Frustrated consumers could be new voting bloc

The lieutenant governor wants to succeed Martin O'Malley in Annapolis, and he leads the small pack of Democratic candidates in campaign contributions. He's picked up endorsements all over the place. He's the favorite in every way, except one: He was the administration's point man on the implementation of Obamacare.

Brown dances around that just a bit, pointing out that he didn't have personal, day-to-day oversight of the rollout of the biggest health care expansion in 50 years, while the people who did never warned him that the website was as unstable as a Soviet-era microwave.

How the I-was-kept-in-the-dark position holds up in a candidate's debate remains to be seen.

Timing is everything in comedy and politics, so there's this, too: Maryland's primary comes breathtakingly soon this year — June, not September — about 10 weeks after the final deadline for health insurance enrollment. The O'Malley-Brown administration is sticking with the state's online exchange, suggesting either informed confidence in the repaired system or a fear of losing even more face by moving to the federal one.

So, things certainly need to go swimmingly from here on out, or Brown could find himself with a real fight on his hands.

That might already be the case.

The people I've heard from — Regner, Rapoport, Somerville, Sharon Filicko (mentioned in my Jan. 16 column) and others — all seem to be engaged and savvy citizens. They appreciated the opportunity in Obamacare, but they were entirely frustrated with its rollout on the O'Malley-Brown watch.

There could be thousands of Marylanders just like them, and I'm sure they'll be voting in the June 24 primary.

Dan Rodricks' column appears each Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. He is the host of "Midday" on WYPR-FM.

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