July 18, 2013

State Roundup, July 18, 2013

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PIPKIN CHIDES NONVOTERS: When the General Assembly held hearings on Gov. Martin O’Malley’s sweeping gun control legislation this year, the line of opponents waiting to testify stretched down the sidewalk and around the corner of the Miller Senate Office Building. But Senate Minority Leader E.J. Pipkin said Wednesday that lawmakers later learned that many of those people, while state residents, weren’t even registered to vote, reports Alexander Pyles for the Daily Record.

IMPROVING THE BAY: The editorial board of the Frederick News-Post opines that two of the most prominent watchdogs of the Chesapeake Bay have issued an interim report on how states and the District of Columbia are doing in their efforts to clean up the bay and achieve certain goals by this year. None of the participants is expected to keep this year’s commitments, only some of which were reviewed in the report, but there is some hope.

OBAMACARE IN MARYLAND: Don Rodricks of WYPR-FM addresses how the Affordable Care Act will play out in Maryland, speaking with Dr. Peter Beilenson, former public health commissioner, Brad Herring, an expert on Obamacare from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Sarah Gantz, healthcare reporter for the Baltimore Business Journal.

MDGOP CONSIDERS OPEN PRIMARY: The Maryland Republican Party is weighing whether to open its primary elections to independent voters, a plan some envision delivering statewide victories that have largely eluded the party, writes Erin Cox in the Sun.

CRABS IN CRISFIELD: With 11 months to go before Democrats and Republicans choose their candidates for the November 2014 general election, virtually everyone who is considered a serious prospect as a statewide candidate made the trek to Crisfield in Somerset County, more than three hours from Baltimore for an event that has become enshrined as a vital part of the state’s political culture. Michael Dresser reports on the annual Tawes Crab and Clam Bake for the Sun. There’s a photo gallery above the story by Barbara Haddock Taylor.

MarylandReporter.com offers its own photo gallery of two dozen shots.

Jennifer Shutt of the Salisbury Daily Times quotes Len Foxwell, chief of staff for the state Comptroller’s Office, saying: “At a time when Maryland’s political candidates are more and more scripted and at a time when people only see their politicians and their elected officials in sterile and very controlled environments, Tawes is one of the events where you can literally get up close and personal and talk to the candidates. For the politicians, it is literally trial by fire.” Above the article, Shutt posted three videos of quick interviews with Democratic and Republican candidates for governor and with Foxwell. The sound isn’t the best in the world on this iPhone video.

The editorial board for the Sun assesses both the Democratic and Republican fields for governor thus far.

Red Maryland offers a bunch of photos and tweets from the event.

MIZEUR RUNS: Hours after announcing her candidacy for Maryland governor, Del. Heather Mizeur encountered three burly guys in baseball caps in at the Tawes Crab and Clam Bake in Crisfield — and found a few converts for her campaign, reports John Wagner in the Washington Post. Mizeur — like much of Maryland’s political class — came to this once-thriving fishing town Wednesday for an annual clambake that still draws patrons by the thousands.

Mizeur said in a statement that she is running because she wants to see the state live up to its full potential rather than settle for what’s “good enough.” She said her campaign will be run in communities, working side-by-side with neighbors, and won’t just be about holding rallies and giving speeches, Daniel Leaderman of the Gazette writes.

Josh Kurtz of Center Maryland writes that, dismissed by much of the state’s political and media establishment, Mizeur’s candidacy remains one of the most intriguing storylines of the 2014 campaign, as she tries to make history as the state’s first woman governor and as the first openly gay governor in the country – and as she seeks to prove she’s more than a candidate with limited regional and ideological appeal

Maryland Juice went through its storage vault and found a 2-minute video interview with Del. Heather Mizeur from last September. Correspondent Jed Millard asked Mizeur about the possibility of her running for governor, what her priority as governor would be and who inspires her in her work. Below that is an email blast Mizeur issued yesterday about her announced candidacy.

HOYER BACKS BROWN: U.S. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer plans to endorse Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown as Maryland’s next governor on Monday, adding another high-profile name to a growing list of early Brown supporters in a competitive Democratic primary, reports John Wagner for the Post.

DISTRICT 9 SENATE: Gail Bates, a West Friendship Republican and longtime member of the Maryland House of Delegates, announced on Tuesday a run for the state Senate for District 9, which is represented by Sen. Allan Kittleman, reports Amanda Yeager for the Sun. Kittleman recently announced he is leaving the seat at the end of his term to run for Howard County executive

DISTRICT 1 CONGRESS: Bill Tilghman, Democratic candidate for Congress in the 1st District, said, after talking with folks around the state, people are angry with politicians in Washington, D.C., and they want change, reports Josh Bollinger for the Easton Star-Democrat. “Our campaign is really about trying to bring both sides together to find common sense solutions and that’s the only way we’re ever going to solve these bigger problems that we face,” Tilghman said.

MAYOR BLASTS HARRIS COMMENT: Baltimore City Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake on Wednesday criticized comments made by U.S. Rep. Andy Harris that citizens should ‘get over’ the verdict in the high-profile George Zimmerman case, writes Luke Broadwater in the Sun. Rawlings-Blake called Harris’ comments “unbelievably dismissive, callous and out-of-touch” and dared him to say them to the parents of Trayvon Martin, the Florida teen killed by Zimmerman.

PG WATER CRISES AVERTED: Prince George’s County averted a crisis when it was announced Wednesday that water would not be shut off for as many as 200,000 residents, leaving businesses, restaurants and hotels scrambling to reopen after preparing for multiday closures, Celina Durgin reports for the Washington Times.

CUMBERLAND CANAL PLACE: Plans for the expansion of the Canal Place Heritage Area were dealt a blow recently when state officials informed Cumberland’s Canal Place Preservation and Development Authority that the state is too understaffed and underfunded to proceed with the plan, reports Greg Larry for the Cumberland Times-News. The expansion was part of what Canal Place calls its management plan update.