Friday, October 21, 2011

Anne Arundel County in Congress

Well, Governor O’Malley and his colleagues in the General Assembly have officially given their approval to the new boundaries of Maryland ’s eight Congressional Districts. Barring any changes by the court, the Democratic Party should easily pick up at least one seat, most likely in the district currently represented by Roscoe Barlett. Once again however, Anne Arundel County will get split into four distinct subsections.

For the past ten years, Pasadena has divided the boundary lines for the First and Second Congressional Districts. Now, pretty much the same areas will define the confines of the Third and Fourth District, even though Congresswoman Donna Edwards has made it blatantly clear that she wants no parts of representing the mostly conservative area.

Now, some of the Republican proposals called for Anne Arundel County to have its own Congressional District. On the surface, I kind of like the idea. Granted, I am having a difficult time envisioning who would emerge as the winner in this hypothetical scenario. Naturally, I think such a race would attract some of our biggest names. After all, 2012 would allow every Senator or Delegate to run without having to vacate his or her current seat. No doubt, that would increase the pool of candidates. In the same way, it’s likely we’d see prominent private citizens as well as former elected officials entering the fray.

Ultimately, I think Anne Arundel County would come down as a swing district. Sure, recent trends give a slight advantage to the Republicans. Still, an expected large GOP field could have someone with less than 25% of the primary vote emerging as the nominee. Depending on the individual, I think certain Democrats would have a reasonable chance.

Before we get too excited thinking about this possibility, let’s concede it’ll never happen. Without splitting Anne Arundel County , the Maryland Democrats risk losing a seat as opposed to gaining one. And regardless of how the courts may redraw the maps, I still expect the same end result.

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