As early primary voting begins, more Anne Arundel Democrats, fewer Republicans registered to vote compared to 2018

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As early voting for the midterm elections begins Thursday, data from the Anne Arundel County Board of Elections shows more Democrats and fewer Republicans have registered to vote in the county over the last four years while overall voter registration has increased by about 25,000.

About 174,000 residents were registered as Democrats as of June 30, an increase of about 8% from the last midterm elections in 2018, when about 161,000 Democrats were registered. Republican voter registration over that same time declined by about 3.5% from above 135,000 in 2018 to about 130,000 in 2022.


Meanwhile, third-party and unaffiliated voters, who are not eligible to vote in the July 19 primary, have increased by about 18% from under 89,000 voters in May 2018 to nearly 105,000 voters in June 2022.

About 410,000 people were registered to vote in Anne Arundel County as of June 30, according to the county’s board of elections. That’s an increase of 25,000 registered voters over four years ago when 385,000 county residents were registered to vote.


The same day early voting begins, Republican county executive candidates Herb McMillan and Jessica Haire will get to share their visions for the county at a candidate forum in Annapolis.

Early voting lasts from Thursday through July 14. Voters can visit one of nine early voting locations from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. to cast their ballots or drop off their completed ballot at a drop box. They may also register the same day they vote on July 19 with Maryland documentation.

Republicans may have lost voters in the area because former President Donald Trump’s brand of conservatism didn’t resonate in Anne Arundel County, said Dan Nataf, a professor of political science at Anne Arundel Community College.

“The shot across the bow was the election for president in 2020,” Nataf said. “The fact that [President Joe] Biden won overwhelmingly was indicative of the fact that there were a lot of Republicans and unaffiliated voters that just could not stomach Trump and what the Republican party has become under Trump.”

The county’s suburban and secular nature lends itself to a more moderate identity, Nataf said, adding that the county also has lots of residents who work in government and who tend to be more risk-averse voters.

“With the kind of anti-institutionalist perspective that Trump has forced the Republican party to adopt, I just don’t think it’s very appealing [for some voters],” he said. “It doesn’t have a message that resonates with a growing share of people in Anne Arundel County.”

Though abortion laws, gun laws and inflation are not issues that can meaningfully be dealt with at the county level, they impact the way residents align themselves with a party, Nataf said.

Democrats have only one option for county executive in the primary, incumbent Steuart Pittman. Republicans, meanwhile, are looking at a crowded field of candidates that include Edgewater Council member Jessica Haire, Herb McMillan, a former state delegate and Annapolis alderman, former County Council member John Grasso, local businessman Chris Jahn and Pasadena engineer Fernando Berra.


Residents will have an opportunity to meet Haire and McMillan at a GOP candidate forum hosted by the Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce Thursday, the day early voting kicks off. From 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Michael Busch Library in Annapolis residents can watch the candidates share their plans for the county and explain why they should be the party’s choice to face Pittman in November.

The event will not include Grasso, Jahn and Berra.

“To have a meaningful forum with five candidates would be difficult in terms of time allocation,” said Mark Kleinschmidt president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce. “What our legislative committee decided to do was just extend invitation to what we perceived as the two frontrunners.”

While the county has limited polling data on local races, Kleinschmidt, who will moderate the forum, said the chamber saw Haire and McMillan as the frontrunners after reviewing various “assessments of the race.”

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Haire represents a more moderate option for Republicans, voting for a resolution to condemn the violence at the United States Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. McMillan is a self-proclaimed Trump fan. The primary could be a window into which way Republican voters in the county are swinging at the moment, Nataf said.

“This a Trump, never-Trumper divide,” Nataf said, adding that while McMillan has historically been more moderate at times in his career, he seems to be targeting Trump voters ahead of the primary.


Thursday’s forum will focused on business and economic issues, but event attendees will have a chance to ask the candidates questions after Haire and McMillan give their half-hour statements about why the county should choose them to lead. The Chamber of Commerce will then ask one question — What will the candidates do to help improve the local economy and support the business community?

“We’re going to see what the crowd comes up with,” Kleinschmidt said. “which always will make it interesting.”

The Chamber of Commerce is planning another forum during the general election. As a nonpartisan, countywide group, it’s the chamber’s responsibility to give residents opportunities to get informed on local issues and races, Kleinschmidt said.

“Yes, there’s social media. Yes, there are print ads, but there is nothing like seeing a political candidate in person, hearing what they say and how they say it about a particular issue to find out if it’s someone that you could support,” he said.

Early voting locations:

  • Arundel Middle School: 1179 Hammond Lane, Odenton
  • Gladys D. Greene Banquet Hall: 898 Airport Park Road, Glen Burnie
  • Magothy River / Severn River Middle School: 241 Peninsula Farm Road, Arnold
  • Annapolis Middle School: 1399 Forest Dr., Annapolis
  • Central Middle School: 221 Central Avenue East, Edgewater
  • Crofton High School: 2291 Davidsonville Road, Gambrills
  • Anne Arundel County Board of Elections: 6740 Baymeadow Dr., Glen Burnie
  • Laurel Park Racetrack: 198 Laurel Race Track Road, Laurel
  • Deale Elks Lodge: 6022 Drum Point Road, Deal