Election News

Biden Sweeps Tuesday Primaries; Sanders to Assess Campaign

March 18, 2020

Joe Biden swept Tuesday's primaries in Arizona, Florida and Illinois. When all is final, he will likely have more than doubled his delegate lead over Bernie Sanders. 

As of this morning, Biden has just under 60% of the 1,991 delegates needed to win the nomination. Sanders would need to win about 63% of the remaining delegates to win the nomination. The increasingly difficult math, as well as a presidential contest essentially now on hold due to the coronavirus, has the campaign assessing how to proceed.  

In a statement, Sanders campaign manager Faiz Shakir said "The next primary contest is at least three weeks away. Sen. Sanders is going to be having conversations with supporters to assess his campaign.”

 

Donald Trump Clinches Renomination

March 17, 2020

Donald Trump has surpassed 1,276 delegates, clinching the 2020 Republican nomination.  Wins Tuesday in Florida and Illinois put the president over the top.

Trump has won every delegate thus far, except for one in Iowa. However, Iowa rules specify that delegate can vote for Trump if he is the only candidate nominated, which seems likely.

March 17 Primaries: Overview and Live Results

March 17, 2020

Live Results

President - Democratic Primaries President - Republican Primaries

 

Illinois and Ohio (postponed) hold their regular primary elections as well. We'll have results for any contested congressional races.

Illinois Ohio - Postponed

Polls Close (Eastern Time)

Your individual polling place may have different hours. Do not rely on this to determine when to vote. Total Democratic pledged delegates by closing time are displayed.

7:00 PM 0 Florida [ET]1
7:30 PM 136 Ohio - Postponed (136)
8:00 PM 374 Florida [CT] (219), Illinois (155)
10:00 PM 67 Arizona (67)

Most of the state is in this time zone. Some results may display during this hour, but no race call will be made until all the polls are closed.


Democratic Polling Averages & Delegate Estimates

Joe Biden is polling well ahead of Bernie Sanders in each of three states going forward with their scheduled primaries. While Sanders is expected to earn delegates, the end of the night may see the former Vice-President's delegate advantage more than double.

For polling detail, see the Democratic nomination home page. Select a state on the map. To see delegate information for completed contests and create your own forecast, see the interactive delegate calculator.


Recommended Reading

How to Watch Tuesday's Primaries Like a Pro - Politico provides an overview of the states voting today.

Final Forecast for Arizona, Florida and Illinois - FiveThirtyEight's forecast for the three states holding primaries today.  Joe Biden is expected to sweep all three contests.

Ohio Supreme Court Allows Delay to Primary - A confusing court battle played out Monday and early Tuesday. Bottom line is no Ohio primary today. A suggested new date of June 2 is tentative.

The Road to 270: Nebraska

March 16, 2020

The Road to 270 is a weekly column leading up to the presidential election. Each installment is dedicated to understanding one state’s political landscape and how that might influence which party will win its electoral votes in 2020. We’ll do these roughly in order of expected competitiveness, moving toward the most intensely contested battlegrounds as election day nears. 

The Road to 270 will be published every Monday. The column is written by Seth Moskowitz, a 270toWin elections and politics contributor. Contact Seth at s.k.moskowitz@gmail.com or on Twitter @skmoskowitz.

Nebraska

Nebraska is all but certain to vote for Donald Trump this November. The state, however, is one of two that awards Electoral College votes by congressional district. Nebraska’s second district is far more competitive than the state as a whole and could prove decisive in a close presidential election. As such, this week’s article will be a little different than usual. The first half will focus on Nebraska’s history and political landscape at large and the second half will zoom in to the competitive Omaha-based district.

Road to Statehood

In 1541, over 350 years before Nebraska would become a part of the United States, a Spanish explorer claimed the territory for his country. A French explorer did the same in 1682, causing land disputes that persisted until the United States bought the land from France as a part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803.   

On their expedition to cross the country, Lewis and Clark explored the eastern and northeastern parts of the territory that border the Missouri River. A half century later, about a quarter of the Oregon Trail would lie within the future-state. In 1854, the United States established the Nebraska Territory in the Kansas-Nebraska Act, a law most famous for repealing the Missouri Compromise and allowing states to independently determine the legality of slavery within their borders. The new Nebraska Territory comprised parts of modern-day Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Montana. 

After Congress squeezed Native Americans into reservations and opened the region to settlers through the Homestead Act of 1862, the population began to grow. The growth, helped along by the Union Pacific Railroad establishing its terminus and headquarters in Omaha, continued through the mid-century. In 1867, with the state's newly inflated population, Congress admitted Nebraska to the Union. 

