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Maryland vs Nebraska
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August 30, 2012
Maryland is one of the “bluest” states in the Union. The Gallup organization has determined that Maryland is the 4th most Democratic state in the county, just below New York, and just above Massachusetts. WYPR’s Art Buist is at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, and decided to find out what political life is like in the 4th most Republican state.
Art Buist: Just before the Republican convention, Gallup crunched its polling numbers to see how sharply voters in the various states leaned toward Republicans or Democrats. As it turned out Maryland is the 4th most Democratic state with a score of plus 20% and Nebraska is the 4th most Republican State with a score of minus 19%. So the states are virtually mirror images of each other when it comes to being Democrat or Republican.
At the Republican Convention, in a quiet spot just off the Floor, WYPR brought together a Republican legislator from each state so they could compare notes.
Nebraska State Senator Tony Fulton represents a district that includes Lincoln, Nebraska.
Nebraska State Senator Tony Fulton: Generally the Republican candidates have an advantage in statewide elections, because he who wins the Republican Primary tends to win the General Election.
Buist: Sound familiar? Except in Maryland it’s the Democrats with the advantage. Maryland State Senator E. J. Pipkin of Cecil County, who spoke while at the GOP convention, said:
Maryland State Senator E. J. Pipkin: A Republican in Maryland has a unique set of challenges, there’s no doubt about that. But, you know the Republicans in Maryland are small in number but large in voice.
Buist: Nebraska’s legislature has only one chamber. Senator Fulton says he works with Democrats, and sometimes ideas from Democrats can make their way into the state budget and laws.
Senator Fulton: There are ideas, but in order to get your ideas passed, if you are a Democrat, they have to have a conservative tilt to it. And that really has something to do with the people of Nebraska, and that shows up, politically, in our party registration. So I suppose you could argue it is easier to be a Republican.
Buist: Both Nebraska and Maryland have constitutional requirements for a balanced budget; but according to Senator Pipkin, the budget priorities wind-up in very different places.
Senator Pipkin: You could not get a starker contrast than my colleague is explaining in Nebraska and Maryland, where we’re in this central planning model, in which the government and the governor, and Democrats in the legislature, and Democrats in the Governor’s Mansion, believe they know how to spend people’s money better than they do. And, that permeates every decision that takes place in our state government.
Buist: There is little doubt that in the November election, Maryland will go for Obama, and Nebraska will go for Romney. But just as in Maryland, where party activists travel to the swing states of Pennsylvania and Virginia, party activists from Nebraska have to go to other states to have an impact on the national election.
Senator Fulton: I’ve known individuals who have gone up to Wisconsin and Ohio, and of course Iowa, Iowa’s a battleground state, and that’s just across the Missouri River from Nebraska.
Buist: There is one difference in allocation of Electoral college votes between Nebraska and Maryland. Maryland’s 10 Electoral Votes are winner take all. Nebraska has 5 votes. Nebraska, and Maine, allocate their electoral votes by congressional district, so even though Nebraska went for McCain in 2008, there was one congressional district around Omaha, where Obama won.
Senator Fulton: He actually took an Electoral vote out of Nebraska, and that was very troubling to Nebraskans.
Buist: At least at the Republican Convention, Maryland Republicans can get to know what it feels like to be in the majority.
I’m Art Buist, reporting from Tampa, for 88-1 WYPR.
You can reach the WYPR Newsroom firstname.lastname@example.org.
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