Maryland House Primary + House Ratings Changes

Maryland

House

Much like New York’s, Maryland’s initial redistricting proposal was struck down by the courts before it could have electoral effect. No one is happier about the ruling than 1st district Republican Andy Harris.

His current Trump +20 seat is based around the Eastern Shore and exurbs of Baltimore like Bel Air (Harford). Harris has not faced a competitive general election since beating freshman Democrat Frank Kratovil in 2010.

How did the 1st change in redistricting? Spared the fate of contesting a Biden-won seat in the fall, Harris now finds himself in a compact Trump +14 district. The new 1st is very similar to its current iteration besides the fact that it no longer stretches west of Baltimore County. Harris was renominated uncontested.

On the Democratic side, ex-state delegate Heather Mizeur is favored to beat former diplomat David Harden in tonight’s primary. Had the court not invalidated the Biden-won 1st, Harris would have only been a modest reelection favorite. Because that reality did not come to pass, Split Ticket feels confident in a Safe Republican rating.

The most competitive House primary in Maryland will take place in the heavily-Democratic 4th district. This Prince George’s County seat is far more compact than its predecessor, and now takes in Montgomery County instead of Anne Arundel. Since 2017, the district has been held by Anthony Brown. He is retiring to run for state Attorney General this year.

There are two main Democratic candidates seeking the nomination to replace him: ex-Congresswoman Donna Edwards and former County State Attorney Glenn Ivey. Delegate Jazz Lewis, the candidate of House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, left the race in April.

Who are the candidates? Donna Edwards held the 4th district for almost a decade (2008-2017) before retiring to run for Senate. She lost the primary to replace Barbara Mikulski to 8th district Congressman Chris Van Hollen in 2016. Edwards won Prince George’s and Charles counties along with Baltimore City. Van Hollen carried the rest of the state.

Glenn Ivey served as the State’s Attorney of Prince George’s County from 2002-2011. He ran for the old 4th in 2016, losing a hotly-contested primary to Brown 42-34%.

Polling in this primary has been mixed, although Edwards, running in the progressive lane, has monopolized national endorsements. This contest should be somewhat close, but Split Ticket considers Edwards the favorite to win the nomination for this Safe Democratic race.

In the 5th district, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer is a commanding favorite to win renomination over progressive challenger Mckayla Wilkes. This southern Maryland seat thens north to take in portions of Montgomery and Anne Arundel counties outside of the District of Columbia. Safe Democratic

In addition to shoring up Harris, Maryland’s new map makes the western 6th district competitive for the first time since the 2014 cycle. The new version of the seat includes all of Frederick County, not just the city proper, and less of Democratic Montgomery. Its current partisanship is only Biden +10, down from Biden +23.

Because this cycle’s fundamentals continue to favor House Republicans, Split Ticket expects well-funded Democratic incumbent David Trone to have a close race in the fall. The GOP also has an excellent recruit here: Washington Free Beacon journalist Matthew Foldi. 2020 nominee Neil Parrott is running again, but he is not considered a serious contender for the nomination.

The 6th is currently rated Leans Democratic, but it could become a Tossup if the environment worsens for President Biden and his party. To win this district, Republicans would have to supplement strong margins in the western rural counties with a win in Frederick (Biden +10) and respectable margins out of Montgomery. For now, though, Trone remains the frontrunner.

House Ratings Changes – July 2022

CA-09 (Likely D – Leans D)

California’s 9th district (Biden +13) is based in San Joaquin County, home to Stockton. Incumbent Democrat Jerry McNerney retired this year, allowing his Stanislaus County colleague Josh Harder to move north and seek reelection in a safer seat. Supervisor Tom Patti is the Republican nominee.

Democrats are favored to retain control of this district in the fall due both to its partisan lean and Harder’s fundraising prowess. Despite that, one must note that the Democrats only won 50.5% of the composite primary vote here. The Central Valley’s midterm history suggests that the 9th will indeed shift leftward in November, but the 1st round primary makeup was close enough to justify a Leans Democratic rating.

CA-13 (Leans D – Tossup)

California’s 13th district (Biden +11) stretches between San Joaquin and Fresno counties, taking in most of the Central Valley in the process. The Hispanic-majority seat is a mixture of rural turf, small farming towns, and Democratic communities like Modesto, Merced, and Madera. Congressman Harder’s move left this district without an incumbent.

Both 2022 candidates have strong local connections and significant warchests. The slight general election favorite is Democrat Adam Gray, a Merced Assemblyman who outran the top of the ticket in 2020. On the Republican side, farmer and businessman John Duarte leads the fundraising pack in terms of total receipts.

