November 5, 2012

State Roundup, November 5, 2012

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VOTE THIS WAY: As the last weekend hours before tomorrow’s election dwindled down, candidates for office and advocates for several high-profile ballot questions seized one of their last opportunities to persuade Marylanders to get to the polls and vote their way. Michael Dresser and John Fritze report in the Sun.

OR JUST VOTE: With just two days left until polls open on Election Day, all sides of Maryland’s fiercely contested ballot questions are turning to their final task: getting their supporters into the voting booth, write Annie Linskey and Michael Dresser in the Sun.

TO THE POLLS: Vanessa Junkin of the Salisbury Daily Times offers up some information that could smooth your trip to the polls tomorrow.

MD DONATES TO: As a whole, Marylanders contributed more than $22.9 million to all presidential candidates in this election cycle, including $16.5 million toward the re-election of President Barack Obama and more than $5.3 million to Mitt Romney, according to disclosure reports filed Oct. 17 with the FEC, Courtney Mabeus reports in the Frederick News-Post. (Here’s an interesting little chart showing how Frederick County voted in past presidential elections.)

BALLOT QUESTIONS: Earl Kelly of the Capital-Gazette helps to decipher the long list of ballot questions. And looking at a sample ballot before heading to the polls may help.

LONG BALLOT, MORE ERRORS: For Paul Herrnanson, a long ballot means one thing — more voter mistakes. Herrnanson, the director of the Center for American Politics and Citizenship at the University of Maryland, predicts that about half of the ballots cast in Anne Arundel County this year will have some sort of error, Sara Blumberg writes in the Capital-Gazette.

DEMS SWAMP EARLY VOTING: Maryland Democrats, particularly Democratic women, clobbered Republicans in early voting turnout, Len Lazarick reports for MarylandReporter.com. It’s hard to say what impact this huge Democratic turnout might have for the final results, since no Democratic incumbents in Maryland are considered vulnerable.

THANKS FOR VOTING: State Comptroller Peter Franchot made an unexpected visit to Easton Friday morning, taking time to shake hands and thank voters waiting in line at the Easton fire hall early voting station and for taking the time to vote, writes Jennifer Allard for the Easton Star-Democrat.

TOTS FOR OBAMA: If the young students at the Franklin Schools in Rockville are an indicator, President Barack Obama and his campaign aides can relax, writes Peggy McEwan of the Gazette.

BIPARTISAN FOOD DRIVE: Four years ago when volunteers spearheaded a food drive to be held at the polling places on Election Day, they were able to collect 4 tons of donations for a Carroll County food pantry. This year, the organizers are hoping to collect even more food on Tuesday, particularly since food donations have been down and people from both parties participate, Carrie Ann Knauer reports in the Carroll County Times.

HARRIS RANKS: If the stars align in the 1st and 6th Congressional Districts and in the U.S. Senate race, Rep. Andy Harris may soon be the highest-ranking Republican in Maryland, reports CNS’s Matt Fleming for the Salisbury Daily Times.

1st DISTRICT & MORE Q&A: Jennifer Shutt of the Salisbury Daily Times offers up questions and, thankfully, the answers from 1st Congressional District candidates and U.S. Senate candidates.

BARTLETT’S TOUGHEST RACE: Rachel Baye of the Washington Examiner reports that U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett says that he has faced his toughest fight in 20 years as he runs for re-election in Maryland‘s newly redrawn 6th Congressional District.

In the final hours of Maryland’s most closely contested congressional race on Sunday, 6th district incumbent Republican Roscoe Bartlett was marching in a veterans parade and then phoning voters for hours, while Democratic challenger John Delaney was knocking on doors in Hagerstown and urging on volunteers at his own phone banks. Sam Smith reports in MarylandReporter.com.

IT’S A RACE: Maryland politics might be dominated by the Democratic Party, but its voters’ intentions are far less clear on several high-profile ballot questions and a congressional race in the western part of the state, writes David Hill for the Washington Times.

WA CO ISSUES: Andrew Schotz of the Hagerstown Herald-Mail reports on the people and issues, from federal to local, that Washington County voters will be deciding on Tuesday, Nov. 6.

DREAM ACT: Maryland could become the first state in the nation to decide by popular vote that illegal immigrants can be eligible for in-state college tuition, if students have attended a high school in the state for three years and if they or their parents have paid state income taxes during that time, along with other requirements, according to an AP story in the Daily Record.