Growth and Republican Dominance

Over the next three decades, Omaha’s population would explode. Settlers continued to come for the fertile prairie land; workers immigrated to work in the meatpacking and railroad industry. Sixty miles south of Omaha, Lincoln grew around the University of Nebraska. The population grew from 29,000 in 1860 to 1,062,000 in 1890. More people moved to the state in those thirty years than would do so in the next 130.  

In the 1890s, economic depression, low crop prices, and drought lowered farmers’ incomes and expectations, the latter of which had been inflated by particularly friendly agricultural conditions of the 1880s.  

These economic conditions helped the populist silverite, William Jennings Bryan, rise to national prominence. The Nebraska Congressman’s 1894 speaking tour promoting the coinage of silver, a policy to raise inflation and help indebted farmers, launched him into the spotlight and his 1896 presidential run.  

Bryan would run for president as a Democrat three times — in 1896, 1900, and 1908. He would carry his home state of Nebraska in the first and third runs while losing it in his second. For a state that had voted Republican since its first presidential election in 1868 — a product of the Civil War’s geographic split — voting Democratic was unusual. Nebraska would again vote for Democrat Woodrow Wilson in 1912 as Republicans split their vote between Theodore Roosevelt and William Taft. Wilson would also win the state in 1916, a reward for keeping the U.S. out of World War I.  

From there, Nebraska’s presidential electoral history is simple: no Democrat would win statewide outside of the massive landslides in 1932, 1936, and 1964. After 1964, every Republican nominee would carry the state by double digits.

While the state suffered during the Great Depression, it was not friendly to Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. Nebraskans opposed what they saw as government overreach and opposed Roosevelt in his 1940 and 1944 reelection bids.

A Changing Economy and Recent Elections

During and after World War II, Nebraska’s economy changed. In 1940, the Army constructed an aircraft plant near Omaha, a decision that built the region’s manufacturing capacity and workforce. After the war, the plant was renamed Offutt Air Force Base and become the headquarters of the U.S. Strategic Command.

As agriculture became less lucrative and farmers fell into debt, Nebraska’s family farms began to condense. Factory farms expanded their acreage while farmers moved from their rural homesteads into the state’s suburban and urban areas. In the late 1980s, the economy — helped along with government tax incentives — shifted towards manufacturing and oil refining. A number of large companies — Berkshire Hathaway, Kiewit, Tenaska — built and expanded headquarters in Omaha. An ecosystem of smaller financial, telecommunications, and insurance companies built up around these established companies and the University of Nebraska helped churn out a qualified workforce.  

Even with this new economy, Omaha and Nebraska still relied on their historical economic pillars — agriculture and meatpacking. These traditional industries drew in workers, many of them black and Hispanic, growing and diversifying the state’s population. Omaha in particular became a home for young transplants looking for jobs and a low cost of living.

The state as a whole, however, is still 88% white and votes accordingly. Nebraska has long been far to the right of the nation, and that trend continued into the 21st Century. George W. Bush carried the state by 29% and 33% in 2000 and 2004. John McCain won by a less impressive, but still safe, 15%, in 2008. Mitt Romney expanded the margin to 22% in 2012. Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton by 25%, a 59% to 34% victory. Trump carried all but two counties — Douglas (Omaha) and Lancaster (Lincoln) — in his 2016 rout.

Nebraska’s Second Congressional District

Nebraska, however, is one of two states that divides its Electoral College votes by congressional district. The state awards one electoral vote to the popular vote winner within each district and two to the statewide popular vote winner.

Nebraska has used this formula since 1992. Barack Obama is the only presidential candidate to successfully isolate one of the state’s electoral votes since it adopted the Congressional District Method. In fact, this is the only electoral vote any Democrat has received from Nebraska since Lyndon Johnson carried the state in his 1964 blowout. In 2008, Barack Obama won the state’s second congressional district 49.8% to John McCain’s 48.6% (a margin of just 3,400 votes) even as he lost the statewide popular vote and the other two congressional districts.

At the time, the second district included all of Douglas County (Omaha) and the eastern portions of its southern neighbor, Sarpy County. Sarpy’s eastern third includes the Offutt Airforce Base and Bellevue, a region friendlier to Democrats than Sarpy’s rural western parts. After the 2010 Census, Nebraska’s ostensibly nonpartisan legislature redrew the second district’s lines to include Sarpy’s more Republican west while removing the more Democratic east. The redraw only slightly shifted the district’s partisan balance at the time and Mitt Romney would have carried it in 2012 regardless. Under the new lines, Romney beat Obama in NE-02 by 7.1%.