Democrats won just 48.3% of the composite primary vote in this district. Using the same reasoning that we applied to the 9th district, Split Ticket expects the 13th to shift leftward in November while remaining significantly more competitive than its presidential lean suggests. Despite the new Tossup rating, Democrats remain slight favorites.

CT-02 (Likely D – Leans D)

Connecticut’s 2nd district (Biden +12) takes in the eastern half of the state, including the cities of New London, Norwich, and Mansfield. Since 2006, this territory has been comfortably represented by Democrat Joe Courtney.

Having survived red waves before, he is favored to win reelection again this year. But the veteran Congressman could very well have the closest race of his career against state Representative Mike France.

Besides having a strong fundraising edge over his Republican opponent, Courtney has traditionally outrun the top of the ticket. But portions of Windham and New London counties have moved rightward since the Obama-era, meaning Courtney’s floor probably is not as high as it once was. Leans Democratic

IN-01 (Leans D – Tossup)

Indiana’s 1st district (Biden +8) is located in the state’s northwestern corner. The seat spans Lake Michigan’s southern coast, running from Gary to Michigan City. In many ways, this turf is more of an extension of Greater Chicago than it is a part of the Hoosier State.

Redistricting made this district slightly redder, though its design is more or less the same. Republicans did not bother to gerrymander the 1st because it is rapidly trending in their direction by itself. In 2012, this seat would have backed President Obama by double digits.

If Democrats hold onto the 1st this year, it will have been because of their single saving grace: Congressman Frank Mrvan. As a former North Township Trustee and son of a long-time state Senator, Mrvan has durable political connections in Lake County. His brand might be enough to keep the seat in the Democratic column this year, but it probably will not protect him over the course of the decade assuming trend continuity.

Part of the reason Republicans have begun to prioritize the 1st this cycle, other than trends, is their nominee: Jennifer-Ruth Green. Like Duarte in CA-13, Green has outraised her opponent in terms of total receipts. Those numbers are notable because GOP has not had a serious candidate here in recent memory.

If the election were held today, Split Ticket would expect Mrvan to win narrowly. That said, this is the ideal type of district for Republicans to pull an upset in under favorable environmental parameters. Tossup

NC-13 (Tossup – Leans R)

North Carolina’s 13th district (Biden +1.7) is a new swing seat based just south of the Research Triangle. Most of its Democratic vote comes from Wake, where black-majority precincts in southern Raleigh meet leftward-trending suburbs in the outer portions of the county. The Republican base lies to the southeast in Johnston County (Trump +24).

Despite its partisan lean, the 13th is more amenable to Republicans downballot. That is mostly a result of Wake County, where educated suburbanites have traditionally preferred the GOP. Republicans would have carried this district in both the 2014 Senate and 2016 Presidential elections in the state.

While Wake’s Republican ancestry has visibly worn out during the Trump-era, there is reason to believe that the GOP would be favored to win an open House seat as marginal as the 13th in a good environment. This district will likely give Republicans trouble later in the decade, but this year Bo Hines should defeat state Senator Wiley Nickel. Leans Republican

NY-03 (Leans D – Tossup)

New York’s 3rd district (Biden +8) was drawn much more favorably for Republicans after the Hochulmander foundered before the court. The new seat commits no bay crossing, confining itself to Nassau and Queens counties. This is fundamentally a district of distinct neighborhoods and motley socio-ethnic groupings. Due in large part to Nassau, the 3rd is also traditionally redder downballot.

There are multiple factors benefitting Republicans here besides the destruction of the Hochulmander. The first is the retirement of Tom Suozzi, the incumbent Democrat. He recently lost an underdog primary challenge to Governor Kathy Hochul.

The second is the GOP nominee himself: George Santos. Besides having residual name recognition from his time as the unsuccessful 2020 nominee in the Biden +10 version of the 3rd, Santos has raised more money than each of his potential Democratic challengers.

Finally, because he is unopposed for the GOP nomination, Santos can spend the next month focusing on the general election while he waits for his Democratic challenger to be determined. This is a district that should have moved to Tossup weeks ago.

NY-19 (Tossup – Leans R)

New York’s 19th district (Biden +4.6) spans across much of the Upstate. Most of the seat is based in the upper Hudson Valley along the Catskills in counties like Sullivan, Ulster, and Columbia. Out west, the district includes parts of the Southern Tier in the counties of Broome, Delaware, and Tompkins. The last of those three is home to the cobalt blue city of Ithaca and Cornell University.

