13 February 2008
Quite an amazing showing by Senator Obama here in the Mid-Atlantic and the "Potomac Primary" yesterday. Turn out was heavy, in spite of the bad weather here (roads and traffic was horrible in Maryland, sadly forcing the cancellation of a program here at the library with author Nathan McCall....he'll reschedule...), which led to an 1 1/2 hour voting time extension. My poll-working brother-in-law and his wife were none too happy about that, but most everyone else was fine with it (their two sons seemed okay with their parents being out later, as their somewhat more lenient uncles allowed them to watch cartoons and play video and computer games longer than their parents would have done!)
More amazingly, Maryland delivered an extremely rare 'here's your hat, what's your hurry' upset to two incumbent House members: Republican Wayne Gilchrest was defeated by state legislator Dr. Andy Harris (..no relation...:). It was NOT a pretty campaign as Gilchrest was painted as 'too liberal' for working with members on the other side of the aisle: he was one of the only two Republicans to vote with House Democrats for a timetable for withdrawing American troops from Iraq, for example. What can I say? It's the Maryland 1st. Covering the entire Eastern Shore and parts of long-time Republican strongholds in Anne Arundel and other counties on the Western Shore, "Liberal = Communist" in much of that district.
The other surprise was the defeat of Al Wynn in the Maryland 4th by Donna Edwards, who just barely lost in her previous attempt to unseat him. Feeling was generally positive toward Wynn for much of his term, but he's turned increasingly to the right on a number of issues, and has become too comfortable with donations from the oil and banking industries for those of us over here on the left side of the spectrum. It also didn't hurt that Edwards attempted to embrace Senator Obama's mantra of "Change" (literally in some cases, as seen in this photo of her at Barack's University of Maryland rally)
A graphic from the Baltimore Sun on Maryland's Political Landscape (Hey, we really are "America in Miniature"!:)
Many thanks, however, to JohnK, for pointing out that, while we were voting, so was the Senate, on the FISA bill, moving to expand presidential powers to snoop on US citizens and give retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies who listen in on phone calls in the 'hunt for terrorists.' Shame on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for collapsing like a house of cards before this travesty.