The Baltimore City Health Department is taking advantage of the Maryland primary elections today with a push to train poll-goers in how to respond to heroin overdoses with naloxone. Naloxone training and outreach is especially important in Baltimore, now one of the centers of the national opioid epidemic after years of being known as a hot zone for heroin distribution. The trainings also reflect that the opioid epidemic is one of the key issues this year’s elections, not only at the local level, but nationally.
Each presidential candidate has accordingly proposed a policy that could fight the epidemic, with both #HillaryClinton and Bernie Sanders focusing on a public-health approach to the crisis and Sanders especially looking to hold prescription drug companies responsible. Republican candidates #DonaldTrump and Ted Cruz have proposed further securing the border with Mexico to limit illegal drug smuggling as a response, despite little evidence that this strategy will accomplish anything but bolstering domestic opioid production.
Bernie Sanders appears to be at a disadvantage on Tuesday’s Northeastern primaries. For one, polls show Hillary Clinton ahead. But the demographics in some of the states could also hinder the Vermont senator. In Maryland, African Americans are expected to make up more than 40 percent of the Democratic primary electorate. And in Pennsylvania, African Americans back Clinton over Sanders, 67 percent to 29 percent, according to a NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll. Thus far in the presidential primary, African American voters have largely flocked to Clinton. According to The #Washington Post, “this year black #Democrats have voted for Clinton over Sanders by a 59 percentage-point margin (79-20).”
Another setback for Sanders could be that four of the five primaries today are closed primaries. A similar situation happened in #NewYork, which was also a closed primary. Sanders has fared well with Independent voters, but if they’re not registered to vote with a particular party, that hardly helps him.
Whatever the case, Sanders isn’t likely to walk away from the race. His campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, has said they’re going all the way to the convention.
The nation’s most prominent Delawarean, Vice President Joe Biden, already cast his ballot in his hometown of Wilmington on Friday, though it’s not clear which Democrat he backed. As CNN has noted, Biden has repeatedly weighed in on the race, but his allegiances aren’t clear. The veep, of course, considered running this cycle himself before announcing in the fall that he wouldn’t run.
Biden has invested a lot of energy in Tuesday’s Senate contests as part of national Democratic push to take back the upper chamber. That’s particularly true in Pennsylvania, where Biden grew up and where he was campaigning alongside candidate Katie McGinty on Monday. She’s in a competitive race against former congressman Joe Sestak, and Biden and President Obama have both endorsed her.
Biden has less to worry about in his be#Loved Delaware. None of the state’s seats are up for grabs today.
Poor John Kasich. In what looks to be an ever-weakening agreement-of-last-resort with Ted Cruz, he got the short end of the deal–bowing out of Indiana, a big delegate state, in exchange for a clear battle against Trump in Oregon and New Mexico, where votes are proportionally allocated for a small number of delegates. On NBC this morning, he told The Today Show, “I don’t tell voters what to do.” When asked what his message to Indiana voters is, he replied, “I’m not getting into that.”
Perhaps he gave up on himself too soon. In today’s primaries, he’s polling behind Cruz and Trump in Pennsylvania, according to Real Clear Politics, but he’s in second place in Connecticut, Maryland, Rhode Island, and Delaware. Maybe his strategy of not actually asking voters to vote for him is working somewhere?
Voting is underway in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island–and the front-runners, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, are expected to sweep much of the region.
Clinton and Trump have enjoyed a comfortable lead in the Northeast. Just last week, the two won their home state of New York, punctuating their leads in the race. A series of wins on Tuesday would again give them an advantage over their rivals, as they widen the delegate gap. On the Democratic front, 462 delegates are up for grabs, and 172 delegates for #Republicans. Polls close at 8 p.m.
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Trump still needs to secure the coveted 1,237 delegates. Ted Cruz and John Kasich have teamed up in the hopes of preventing that from happening, focusing their efforts on states that could deliver wins. Their alliance, announced on Sunday, is focused on three upcoming states, Indiana, Oregon, and New Mexico. Under the deal, the Cruz campaign would set its eyes on Indiana, leaving Oregon and New Mexico to Kasich. The partnership might already be faltering, but it shows where the candidates’ focus will be on Tuesday: somewhere other than the Northeastern primaries. As Russell noted, Trump is leading in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut and, as far as delegates go, “Pennsylvania has 71 delegates, and all but 17 of them will go into the convention unbound regardless of who wins on Tuesday.”
On the Democratic side, Tuesday’s primaries may hold more weight, particularly in the day’s Senate races. In Pennsylvania, national Democrats are backing the establishment candidate Katie McGinty in hopes of making the Senate majority Democratic. And in Maryland, Representatives Chris Van Hollen and Donna Edwards are fighting to replace the retiring Senator Barbara Mikulski.
In the presidential race, Clinton is expected to come out ahead of Sanders in the delegate count as the favored pick in Pennsylvania and Maryland. Meanwhile, Sanders could win in smaller states like Rhode Island and Connecticut.
The Atlantic is following all the twists and turns of the 2016 race in our election dashboard. And we’re tracking who is in and who is out of the race with our 2016 Cheat Sheet. –Priscilla Alvarez