Since it seemed to me to be sort of an unfair fight and a point was made, I closed my poll a couple days early.
It’s obvious that two campaigns have enough supporters (and programming savvy, since I know it can be done) to game the system in such a way that they’ll do well. If this were an actual scientific survey it’s obvious the top two wouldn’t get 98% of the vote as they did.
But here’s how this poll turned out:
- David Craig – 2,153 (52.95%)
- Larry Hogan – 1,831 (45.03%)
- Brian Murphy – 29 (0.71%)
- Bob Ehrlich – 15 (0.37%)
- Charles Lollar – 15 (0.37%)
- Marty Madden – 9 (0.22%)
- Blaine Young – 5 (0.12%)
- Pat McDonough – 3 (0.07%)
- E.J. Pipkin – 3 (0.07%)
- Michael Steele – 3 (0.07%)
Compare this with a straw poll recently done at the Maryland YR Convention, where among those I listed on my ballot David Craig won, but with just 25 percent. He was trailed by Michael Steele with 21%, Larry Hogan at 13%, Blaine Young at 8%, and Charles Lollar and Brian Murphy at 4 percent. Marty Madden and Pat McDonough got no votes.
I suspect that if someone actually did a real, scientific poll with these ten names on it Michael Steele and Bob Ehrlich would be the top two and it would comprise about 50 percent of the vote. That’s simply based on name recognition at this point, and not any substantive discussion of issues.
The next tier would feature David Craig, Larry Hogan, and Brian Murphy, and it would get about 30 percent of the vote.
The bottom tier would be led by Young, with McDonough, Pipkin, Lollar, and Madden bringing up the rear.
But neither Ehrlich nor Steele has made any overtures toward running in 2014, and that small 20 percent or so who would like a fourth Ehrlich run are very, very likely to be disappointed. In the meantime, David Craig is all but officially in and has been talking like a candidate for months; meanwhile Larry Hogan has a 12,000-strong Change Maryland group as a possible support base. Brian Murphy obviously has some residual 2010 support to count on as well.
The others have name recognition, but only in one part of the state: Young in the Frederick area, McDonough around Baltimore, Pipkin on the Upper Eastern Shore, Lollar in southern Maryland, and Madden around Howard County. With the exception of Pipkin in 2004, none have embarked formally on the rigors of a statewide race.
Of course, the process is a long way from over since we are still over two years out from the GOP primary, and not everyone mentioned as a hopeful will actually decide to run. My belief is that when all is said and done we will have three and perhaps four viable candidates vying for the nomination, since it’s an open seat. But it’s obvious which ones are trying to put their name into circulation as a front-runner.