Gov: Well, this year we got Hogan(R) and Jealous(D). Hogan will win, it's not even in dispute really. MD is blue as hell, but we'll take the moderate republican who avoids making too many waves and gets shit done over the extreme-left guy with a dubious grasp on economics. So, my decision is if it's worth expressing a protest vote for the libertarian candidate, Quinn. The guy's can't possibly win, and his platform's a bit thin, but the whole "end the war on drugs" here thing is legit. Gotta balance the extremely slight chance that a vote for Hogan will matter vs expressing support for the outsider. Kinda undecided on that.
Comptroller: It's a partisan race, though frankly, it probably shouldn't be. No third party candidates to support. The democrat is arguing for efficiency in taxation, and the republican is arguing for solar panel incentives. Amusing, but...eh. It's a partisan grudgematch, but I can't see all that much reason to care. Comptroller's may affect how well policy is implemented in some regards, but they don't generally set it, and the differences here are not great. There appears to be some ongoing quibbling regarding if CPA certification is important to the role. Meh.
AG: Well, the incumbent, Frosh, is a raging dick. I know the guy, and I'll vote for literally anyone other than him. Sadly, again no third party candidates.
Senator: Not a seat in contention. Carden(D)'ll hold it. Thankfully, we actually have candidates. Most of them are batshit crazy, but hey, that's the breaks when dealing with unaffiliated/third party candidates. The libertarian guy at least can make some coherent points about medical problems. Easy choice to vote L.
US Rep: Again, not in any real contention. Among the safest of Democrat seats. The green guy is delightful, talking about the policy of "austerity" the government currently has. Jesus. I think he stopped paying attention to politics back in the Bush era. Oh dear, he blames Clinton for austerity. Sometimes you get a green candidate making a few valid points, but this guy's sadly a stereotype. The republican candidate is reasonably good as far as republican options go. She's a small business owner and what not, but is a little too heavy on repeating talking points. Also, anti-abortion, and answer to violence is just "increased penalties". Unfortunate. Definitely another Libertarian protest vote. That said, the libertarian actually seems quite reasonable. If he got the job, I'd be all about his pledge to end for-profit prisons. He won't though.
State Senator: I don't know the democrat candidate well, but I do know that for all her posturing about making a "lockbox" to prevent the casino money from being used for purposes other than those promised, she was among the looters(previous congressional history). On the flip side, the republican incumbent almost lost his primary for getting all islamophobic on social media. I want neither of these people, but there are no third party options. Probably gonna look up gun voting records and go solely off that. I'd vote for literally any third party option if they existed, though.
State Rep(3 choices): We got 3 democrats, 3 republicans, and a write in candidate. Upon investigation, the write-in candidate is obviously a republican. Also, she appears to be bad at campaigning or putting info out there. Probably why she's a write-in. Can safely eliminate her as a viable candidate. Of the candidates, Mike Rogers(D) gets points for being prior military, and generally sounding reasonable. Drug education is, while unexciting, at least a perfectly fine thing to champion. Additional points for taking the time to explicitly work at promoting a bipartisan end to gerrymandering. Chang(D) appears...like a bog standard democrat. Nothing particularly objectionable, but really heavy on padding out nothing statements rather than answering questions. An incumbent, unsurprisingly. Last, but definitely least among the democrats, we have Bartlett, who uses the appropriate dog whistle statement to support continuing gerrymandering, opposed an attempt at a SYG law, and is also fond of the nothing-statements. Slight redeeming points for calling out MD's dumpster fire of a mental health system. Would be more if she wasn't an incumbent who'd done nothing about them save use them as an excuse for gun control.
On the republican side of the fence for this(excluding the failure), we got Tim Walters, who talks a surprising amount about Environmental issues. I don't actually want laws prohibiting pavement. I want to be able to have a paved driveway, and previous laws about that have been a source of conflict. Slight points for actually promoting building more roads. Kind of contradicts his earlier talk, and "build roads" shouldn't be controversial, but MD is stupid. Bleh. Patty Ewig. Would be a bog standard republican, save for wanting to build more on our public healthcare, and wanting to build more public transportation. Also, obviously, no mention of controversial republican topics like immigration. They don't fly here, and candidates here generally do not touch such things. Lastly, we got Bailey, who says basically nothing. Talking about what a challenge an issue is but providing no actual stance is kinda weak.
