We hear some Republicans are running, too

This week, our Senate preview will be a little different from the usual format: We're off to Maryland, where the two parties' candidates haven't yet been chosen. Barbara Mikulski, who served in the Senate for five terms, announced last year she would retire, so she could spend less time raising money and more time "raising hell," and we wish her all the best with that hell-raising. Even with Mikulski's retirement, Ballotpedia rates Maryland's senate race "safely Democratic," so chances are the real election to replace Mikulski will be the April 26 primary. There are 10 Democrats running, and 14 (!) Republicans, but the two actually serious for-reals Democratic candidates to replace the longest-serving woman in Congress are quite familiar with Capitol Hill, since they already serve in the House: Rep. Donna Edwards and Rep. Chris Van Hollen, who are running an intense but relatively civil race for the nomination and the chance to go up in November against whatever pile of yard scrapings the Republicans choose. They're both capital-P progressives, they agree on just about all the issues, they're virtually tied in the polls, and we frankly would like to have 'em both cloned and sent to run in other states as well, please.

Both Edwards and Van Hollen have also been well-behaved enough that they've almost never made it to the pages of Yr Wonkette, except when briefly quoted opposing some conservative horror. When Edwards won her first term in the House in 2008, she got a brief mention in a filthy-minded piece noting that incumbent Albert Wynn "was beaten by activist Donna Edwards” in the primary, and wondering if he was into that sort of thing. (We also learned that Wynn's estranged wife recorded robo-calls in the 2000 election urging people to vote against him and for his white Republican opponent because "Albert Wynn does not respect black women. He left me for the white woman." Not that it has anything to do with Edwards eight years later, but that's too good a political anecdote to leave out.) Edwards also made a controversial statement in 2010 that Israel shouldn't bomb the shit out of Gaza. Oh, and in 2011, Edwards memorably read the lyrics to the White Stripes song"Effect and Cause" on the House floor, which may have prevented a government shutdown:

Well, first came an action/ And then a reaction/ But you can’t switch around/ For your own satisfaction/ Well, you put my house down, then got mad/ At my reaction

CSPAN apparently missed the mic drop that followed.

Chris Van Hollen has similarly been a Goody-Goody, with no embarrassing sex scandals, financial irregularities, or even any amusing malapropisms (that we know of) since being elected to Congress in 2002. Oh, sure, he was one of several Democrats who, following the Terrible Horrible No-Good Very Bad Midterms of 2014, rolled out an instantly doomed 2015 proposal to tax Wall Street to pay for middle-class tax cuts, but as we noted at the time, the proposal was mostly

like one of those nifty concept cars from the Detroit Auto Show: It looks pretty flashy and some of the features may make it into a production vehicle someday, but you’re not going to be seeing it in your dealer’s showroom anytime soon.

Still, it did a lot to help Van Hollen's reputation as a kind of male Elizabeth Warren with a receding hairline, and the dude is ALWAYS talking to Chris Hayes on MSNBC, so he's got progressive wonk cred out the wazoo. Van Hollen also featured in a video clip on Wonkette, although rather than quoting hipster lyrics (from vinyl), he displayed an impressive mastery of procedural dueling with scabrous toadbag Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) during the October 2013 government shutdown, when Van Hollen called attention to a sleazy House Republicans vote that rigged House rules to prevent Democrats from taking any action to end the shutdown:

It doesn't have much of a beat and you can't dance to it, but Van Hollen's calling out the GOP's One Simple Trick to suspend democracy got over 1.6 million views at the time, and almost that many since. It's nice to think that Rules Wonkery can go viral.

On the issues, both candidates are liberal, liberal, and liberal, so they've tried to make as much as possible of small differences; Van Hollen stresses his experience and long list of endorsements, while Edwards says that makes him too much a part of the Democratic party establishment. Edwards has tried to make an issue of Van Hollen's participation in a 2010 deficit reduction panel that suggested changes to Social Security such as increasing the retirement age and slowing the rate of cost-of-living increases, but the most positive thing Van Hollen actually said about the proposal was that it could serve as a "framework" for a broader budget agreement -- he never actually supported those specific changes and in fact fought against them:

Van Hollen later pushed back against the Obama administration when the White House continued to push for slower cost of living adjustments; and other Democrats, notably House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, have said there is no difference between the two candidates on the issue.