In 2016, as suburban and college educated white voters swung away from Donald Trump, the second district came back into contention. Hillary Clinton stopped in the district for a campaign rally with Warren Buffett and her campaign aired ads, but it was not enough. Donald Trump carried the district 48.2% to Hillary Clinton’s 46% — a 2.2% and 6,400 vote margin. Clinton carried Douglas County by 2% but Trump overwhelmed her with a 24% margin in the portion of the district that lies in in Sarpy County.

The district is 82% white, 9% black, and 6% Hispanic, a racial breakdown that is similar, but about 5% more black, than the state as a whole. The second district’s white population, however, is more educated than the state’s overall white population. Thirty-three percent of white people in the state have Bachelor’s Degrees compared to 44% of white voters in the second district. Among white voters, those with college degrees are far more Democratic. The second district’s higher portion of college-educated white and black voters make it more friendly to Democrats than the whiter, less educated population of Nebraska overall.

In a particularly close election, the second district could decide the Electoral College. If the Democratic nominee were to flip Michigan, Wisconsin, and Arizona, while leaving the rest of the map identical to 2016, the nominees would be tied at 269 electoral votes. If the Democrat were able to flip NE-02, it would push them to a 270-268 victory. This is just one of several plausible scenarios in which Nebraska’s lone electoral vote could be the tie-making or tie-breaking electoral vote.

As the parties’ coalitions shift and suburban and college-educated white voters move to the Democratic Party, NE-02 looks increasingly like a district Democrats should be able to flip. If Donald Trump is able to again squeak out a victory here, he will be leaning heavily on Sarpy County while hoping not to get smothered in Douglas.

For now, Nebraska’s second district is a Toss-Up. The system for awarding electoral votes here will draw outsize attention to a state that is almost certain to go to Donald Trump by 20 to 30%. November’s presidential contest may well be decided by three Rust Belt states, three Sun Belt states, and a small congressional district in the heart of the country: Nebraska’s Second.   

Next Week: Kansas    

Reports in this series:

Georgia Delays Presidential Primary Until May 19

March 14, 2020

Georgia has rescheduled its presidential primary from March 24 to May 19, which is the scheduled date for the state's non-presidential primaries. It becomes the second state to do so in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Louisiana made a similar move yesterday, postponing its primary from April 4 to June 20.

 

 

Polling Update and Delegate Estimate for March 17 Democratic Primaries

March 14, 2020

Tuesday, March 17 is the third largest date - in terms of available delegates - on the Democratic primary calendar in 2020.  Voters in Florida, Illinois, Ohio and Arizona will cast their ballots. A total of 577 delegates is available. This trails only Super Tuesday and April 28. The latter date is the so-called 'Acela Primary' across six East Coast states.

Here are the latest polling averages in each of those states, as of Saturday, March 14.  Note that we have only averaged polls released after Super Tuesday, March 3.  We've also plugged these averages into our Delegate Calculator (create your forecast here) to get a sense of how the delegate split might look.  

At this point, Joe Biden leads in each of the four states, with that lead largest in Florida, the most delegate-rich opportunity on Tuesday. It is quite possible that the former Vice President will more than double his current delegate lead over Bernie Sanders.

As a reminder, Biden and Sanders will debate Sunday night. It will be broadcast on CNN and Univision from 8:00 - 10:00 PM ET. The debate was moved from Phoenix to Washington, D.C. due to the coronavirus. There will be no live audience.

Northern Mariana Islands Caucus Results

March 13, 2020

Update 3/14 9:00 AM ET:  Bernie Sanders has won the Northern Mariana Democratic caucuses. Sanders will earn four of the six available delegates; Joe Biden the other two.  

Democrats in the Northern Mariana Islands caucus on Saturday, March 14.  The islands are 14 hours ahead of Eastern Time.  Results may be available as soon as early Saturday morning, with six pledged delegates to be be allocated.

 

Louisiana Postpones April 4 Presidential Primary

March 13, 2020

Louisiana's presidential primary will no longer take place on April 4, as concerns over the coronavirus have led the state to delay it to a later date. It is the first state to change a primary election date due to the pandemic. 

The primary has been rescheduled for June 20. That is after each party's approved window for holding primaries. It is possible this could impact the number of delegates Louisiana has at the conventions this summer, although that seems unlikely given the situation.

