Somehow I missed this becoming official, although the rumor has been lurking for awhile. But yesterday Delegate Addie Eckardt withdrew from the District 37B Delegate race and decided to challenge embattled incumbent Senator Richard Colburn for his State Senate seat. The local fallout from this decision is obvious.
First of all, the Democrats will have to scramble to take advantage of this. They still have a candidate who has filed for the Senate seat in Cheryl Everman of Talbot County, but I had seen a report on her Facebook page she was withdrawing. She has not filed that paperwork yet, though. Meanwhile, Jeff Quinton reported late last month that former Baltmore County Councilman and Delegate Joe Bartenfelder was considering a run, as he owns a farm in the district. Neither Everman nor Bartenfelder would have the financial resources initially to compete, but if one cedes the field to the other it could make for an interesting election in November.
The same could hold true in the Delegate race, which is now for two open seats and has three Republicans running in the primary. Obviously this is good news for one of them, since it was widely considered that Eckardt would be a shoo-in to secure one seat. It also gives Democrat Keasha Haythe a fighting chance, but she labors under the restriction that both Delegates must represent separate counties – both she and Republican Johnny Mautz, Jr. hail from Talbot County. The other two Republicans, Christopher Adams and Dr. Rene Desmarais, come from Wicomico County. It leads to a lot of different possible dynamics.
But who would win a primary election for the Senate district? Well, if 2010 voting is any indication, Addie Eckardt has the advantage. While she polled 17,853 votes in her legislative district Colburn only received 17,174. Both had some Democratic opposition but in Eckardt’s case there was only one running for the two seats in the House district. The same was true in 2006, although Colburn had both Democratic and independent opponents while Eckardt defeated two Democrats for the seat. Philosophically, both are relatively similar as Colburn’s monoblogue Accountability Project lifetime score of 72 barely beats Eckardt’s lifetime 71 score.
So it appears the Eastern Shore political landscape will continue in a year of upheaval. Of the twelve who represented the Shore at the beginning of 2013, one has resigned, one has advanced from Delegate to Senator to replace him (and faces a primary challenge), one is the lieutenant governor candidate on a statewide ticket, two current Delegates are contending for Senate seats against incumbents, and out of the other officials one has just a primary opponent while the remainder have drawn general election opponents.