out his Twitter rant, which included not-so-subtle jabs at Sekou Biddle

One tweet read: “Biddle was asked 2 present his record @ the Black Cat. Biddle's answer "ask the Washington Post". "If you don't get it, you don't get it"-WP

Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry and Federal City Council’s John Hill also got into it over Twitter.

John Hill tweeted: @marionbarryjr Shame on you! Use the Federal City Council for help then publicly bash J. Patterson for working there. Disingenuous at best!

Barry Responded: @jwhill1515 Can you say it a little louder John? So everyone can see that you can be LOUD AND WRONG at the same time. #stuckonstupid

The Post's Mike DeBonis has some interesting graphs that break down where most of D.C.'s early voters are. While most people will be voting on Tuesday, about 6,000 D.C. voters voted through early or absentee voting.

But with such a low turnout expected, early voting could account for about 20 percent of the total votes.

DeBonis' graphs show most votes coming from Wards 3, 4 and 5.

* In a column for The Huffington Post, Susanna Marley writes that D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray is actually greening the District with traffic light cameras since the cameras will hopefully slow down traffic, making the streets safer for cyclists and pedestrians.

By encouraging alternative ways to get around, Mayor Gray hopes to tackle the 22% of DC's carbon footprint that comes from transportation. The DC government's share has been reduced since the implementation of DC FleetShare, a Zipcar-like program for government employees. The District's fleet was ranked among the top 20 green fleets, which includes 78 compressed natural gas (CNG), gas-electric hybrid and E-85 (15 percent gasoline/85 percent ethanol) vehicles.

* Following up on a Baltimore Sun article about growing tension between the state and county governments as the state seeks more power while leaning harder on the counties for money, the Sun’s editorial board weighed in.

The Editorial Board opined that while local leaders may feel “oppressed” by the General Assembly this year, lawmakers in many cases are simply standing up for public interest.

At some level, it's understandable that county executives, commissioners and council members want to make their choices unencumbered by state and federal mandates. And whenever possible, that's the ideal. What's good for Rockville isn't necessarily what's best for Princess Anne on any number of issues, small and large.

But some of the most controversial choices being made in the State House this year — decisions construed by some as usurpation — are more than justified. In most cases, they are issues where the interests of the state as a whole need to be factored into the mix and where local governments need to be held more accountable, not less.


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