Our gubernatorial primary is only two months away, and yet 69 percent of Maryland Republicans and 54 percent of Maryland Democrats are undecided, according to a recent poll conducted by St. Mary’s College. As Maryland Reporter points out, Gov. Martin O’Malley’s heir apparent, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, currently trails “Undecided” by a 2 to 1 margin!
Political science professor Todd Eberly judges the governorship as Brown’s to lose. He sees no serious competition from his own party (Gansler is holding at 11 percent, Mizeur at 8 percent) or Republicans (in addition to being outnumbered by Dems in general, leading GOP candidate Larry Hogan has only 16-percent support), leaving the lieutenant governor to limp into office.
This is sad news considering how much influence a governor — particularly a Democratic one — can wield in our state legislature. Over the last three sessions O’Malley has managed to pass a heap of pet bills, including a notoriously gerrymandered congressional map, the Md. Dream Act, casino gambling, increased gun control measures, an offshore wind energy program, a repeal of the death penalty, an increase in minimum wage. He didn’t always get everything he wanted the first go-round. But he was able to pass almost everything eventually, even if he had to resort to “persuasive techniques, of which he has many.”
Besides that, our governor has to approve sentence commutations, so the fate of many in the prison system, from the wrongfully convicted to the inordinately punished, will depend on the whims of this person — this person who is being absolutely routed by “Undecided.”