Tuesday’s local elections across the country came a year before the 2020 election in which Maryland voters will cast ballots for president and U.S. House representatives. Baltimore voters will also elect a mayor.

Neighboring Virginia, once a tossup state, continued to become reliably Democratic. Democrats gained control of the Virginia Senate and House.


Here is a look at Tuesday’s results and what they could mean for Maryland:

The electorate seemed engaged for an election in which neither the presidency nor congressional seats were on the ballot.

In 2018, 53 percent of the nation’s voting-age population voted in the midterm elections—and turnout was up among all racial and ethnic groups, according to the Census Bureau.

Turnout in Maryland in 2018 was 54.2 percent, the nation’s 19th highest total, according to the U.S. Election Project.

High turnout is generally good news for Democrats in Maryland since the party holds a 2-1 voter registration advantage.

Opposition and support for President Donald Trump seems to drive voter turnout upward, and Trump is unpopular in Maryland.

Maryland had a number of local races Tuesday, and not all turnout figures were immediately available.

In Bel Air – where there were town commissioner elections — voter turnout was 10.5 percent, “a really good turnout,” Director of Administration Michael Krantz said. Turnout more than doubled that of the past two Bel Air elections.

Gun control was a potent issue Tuesday in Virginia and other states. In Virginia, Democrats said their gun safety positions contributed to their electoral success.

Gun laws remain an issue in Maryland, where legislation to require background checks for private sales of rifles and shotguns failed during the last legislative session when legislators couldn't hammer out differences between two versions of the bill. Under current law, background checks are only required for long gun purchases made from a licensed firearms dealer.

There was disagreement nationally about whether Tuesday’s election results hold meaning for Trump’s re-election prospects in 2020.

Democrats said Republican Kentucky governor Matt Bevin had lost a close race to Democrat Andy Beshear, but Bevins refused to concede. Trump had campaigned for Bevin in a state the president won by 30 percentage points in 2016.

“The Democrats nominated a moderate, who’s dad was a moderate, who didn’t talk about impeachment or Trump, and who acts like a Republican,” Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale tweeted. “Talk about Kentucky when an actual Democrat runs.”