Summary: Probs Mike Rogers(D), and whichever two of the rest of the lot happen to be least anti-gun. Options are pretty meh. Mostly not awful, but just...all very samey. Only one candidate out of seven I actually like.
County Exec: Republican incumbent will likely hold it. That said, the democrat challenger said nice things about paving the world for more highway, while the incumbent wants to keep a ton of land protected. Stupid republican with stupid environmental loving attitudes. Gimmie that pavement. Pittman(D)
County Council: Democratic incumbent. Both seem otherwise reasonable, but Republican challenger wants to kill the rain tax. Democrat likes it. As far as I'm concerned, the Republican could eat babies for breakfast, she gets my vote. Burns(R)
Gonna just skip over unopposed races. Pointless to have them on the ballot, really.
County Attorney: There appears to be some sort of disagreement over if prosecutors need formal training or not. According to the incumbent, no. Not being overly fond of police and prosecutors to begin with, I have a slight anti-incumbency bias to begin with, and thus will probably go with the challenger. Gotta research a bit more to make sure of this, but that's the gut feeling.
County Clerk: Democratic challenger pledges to solve gun violence, streamline business licensing, and raise the legal marriage age(MD, being stuck in the medieval era in some respects, allows 15 yr olds to marry). I'm not sure how you do that as a clerk save for the business licensing stuff(which I've done, and which was fairly easy). Searching...huh. He talks about guns a *lot*, and about the tools he'll have as a county clerk. He never actually lists any of them, but given that I want exactly zero new gun restrictions, I'm gonna go with the republican incumbent here. He's boring, but at least doesn't seem to threaten anything.
Register of Wills. Another partisan race that seems...unnecessary? As long as the wills are being handled, I don't really care about the affiliation. Incumbent is Republican, I think. I can't actually be bothered to care much about this position. There's no conflict over performance so far as I'm aware, and there's no opportunity to promote a third party, so I'm going to just ignore it.
Orphan's Court: Technically partisan, but since it's a "pick three", and only Republicans could be bothered to run three candidates, it's kind of obvious how this is going to go. I'll not vote for Phelps(R) on the basis of her being a realtor, and thus having a potential slight conflict of interest in the disposition of property. This is a pretty trivial discriminator, but as races go, it's not competitive anyways.
Sheriff: Both of them have extensive law enforcement credentials in the area. This is not generally a positive. However, the incumbent did get kicked out in a primary challenge(he was Republican). This fills me with joy, as they made virtually no effort to find the people who vandalized my vehicle to the point it needed to be totaled. Yeah, guy on top had no direct contact with that, but he's the only person I can take my annoyance out on, so...his fault. The two(partisan) candidates appear nigh identical, with both promising to do something about the nigh-infinite backlog. Either's probably a win compared to what we had. Will research more later, but for now, actually pleased about this result.
Board of Education: Voting for the candidate who did not begin the description of why they were qualified with "I'm a mother". Parents are a dime a dozen. I'll take the candidate with three degrees.
In practice, these generally go the way the Democrats signal they ought to. So, not actually that much in doubt, but hey.
#1. Lockbox law. IE, requiring that casino tax moneys actually go to education, as was promised back when they were legalized. I mean, the money went to them, but money is fungible, so reducing the funding from the general fund in roughly equal amount means that in effect money goes to the general fund. The lockbox law is okay, I guess. Probably yes, but my caring is minor. I'd swap in a heartbeat if it meant less taxes for me.
#2. Same day voter registration. Voting against. Registration is trivial and free in this state, and poll workers will be downright offended if you try to show ID. We have generous early voting as well and automatic voter registration at the MVA, so if you went to great lengths to not be registered by the day before, screw you for holding up the line on the last day.
#3. Should we require the county auditor to be informed of cases of gov fraud? Uh, yes. This question is stupid, and it's amazing that this has not been required.
#A(look, I don't make the numbering system, okay?). Require the government to post public notice of impending zoning change so citizens can be informed. This is another obvious yes. It's annoying that people are lobbying against this. I shouldn't have to attend county council meetings in person to know that my land use rules have changed.
#B. Increase minimum level of contracts require competitive bidding from $25k to $50k. Yeah, that's fair. Inflation happens. They tried going straight for $75k last time and got shot down, but this is more modest.