The postponement shouldn't have a significant practical impact on the race.  On the GOP side, President Trump is likely to clinch the Republican nomination this Tuesday. That day's primaries in Illinois, Florida and Ohio should give him well over the 172 delegates he needs to reach the required 1,276.  On the Democratic side, Joe Biden is likely to significantly expand his delegate lead on Tuesday and may well be the presumptive nominee by the end of the month.

Louisiana doesn't conduct a primary for congressional offices. Instead, all candidates from all parties appear on the ballot November 3. There is a runoff on December 5 for those elections where no candidate gets a majority of the vote.

 

March 10 Primaries: Overview and Live Results

March 10, 2020

Live Results

 

President - Democratic Primaries President - Republican Primaries

Mississippi holds its regular primary elections as well. We'll have results for any contested congressional races.

Mississippi

Polls Close (Eastern Time)

Your individual polling place may have different hours. Do not rely on this to determine when to vote. Total Democratic pledged delegates by closing time are displayed.

8:00 PM 118 Michigan [ET]1, Missouri (68), Mississippi (36), North Dakota2 (14)
9:00 PM 125 Michigan [CT] (125)
10:00 PM 0 Idaho [MT]1 
11:00 PM 109 Washington (89)3, Idaho [PT] (20)

Most of the state is in this time zone. Some results may display during this hour, but no race call will be made until all the polls are closed.
The GOP caucuses are on a different schedule, ending at 8:00 PM local time.
Primary conducted by mail. This is the latest time to submit a ballot to an official drop box.


Democratic Polling Averages & Delegate Estimates

Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders should receive delegates in each contest, although it might be a close call for Sanders in Mississippi. Washington's primary is conducted by mail, with a good portion of the ballots submitted before today. This may partially explain the narrower spread vs. today's other states and the fact that the three remaining candidates only add up to about 80% of the vote.  Sanders scored dominant wins in Idaho and Washington in 2016; these states have switched to primaries in 2020 making that difficult to replicate.  

For polling detail, see the Democratic nomination home page. Select a state on the map. Note that the table below reflects polls conducted after Super Tuesday, to better reflect the smaller field of candidates that remain. To see delegate information for completed contests and create your own forecast, see the interactive delegate calculator.


Recommended Reading

How to Watch Mini-Tuesday Like a Pro - Politico is calling this 'Mini-Tuesday' and provides a nice overview of the six states.

Michigan Overview - Why it may not prove as friendly for Sanders in 2020, despite a similar polling deficit for the Vermont Senator heading into primary day. Analysis from FiveThirtyEight.

Today's Odd Delegate Quirk - There are 51 delegate 'buckets' Tuesday, each to be proportionately allocated based on the associated popular vote. Nearly two-thirds of them are an odd number - a very high proportion.  In what is effectively a two-person delegate race, this means that a very small difference in popular vote can yield an extra delegate instead of an even split.   Analysis from Associated Press.

The Road to 270: Maryland

March 9, 2020

The Road to 270 is a weekly column leading up to the presidential election. Each installment is dedicated to understanding one state’s political landscape and how that might influence which party will win its electoral votes in 2020. We’ll do these roughly in order of expected competitiveness, moving toward the most intensely contested battlegrounds as election day nears. 

The Road to 270 will be published every Monday. The column is written by Seth Moskowitz, a 270toWin elections and politics contributor. Contact Seth at s.k.moskowitz@gmail.com or on Twitter @skmoskowitz.

Maryland

Maryland is one of the most liberal states in the country. In 2011, the state legislature passed a bill to provide in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants; a year later Marylanders voted to legalize same-sex marriage in a popular referendum. In 2012 and 2016, it gave Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton over 60% of the popular vote. It might be surprising, then, that such a liberal bastion elected a Republican, Larry Hogan, as governor in 2014 and again in 2018. Hogan, however, is a moderate on social issues while more conservative on fiscal ones. This ideological mix suits the state’s diverse, college educated, and wealthy population. To understand how Maryland became the nation’s richest state as well as one of its most diverse, we’ll go back to its pre-statehood history.

Catholic Refuge to Statehood

Europeans first settled Maryland in 1634 as a refuge for Roman Catholics, a group long discriminated against in England. The colony’s plantation-based economy originally relied on indentured and slave labor. Before the Revolutionary War, these slaves worked mostly in tobacco fields. As the industrial revolution made its way across the Atlantic, the work shifted to iron forges and wheat fields. Factory towns sprung up to process the goods and Baltimore grew as the state’s export hub.

