Primary Numbers Breakdown – Part 12 – 2018 Howard County Council District 1

I have been waiting for the recount to be completed in order to write this report…so here we go…part twelve in the series I will look at numbers for Howard County Council in District 1. 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 Council District 1 in 2010, 2014 and the primary numbers from 2018. The breakdown in the chart is by the candidate(s) running for office (Rep is the Republican candidates, Dem is the Democratic candidates)…not party specific votes. Candidates bolded below won the primary and went on the the general election:

In 2010, candidates included Bob Flanagan (R) and Courtney Watson (D).

In 2014, candidates included David Melton (R), Kevin Schmidt (R), Dave Grabowski (D), Lisa Markovitz (D), Wendy Royalty (D) and Jon Weinstein (D).

In 2018, candidates included Raj Kathuria (R)Liz Walsh (D) and Jon Weinstein (D).

Things about these numbers that caught my attention:

  • The total votes cast in 2018 are up (that is generally how most of these reviews will go).
  • Primary votes on the Dem side rose each of the last three election cycles in this district. Competitive primary elections often bring out voters.
  • Primary votes on the Rep side dropped each of the last three election cycles. Is that an area of concern?
  • I went back and looked at the 2006 general election numbers and Watson won the election by less than 1,000 votes that year. Something to keep in mind in looking at how closely the general elections have been in District 1.

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

  • Money – watching campaign finance reports and seeing who is getting the most money…and what they spend it on. Kathuria holds a big advantage right now in money…will it stay that way?
  • Unity – The Dem primary in this race was very heated…particularly in online posts from some supporters…so will this play a factor in this race? This may turn off the other candidates supporters and could either drive down voter participation or turn those supporters to the REP candidate in this race. It is early in the general election cycle and I am not sure what will happen but it will be something I will be watching.
  • What role (if any) will Jon Weinstein play in this race?
  • Independent voters are critical in this race. I am not sure which candidate will be able to reach those voters…but it will be worth watching. The one that is able to reach those voters may win this race.
  • How will the County Executive race play in this race? Will Allan Kittleman make a big push to capture this district for his party and potentially give him two allies on the County Council (assuming that D5 stays red)? Can Calvin Ball reach voters in this district in order to vote in the general election for him and Walsh?

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 EVEN right now. I seriously have no clue how this race will go between now and November. This is by far THE swing district in Howard County and is not dominated by any one party. Read this information from a blog post from The 53 for more information on that:

As I wrote above, District 1 deserves the attention of local Democrats this fall.  Since District 1 has assumed it’s Ellicott City-Elkridge configuration, here is the list of County Councilmembers elected to represent it:

1986: Democrat Angie Beltram

1990 and 1994: Republican Darrel Drown

1998 and 2002: Republican Chris Merdon

2006 and 2010: Democrat Courtney Watson

2014: Democrat Jon Weinstein

See what I mean?  A 4-4 split over the last 32 years.  Yes, District 3 has had Councilmembers of both parties, but District 1 has been the true swing district of Howard County.  The Democratic nominee– Walsh or Weinstein– will need help.

I will continue to watch this race closely and will be writing more about it going forward. There are stories to be told and I hope to get the time to write those stories between now and November.

I will be breaking down additional numbers in other races in the following days / weeks. So stay tuned and look for more data soon. I have much to process and report out on for a while…and more early predictions to provide.

Scott E

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