For his part, Van Hollen attempts to suggest that Edwards doesn't play well with others to advance progressive ideas:

"When it comes to bipartisanship, we need to make sure that division in Washington does not allow us to stop making progress for people," Van Hollen said. "Congresswoman Edwards was rated last among all the Democrats in terms of willingness to work with people to get things done."

Van Hollen is referring to a bipartisan index created by the Washington-based Lugar Center, which ranks lawmakers on how well "members of opposite parties work with one another," based on bill sponsorship and co-sponsorship data.

As the Baltimore Sun points out, that might not be an especially powerful argument in a Democratic primary, although it could conceivably be a factor in the general election. Edwards says she gets along just fine with Republicans in the bipartisan women's caucus, and has worked to authorize NASA funding as a member of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. That alone is impressive, given that most Republicans on the House Science Committee are decidedly anti-science.

While both Van Hollen and Edwards have 100% ratings from Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America for their support of abortion rights, Edwards picked up a big endorsement from EMILY's List, along with $2.4 million in funding from its super PAC. That created a bit of a stir among women backing Van Hollen, who is no slouch at all when it comes to women's issues; as the ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee, Van Hollen has fought Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood and has pushed for paid family leave and for equal pay laws. The Washington Post points out that "Four times as many female elected officials in Maryland are endorsing him as are endorsing Edwards." But hey, EMILY's List is all about supporting Democratic women candidates, so it's not surprising that they'd support Edwards, who could become only the second African-American woman elected to the Senate. The infusion of EMILY's List money has helped Edwards stay competitive with Van Hollen, who has had the far more successful fundraising effort otherwise, outraising Edwards by 10 to 1.

The primary race is extremely close; both Edwards and Van Hollen are highly popular in their own districts, and polling has favored Edwards at some times, Van Hollen at others. A Baltimore Sun / University of Baltimore poll released March 12 had Edwards ahead by six points when all 10 candidates in the Democratic primary were listed; when the question was reframed to list only her and Van Hollen, her lead grew to 10 points. More recently, however, Van Hollen's internal polling shows him with a very slight lead, although not outside of the margin of error. Unless either candidate says something incredibly stupid (or who knows, incredibly inspiring? It could happen!) in the next month, expect this primary to be extremely close; black voter turnout in Baltimore, where Edwards is very popular, could ultimately be a deciding factor.

Oh, yes, there are also some Republicans running in their own primary, and one of them will likely get stomped flat by whoever wins the Democratic primary. The leading Republican of the 14 (seriously?) candidates is Kathy Szeliga, the minority whip in Maryland's House of Delegates, who led the March Baltimore Sun poll with a whopping 6 percent, although over three quarters of Maryland Republicans said they were still undecided. There's also Chrys Kefalas, the vice president of the National Association of Manufacturers, a young whelp of just 36 who pissed off Szeliga when he suggested she was some kind of career politician (she's been in office all of five years) and that he thinks Marylanders are "looking for a new voice, a fresh face.” Szeliga is only 54 herself, and shot back, "I started my business when he was five years old, so when he was riding his bike catching bugs I was writing paychecks." Also, Kefalas, who is that rare bird, a gay Republican, says he can't possibly support Donald Trump, while Szeliga states she'll support her party's candidate regardless, adding, "I can tell you one thing: the Republican nominee will be way better than the Democrat nominee." If any of the other seven thousand Republican Senate candidates from Maryland have said or done anything remotely interesting, please let us know.

Yr Wonkette is perfectly happy with either Van Hollen or Edwards, and we're happy to report that as far as we know,* neither has aligned themselves with Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, so maybe our beloved readers could manage not to murder each other in the comments, please? Maybe they could share?

* Update: Thanks to alert reader Jackson Graves, who helped us know a little farther: turns out that both Edwards and Van Hollen have endorsed Hillary Clinton. Wonkette regrets the error. But please don't fight it out in the comments, either.

Want to help one or both of these fine people make it to the Senate? Donna Edwards' Act Blue donation page is right here, and Chris Van Hollen's donation page is here. And of course, you can vote with your filthy Ameros for Wonkette at this linky here.