FRANCHOT’S ALLEGIANCE QUESTIONED: A state senator on Friday questioned Comptroller Peter Franchot’s allegiance to Maryland, citing his appearance in television ads funded by an out-of-state company that is trying to defeat an expanded gambling measure in the Free State, writes John Wagner in the Post.

PG DIVIDED: Prince George’s County residents are divided over adding a new casino, reflecting statewide polls that forecast a tight race, writes Matt Connolly for the Washington Examiner.

EDUCATION & GAMBLING: Education is key to the claims of both sides in Maryland’s battle over expanded gambling, writes John Wagner in the Post. Supporters of Question 7 offer promises of more education funding. Opponents say those claims can’t be believed. And both sides have enlisted Maryland teachers to advance their arguments in a slew of television ads.

GRANTS FOR GAMBLING: An aide to Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake defended the use of $6 million in community impact grants for the proposed Harrah’s casino, calling the agreement a “recommended reimbursement” that would be presented to a community council, reports Mark Reutter in Baltimore Brew.

GAMBLING COMMITTEES: Three new ballot-issue committees have emerged in the closing weeks of Maryland’s costly fight over expanded gambling, channeling another $2.2 million into attempts to sway voters to support Question 7. One, the Republican Leaders Referendum Guide, also has registered to campaign for defeat of some other high-profile measures in Maryland: same-sex marriage, in-state tuition for undocumented students and the state’s new congressional map, reports John Wagner in the Post.

GAMBLING OOPS: The developer of National Harbor may have given supporters of same-sex marriage and in-state tuition for illegal immigrants an incentive to vote against expanded gambling by financing a Republican group’s sample ballot opposing their causes, reports Michael Dresser in the Sun.

CATHOLICS FOR MARRIAGE EQUALITY: Sun columnist Dan Rodricks writes of the Rev. Richard Lawrence, longtime pastor of St. Vincent de Paul Church, who delivered what Rodricks called a courageous, illuminating and inspiring pro-Q6 homily as a civil matter. His congregation gave him a standing ovation. The Baltimore Post-Examiner runs a photo of a Saturday, Nov. 3, vigil by social justice activists k/a “Catholic For Marriage Equality,” held in front of the Basilica of the Assumption.

WBFF-TV also reports Lawrence’s homily and the reaction to it.

RIGHT TO MARRY: Columnist Pat Furgurson of the Capital-Gazette writes that the question is simple: Should gay and lesbian couples have the right to get married, to make that commitment to love, and to enjoy the same rights and benefits of that commitment extended to others under the law? It is time, he says.

TALBOT LINCOLN DINNER: The Republican Party of Talbot County’s rescheduled annual Lincoln-Reagan Reception Thursday evening at the Tidewater Inn featured two veteran orators when the main speaker was delayed by Hurricane Sandy, reports Josh Bollinger in the Easton Star-Democrat.

NO SURPRISES: Rhetoric Professor Richard Vatz explains how he voted and why in this piece in Patch.com.

SANDY ASSESSMENT: As Maryland assesses its response to its most recent weather disaster, officials recognized that while the storm’s wrath met or fell short of expectations in some areas, it was far more than other areas could handle alone, write Scott Dance, Kevin Rector and Yvonne Wenger for the Sun.

ALSTON REPLACEMENT: Ann Marimow and Martin Weil of the Post report that Prince George’s County Democrats on Friday selected businessman Greg Hall to replace Tiffany Alston in the Maryland House of Delegates. If approved by Gov. Martin O’Malley, Hall, who ran unsuccessfully for the seat in 2010, would serve the remainder of Alston’s four-year term, which expires in 2014.

JOE BRYCE: Joe Bryce isn’t a household name. But for the past 20 years around the State House, he has been a respected, formidable and important part of the legislative process, writes the editorial board for the Sun. And now he is leaving to become a lobbyist.

DAIRY FARMERS: The U.S. is currently without a farm bill, a massive legislative package that includes financial support programs for farmers, writes Capital News Service’s David Gutman in the Hagerstown Herald-Mail. The last one expired Sept. 30, taking with it a key farm bill program for small dairy farmers, leaving them at the mercy of the volatile milk market.

TRANSPORTATION IN CECIL: Cecil County and town officials were informed Friday not to expect more than safety and maintenance projects to roads and bridges from Maryland Department of Transportation for the next few years, Cheryl Mattix reports for the Cecil Whig.