In primary, Takoma Park voters go with the winners
By Bob Guldin
On primary election day April 26, the voters of Takoma Park did a very good job of picking winners. In other words, we voted mostly for the same candidates that our neighbors voted for in the rest of Maryland and Maryland’s 8th Congressional District – despite the city’s lingering reputation for being full of wild-eyed radicals.
That was especially true for the Democratic primary — and Takoma Park voted overwhelmingly Democratic. Here’s how big that margin is. In the Democratic presidential primary, 4,022 people voted. In the Republican presidential primary, 167 people voted. That means 96 percent of the ballots cast for U.S. president in Takoma Park were on the Democratic side.
In our area, three Democratic primary races got the lion’s share of the attention – and of the advertising and funds and lawn signs and volunteers. Those were the presidential race (Hillary Clinton vs. Bernie Sanders), the race to fill Barbara Mikulski’s U.S. Senate seat (Chris Van Hollen vs. Donna Edwards and others), and the contest to fill the House of Representatives 8th Congressional District seat currently held by Van Hollen. The three heavy hitters in that race were Jamie Raskin, David Trone and Kathleen Matthews.
In the Democratic presidential race, Takoma Park voters were almost a mirror image of voters statewide. In the city, we counted 2,525 votes for Hillary (63%) and 1,449 for Bernie (36%). That compares to 63% statewide for Hillary and 34% for Bernie.
In the Democratic Senate primary, Takoma Park gave 74% of our votes to Van Hollen vs. 24% for Edwards. Statewide, the totals were Van Hollen 53% and Edwards 39%. That big Takoma Park majority is not surprising since Van Hollen has great name recognition here, having represented Takoma Park in Congress for 13 years.
But the Democratic House race was one in which Takoma Park most strongly showed its “favorite son” colors. State Senator Jamie Raskin, a resident of the city and a well-known political figure, received 2,729 votes (69% of the total). Businessman David Trone got 415 votes in Takoma Park (10%), and Kathleen Matthews got 321 votes (8%). Will Jawando came in fourth, with 282 votes (7%).
How did those numbers compare with the totals for the entire 8th Congressional District? There, the percentages were Raskin 34% (just half the percentage he got in his home town, but still in the lead), Trone 27%, Matthews 24% and Jawando 5%.
It was widely reported that the House primary in District 8 was the most expensive ever in the United States due in large part to massive advertising and direct mail campaigns by David Trone, who funded his own campaign.
Republican voters also went to the polls for the presidential, Senate and House races. In Takoma Park, the presidential tally was 63 votes (38%) for John Kasich, 57 (34%) for Donald Trump and 36 (22%) for Senator Ted Cruz. Statewide the numbers were 54% for Trump, Kasich 23%, and Cruz 19%.
In the U.S. Senate race, GOP voters had a choice of 14 candidates. Takoma Park Republicans cast 32 votes (23%) for Kathy Szeliga and 20 votes (14%) for Chris Chaffee. At the state level, Szeliga also racked up the most votes with 36%, which means she will face off against Chris Van Hollen in November.
For the District 8 congressional contest, the city’s Republican voters gave 51 votes (38%) to Dan Cox, 23 to Jeffrey Jones (17%), and 19 to Shelly Skolnick (14%). In this race too, Takoma Park voters were aligned with the rest of District 8, where Cox won with 44% of the votes cast.
All the figures quoted here are from the Montgomery County and Maryland Board of Elections websites, and are not officially certified. To check out the state results, which extend back to the 1980s, go to www.elections.state.md.us/elections/2016/results/primary/index.html.
We should also acknowledge that all the numbers cited above as Takoma Park totals are technically approximations for the City because Takoma Park contains four voting precincts (numbered 13-04, 13-06, 13-21 and 13-68), and all the votes are tallied by precinct. And one of those precincts contains a small sliver of Silver Spring, too, so these numbers are not 100 percent Takoma Parkian. Nonetheless, they provide an excellent point of comparison for how our City voted compared to the rest of the state and nation.
This article appeared in the June 2016 edition of the Takoma Park Newsletter. The Takoma Park Newsletter is available for download here.