Neal with campaign staff and volunteers turning in 12,000+ signatures to the Maryland State Board of Elections
“Today marks the beginning of the next chapter of our campaign. … Our campaign is not just a vote against the establishment, but a vote for change, finding common ground and a better future.” – Neal Simon, independent candidate for U.S. Senate
ROCKVILLE, Md. July 19, 2018
Neal Simon, an unaffiliated candidate for Maryland’s U.S. Senate seat, today submitted more than 12,000 signatures to complete Maryland’s state requirement for Nomination by Petition, weeks ahead of the Aug. 6, 2018 deadline. This ensures Simon’s name will appear on the ballot as a candidate for Maryland’s U.S. Senate seat during the General Election on Tues., Nov. 6, 2018.
Simon and members of his campaign team submitted the signatures in person at the State Board of Elections in Annapolis, arriving in the campaign’s hard-to-miss, colorful RV. The signatures were collected by grassroots volunteers and campaign staff over the course of three months at public events and door-to-door canvassing across the entire state.
It is the first time in recent history that an independent candidate did not hire a firm to collect signatures; instead, Simon’s campaign relied on its growing momentum to ensure Simon’s place on the ballot and giving Maryland a non-partisan, moderate choice come November.
Simon released the following statement:
“Today marks the beginning of the next chapter of our campaign. We have been to every county and the city of Baltimore in the past two months, listening and speaking to Marylanders about their concerns and wishes for the future. It is abundantly clear that Maryland's voters are finished with Washington’s status quo, partisan bickering and want a senator that will put Maryland and the nation’s needs over party power and special interests. The exhaustion and frustration of Marylanders is palpable and this is why our momentum is growing. Our campaign is not just a vote against the establishment, but a vote for change, finding common ground and a better future.”
Simon is challenging incumbent Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin in November. Simon officially filed for his candidacy with the U.S. Senate and the FEC in February, followed by the submission of a Declaration of Intent letter with the Maryland State Board of Elections at the end of June. The State of Maryland requires candidates unaffiliated with a political party to submit 10,000 signatures to be listed on the ballot by August 6, 2018. This requirement is in contrast to members of a political party who can be listed on the ballot by being a registered voter over the age of 30 and paying a $290 fee.
Several key points about this year’s electoral landscape demonstrate Simon is mounting a credible and serious campaign against Cardin:
- Cardin has an approval rating of just 44%, according to the recent Goucher Poll, a dismal approval rating for a sitting senator, especially considering the same poll had Gov. Larry Hogan at 69% approval, a 25-point differential.
- In Maryland, the fastest growing voter block is unaffiliated voters, according to the State Board of Elections. Since January of 2017, the Democratic party has lost 42,306 voters, the Republican party has lost approx. 26,000 voters.
- The Cook Political Report states that Simon is the only credible contender to Cardin and RealClearPolitics positions Simon as Cardin’s main challenger.
- In February, Simon filed his Statement of Candidacy with the Secretary of the Senate; on June 27, he filed his Declaration of Intent to Seek Nomination by Petition with the Maryland State Board of Elections.
- Simon has hired Steve Crim as his campaign manager. Crim managed Gov. Hogan’s successful 2014 gubernatorial campaign and served as a senior adviser in Hogan’s administration from 2015-2017.
- In Q1, the Simon campaign outraised everyone from individual donors, including Cardin, and his Q2 fundraising numbers are on track for his campaign to not only be competitive with Cardin but to potentially beat him.
- Simon’s campaign has a strong ground game – in May, he completed a “Listening Tour” of all 23 Maryland counties plus the City of Baltimore; Simon has a busy summer calendar of visits scheduled across the state and his campaign recently launched a dedicated recreational vehicle for campaign travel.
- Simon has been nationally endorsed by Unite America, a moderate, centrist group with members that include sitting independent governor Bill Walker of Alaska, and has received support from No Labels, a bipartisan political organization whose mission is to combat partisan dysfunction in politics and usher in a new era of focused problem solving in American politics.
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