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Published on August 31st, 2012 | by Cynthia Prairie

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State Roundup, August 31, 2012

ROMNEY ACCEPTS NOMINATION: Mitt Romney accepted the Republican nomination for president last night in a speech here that scolded President Barack Obama for delivering “disappointment and division” instead of “hope and change,” and called for disillusioned voters to unite under a Republican banner of American exceptionalism, reports Carl Straumsheim of Capital News Service in MarylandReporter.com.

Lawmakers from Frederick County assess Romney’s acceptance speech for the Frederick News Post.

BACK TO REALITY: For three days, they hobnobbed with Republican stars, were pursued by reporters, cast ballots for their party’s presidential nominee and generally had a taste of life at the center of the political universe, reports John Fritze in the Sun. Today, Maryland’s delegation to the Republican National Convention returns home to a state that Romney is given little chance of carrying in November and a slate of congressional candidates is being heavily outspent in every district but one.

Fritze also reports that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who is something of a celebrity at the GOP convention after surviving a recall election, had a message today for the Maryland delegation: Take heart.

CAMP INVADERS: Several prominent Maryland Democrats, led by Gov. Martin O’Malley and U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen, made unexpected appearances in Tampa this week, prompting Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus to respond that Republicans aren’t fazed, writes CNS’s Matt McNab for MarylandReporter.com. “They can do what they want, but whatever they do we can do 10 times over,” Priebus said. “What goes around comes around.”

CAPTIVE AUDIENCE: Like the recent Maryland Association of Counties conference in Ocean City, the Democratic convention next week in Charlotte will provide a relatively small but captive audience of politically connected people whose support could be helpful down the road for those interested in succeeding Gov. O’Malley, blogs John Wagner in the Sun.

RUNNING FOR GOVERNOR: All four of the most likely Democratic candidates for governor in two years are coming from offices that do not have a successful track record as springboards for becoming chief executive, Laslo Boyd writes in his Gazette column. Boyd focuses on Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown.

SAVE THE SURPLUS: Michael Dresser reports in the Sun that Comptroller Peter Franchot is urging the state to bank about $229 million in unexpected money with which it closed out the books on its last budget year, contending that Maryland’s economy remains “exceedingly fragile.”

The Sun editorial board opines that it appears that the presence of about $229 million more in state revenue at the final close-out of the last fiscal year may actually prompt lawmakers to think that they have fallen into such good fortune they can spend that money.

PSC MAY BACKTRACK: In an Aug. 20 filing to the PSC, the Office of People’s Counsel asked regulators to revisit a portion of their ruling that allows Pepco to recover costs for smart meters. It remains unclear how much the rate hike would drop, reports Victor Zapana for the Post.

ANTI CASINO-EXPANSION: A group backed by Penn National Gaming, the owner of Hollywood Casino in Perryville and Charles Town Races and Slots in West Virginia, launched a new TV ad yesterday in its effort to persuade voters to head off an expansion of gambling in Maryland, writes the Sun’s Michael Dresser.

Karen Bailey, a spokeswoman for Penn National Gaming — which explained its reasons for opposing the plan in newspaper ads yesterday — said the television ad would air statewide, John Wagner blogs in the Post.

PARROTT ON DWYER: Tea Party leader Del. Neil Parrott offered fresh details about the boating collision that put six people in the hospital and is threatening to end the political career of Del. Don Dwyer, who was drunkenly at the helm. He said that Dwyer’s boat was “struck” by the other vessel.

BURNS BLASTS RAVEN: Del. Emmett Burns of Baltimore County has a problem with Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo’s involvement with the campaign for same-sex marriage and wants him to stop “dividing the fan base,” writes Alexander Pyles in the Daily Record. Ayanbadejo’s response? “People are so ignorant.”

BOBO TO RETIRE: Columbia Democrat Liz Bobo – a former Howard County executive and current state delegate – will retire from politics when her term ends in 2014, writes Lindsey McPherson for the Howard County Times.

CARDIN IN LAUREL: It’s not every day that one of the state’s two U.S. senators comes to town, so on Thursday when Sen. Ben Cardin visited Laurel, city officials made sure his time was well spent, reports Lindsey McPherson for the Laurel Leader.

BARTLETT STUMPS: For 90 minutes last night, U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett answered questions about the environment, the economy and health care, writes Cara Anthony for the Frederick News Post. Bartlett, a Republican, is seeking his 11th two-year term in Congress.

STATE WORKFORCE: Experts say a stagnant economic climate and a gradual rise in anti-tax sentiment are likely to reduce the size of Maryland’s state employee work force by 2020, Daniel Leaderman writes in the Gazette.

DROUGHT: Because of crop losses due to drought projected at 30% to more than 50% in all but the westernmost part of Maryland, farmers across the state are eligible to apply for low-interest loans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Margie Hyslop reports in the Gazette.

DOG BITES: Gazette columnist Barry Rascovar writes that the Maryland Court of Appeals has not once but twice misfired when trying to make drastic revisions in the way litigation involving dogs bites is handled. The appellate judges didn’t get it right the first time or the second time.

VETERANS GAMBLING: Montgomery County veterans organizations are concerned that they were left out of the bill allowing a kind of slot machine at veterans organizations in every other area of the state, reports Daniel Leaderman in the Gazette.

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