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Analysis: GOP Voters Actually Get A Say In Maryland, D.C. Presidential Primaries

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Reid Wilson, National Journal Hotline

Primary voters in Maryland and D.C. head to the polls April 3, and Republicans will have a rare say in the GOP presidential contest, which many expected to be over by now. But a number of local and Congressional races will be on ballots as well.

Reid Wilson, editor-in-chief of the National Journal Hotline talks with WAMU 88.5 Morning Edition Host Matt McCleskey about what to expect on Tuesday. Here are some highlights:

On the last time Republicans in Maryland and D.C. got to weigh in on a presidential nomination: "It's been decades, if ever," Wilson says. "Democrats got to vote in the contested Hillary Clinton/Barack Obama primary 4 years ago … but it takes you awhile to figure out when was the last time Republicans were really competitive by this point."

How the candidates will fare: "Both Maryland and D.C. vote much more like northeastern states than like southern states, and Mitt Romney has done much better in northeastern states than he has in those southern states where he's had more of a problem," Wilson says. 

On the results of a recent straw poll among Republican activists in D.C.: "Mitt Romney took an overwhelming majority," Wilson says. "I think we're likely to see on april 3, Romney winning the vast majority of the delegates in both D.C. and Maryland."

Whether the candidates have been trying to woo voters in Maryland or D.C.: "Not too much. Mitt did a stop in Maryland last week, and Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum were in D.C. earlier this week, but that was more about the Supreme Court arguments over the health care law than anything else," Wilson says. 

On the key Maryland race to watch: "Maryland's 6th congressional district, now held by Roscoe Bartlett. Democrats now believe that new district lines are going to make this seat much more competitive," Wilson says. "It's one of their top pickup targets in the country."

On the Democratic primary for that seat, which is led by businessman John Delaney, and State Sen. Rob Garagiola: "This contest is getting pretty heated, and has gotten really negative," Wilson says. "Garagiola looked like he had a lead at the beginning of the contest, but serious questions about his lobbying disclosure forms and some other activities he has taken while in Annapolis are really giving Delaney an entry to be a serious competitor. Delaney at the moment is probably the front runner."

On Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) primary challenge: "He doesn't face too much competition," Wilson says. "His main opponent, [C. Anthony Muse] is a state senator from Prince George's County, and it looks like he's got some support. You can see his yard signs on the ground -- whether that's an indication that Cardin is really in trouble, I don't think so."

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