November 16, 2009

State Roundup, November 16, 2009

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Probably the biggest political story of the weekend was the election of Audrey Scott as the new state Republican chairwoman at the Maryland party’s convention. Scott has served as mayor of Bowie, a Prince George’s County Council member, and a cabinet secretary under former Gov. Bob Ehrlich.

The Baltimore Sun depicts her as “spunky,” and she is expected to focus on fundraising.  There’s good reason for that, as Republicans have about $6,000 on hand. The Post reports that the party has more than $100,000 in accounts payable. Dougl Tallman adds in The Gazette that the party passed a budget that calls for it to raise $438,000 and spend $339,000.

Over at Maryland Politics Watch, there’s a “backhanded” letter from state Democratic Chairwoman Susan Turnbull congratulating Scott.

Michael Dresser at The Sun reports that the state is likely to see a toll increase that could be as high as 45 percent after next year’s election, as the Intercounty Connector has grown to more than half of the Maryland Transportation Authority’s budget. The authority’s head says the estimate represents the “least rosy” scenario.

Aaron Davis at The Post reports that the House health care reform bill could give Maryland a short-term funding boost of about $384 million. This could help the state get through its budget crunch, but there’s some concern that the Medicaid money won’t hold up, and that the bill will lead to higher state payments later.

Danielle Ulman at The Daily Record has the wrap today on William Jews and his court victory. Jews, the former CEO of health provider Carefirst, had his $18 million severance package challenged by the state, but a Baltimore County court restored it.

An interesting state story, though it looks like it probably won’t amount to much, came out of the Dixon trial this weekend. The Sun’s politics blog has an interesting analysis of the naming of Congressman Elijah Cummings as a potential witness. Will he testify? He says he isn’t scheduled to.

Coverage of the 2010 campaign is already rolling. Rep. Pat McDonough ran an ad for his fledgling gubernatorial campaign in The Washington Times, according to Inside Charm City. He’s promising to close the door on “Maryland’s Spendaholics in Annapolis.” Oh, and he put Ronald Reagan’s picture in there, too.

Is Del. Herman Taylor running for Congress? Adam Pagnucco at Maryland Politics Watch has a business card that suggests he is.

The Frederick County Commissioners race is shaping up, according to Meg Tully at The Frederick News-Post, and it might be a wide open race. Of the five incumbents, only one has said for sure that he’s running again.  President Jan Gardner says she’s out, and hasn’t decided what to do next.  And Republican commissioner Charles Jenkins is running for a House of Delegates seat.

A little partisan infighting in Allegany County over the format of a public meeting, as reported by Kevin Spradlin in the Cumberland Times-News.

WBAL has an interview with Rep. Frank Kratovil, who discusses his “no” vote on the House health care reform bill. He says it’s about cost and equality for rural communities, not ideology.