Republicans in Maryland and D.C. get their turn to cast ballots in the 2012 presidential nominating sweepstakes today. Don’t expect any surprises, though.
Recent polling in Maryland shows the national front-runner, Mitt Romney, above 50 percent. Romney, who has consistently bested his more conservative opponents in urban centers, should do very well in D.C.
The GOP presidential primaries in Maryland and D.C. have generated little interest in the metropolitan region. I have yet to see a television commercial from any of the candidates or their Super PACs. The campaigns are either more focused elsewhere or their coffers are empty.
After more than 20 debates, four fleeting front-runners (remember Donald Trump? Then came Michelle Bachmann, Rick Perry and Herman Cain.) and a few not-really-game-changing moments when Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum won primaries or caucuses, it now seems that everyone in America except Santorum, Gingrich and Ron Paul knows Romney will be the nominee.
Many party leaders are hoping that victories tonight in Maryland, D.C. and Wisconsin will seal the deal for Romney. I’m not sure Santorum, Gingrich and Paul are willing to go away, but none has a viable path to the nomination and the idea of a brokered convention now seems far-fetched.
Years after the conclusion of World Ward II on remote islands in the Pacific, a few Japanese holdouts continued to fight their former enemies. Perhaps someone needs to share that anecdote with Santorum, Gingrich and Paul. The war is over. Go home to your families. After all, 2016 is just around the bend.
When the dust finally settles and Romney is officially declared the Republican nominee, a contest likely to stir more interest in our region is the veepstakes, where Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell will be on Romney’s shortlist.
But that discussion is for another day.
Today is Primary Day, and there are, of course, many interesting races in Maryland and D.C. to be decided for Republicans and Democrats, too.
Redistricting in Maryland means that thousands of people will be voting for the first time in a new House district. There are hot Democratic and Republican primaries in the 6th Congressional District where Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R) -- spry, combative and seeking re-election at age 85 -- has held office since 1993. The 6th District formerly ran west-to-east across the northern tier of the state, but now extends south encompassing most of Montgomery County. Whatever the outcome of today’s primary, the winners will need votes from a more suburban and cosmopolitan electorate than in 6th District races of the past.
In D.C., Democrats in Ward 8 will decide if Marion Barry deserves to be nominated for a crack at another term on the Council. A win in today’s Democratic Primary all but assures victory in November.
Most observers view Barry as untouchable, but the Mayor-for-Life, as he is known by supporters and detractors, has stepped up his re-election efforts in the closing days of the race. Challenger Jacque Patterson has emerged from a crowded field to be Barry’s principle rival. If Patterson upsets Barry, he will have toppled a legend.
District voters will also decide at-large nominees for council. The Democratic race tightened in the past month when the incumbent, Vincent Orange, was hit with a series of news reports tying contributions received by his past campaigns to a growing scandal.
Republicans in D.C. are witnessing spirited campaigns for party posts. Male and female slots for National Committee members will be awarded in two hotly contested races. Both are too close to call and appear to be energizing voters in the small, but increasingly active D.C. GOP.
In Maryland and D.C., polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Chuck Thies is a political analyst and consultant. His columns appear every Tuesday and Thursday on First Read DMV. He co-hosts "DC Politics" on WPFW, 89.3 FM. Since 1991, Chuck has lived in either D.C., Maryland or Virginia. Email your tips and complaints to firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet at @chuckthies.