There is a simple explanation for the liberal bent of many Maryland politicians. Much the entire economy of Maryland east of the Blue Ridge and west of the Chesapeake Bay is either beholden to, or an appendage of the U.S. Federal Government. Federal Government installations, or their contractors, consultants, suppliers, and related businesses employ hundreds of thousands of Marylanders. Here are just a few:
Social Security Administration
...... 10,000+ employees
National Institute of Health
Aberdeen Proving Grounds
Goddard Space Flight Center
and so on ...
This does not include of course, Maryland's neighboring Federal District, and all of the federal government employees, lobbyists, consultants, and government contractors who make their homes in Maryland. It does not also include large numbers of people receiving public assistance in Baltimore City, or Washington's poorer suburbs.
Most of the economy of Maryland is dependent on Big Government, so it is no surprise that its citizens tend to want a large role for government in their lives. After doing some research I discovered Virginia has more than its share of government workers as well, but they tend to be concentrated in the counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudon, and Prince William County. Periodically, the rest of Virginia entertains suggestions that they should secede from these four counties, mostly in jest, but it highlights a dichotomy between the politics of Northern Virginia and the rest of the state.
Skweejeepusher challenged me to provide figures of the ratio of govermment workers to total workers living in Maryland versus other states. Here are a few numbers from the 2000 United States Census:
Private Wage and Salary Workers: 1,860,000 or 72.1 percent of the Labor Force
Self Employed: 140,789 (5.4 percent of the labor force)
Government Workers: 583,000 or 22.3 percent of the labor force
Private Wage and Salary Workers: 1,330,368 (79 percent)
Self Employed: 108,000 (6.5 percent)
Government Workers 221,412 (13.3 percent)
Private Wage and Salary Workers: 2,547,000 (74.7 percent)
Self Employed: 188,035 (5.5 percent)
Government Workers: 668,575 (19.6 percent)
Private Wage and Salary Workers: 102,548,000 (78.6 percent)
Self Employed: 9,067,000 (6.95 percent)
Government Workers 18,592,000 (14.24 percent)