August 26, 2013

State Roundup, Monday, August 26, 2013

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SMIGIEL, HERSHEY NOW TIED: The score is now 2-2 in the race to fill the seat vacated by Sen. E.J. Pipkin, and the drama goes on. Del. Mike Smigiel, R-Cecil, and Del. Steve Hershey, R-Queen Anne’s, have now each won the votes of two Republican central committees in District 36, and both have complaints about how two central committees handled their nominating process, report Len Lazarick and Daniel Menefee for MarylandReporter.com.

The replacement declared the second-place finisher in her panel’s vote the winner after first-place finisher Audrey Scott resigned. He happens to be her boss, Del. Smigiel, writes Michael Dresser in the Sun.

Here’s what happened Friday: Daniel Menefee reported for MarylandReporter.com that the internal party struggle over filling the Senate seat vacated by Sen. E.J. Pipkin Shore remains in flux as freshman Del. Steve Hershey of Queen Anne’s County secured the official vote of the Kent County Republican Central Committee on Thursday.

DWYER GETS CHALLENGER: Long-time Anne Arundel County businessman and civic leader Gus Kurtz announced Friday he is seeking the seat of Del. Don Dwyer, reports Dave Collins for WBAL-TV. Dwyer awaits sentencing on drunken boating charges and was arrested last week on a DUI charge. There’s a video report at the top of the story.

HOPEFUL WITHDRAWS IN DISTRICT 15: David Moon at Maryland Juice blogs that in the District 15 run to replace state Sen. Rob Garagiola, who is leaving, University of Maryland Professor Bilal Ayyub has withdrawn his name from consideration by the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee, believing that Del. Brian Feldman has already locked up the endorsement.

YOUNG WON’T RUN FOR GOV: Blaine Young has decided not to run for governor of Maryland, reports the Frederick News Post. The Frederick County commissioners president announced his decision Saturday at  the Frederick Fairgrounds during a day-long fundraiser for the Patty Pollatos fund.

Daniel Gross of the Frederick News Post reports that Young offered supporters a glimpse of him becoming Frederick County’s first county executive and also endorsed Charles Lollar for governor, saying Lollar had a better shot in the general election.

Young had launched an exploratory bid last year and made a splash in January when he posted the best fundraising numbers of any Republican considering entering the 2014 race to succeed Gov. Martin O’Malley, the Post’s John Wagner writes.

With Young on the sidelines, the announced and expected GOP candidates are Lollar, a Charles County businessman, Harford County Executive David Craig and Del. Ron George of Anne Arundel County. Others believed to be considering a race include former Lt. Gov. Michael Steele and Larry Hogan, president of the conservative activist group Change Maryland, writes Michael Dresser for the Sun.

HADDAWAY ON AIR: Derek Hunter of WBAL-AM hosts Del. Jeannie Haddaway, candidate for lieutenant governor on David Craig’s ticket, as she talks about the campaign and her time in Annapolis. Elizabeth Janney of Patch.com sums up the interview.

ATTY GEN HOPEFULS SPEAK: With a faulty audio system, several Democratic candidates for state office were forced to talk a little bit louder Thursday night to get their message out to more than 150 people in Washington County. Comptroller Peter Franchot, state Sen. Brian Frosh and Dels. Bill Frick and Jon Cardin — the latter three candidates for attorney general — spoke to attendees of the annual end-of-summer picnic hosted by the Washington County Democratic Central Committee at the Williamsport Red Men’s club, C.J. Lovelace reports for the Hagerstown Herald-Mail.

POLITICAL NOTEBOOK: U.S. Rep. John Delaney tours Washington County and Del. Heather Mizeur, who is running for the Democratic nomination for governor,is in Garrett County, according to the Hagerstown Herald Mail’s Political Notebook.

EMBATTLED MD GOP: Michael Dresser of the Sun reports on the embattled Maryland GOP. He starts with what happened just this past week:The director of the Maryland Republican Party resigned without notice. One of its state delegates was arrested for the second time on a serious alcohol-related charge. And a virtual civil war broke out over who should replace a leading senator who’s moving to Texas.

