From WTOP’s Election Desk: Primary day coming in Md.

Welcome back to WTOP’s weekly election update! WTOP’s team of reporters will keep you informed on the latest through November as primary and election races heat up in the District, Maryland, Virginia and nationwide.

Local elections | Nick Iannelli

Primary in Maryland is just days away

Early voting in Maryland’s primary election has ended, meaning anyone who hasn’t voted early in-person will need to head to the polls on Tuesday, July 19. You can still send a mail-in ballot by 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Voters are picking candidates for the top three posts in the state — governor, attorney general and comptroller — who will face off come November.

In addition, all eight U.S. House districts are up for grabs, including an open seat in the 4th District — which includes parts of Prince George’s and Anne Arundel counties.

Sen. Chris Van Hollen, who’s running for a second Senate term, faces a Democratic challenger, and there are 10 Republicans on the GOP side vying to face him in November.

There are some crowded county executive and county council races across the area as well.

If you’re planning to vote on Tuesday, you can look up your polling place online.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m.



Some Maryland results will likely be delayed

We may need to have some patience after the Maryland polls close Tuesday night.

Under state law, election officials are not allowed to begin counting mail-in ballots until the Thursday after the election, July 21.

“It’s the only law of its kind in the U.S. — a remnant of pre-pandemic times when mail-in ballots made up a much smaller percentage of the total pool,” according to DCist.

That means on primary night itself, it’s likely we won’t know the winners — at least in close races. According to the latest numbers, nearly half a million voters statewide have requested a mail-in ballot.

Montgomery Co. executive race may be tightening — or not

Three new public opinion polls offer contradictory glimpses into the race for Montgomery County Executive, as the Democratic incumbent Marc Elrich faces a challenge from businessman David Blair and County Council member Hans Riemer.

A survey by Progressives for Progress, a political action committee funded by real estate interests, shows the race tightening.

Elrich was the choice of 33% of Democrats surveyed, followed by Blair at 27% and Riemer at 15%.

A Garin-Hart-Yang survey commissioned by the Blair campaign also showed the race tightening: Elrich held a 28%-26% lead over Blair, with Riemer at 18%.

A third survey showed Elrich cruising to a second term. Data for Progress, a left-leaning polling firm, surveyed 461 Democrats and Elrich was the choice of 41% of voters contacted, compared with 20% supporting Blair and 18% backing Riemer.

Youngkin, Hogan hit the road

Virginia Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin is fresh off his first out-of-state public appearance since taking office in January.

He traveled to the Nebraska GOP state convention at the invitation of Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, and spoke to about 600 Republicans, making the case that he’s at the start of something big.

“Friends, what’s happening is, this red wave that found its headwaters last year in the commonwealth of Virginia is cresting across America’s heartland. And I’ll tell you, it’s going to come crashing down on Nancy Pelosi’s California,” Youngkin said, to cheers and applause.

According to The Washington Post, many Nebraska Republicans who heard Youngkin speak said they would love to see him run for president — though some cautioned that 2024 might be too soon.

Meanwhile, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan took his own road trip, speaking at events in Connecticut, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Maryland Matters reported that he campaigned with moderate Republicans and threw elbows at former President Donald Trump and new GOP star Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

WAMU political analyst Tom Sherwood, speaking to Maryland Matters, called Hogan’s New Hampshire itinerary “a presidential campaign schedule.”

 

From Capitol Hill | Mitchell Miller

Inflation looms over midterm elections

The White House and Democrats collectively cringe every time a monthly measure of inflation comes out, knowing the figure undercuts their chances of retaining power in Congress.

The 9.1% figure for June announced this week was quickly cited by Republicans as another sign that Democrats can’t get a handle on soaring prices.

“House Democrats continue to pass the buck on these crises because they have no solutions,” said Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., the third-ranking member of the House Republican Conference.

Republicans intend to hammer Democrats on inflation all the way to the November midterm elections. Polls consistently show inflation is the top issue for voters.

Democrats are well aware of the toll inflation is taking and say they’re trying to lower various costs for Americans, including for prescription drugs.

But they’re still trying to agree on a watered-down Build Back Better bill, which hasn’t exactly energized the political base.

For their part, congressional Republicans don’t have any major proposals for how to tame inflation. And their plans for reducing gas prices seem to revolve around constant criticism of President Joe Biden’s energy policies.

But Republicans appear to be content to point to what people are paying at the grocery store and the gas station, knowing the president’s approval ratings are low and that many House Democrats are on the political ropes.

Political generation gap

A new poll out this week has some deeply troubling findings for Biden.

Nearly two-thirds (64%) of Democratic voters said they want someone else to be the party’s presidential nominee in 2024, according to the New York Times/Siena College Poll.

But the number was much higher among younger voters: The poll found that 94% of Democrats under 30 would like a different nominee.

While older people are more likely to turn out at the polls, that is a very troubling figure for the 79-year-old president.

The poll found that the top reason that people want someone else to be the Democratic nominee in 2024 is, quite simply, the president’s age. Thirty-three percent cited that as the top reason, while 32% cited his job performance.

Biden is the oldest president in U.S. history. Ronald Reagan’s age was raised as a campaign issue in 1980, and when he was sworn in he was the oldest president at the time. He was just shy of 70.

As for former President Donald Trump, the poll found that 64% percent of primary voters under 35 said they would vote against him in a presidential primary.

The poll surveyed 849 registered voters; the margin of error is 4.1%.

Will the Jan. 6 hearings have any political impact?

What could be the final Jan. 6 hearing into the attack on the U.S. Capitol will be held next Thursday, and it’s expected to be during the evening, in prime time.

Trump has, not surprisingly, sharply criticized the hearings and some of the witnesses. Other Republicans have downplayed the hearings, saying voters are more concerned about other issues.

A poll released this week in the battleground state of Michigan indicates more than a passing interest in the hearings beyond the Beltway.

Overall, 55% of voters in the WDIV/Detroit News survey said they’re paying attention to the hearings, including 25% who said “very closely.” But 61% who identify as strong Republicans said they are not following the hearings closely. The poll surveyed 600 likely general election voters; the margin of error is 4.0%.

Some polls have indicated a bit of weakening support for Trump among Republicans. But we’ll need to wait for comprehensive polls after the hearings are over to see whether they’re moving the needle at all, particularly for Republicans and independents.

Worth your time

From Nick Iannelli

From Mitchell Miller

Dates to know

  • July 19: Primary day in Maryland.

Nick Iannelli

Nick Iannelli can be heard covering developing and breaking news stories on WTOP.

Mitchell Miller

Mitchell Miller has worked at WTOP since 1996, as a producer, editor, reporter and Senior News Director. After working "behind the scenes," coordinating coverage and reporter coverage for years, Mitchell moved back to his first love -- reporting. He is now WTOP's Capitol Hill reporter.

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