Mark Plaster, a Republican running for Maryland’s 3rd Congressional district, is a veteran with two war-time deployments to Iraq, a distinguished businessman, and an emergency room doctor. Mr. Plaster’s campaign strategy mirrors that of Maryland’s successful Republican governor Larry Hogan: Creating opportunity for all, protecting personal liberties, and staying away from controversial social issues.
It’s a winning strategy that not only elected a Republican in a blue state, but also awards Hogan the highest favorability numbers of a Maryland governor since at least 1989.
Maryland’s 3rd District snakes up into northern Baltimore, west into Montgomery and Howard counties, and south into Anne Arundel county. Anti-gerrymandering activists recently ran, biked, and boated 225 miles–all while remaining in the district–to demonstrate just how illogical the current boundaries are.
It’s logical that the people of northern Baltimore would have very different needs and concerns than the people of southern Maryland. So why should both groups be represented by the same person?
Maryland’s gerrymandered 3rd District prevents the concerns of hard-working rural Marylanders from ever being heard, as their votes are washed out by the dense Democrat-voting populations of urban areas like Baltimore. Job growth, national security, and deficit spending are the most pressing matters for many Americans today–and, incidentally, are the policies Mark Plaster’s running on. However, Maryland’s 3rd District is skewed so far in favor of the 5-term incumbent John Sarbanes that those concerns are not addressed.
John Sarbanes’ top issues include climate change and stopping “big money” from drowning out campaigns. This last one is understandable: gerrymandering makes Mark Plaster’s campaign hugely expensive, since building name recognition has to be done over thin, long-reaching slivers of communities.
Although the challenges of running against a congressional incumbent are incredibly severe in Maryland’s 3rd District, it does not make the campaign unwinnable. Those that represent the issues of the people can always prevail over those that are out for their own personal gain. Mark Plaster is running a campaign focused on issues Marylanders care about: our economy, our national security, and caring for our veterans. Thankfully, Governor Hogan has shown that such a platform is not only a winning ticket, but leads to positive, real changes.
It might be an uphill battle, but it is a winnable one.