MD DEMS BOOK REP. CASTRO: The Maryland Democratic Party has booked U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), a rising national political star, as its guest speaker at an annual gala next month, reports John Wagner of the Post. The planned appearance comes amid a busy stretch for both the congressman and his twin 38-year-old brother, Julian Castro, the mayor of San Antonio. The mayor was the keynote speaker at last year’s Democratic National Convention.

COLBURN REIMBURSEMENTS QUESTIONED: Maryland Eastern Shore Sen. Richard Colburn reimbursed himself with campaign funds for more than $40,000 of meals, gas, lodging, flowers and Baltimore Orioles tickets, reports Jennifer Shutt for the Salisbury Daily Times. Reports filed with the state Board of Elections from January 2007 through January 2013, he used the Citizens for Richard Colburn committee account to pay himself back for expenses that, by law, must contribute to his re-election. While some of the expenses, such as flowers, could be for fundraisers or re-election efforts, the frequency and amount of money he reimburses himself for is unusual, the newspaper reported.

Here are excerpts from Shutt’s interview with Colburn in which he talks about how he decides what is reimbursable and what is not.

GRASSO ON RAIN TAX: In an op-ed piece for the Capital-Gazette Anne Arundel County Councilman John Grasso details the history of the stormwater management fee (the so-called rain tax). Grasso is also a candidate for Arundel County executive.

LGBT PROTEST: LGBT activists from Maryland will stage an “educational picket” at the Fillmore Silver Spring on Monday evening to protest homophobic lyrics used by the Mexican rap-metal band Molotov, which is scheduled to perform, writes Bill Turque for the Post.

DELEGATES TO MEET CORRECTIONS: Del. Kevin Kelly has described a union-arranged meeting set for Monday at Allegany College of Maryland on the recent spate of violence at North Branch Correctional Institution as a “missed opportunity.” He said the District 1 delegation will reverse course and attend the meeting to show support for the correctional officers, Greg Larry reports in the Cumberland Times News.

COMMON COLLEGE APPLICATION: More than 500 schools across the country, including some in Maryland, use the Common Application, which enables students to apply to multiple colleges by filling out one online form. But it turns out that the organization’s licensing agreement might conflict with state law, raising questions about whether the four Maryland public schools using the system can continue.

STATE FINES DEVELOPER: State environmental officials fined Bozzuto Development Co. $5,000, claiming the company failed to maintain logbooks on its construction work at Annapolis Towne Centre at Parole, reports Sara Blumberg for the Capital-Gazette. The Greenbelt-based firm failed to track potential runoff for 308 days between March 26, 2012, and Jan. 31, according to a report released last week by the Maryland Department of the Environment.

FREDERICK LAND SALE: Frederick County leaders agreed to sell 1.5 acres of land to the City of Frederick for $430,000, with the school system using the money to pay down debt on its central offices, writes Bethany Rodgers for the Frederick News-Post.

Maryland Food Bank leaderboardFREDERICK CITY PRIMARY: The Frederick News-Post is running a voters guide for the Frederick city Primary Elections, which occur on Sept. 10. Click here to have a look.

6 SEEK CECIL JUDGESHIP: Six lawyers are vying for a recently added fourth Cecil County Circuit Court judgeship, according to the Maryland Administrative Office of the Courts, writes Carl Hamilton for the Cecil Whig.

HARFORD SCHOOL SUIT PLANNED: A coalition of concerned citizens plans legal action to halt cuts in school bus service and the implementation of pay-to-play fees in the school year that begins today in Harford County Public Schools, writes Cindy Mumby for the Dagger.

KOCH WON’T BUY SUN: Koch Industries still has an interest in the media business, but it will not be buying eight newspapers belonging to the Tribune Co., including the Baltimore Sun, according to a report in the Baltimore Business Journal.