Despite the 19th’s visible Democratic lean, the Hudson Valley is no stranger to ticket splitting for tailor-made Republican candidates. Although Dutchess is now in the 18th, County Executive Marc Molinaro has a record of generating regional crossover support (2018 Gov) that should transfer into electoral victory in a Republican year.

Besides his inherent strengths as a candidate, there is a strong chance that Molinaro will also have incumbency advantage by November. He is favored to defeat Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan in the upcoming NY-19 special. That race will be held under the current Biden +1.5 lines and is rated Leans Republican (flip).

At the moment, Split Ticket feels comfortable shifting the general election into the Republican column with the same rating.

NV-01 & NV-04 (Leans D – Tossup)

Split Ticket would like to address these Nevada districts in the same section because we originally intended to move them from Leans Democratic to Tossup last month.

At the time, the Dobbs decision forced us to hold off. While the long-term effects of the decision remain up in the air, the GOP’s generic ballot lead has remained stable enough to merit the shift today.

The 3rd district, held by Democrat Susie Lee, will remain a Tossup for now, though we would side with Republican April Becker if the election were today.

If expectations hold up in that seat, the Republicans should at least split the delegation 2-2. But the GOP could sweep the state 4-0 under the new map if the Nevada political environment gets particularly bad.

The 1st and 4th are Biden +8 districts represented, respectively, by Democratic incumbents Dina Titus and Steven Horsford. Both have lost general elections before, Titus in 2010 and Horsford in 2014. GOP challengers Mark Robertson and Sam Peters would be slight underdogs if the election happened immediately, but there is no longer any reason to avoid Tossup ratings.

(Read more about the Las Vegas split under the new lines here)

PA-08 (Tossup – Leans R)

Pennsylvania’s 8th district (Trump +2.9) is confined to the state’s northeastern corner. It includes Lackawanna (Scranton), Luzerne, and Monroe counties. Since his 2012 primary upset against Tim Holden, this territory has been represented by Democrat Matt Cartwright. Despite having a partisan record in a rightward-trending Trump seat, he has been able to win reelection.

Other than gaining East Stroudsburg from the nearby 7th, the 8th district was relatively unaffected by redistricting. This year’s general election will be a rematch between Cartwright and Republican Jim Bognet. With the environment on his side, Bognet is now favored to win a close race. Leans Republican (flip)

Cartwright is one of multiple Trump-district Democrats now favored to lose reelection in the fall.

Despite contesting a Biden-won seat, Cartwright’s colleague Susan Wild was actually the first of the two to move into the Leans Republican column. Wild faces a rematch against Republican Lisa Scheller. The new 7th includes less of Monroe and more of ancestrally-Democratic Carbon, arguably making it more favorable to Republicans than the redder 8th.

RI-02 (Leans D – Tossup)

Rhode Island’s 2nd district (Biden +14) encompasses the western half of the state. For two decades, this seat has been represented by Democrat Jim Langevin. As Split Ticket previously wrote, his retirement gives Republicans a change to perform much better than the seat’s partisan lean would indicate.

While the favorable environment is responsible for most of the GOP’s enthusiasm, the perceived Republican momentum should be attributed to the nominee himself: ex-Cranston Mayor Allan Fung. Recent polling, both internal and non-internal, has shown Fung leading prospective Democratic opponents despite a significant undecided contingent.

Fung’s overperforming fundamentals in Cranston during his gubernatorial bids (2014, 18) is credible evidence of his ability to exceed partisan baselines. Combining that record with potential shifts among traditionally-Democratic WWC yields a close race.

In other words, the eventual Democratic nominee would likely be favored to win if Split Ticket had to pick today, but the latest data prevent us from feeling confident in a Leans Democratic rating. Tossup

WI-03 (Leans R – Likely R)

Wisconsin’s 3rd district (Trump +4.7) is almost identical to its current iteration. At the heart of the so-called Driftless Area, which Split Ticket wrote about before, this district includes the cities of Eau Claire and La Crosse.

Veteran Democrat Ron Kind is retiring from his Republican-trending seat this cycle after suffering a closer-than-expected reelection in 2020. The GOP nominee that year, Derrick Van Orden, is favored to win his redo bid this November. Democratic State Senator Brad Pfaff is a good candidate running in a poor environment. Likely Republican (flip)

My name is Harrison Lavelle and I am a political analyst studying at the College of New Jersey. As a co-founder and partner at Split Ticket, I coordinate our House coverage. I write about a variety of electoral topics and produce political maps. Besides elections, my hobbies include music, history, language, and fitness.

Contact me at @HWLavelleMaps or harrisonwlavelle1@gmail.com

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