Momentum is a precious commodity in American politics, worth far more than Bitcoin. In the Maryland Democratic gubernatorial primary, Krish Vignarajah’s campaign seems both well-equipped and well-positioned to harness the grassroots energy needed to move up in the polls and secure the nomination.
Today, Krish Vignarajah won the endorsement of the Columbia Democratic Club.
Her campaign reminds me of then-State Senator Russ Feingold’s come-from-way-behind primary win in the 1992 Democratic U.S. Senate primary in Wisconsin. Matched up against two heavy establishment favorites who spent lavishly on attack ads against one another, Feingold began his self-described underdog campaign in a distant third place. And he remained there, mostly in single digits…for quite a while. In fact, a survey that ran in the Milwaukee Journal on August 16 had Feingold with 10% of the vote, compared to 42% for then-U.S. Representative Jim Moody and 40% for Milwaukee business-owner Joe Checota. So he was at least 30 points behind the two front-runners with a ballot test only double the survey’s margin of error (5 percent).
Did I mention that this poll was released 24 days before the date of the primary election?
By using humor in a year that favored “outsiders” while the Establishment candidates viciously tore into each other, Feingold not only won, he won big…with 69.72% of the vote compared to 14.12% for Moody and 13.57% for Checota.
My point is this: in a crowded Democratic field, with the Establishment candidates (Baker, Kamenetz) jockeying for supremacy in that lane…with the progressives demonstrating either the likely presence of an electoral ceiling (Jealous) or failing to yet show the ability to expand their geographic base (why is Madaleno’s initial TV spend in Montgomery County, shouldn’t he be a known entity there at this point?), there is plenty of room to maneuver.
The Democratic candidate who can assemble a coalition with women, young voters, seniors, people of color, rural/suburban/urban white voters, and progressives of all genders and sexual orientations can and will emerge as the Party’s nominee and standard-bearer against Governor Hogan in the General Election. I believe that Krish Vignarajah, in part based on her strong performances at grassroots Democratic Party meetings throughout Maryland, can and will emerge as that candidate.
The momentum is starting.