Ben Cardin

Best Exploitation of a Surname

Trading on name recognition, legitimately or otherwise, is the oldest and most reliable tactic in the electoral playbook. Locally (for example), candidates named Curran, Conway, and Mitchell have always enjoyed a head start, even though they don’t always win. This year, Delegate Jon Cardin, nephew of U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, was an instant front-runner in the Democratic race for State Attorney General. Having coasted into the House of Delegates in 2003, Cardin distinguished himself in 2014 by missing roughly 75 percent of the voting sessions in the House Ways and Means Committee. Prior to that, his best-known accomplishment as a public figure was paying Baltimore police to stage a fake...