The original charter mistakenly placed portions of Pennsylvania, including Philadelphia, within Maryland’s borders. The two states reached a settlement in 1760, with Maryland’s northern border comprising much of what would become known as the Mason-Dixon line. As one of the original 13 U.S. colonies, Maryland helped defeat the British in the Revolutionary War and joined the Union in 1788. In a final adjustment to its borders, the state ceded approximately 68 square miles of land in 1790 to help establish the capital city of Washington D.C.

Early Elections in Maryland

While most states allowed their state legislature to choose electors, Maryland split itself into districts and chose them by a popular vote within them. This is in some ways similar to the method used by Maine and Nebraska today.

In the nation’s early years, presidential elections split geographically between Alexander Hamilton’s Federalist Party — popular in the northeast — and Thomas Jefferson’s Democratic-Republican Party — popular in the South. Maryland, with both northeastern, urban, and industrial characteristics as well as southern and agrarian ones, regularly split its Electoral College votes between the parties. In 1833, the state changed its method of choosing electors to a statewide ballot, making the vote winner-take-all. Even with this new method, Maryland remained divided and unpredictable.

As the nation’s Democratic South and Republican North began to clash, Maryland found itself in the middle. In 1856, when slavery became the dominant question in presidential elections, Maryland was the only state not to pick a clear side. Instead, Maryland cast its votes for Millard Fillmore, who had received the nomination from the Whig Party, the American Party, and the anti-immigrant American-Know-Nothing-Whig Party.

In 1860, Maryland voted for the pro-slavery Southern Democrat John Breckenridge. John Bell, the Constitutional Union Party’s candidate who ran on holding the Union together and won the other border states of Virginia and Kentucky, just barely lost to Breckenridge in Maryland.

Like other border states, Maryland allowed slavery but stayed in the Union during the Civil War. Pressure from President Lincoln, particularly after the Union victory at Fort Sumter, locked Maryland in as a pro-Union state even as secession was popular among many Marylanders reliant on the institution of slavery.

Maryland and Baltimore’s Industrial Revolution

In the years following the Civil War, Maryland would experience dramatic social change. The state’s 1864 constitution, as well as the 13th Amendment the following year, outlawed slavery. Efforts to expand the franchise brought these newly freed slaves into the electorate. The industrial revolution was also changing the character of Maryland and its largest city. Manufacturing began to take over as the state’s dominant economic force and the Baltimore Port allowed easy access to European markets. Like other northeastern cities, Baltimore drew in and prospered off of hard working and entrepreneurial immigrants. This growing population and booming economy led to the development of the state’s transportation and urban infrastructure including railroads and ports.  

Post-Civil War Elections

In the elections following the Civil War, Maryland reliably voted for the Democratic nominee. Even with a constantly changing electorate, Democrats carried the state in every election from 1868 through 1892. The Democratic dominance lasted until 1896 when Democrats nominated the populist William Jennings Bryan. That year, as well as in 1900, 1904, and 1908, the plurality of Marylanders voted Republican. Even in their losses, Democrats were competitive in Maryland. The elections of 1904 and 1908 were decided by just 0.02% and 0.25%, results that ended with a split electoral delegation.

For the next 45 years — from 1912 through 1956 — Maryland’s presidential elections would flip between the parties. Democrat Woodrow Wilson would carry Maryland and the country with his isolationist stance towards entering World War I. Republicans won in the 1920s while they steered a booming economy. Democrat Franklin Roosevelt won back the state in each of his four elections from 1932-1944 on the strength of his popularity and New Deal coalition. From 1948 through 1956 Republicans would again take back Maryland — the last time they would do so outside of nationwide electoral landslides.

Economic Transformation

The two World Wars turned Maryland and Baltimore into production centers. During the first war, several military bases and sites were built in the state. This military import continued in the next war as airfields were established in Maryland and as the state became a production center for warships and aircraft.

After World War II, Maryland’s traditional economy of industrial jobs in manufacturing, coal, and railroads shifted. Returning soldiers looked to raise families, accelerating suburban growth. Baltimore’s dense downtown spread into more sprawling urban region. In the city core, demolition was more common than new growth. New infrastructure — the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel, interstates and freeways — was built to accommodate suburbanization.  

Meanwhile, the nation’s agricultural capacity grew and eliminated Maryland’s primacy in the sector. As suburbanization encroached upon rural and agricultural territory, land and labor became more expensive. Small family farms and homesteads condensed into large-scale ones. Manufacturing continued its decline as well, as General Motors and Bethlehem Steel downscaled their Baltimore operations.

