Primary Numbers Breakdown – Part 1 – 2018 Howard County Executive Race

I will be writing up a number of posts looking at numbers from this primary and looking at some past numbers in a variety races. I have decided to start with the Howard County Executive race. You can see the results from the 2018 primary here. Below are some numbers from the past few elections for this office:

These numbers represent total votes cast for candidates running for Howard County Executive in 2010, 2014 and the primary numbers from 2018. The breakdown in the chart is by the candidate running for office (Rep is the Republican candidate, Dem is the Democratic candidate)…not party specific votes.

In 2010, candidates included Trent Kittleman (R) and Ken Ulman (D). These were the only two candidates in the primary and general.

in 2014, candidates included Allan Kittleman (R) and Courtney Watson (D). These were the only two candidates in the primary and general.

in 2018, candidates included Allan Kittleman (R), Calvin Ball (D) and Harry Dunbar (D).

Things about these numbers that caught my attention:

  • Total votes cast for candidates running for this office dropped off a little from to 2010 to 2014 (both in the primary and general).
  • The primary numbers in 2014 had nothing to do with the general election numbers in 2014.
  • Total votes cast in the 2018 primary is up pretty significantly from 2014. This is in part to higher overall voter turnout from 2014 and having an actual primary on the Dem side of the ticket for the first time in a while (as well as other factors in other races in 2018).

Some key items I will be watching that will play into the general election:

  • The Governors race played a big role in 2014 and I believe it will again in 2018. How often those candidates visit Howard County may play a role in this race. Hogan won in Howard County in the 2014 general election (more votes than Brown). Jealous won here in the 2018 Dem primary pretty significantly.
  • Money – watching campaign finance reports and seeing who is getting the most money…and what they spend it on.
  • Unity – both parties had some tough primaries in the down ticket races (Council D1, Council D4, Council D5, Senate 9, Delegate 9B, Senate 12 and both Central Committee races) and watching if each party can come together now that the primary is over. Coming together and healing in those races will be key because it could affect turnout. Both of these candidates should look to lead the effort to bring their parties together..sooner rather than later.
  • Turnout in uncontested races – Howard County Council D3 (Rigby) and Maryland State Senate D13 (Guzzone) may play a role and is worth watching…neither of the candidates in those races have an opponent in the general but Ball needs voters to turnout in both those districts.
  • Independent voters – which candidate will get these voters on their side between now and November.
  • Polling – I expect there to be a few polls conducted between now and November…and I will be interested in the results of that data.

Prediction: (I am going to note strong, lean or even based on my best guess at this point in the race).

I am calling this one even right now. I have a feeling this race could be as close as the one back in 2014…and I see pluses for both candidates…and I see minuses for both candidates. We are a long way from November so watching this play out should be interesting.

I will be breaking down additional numbers in this and other races in the following days / weeks. So stay tuned and look for more data soon.

Scott E

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