Maryland State Senator Rob Garagiola was never supposed to lose Tuesday night's primary. He had the backing of Maryland's most powerful Democrat leaders, including Governor Martin O'Malley.
The Democrats had reconfigured Maryland's sixth congressional district with him in mind as the candidate who could take down ten-term incumbent Republican Roscoe Bartlett.
But with the backing of former President Bill Clinton, financier John Delaney decisively overtook Garagiola for the Democratic nomination in Maryland’s sixth congressional district with 54 percent of the votes.
Garagiola will now face Bartlett, who won the Republican nomination Tuesday night with 43 percent of the votes. This is one of the few congressional races in the country where Democrats have a strong chance of unseating a Republican.
"Garagiola was blindsided in a district that stretched from the Washington suburbs and exurbs to western Maryland. Outspent 4-to-1, the candidate never aired TV or radio ads, relying instead on mailers and a frenzied get out the vote effort in the final days of the race. In a district with many government workers, Garagiola never ran away from his service in the state legislature. Instead, he presented himself as an effective lawmaker while portraying Delaney as an-out-of touch loan shark who had done little else than make money for himself."
"National Democrats have made the 6th District race a priority in their bid to retake control of the House of Representatives. While many in the party’s establishment wing signaled their support for Garagiola — including Hoyer — national Democrats saw some benefit in Delaney’s win, handing the party a self-funder who will be able to spend out of pocket in the general election campaign."
According to The Maryland Reporter, Larry Sabato—a UVA Center for Politics professor and analyst who ranks congressional races through his Crystal Ball—said that the race between Bartlett and Delaney will be a toss-up, but predicts Bartlett will face difficulties in the newly gerrymandered district.
“Bartlett is a pretty conservative Republican,” said Crystal Ball, a Sabato team member, and spokesman Geoff Skelling. “He joined the Tea Party Caucus as soon as it was formed. The former 6th District was very Republican, but is now pretty well gerrymandered, and a district that Obama received 56% of the vote in. If Bartlett were a moderate, then perhaps he would have a pretty good shot at hanging around. We have it listed it as a toss-up because you don’t ever like to count out incumbents, but I think he has something of an uphill battle.”
* In D.C., there was almost an upset. But then around 11:15 p.m., as the local reporters and pundits were about to call it a night, incumbent Vincent Orange snuck back in to overtake opponent Sekou Biddle’s narrow lead by a mere 500 votes.
With about 1,700 absentee and provisional ballots still left to win, the race hasn’t been called and Biddle has yet to concede. Voters likely won't know the official winner until April 13, when legislators count these ballots.
But late Tuesday night, Orange stopped just short of celebration, telling supporters, “There is a God,” according to The Washington Post.
Numbers wise—and with the exception of the Orange-Biddle showdown—Tuesday was a pretty unexciting night for D.C. elections. As expected, incumbent council members Yvette Alexander, Muriel Bowser, Jack Evans and Marion Barry coasted to victory,
The Post wrote that Tuesday’s results show that voters were able to look past the controversy that has embroiled the incumbents in recent months.
“Tuesday’s results indicate that individual council members were able to insulate themselves from the widening probe. Orange’s name, however, has been at the center of the controversy over campaign finances.
Biddle beat him badly in large sections of Northwest Washington, suggesting unease in wealthier sections of the city about the state of the District’s government. But Orange’s huge support east of the Anacostia River and in Northeast accounted for his lead.”
Washington City Paper posed the question of whether Biddle would have clinched the nomination last night if competitor Peter Shapiro weren’t in the race.
Shapiro and Biddle were the most viable challengers to Orange, but many feared that the two would split the anti-Orange vote, resulting in a loss for both of them.
Shapiro finished Tuesday night with 5,608 votes, or 10.5 percent of the electorate.
When WCP asked Biddle about Shapiro and his impact on the race Tuesday night, Biddle was reportedly a little angry:
"I think you should ask him that question," Biddle told WCP when asked if Shapiro should have quit the race earlier. "I was running to win. I did everything I could do to win. I think you should ask him that question, and the people he talked to about being in the race should ask him that question. Clearly, he was not anywhere near a position to win this race."
In the presidential primaries, Mitt Romney coasted to victory in Maryland, D.C. and Wisconsin.
Less than a day after Virginia Del. David Englin announced he would not run for reelection because of an extramarital affair, Alexandria City Councilman Rob Krupicka announced that he intended to run for his seat.
“I’ve been pretty clear that I’m pretty interested in the policies and politics that are happening in Richmond and this is the chance for me to continue the work I started with the senate campaign,” Krupicka, also a member of the state Board of Education, said.
Krupicka ran for the Virginia Senate last year but lost in the Democratic primary.
* Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley said he might try to raise money for transportation projects by adding another penny to the state’s six-percent sales tax and allocating the extra revenue to transportation, according to The Baltimore Sun.
In an interview with the Sun, O’Malley conceded that his controversial proposal to generate money for transportation through a gas tax is dead in the General Assembly.
"I think there might be a small window after the budget passes when we can take a deep breath and revisit the options before us," O'Malley said.