June 9, 2014

State Roundup, June 9, 2014

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BILL GATES & THE COMMON CORE: Lyndsey Layton of the Post reports on how Bill Gates was persuaded to get involved in the Common Core education reform effort, helping to fund it with millions of dollars in donations. In a video on top of the article, Gates answers critics.

STRUGGLING TOWNS: The last several years have been hard on Maryland cities, writes Adam Bednar for the Daily Record. Highway user funds have been slashed. Property tax revenues are still lagging. Meanwhile, towns are trying to cope with aging infrastructure and stricter environmental regulations.

MARYLAND JOBS: U.S. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, has announced committee passage of the fiscal year 2015 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, which supports thousands of Maryland jobs, the Salisbury Daily Times reports.

EARLY VOTING: Lauren Loricchio of the Sun writes that while the primary election for state as well as local offices, is June 24, Baltimore County residents looking to get a head start have eight options for where they can cast their vote early. Beginning June 12 and continuing through June 19, county residents can vote from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at a number of early voting centers.

BROWN, HOGAN CONTINUE TO LEAD: Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown has strengthened his lead in the fiercely contested Democratic primary for governor and enters the campaign’s final two weeks with a 2-1 advantage over his closest competitor, Michael Dresser and Erin Cox report on a new poll for The Baltimore Sun. In the Republican race, businessman Larry Hogan is running well ahead of his three opponents, the poll found.

A DUD OF A RACE: College students Matt and Kevin Dragonette, in an op-ed for the Sun, write that as young voters in our state, they cannot help but express their disgust with the gubernatorial election thus far. Perhaps it is youthful idealism or ignorance, but they had looked forward to competitive, meaningful and well-debated primary and general elections. To their disappointment, the race for governor on both sides of the aisle has been stagnant and largely unproductive for the voters of Maryland.

GOV’S RACE THUS FAR: With just two weeks to go till the June 24 primary, political prognosticator Barry Rascovar, writing for MarylandReporter.com, assesses the gubernatorial campaign thus far.

MILITARY SERVICES & ELECTIONS: In a column for the Annapolis Capital, Rick Hutzell writes that in another generation, military service was the rule in building a resume for public office. It was the D-Day generation. It was the Korean generation. It was the era of the draft. Today, military service is the exception in politics. Among the dozens of candidates running in the June 24 primary and in the November election, only a handful list “veteran” among their qualifications.

REJECTED ENDORSEMENTS: Most political endorsements touted by candidates typically elicit yawns. Until they garner gasps. Del. Jon Cardin, a Democratic candidate for Maryland attorney general, rejected an impromptu endorsement he landed last week from a rapper with a rap sheet. Cardin is not the first candidate to have to distance himself from an endorsement gone wild, writes Doug Donovan for the Sun.

WHAT THE ATTY GEN DOES: In this explainer for MarylandReporter.com, Glynis Kazanjian writes about the Office of the Attorney General and what it really does.

FROSH QUESTIONS CARDIN’S JUDGMENT: State Sen. Brian Frosh questioned Baltimore County Del. Jon Cardin’s fitness to be attorney general Friday, citing the endorsement of his Democratic primary rival by a local rapper facing human-trafficking charges. “At least one of my opponents lacks the rudimentary judgment required for holding the office of attorney general,” Frosh told The Baltimore Sun’s editorial board during a scheduled meeting, reports Luke Broadwater for the Sun.

CARDIN & THE UNDECIDEDS: Del. Jon Cardin leads the Democratic field in the race for Maryland attorney general, but the contest remains far from settled because of a striking number of undecided voters and a well-funded challenger who is gaining ground, according to a new poll conducted for The Baltimore Sun, reports Jeff Barker in the Sun.

SUN BACKS FROSH: The editorial board for the Sun writes that it is a rare pleasure in any election year (and perhaps this one more than most) to have a candidate for statewide office thye can endorse so enthusiastically as they do Brian Frosh in the Democratic primary for attorney general. In his career in the General Assembly, he has distinguished himself as a considerate and effective legislator, they say, and they have no doubt that he would excel as Maryland’s top lawyer.

