This is going to be a gloriously ugly primary campaign…
Washington has been locked for months in a series of partisan battles over the law known as Obamacare, as well as battles within the GOP over how best to oppose the ACA. But it’s the state just to the north that has served up the country’s first Democrat-on-Democrat brawl over the inept implementation of the law, offering perhaps a first test of Democratic voters’ patience with the ACA’s technical setbacks.
In Maryland, the fight to succeed outgoing Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley has pitted [Attorney General Doug] Gansler against state Del. Heather Mizeur and Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, the frontrunner for the nomination who chairs the state panel on ACA implementation and has long presented himself as the O’Malley administration’s point man on Obamacare.
…and the fact that Politico did its best to skip over Delegate Mizeur should be diagnostic. Essentially, the primary (ahem) problem for the Democrats is that the Lt. Governor is now inextricably linked to the Maryland state Obamacare exchange*, while the Attorney General has a dysfunctional campaign and has visual evidence linking him to a party featuring underage, drunken twerkers. As for the last remaining major candidate?
Well. Perhaps the state of Maryland is ready for an openly gay, pro-marijuana governor. And perhaps it is not. Now, don’t get me wrong: in Maryland the problem for Del. Mazeur would be the latter part, not the former. But the fact remains this is the wrong administration for politicians to try to be too vocally pro-pot. Joe Biden in particular is a hardcore War on Some Drugs enthusiast, and at this point he’s the only person in the administration’s A-list who is actually popular. If he tried to stump for Mizeur, everybody would scream hypocrisy. Including people on the Left.
So as long as Obamacare still remains an issue on the federal and state level, the Democrats are going to be looking at a problematic primary campaign where the incompetent is being hammered by the sleazeball, to the eventual benefit of the weakest candidate. I know that some people are going to darkly mutter that this won’t have any meaningful effect on Republican chances in Maryland, but hey: you never know, right?
I heart blue-on-blue action “Obamacare fight erupts in deep-blue MD” http://t.co/sOOFTvRRBs
— Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) December 23, 2013
*And just how bad is the exchange? Let me put it this way: freshman Democrat John Delaney (MD-06) is currently calling for Maryland to close down its exchange and go on the federal site. And nobody at the moment is seriously expecting MD-06 to flip back this year, although perhaps they maybe should…