Alan Greenblatt is a GOVERNING correspondent.E-mail: email@example.com
Ben Cardin wins. That shouldn't have been a race. Maryland is a very blue state, but it stayed close until the end.
Cardin has been in Congress for 20 years and was speaker of the Maryland House before that. He's smart and hard-working but a seriously bland personality. He never established himself with a positive image. Instead, he attacked Republican Lt. Gov. Michael Steele constantly.
More than most GOPers this year, Steele ran away from the Republican label, even though he had been state party chair. He called the "R" after his name a "scarlet letter." He had yard signs that said "Steele Democrats."
He ran, to my mind, a smart but ultimately empty campaign. He ran an ad declaring his love for puppies and closed with one featuring his two sons kidding him about his love of Motown and Sinatra.
The ads had a light tone and stood out among the attack ads in this race and the governor's race. Steele won praise from national pundits for making it close. But none of them ever talked about what he would do if he made it into the Senate. Steele certainly offered no clue.
Written and compiled by staff writers and editors, GOVERNING View is an on-the-ground, and sometimes behind-the-scenes, look at the topics we're covering in print and online. From notes on what's up in statehouses, county courthouses and city halls, to encounters with people, places and things, GOVERNING View is a window into the side of state and local government you don't always see.