The key nine days

Well, as Mitt Romney says on his website, “it’s your turn, Maryland.” But will the turn be expressed in simple media buys or are we going to be graced with the presence of the four major candidates? That’s the question which doesn’t seem to have an answer, but unfortunately the signs presently point to a heavier emphasis on Wisconsin (which also votes April 3 and has a slightly larger delegate package) than on Maryland and Washington, D.C.

Most would consider Mitt Romney the favorite in this state, which is relatively similar in makeup to a number of other Northeast states where he’s done well. Mitt was the first to visit this state last week by holding a townhall meeting in Arbutus, but he’s also cultivated a long list of endorsements from state elected officials and party insiders in the months leading up to the primary. Add in the fact he has plenty of money to saturate the state’s two key media markets (one of which he also used leading up to the Virginia primary) and he may not even feel the need to visit the state again.

Newt Gingrich hasn’t been a stranger to Maryland, being the keynote speaker at the state party’s Red White and Blue Dinner twice in the last three years (the other speaker was Mitt Romney in 2010.) But while he has a Delaware appearance on his upcoming schedule tomorrow evening at Hockessin (near Wilmington), there are no Maryland events on his docket yet. However, Newt does not have a Wisconsin event slated for himself until Thursday evening, meaning he could spend the midweek in the Free State.

Moreover, Gingrich has an incentive to campaign in this area, as First District Congressman Andy Harris is one of his state co-chairs. The Baltimore Sun is reporting that Gingrich will be in Annapolis Tuesday, which fits with the Delaware event.

Ron Paul has already slated a Maryland event, appearing at a rally at the University of Maryland on Wednesday evening. But he has slowed down his appearances since keeping up a frenetic pace in caucus states earlier this month, sticking mainly to rallies at large colleges (such as the University of Maryland) in other states.

So far Rick Santorum has a limited number of events on his calendar, all in Wisconsin. It’s likely he would be in the Badger State until at least Tuesday, when he has two rallies there. In theory he could be in Maryland tomorrow but that’s very short notice. Given that his rallies seem to be somewhat lengthy affairs, there would likely need to be some advance notice so if he’s indeed coming to Maryland it’s likely Rick would make a final push here closer to the end of the week.

And while early voting has commenced, the vast majority of votes will still be cast on Election Day April 3. So if presidential candidates want to do some retail politicking here in Maryland, their opportunity to do so is waning quickly.