Jim Mathias Leading Michael James in Maryland District 38

Posted on October 30, 2010

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Many on the Lower Eastern Shore thought Michael James was the favorite in the race with Del. James Mathias for the District 38 State Senate seat in Maryland. Mr. James certainly posted a lot of yard signs in the early going.

As recently as a few weeks ago, the James-Mathias contest was widely thought to be neck-and-neck.

JIM MATHIAS

However, I’ve had the gut feeling that Jim Mathias was opening a slight lead in recent weeks, and now in the past few days, it looks like Mathias is beginning to pull away. Maybe the race will still end up being paper thin, and Mathias voters should not be overconfident.

But this week, Jim Mathias swept the endorsements of the three largest newspapers in District 38.  The newspaper editorials all spoke well of Mike James, the patrician businessman. But the newspapers presented sound reasons why Jim Mathias is better prepared to represent District 38 in Annapolis.

MICHAEL JAMES

There’s not a whole lot of difference between the two candidates on the issues. It boils down to this: Jim Mathias has a record as mayor of Ocean City, plus one term in the House of Delegates. Mike James does not. People like the record Mathias has compiled. They’re confident that Mathias has the know-how, experience and gravitas to fight for the Eastern Shore in the Senate.

Everyone says that, in retrospect, James would have been better off running for the House of Delegates, instead of the upper house.

Jim Mathias, a member of the Democratic Party, also appears to have swept all the major endorsements, including the National Association of Independent Businesses, the Maryland Farm Bureau, the Maryland Fraternal Order of Police, the teachers, the Maryland League of Conservation Voters, the firefighters, and several pro-gun groups.

Michael James, a Republican, has received warm words of support from several well-known individuals, but he lists no endorsements by major organizations on his Web site or in his newspaper ads.

A Mathias victory would be a gain for Democrats in the State Senate, because the retiring senator is a Republican.

The National Rifle Association gives Mathias a “A” rating, the NRA’s second-highest rating. The NRA gives James an “AQ” rating, the third-highest rating.

Finally, in my opinion, Jim Mathias has just plain out-worked James in the campaign.

— John Hayden

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