The Maryland GOP is relevant nationally for the first time in years.
Maryland Republicans are eager to weigh in on the GOP presidential contest on Tuesday, because for once in a great while, Maryland's votes may actually have national implications.
Maryland is a blue state, so it’s never really in play during the general election. Primaries tend to be a different story, though voters in the state have been frustrated recently. By the time Maryland’s primary rolled around in 2008, Senator John McCain was already considered the inevitable Republican nominee. But with four GOP presidential contenders locked in a nasty fight, no campaign has a clear end game in sight this year. Maryland resident Christine Merrill says this year things are a little different.
"I thought it would have been decided by the time the Maryland primary came up, and I expected to vote mainly symbolically, but I feel it is still a little bit up in the air," says Merrill. "The outcome of the Maryland primary will affect the momentum of the race."
Maryland Republican Congressman Roscoe Bartlett admits the newfound importance of the state's primary isn't totally accidental.
"We moved our primary date up so that people would pay some attention to us," says Bartlett. "Maybe they will this year. Previously we've gotten little attention."
When returns roll in Tuesday evening, Maryland will have to share the national spotlight with Wisconsin and the District, which also hold primaries today. Maryland’s 37 delegates could help decide this presidential contest that’s now centered on solidifying enough delegates to lock in a convention win. That’s drawing some new voters to the primary, like former Independent Jim Pierobon, who switched party affiliation so he could weigh in on the contest.
"More of what we think can make a difference for candidates for the general election can be done so in, well, the Republican primary," says Pierobon.
This story was informed in part by sources in WAMU's Public Insight Network. It's a way for people to share their stories with us and for us to reach out for input on upcoming stories. Learn more about the Public Insight Network.