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Mercedes Yanora

A closer look at Maryland’s Democratic Senate primary

Welcome to the Friday, April 12, Brew. 

By: Mercedes Yanora

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. A closer look at Maryland’s Democratic Senate primary
  2. 54.93% of all state legislators in the United States are Republican, while 44.46% are Democratic
  3. #FridayTrivia: How many states hold elections to fill state supreme court vacancies?

A closer look at Maryland’s Democratic Senate primary  

Throughout the year, we’ll bring you coverage of the most compelling elections — the battlegrounds we expect to have a meaningful effect on the balance of power in governments or to be particularly competitive. 

On Wednesday, we looked at the May 14 Republican primary for West Virginia Attorney General. Today, we’re looking at the May 14 Democratic U.S. Senate primary in Maryland. Two candidates lead in media attention, endorsements, polls, and fundraising: Angela Alsobrooks (D) and David Trone (D).

Incumbent Ben Cardin (D), who was first elected in 2006, is not running for re-election. Cardin is one of eight senators not running for re-election. A Republican has not won a Senate election in Maryland since 1980.

Democratic strategist Len Foxwell told The Hill the Democratic primary will come down to the candidates’ personalities. “I think there will be a lot of comparative campaigning, and I think to the extent that there is negative campaigning, it will focus more on personalities, because as a practical matter, there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between the two on the issues,” Foxwell said

On Feb. 9, former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced he was running in the Republican primary. Maryland Matters editor Josh Kurtz said, “If nothing else, Hogan’s entry into the race may prompt Democratic primary voters to not only think about whether they like Trone or Alsobrooks best, but to consider which would make a stronger general election candidate against the former governor.”

Alsobrooks is Prince George’s county executive and previously served as the county’s state’s attorney. Alsobrooks said she is running because “there aren’t enough people in the U.S. Senate who live like, think like and look like the people they’re supposed to represent.” Maryland Gov. Wes Moore (D) and U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) have endorsed Alsobrooks.

Trone represents Maryland’s 6th Congressional District and is the founder of the alcohol retailer Total Wine & More. Trone said that because he does not accept contributions from PACs, lobbyists, and corporations he would be able to “listen to the people of Maryland, not special interests.” Democratic Reps. Hakeem Jeffries (N.Y.-08) and Dutch Ruppersberger (Md.-02) have endorsed Trone. 

As of April 9, The Cook Political Report with Amy Walter, Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales, and Larry J. Sabato’s Crystal Ball rated the general election Likely Democratic. Also running in the primary are Michael Cobb Sr. (D), Marcellus Crews (D), Brian Frydenborg (D), Scottie Griffin (D), Robert Houton (D), Joseph Perez (D), Steven Seuferer (D), and Andrew Wildman (D).

Thirty-four of 100 U.S. Senate seats are up for election this year, including a special election to be held on Nov. 5 in Nebraska. Democrats are defending 20 seats in November, while Republicans hold 11. Independents who caucus with Democrats represent three. Two Republicans — Deb Fischer and Pete Ricketts — represent the two Senate seats in Nebraska, and both seats are up for election. One election is the special election to fill the last two years of former U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse’s (R) term. 

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54.93% of all state legislators in the United States are Republican, while 44.46% are Democratic 

At the end of March, 54.93% of all state legislators in the U.S. were Republican, while 44.46% were Democratic. There are 7,386 state legislative seats nationwide.

Compared to March 2023, Democrats have lost six state Senate seats (856 v. 850) and gained seven state House seats (2,427 v. 2,434). Republicans have gained four state Senate seats (1,110 v. 1,114) and lost five state House seats (2,948 v. 2,943).

As of March, Democrats hold 850 state Senate seats and 2,434 state House seats. They gained three state House seats since February and lost one state Senate seat. Republicans hold 1,114 state Senate seats and 2,943 state House seats. They gained four state House seats since February.

Republicans have majorities in 56 chambers, and Democrats have majorities in 40 chambers. Two chambers (Alaska House and Alaska Senate) are organized under multipartisan, power-sharing coalitions. Control of the Michigan House of Representatives is split.

The last time Democrats controlled more chambers than Republicans was in 2009, with 60 chambers to Republicans’ 37. The other two chambers either had a tie or bipartisan governing coalition. 

Independent or minor party legislators hold 24 seats across 10 different states.

There are 16 vacant state House seats and five vacant state Senate seats across 17 different states.

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#FridayTrivia: How many states hold elections to fill state supreme court vacancies?

In the Tuesday Brew, we looked at changes in state supreme court vacancies from March 1 to March 31. The month was relatively quiet, with no new retirements. This year, however, 11 vacancies have occurred or been announced so far. 

Since Ballotpedia began gathering data in 2019, the year with the highest number of vacancies was 2022 (25), and the year with the lowest was 2021 (19). 

States fill judicial vacancies via election or appointment. How many states hold elections to fill state supreme court vacancies?

  1. 47
  2. 26
  3. 3
  4. 10
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