With just about a month until election day, there are a few things that seem clear.
In the Presidential race, Obama/Biden will win in Maryland and win big. Of course, this was a foregone conclusion from the beginning and neither party has mounted a presidential campaign here because of that. Obama's lead seems to be growing, though and he seems to be doing well in the neighboring states of Pennsylvania and Virginia. He has a solid lead in Delaware. West Virginia could go to McCain, but much depends on the economy.
On a congressional level, seven of Maryland's eight seats seem to be safe for incumbents. The only question is in the First District. Here Frank Kratovil and Andy Harris are campaigning hard to succeed Wayne Gilchrest. At this point, it looks as though Kratovil will do well on the Eastern Shore, but Andy Harris will do well in the portion of the district on the Western Shore. Polling seems to be very close. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has put a lot of money into the race and we'll see if that makes a difference in the home stretch.
Both parties are working actively to register voters and provide grass-roots support. It's instructive to look at voter registration numbers. As of October 2, there were 193,223 registered Democrats and 189,858 registered Republicans in the District. Another 67,155 were either unafilliated or registered to a smaller party. In the past six days (since 9/26) 669 voters had newly registered as Democrats in the district while 471 had newly registered as Republicans. Voter turnout is expected to be high - more than 80% of registered voters. Last minute registrations and get out the vote efforts might prove to be crucial in this race. The registration deadline to vote in the general election is October 14 at 9:00 pm.
The big question on the ballot this year will be a referendum on approving the licensing of slot machines in Maryland. Lately the opponents have been waging a shrill campaign against the question (I get two or three e-mails a day from them). Supporters have been relatively quiet. It will be interesting to see if the fiscal problems in Maryland at both the state and local levels brings out more support in the next month. It's amusing to see former Governor Bob Ehrlich, who strongly supported slots when he was governor try to justify his opposition to them now as something other than raw political jealousy. At this point I'm betting (wagering? gambling? venturing?) that the question will pass, but it won't be as easy as it looked six months ago.