October 4, 2010

State Roundup, October 4, 2010

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TRANSPORTATION DIFFERENCES: Gov. Martin O’Malley and former Gov. Bob Ehrlich definitely don’t agree on transportation issues, writes The Sun’s Mike Dresser. One of the bigger ones: O’Malley supports light rail extensions and Ehrlich does not.

OBAMA-O’MALLEY:  President Barack Obama will host an Oct. 7 campaign rally for O’Malley at Bowie State University, the Associated Press reported at the WTOP website.

JOBS REPORT ON TV: Ehrlich released a new ad attacking the O’Malley administration for pulling a downbeat jobs report posted online in July, reports The Sun’s Annie Linskey.  O’Malley spokesman Rick Abbruzzese called the ad “a desperate attack,” writes The Post’s John Wagner. Video of the ad is at the bottom of his post.

LUNCH AND TAX BREAKS: Ehrlich met his parents for lunch at Grilled Cheese & Co, in Catonsville, reports The Sun’s Annie Linskey. While there, he promised a part owner that his taxes will go down Nov. 3.

TOSS-UP: National political analyst Charlie Cook changed his mind about the gubernatorial race, switching his take on it from “leans Democrat” to “toss up,” reports The Sun’s Annie Linskey.

TEA PARTY: Gaining the support of Maryland’s Tea Party voters could turn the election tide toward Ehrlich, Sun columnist Dan Rodricks writes. However, The Post’s Aaron Davis reports, only about 25 percent of Maryland voters have any sort of favorable opinion of Tea Partiers

BLACK VOTERS: O’Malley’s success in the general election could be tied to how many black voters come to the polls, reports The Post’s John Wagner, Aaron Davis and Jon Cohen.

VOTING GREEN: Environmental activists throughout Maryland piled on criticism of Ehrlich last week, while praising O’Malley, Pamela Wood reports for the Annapolis Capital. Matt Dernoga of The Diamondback, writes that since University of Maryland students are savvy about environmental issues, they should vote for O’Malley.

KANE-BROWN DEBATE: GOP lieutenant governor nominee Mary Kane ducked out of a debate with incumbent Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown – even though it was to be held in her own community of Potomac, blogs Adam Pagnucco of Maryland Politics Watch. Mike DeBonis of the Post reports that Kane was attending a blessing of politicians instead. No other debate has been scheduled between the two. But Mark Newgent of Red Maryland blogs that Kane’s no-show was probably good luck for Brown, who would have had to defend himself over Jessica’s Law.

GOP GAINS: Adam Bednar of the Carroll County Times reports that the number of registered Republicans in the county continues to climb, while Democrats continue to lose support.

MIKULSKI LEADS: U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski has a commanding lead in her race for a fifth term, according to a Washington Post poll, although her popularity has eroded among key groups since her last re-election campaign. Ben Pershing and Kyle Dropp report for the Post.

BARTLETT’S FUTURE: U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett could benefit if the Republicans regain a majority in the House, Paul West reports for the Sun.

3rd PARTIES: Third party candidates are hoping that voters will take a chance on them, Adam Bednar of the Carroll County Times writes.

WHY DO WE ELECT THEM?: MarylandReporter.com’s Megan Poinski takes a look at two of the state’s less political elected offices — clerk of courts and register of wills — and why they are both still elected.

DELEGATE FORUM: Candidates for state delegate will be at Hagerstown Community College on Oct. 27 for a forum organized by a political science class. This is among a series of events that the Hagerstown Herald-Mail reports on in its “On the Campaign Trail” column.

DELAY FORECLOSURES: Citing fraud by lenders elsewhere, Rep. Elijah Cummings sent a letter asking O’Malley and Attorney General Doug Gansler to issue a 60-day moratorium on foreclosures, reports WMAR-TV.

HOLTON IN COURT: Baltimore City Councilwoman Helen Holton will appear in court today on misdemeanor campaign finance violation charges, reports The Sun’s Julie Scharper. She is accused of asking two donors — including a former boyfriend of former mayor Sheila Dixon — for more campaign-related money than state law allows.

CONAWAY’S A CANDIDATE: Inspired by his success in the primary to keep his current job, Baltimore Circuit Court Clerk Frank Conaway Sr. announced that he plans to run for mayor again in Baltimore’s city elections next year, reports The Sun’s Julie Scharper.

NO SUPPORT FOR KAMENETZ: Joe Bartenfelder, who lost a hard-fought primary election for the Democratic nod for Baltimore County executive to Kevin Kamenetz, told the Sun’s Arthur Hirsch that chances he will support Kamenetz in the general election are “pretty unlikely.”

CELL PHONE BAN: There was a run on hands-free devices — and fewer drivers seen with phones pressed up to their ears — on Friday, the first day of the new state law banning the use of handheld phones behind the wheel, The Sun’s Andrea Siegel and Joe Burris report.  Anne Arundel Community College sponsored a “Hands Free Calling” event on Friday to show the community how cell phone use impacts driving ability, The Sun’s Joe Burris reports. WJZ-TV reports on how seriously the state’s drivers are taking the new law.

OTHER NEW LAWS: Annie Linskey of The Sun lists some other new laws that went into effect on Oct. 1. WBFF did a report on a new law that cracks down on sex offenders. WTOP’s Kate Ryan reports on new laws for cyclists as does Jessica Kartalija of WJZ-TV.

SLOTS UPDATE: David Cordish, CEO of the company that hopes to build a slots parlor near Arundel Mills Mall, spent the weekend knocking on doors to tell voters why they should support the referendum allowing for the casino construction, reports WBFF.  And despite cheering the opening of Maryland’s first slot machine parlor, O’Malley told the Associated Press that he doesn’t intend to push for full-scale casinos with table games. The Carroll County Times ran the story.

FUNERAL PROTESTS: The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments this week on a case about whether people have the right to protest at funerals, reports The Carroll Eagle’s Jon Aerts. The case was originally filed by the family of Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, after his 2006 funeral in Westminster.  And Andrew Schotz reports for the Herald Mail that those protesters — from a Kansas church — are known for their anti-homosexual protests nationwide and are expected to face a peaceful counter-rally in Hagerstown tomorrow as they head toward Washington for the Supreme Court hearing.

PAVING PRIORITIES: The Washington Post’s “Dr. Gridlock” column shares some of the ways that the Maryland State Highway Administration sets repaving priorities.

HARRIS TRIAL: The Baltimore Sun’s Nick Madigan summarizes closing arguments in the trial of three men accused of killing former Baltimore City Councilman Ken Harris. Jurors are now deliberating.  Jeff Hager from WMAR-TV has a video report here.