[Ballotpedia / Baltimore Sun / Capital News Service /EMILY's List / WaPo / Baltimore Sun / WaPo / Inside Sources / Joe. My. God.]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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Once upon a time... about ten years ago, a group of entirely ridiculous men burst onto the scene wearing stupid hats and telling men that wearing stupid hats and telling men that walking up to women in bars and insulting ("negging") them would get them laid. This did not last long, as women also had televisions and computers and were completely aware of these tricks as well, so when some ass came up to us in a bar and said "Hey, nice nails, are they real?" we would laugh and laugh and loudly announce "Oh my god, this guy just tried to neg me! Can you believe that shit? HEY EVERYONE, THIS GUY JUST TRIED TO NEG ME!" and then refer to him as "Mystery" the whole night.

Most of the men who tried that shit only did so a few times before realizing that it wasn't going to work, and thus moved on to other things. Perhaps things that did not involve furry hats and coming off as a huge creep. We may never know, because I would assume that those who tried it are now extremely embarrassed and would never, ever admit to this to us.

Still, there were a few men willing to eat that shit up, as well as some grifters willing to take advantage of that. Said grifters tended to be extremely misogynistic and seemed more like they were teaching men how to be as despised by women as they were than teaching them how to actually be liked by women.

Some of them, like Roosh V, a creepy weirdo who actually does live in his mom's basement, actively encouraged men to rape women who were intoxicated to the point of being obviously unable to consent.

However, even that branch of the PUA tree is wilting away. Many "self-help" style PUA forums like Nextasf and RSDnation are shutting down or have already shut down. In March, Chateau Heartiste, a batshit crazy PUA turned White Nationalist/Alt-Right blog was shut down by Wordpress. This week, rape advocate Roosh V (whom you may recall once called yours truly a "Wonkette typist/clown face, would not bang") announced that he was renouncing his PUA ways and devoting himself to Jesus. He explained to the forum he manages that he would no longer be allowing anyone to discuss premarital "fornication."

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'Baby Geniuses' star Jon Voight took to Twitter early this morning to proclaim his undying love for Donald Trump, probably because there is no one left in his life who will listen to him talk about this, or anything else, in person. In this video rant, Voight encouraged members of the Republican Party, whom he apparently thinks are the only real citizens of the United States, to stand by Donald Trump and "acknowledge the truth" that he is the best President since Abraham Lincoln.

Part ONE:

People of the Republican Party, I know you will agree with me when I say our president has our utmost respect and our love. This job is not easy. For he's battling the left and their absurd words of destruction. I've said this once and I'll say this again. That our nation has been built on the solid ground from our forefathers, and there is a moral code of duty that has been passed on from President Lincoln. I'm here today to acknowledge the truth, and I'm here today to tell you my fellow Americans that our country…

Oh no, not our absurd words of destruction!

Part DEUX:

is stronger, safer, and with more jobs because our President has made his every move correct. Don't be fooled by the political left, because we are the people of this nation that is witnessing triumph. So let us stand with our president. Let us stand up for this truth, that President Trump is the greatest president since President Lincoln.

Does Jon Voight not know there have been... other presidents? Can he name them? Because really, it does not sound like it. Does he also not know that a very big chunk of the Republican Party actually does not care very much for Abraham Lincoln? Namely those defenders of Confederate statues that Trump called "very fine people?" Also, did he intentionally diss their beloved Ronald Reagan?

Who can know? Who can even tell what he is trying to say or why he is trying to say it. He doesn't appear to have tweeted much since 2016, so I'm guessing whoever's job it was to keep him from tanking his career quit. Either that... or after filming the seventh season of Ray Donovan, he found out it's going to be canceled or his character is getting killed off or something and he is now free to be a jackass? I don't know, I haven't watched the show, although my parents are very into it and mad that I haven't watched it. Literally all I know about it is that it has something to do with Boston, because they keep mentioning that to me like it's a selling point.

It seems useless at this point to note that the people who scream their faces off about how bad it is for Hollywood celebs to support liberal causes, and how they should keep their politics to themselves, etc. etc. make a way bigger deal than normal people do whenever a Big Time Hollywood Celebrity like Jon Voight or, uh, Scott Baio, supports their cause. Mostly because they're the only ones who have elected a reality TV star and the star of Bedtime for Bonzo (who by the way, also once practically ruined a perfectly good Bette Davis movie with his bad acting. Which is not to say that Dark Victory is not fantastic and probably the best thing to watch if you want to sob your face off, but he was very bad in it.) to run the country.

But we might as well do that anyway, because it actually never stops being funny.

[Jon Voight Twitter]

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