MARYLAND, USA — Primary elections in Maryland will now take place on July 19, according to an order signed by Chief Judge Joseph M. Getty of the Court of Appeals of Maryland. Getty's order also amends deadlines for filing certificate of candidacy, withdrawal of candidacy, and challenging a candidate’s residency.
The deadline extensions are related to a legal challenge over congressional districts drawn by the general assembly. Maryland Republicans argue newly drawn congressional districts heavily favor Democrats and violate constitutional provisions.
Every 10 years, states can redraw district boundaries to reflect changes in population. Republicans complained the districts approved by the legislature, and later vetoed by Gov. Larry Hogan, was heavily gerrymandered.
The change of the state's primary date now presents gubernatorial candidates with an opportunity to talk with voters.
"The campaign was prepared for this decision, and we are well-positioned,” Peter Franchot’s (D) campaign said in a statement.
The campaign of Wes Moore was also not surprised by the announcement.
“We are running an aggressive and agile campaign and will continue to connect with voters about Wes Moore’s vision to build a Maryland that leaves no one behind right up to the new election date,” said a spokesperson for the Moore campaign.
Former Prince George’s County executive and Democratic candidate for governor, Rushern Baker, expressed concern.
"I am deeply concerned and can't imagine a more inconvenient time to hold an election or an outcome that will cause more confusion for voters," Baker said in a statement to WUSA9.
He added he is concerned about the ability for state and county election boards to secure enough personnel for the elections.
Robin Ficker, a Republican candidate for governor, is also concerned about what the extension means for absentee ballots but feels the change gives him an opportunity to connect with voters along Maryland's Eastern Shore.
“This gives us a chance to meet more voters from across the state when they’re relaxed and want to talk about the issues,” Ficker said via phone.
WUSA 9 also reached out to Republicans Daniel Cox, Kelly Schulz and Joe Werner, but as of publication, they had not responded.