As the state’s manufacturing and small-scale farming industries were on the decline, others were on their way up. In the state’s southern counties rimming Washington, D.C., jobs in and around the federal government employed commuting Marylanders. In Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University and its hospital (as well as the nearby NIH and FDA) became the anchor to a growing biotech, health care, and other high information service industries. Urban renewal projects also helped transform Baltimore into a trendy city more appealing to college-educated young people. This process, while successful in drawing in the desired young transplants and tourists, also pushed out low-income longtime Baltimore residents, many of them minorities.

Demographic and Electorate Changes  

During this economic transformation, Maryland turned from a state on the political margins to one heavily favoring Democrats. The state voted Democratic beginning with John F. Kennedy in 1960, only flipping back to Republicans in the three landslide years of 1972, 1984, and 1988. In 1992, Bill Clinton carried the state by 14%. Every Democratic nominee to follow would carry the state by double digits.

Maryland saw enormous economic shifts in the mid 1900s; more recent changes have been largely demographic. Black residents of Washington, D.C. moved out to the Maryland collar counties of Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties. The influx diversified the Washington D.C. and Baltimore suburbs and the new residents progressed northwards. While in 1970 Maryland’s population was 81.5% white and 17.8% black, today those numbers are 58.8% and 30.9%. Maryland also saw an influx in foreign immigration. While in 1970 people born outside of the U.S. made up just 3.2% of the state's population, by 2012 it was 14.3%. And many of these new transplants — both foreign and domestic — were highly educated. In 1990, 26.5% of Marylanders had a Bachelor’s Degree, a number that is now pushing 40%.

At the same time that minorities and college-educated whites began to sort decisively into the Democratic Party, they also began to make up a larger share of Maryland’s population. This helped flip the state to Democrats in 1992 and make it the Democratic stronghold it is today.

Recent Elections

From 1992 through 2004, the Democratic nominee consistently carried Maryland by about 15%. In 2008, Barack Obama would expand that margin to over 25%. Obama won by a similar number in 2012, even as his national margin shrunk by 3%. In 2016, Hillary Clinton won the state by a 26% margin, the largest since Lyndon Johnson’s 1964 landslide.

Maryland’s transformation to one of the safest Democratic states has involved a massive leftward shift in the counties surrounding Baltimore and Washington D.C. and a rightward shift in the state’s rural regions.  In 2000, Democrat Al Gore won Washington D.C.’s collar counties, Montgomery and Prince George’s, by 29% and 61% margins. In 2016, Clinton won those by 56% and 80%. Gore won Baltimore County and its neighbor Howard County by 9% and 8%. In 2016 Clinton won them by 18% and 34%. In many of the state’s more rural regions outside of the Baltimore - Washington-D.C. Metropolitan Area, Republicans gained ground. This shift, however, has not been nearly strong enough to counteract the Democrats’ dominance in the state’s dense urban corridor.

Current Political Landscape

Maryland underwent one of the most successful economic shifts in the entire nation. The state, once dominated by agriculture and manufacturing, has diversified to incorporate information and service jobs in government, education, biotech, and health care. These industries have built a strong and diverse middle class and pushed Marylanders to the top of the economic ladder. The state has the highest median household income in the nation, with the average household earning over $81,000 per year.

The economic prosperity hasn’t sheltered Maryland from political strife. The Wire, a political drama that ran from 2002-2008, documented Baltimore’s corrupted institutions — the police department, port unions, city government, public schools, and media. The state and Baltimore still have pockets of poverty that are only more vivid when contrasted with the state’s overall wealth and success. In 2015 when Freddy Gray, a young black man in Baltimore, sustained injuries that would prove fatal while being transported in a police van, Baltimore’s struggles took the national spotlight.

All this helped fell former Baltimore mayor and Maryland governor, Martin O’Malley, in his bid for the 2016 Democratic nomination. The state has other powerful elected officials including the Democratic House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Senator Chris Van Hollen, who served seven terms in the U.S. House before being elected to the U.S. Senate in 2016.

This November, neither of Maryland’s Senate seats will be on the ballot, none of the state’s U.S. House elections are expected to be competitive, and the Democratic nominee will likely carry the state by around 30%. Democrats in the state don’t have their say in the nominating process until the April 28 primary. With the field recently winnowed to two major candidates, the nominee may be a foregone conclusion by that date. Regardless of who wins the nomination and the role Maryland plays in the selection, the end result is the same. Maryland will be blue in November.

Next Week: Nebraska

Reports in this series: