State Roundup, September 14, 2012

September 14, 2012 at 8:13 am

GILCHREST MAY RUN: Former congressman Wayne Gilchrest as well as Chestertown physician John LaFerla are emerging as possible opponents to incumbent Andy Harris in the race for Maryland’s 1st District U.S. House seat, following the forced resignation of Wendy Rosen amid allegations of voter registration fraud, reports Jennifer Shutt of the Salisbury Daily Times.

ROSEN STILL IN? Jeff Abel of WBFF-TV recaps the situation with political columnist Blair Lee. Rosen, he reports, is still soliciting support and has two appearances planned.

IN GAMBLING’S SHADOW: Supporters of Maryland’s Dream Act and same-sex marriage must campaign in the shadow of the overwhelming casino debate, one of three major November ballot questions that has blanketed the Baltimore and Washington markets with television and radio advertisements, writes Ben Giles for the Washington Examiner.

GAMBLING LIES: We missed Allan Lichtman’s column last week on the five lies that have been told to expand gambling in Maryland.

CELEBRITY FUNDER: Last night, a big-ticket fundraiser was held atop a SoHo hotel to support the campaign to uphold Maryland’s same-sex marriage law, which goes to voters in November. About 200 guests paid between $250 and $25,000 to mingle for two hours with celebrities, munching on shrimp and caviar hors d’oeuvres, writes Annie Linskey of the Sun. Linskey takes a turn as celebrity gossip blogger to wrap up the evening.

You can do a bit of star-gazing of your own with Karl Merton Ferron’s photo gallery. Maryland’s own celebrities were there including John Waters, who you can view here. And for fans of the film Bull Durham and the new series Political Animals, here’s Susan Sarandon.

David Moon at Maryland Juice roundups articles on the gay marriage law, including one in the Huffington Post that says that the Rev. Jesse Jackson is urging Marylanders to vote for marriage equality.

O’MALLEY HIRES STRATEGIST: As he ponders a political future beyond Maryland, Gov. Martin O’Malley is bringing on board a seasoned Democratic strategist to help guide his new federal political action committee, blogs John Wagner in the Post.

SOBHANI FOR SENATE: Potomac businessman Rob Sobhani, a late entry into the U.S. Senate race in Maryland, has spent more than $700,000 a week on TV ads airing commercials that are in rotation five to seven times per day in the expensive Washington, D.C., and Baltimore markets, Benjamin Ford reports in the Gazette.

INTERNET VOTING: Democrats and Republicans agreed that Internet voting is “inevitable” for the future of America’s election process at a panel hosted by the University of Maryland’s Center of American Politics and Citizenship on Capitol Hill Wednesday, writes Sam Smith for MarylandReporter.com.

HARRAH’S DESIGN REJECTED: Three members of Baltimore City’s Urban Design and Architecture Review Panel met with representatives of the Harrah’s Casino project yesterday and rejected the casino plan, saying the parking structure would mar the city’s skyline, Chris Korman and Steve Kilar report in the Sun.

BGE ON SOLUTIONS: BGE officials told state energy regulators that major changes to the electricity grid, including burying some power lines and more aggressively trimming trees, are needed to prevent long-term outages like the one that followed the June 29 derecho, reports Scott Dance in the Sun.

POWER OUTAGES: If Maryland electric customers want to ensure that major storm-related outages last no more than a few days, utilities will have to make big and costly changes along their power lines, utility executives told the Maryland Public Service Commission, Margie Hyslop reports in the Gazette.

MEMORIAL DISPUTE: Miranda Spivack reports in the Post that the American Humanist Association is calling for the removal of the Memorial Peace Cross in Prince George’s County, arguing that a religious image on public land violates the constitutional principle of the separation of church and state. The monument honors 49 men from that county who died during World War I.

ALSTON PLEA EXPECTED: Prince George’s County Del. Tiffany Alston, who was to be sentenced next month after a conviction for stealing $800 from the General Assembly to pay the salary of an employee at her private law office, is expected to enter a plea next week in a second criminal case — and an end to the legal drama is likely to push the Bowie Democrat from her seat in the legislature, reports the Sun’s Andrea Siegel.

LEOPOLD DEFENSE: Attorneys for County Executive John Leopold have asked a judge to strike an affidavit from a county employee, which alleged a work environment plagued with sexual harassment and paranoia. They are calling the affidavit from executive administration secretary Carla Sagerholm “immaterial, impertinent and scandalous,” writes Allison Bourg for the Capital-Gazette.

NEW SUPERINTENDENTS: Two years of high turnover have put new faces in charge of Maryland’s county school districts, reports Holly Nunn in the Gazette. More than half of state’s local superintendents will have been on the job less than four years.

NOTEBOOK: The Gazette’s Reporters Notebook is back online. It has items on MGM resorts; Comptroller Franchot’s unclaimed property; Roscoe Bartlett’s 9/11 ads; Pat McDonough’s 9/11 tribute; and Nancy Kopp’s award.

ANTI-WAR ON DRUGS: A group of lawmakers are part of a national movement seeking to stop or scale down America’s war on drugs that clogs the courts and prison system, writes the Gazette’s Holly Nunn.

ICC BRIDGE REPAIRS: The Gazette’s Margie Hyslop reports that repairs are expected to begin this month on three more bridges over the Intercounty Connector where concrete cracks were discovered earlier this year, according to the State Highway Administration.

VOTER FRAUD: Gazette columnist Blair Lee writes about the problems of voter fraud and Democratic congressional candidate Wendy Rosen. Fellow Gazette opinionator Barry Rascovar takes on the Rosen incident, Rob Sobhani, Emmett Burns and Roscoe Bartlett.

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