Skip to comments.GOP candidates court votes in blue Maryland
Posted on 06/19/2011 9:51:41 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
....Four years ago, in an effort to increase the region's influence during the presidential campaign, Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia held their nominating votes on the same Tuesday in February, creating what came to be known as the "Potomac primary." Obama and Republican Sen. John McCain won in Maryland en route to capturing their parties' nominations.
But under pressure from the national parties, the Maryland General Assembly moved the 2012 primary back to April. The later date will also help elections officials comply with a new federal law giving military and overseas voters more time to receive and mail back their ballots.
Early states on the primary calendar include Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. Critics say the schedule gives those small states a disproportionate influence on the nominating process. Many candidates pull out if they fail to perform well in the early contests.
But as a winner-take-all state, Maryland remains a valuable prize: The victor in the Republican primary captures all 37 of the state's delegates to the party's national convention. Other states divide their delegates according to the results of the vote.
Despite Democratic dominance in the general election, the state has some inherent attractions for national candidates during the primary season, said Herbert C. Smith, a political scientist at McDaniel College in Westminster. Proximity to Washington is one.
"Maryland's compact, it's easy to campaign in and it's got a very extensive media apparatus," he said.
But local Republicans noted other reasons for the recent high-profile visits, including the emergence of the state's tea party movement, better and more aggressive county-level organization in parts of the state and, on a broad scale, more energy from voters.
"There's been quite a renaissance in the past five years," said Eli Gold,...
(Excerpt) Read more at baltimoresun.com ...