This is a big election year in Maryland. On the Senate side, popular Republican Lt. Governor Michael Steele is running no worse than even with his likely Democratic opponent, Rep. Benjamin Cardin. If Steele wins, it will be an invaluable pick-up for Republicans. But meanwhile Republican Governor Robert Ehrlich will face a strong challenge in his re-election bid in this strongly Democratic-leaning state.
A Baltimore Circuit Court threw a fly in the political ointment earlier this week by striking down Maryland’s law against same-sex marriage. State Democratic leaders recognize that this ruling could galvanize Governor Ehrlich’s base, increasing turnout for him and Steele, and that it could also turn some middle-of-the road voters in favor of the Republican candidates.
The Wasington Post reports that, accordingly, leading Democrats are considering a plan that would block a ruling on the appeal until after the elections. Their view is that if no final decision is rendered between now and November, the issue will have little impact on the election. However, this assumes (a) that the Maryland Republicans are potted plants and (b) that the state legislature has the authority to instruct the Maryland court of appeals not to decide a constitutional issue. Since both assumptions are dubious, some Democrats propose the reverse strategy — that they attempt to expedite the appeal so it is decided many months before the election.
But just in case neither strategy works, the Dems have a back-up plan — let felons vote.
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