AFRICAN IMMIGRANTS ADDRESSED: Three Democrats vying to be the next governor of Maryland — along with one Republican — addressed a gathering of several hundred African immigrants on Sunday, all promising to give the community access at a time when it is seeking to become more active in politics, reports John Wagner for the Post.

  • Jonathan Pitts of the Sun reports that according to the 2010 census, there are more than 1.6 million African immigrants living in the country, or about 4% of all immigrant groups, a number that nearly doubled over the previous decade. About half a million live in greater Washington.

CRAIG’S CAMPAIGN FINANCING: WYPR’s Fraser Smith and Christopher Connelly talk about why David Craig, despite a long history in Maryland politics, was unable to qualify for public campaign financing in his bid for governor.

BROWN WIDENS LEAD: Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown has strengthened his lead in the fiercely contested Democratic primary for governor and enters the campaign’s final two weeks with a 2-1 advantage over his closest competitor, according to a new poll for The Baltimore Sun. Michael Dresser and Erin Cox of the Sun reports that in the Republican race, businessman and activist Larry Hogan is running well ahead of his three opponents.

DEMS’ DIFFERENCES: Jenna Johnson and John Wagner of the Post write that the three Democratic rivals for governor all sell themselves as progressives. But there are seven issues in which they part ways including taxes and marijuana.

AD FEATURES ULMAN: Gubernatorial hopeful Anthony Brown’s latest television ad is the first to feature his running mate, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, writes John Wagner in the Post. The ad tops the article.

DISTRICT 12: For the first time in more than a decade, the sprawling House of Delegates district that extends from southwest Baltimore County through Howard County is in play. With three long-serving incumbents retiring from District 12, a large field of competitors is hoping to pounce on a rare opportunity to win election in what is seen as a diverse and important district, Luke Broadwater of the Sun writes.

SHANK BACKS HOUGH: Among items in his Political Notebook for the Hagerstown Herald Mail, Kaustuv Basu reports that Sen. Christopher Shank has endorsed Del. Michael Hough, a Republican from Frederick, in Hough’s race against incumbent state Sen. David Brinkley in the Republican primary for Maryland Senate District 4

DISTRICT 33: Seven faces, one common complaint. Taxes, writes Alex Jackson for the Capital Gazette. In District 33, seven Republican candidates are running for three seats in the House of Delegates in a redrawn district. They all say that constituents’ checkbooks are being raided and, in some cases, this is forcing them to look for other places to live.

ZIRKIN’S NEXT ROLE: Sen. Bobby Zirkin has 92,000 reasons why he should be the next chairman of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee. Zirkin, a two-term senator, finds himself in the enviable position of having no opposition in the general or primary election as well as a couple hundred thousand dollars sitting around gathering dust in his campaign account, writes Bryan Sears for the Daily Record. What’s a guy to do?

GLOVES ARE OFF IN ARUNDEL: Tim Prudente of the Annapolis Capital writes that the Neuman-Schuh race for Anne Arundel County executive had been a pretty clean race … until the debate. Now, the gloves are off.

FACT-CHECKING NEUMAN CLAIMS: Tim Prudente of the Annapolis Capital fact-checks County Executive Laura Neuman’s claims that challenger Steve Schuh is a tax and spend politician.

FACT-CHECKING SCHUH CLAIMS: Alex Jackson of the Annapolis Capital fact-checks a mailer sent out by the Schuh campaign that features a scorecard with grades from both sides of the political aisle for County Executive Laura Neuman. In five categories, ranging from unions to “rain tax,” the mailer gives Neuman an A+ on its “Democrat Scorecard.” A “Republican Scorecard” gives Neuman four F’s and one D. Both parties give her F on development in south county.

LETTER DAY: As candidates inundate Montgomery Democratic households with slick, pricey mailers in advance of the June 24 primary, Council member Phil Andrews is trying a different approach to cut through the clutter in his campaign for county executive: neighbor-to-neighbor letters, reports Bill Turque in the Post. On Friday, his staff began hauling an estimated 30,000 letters to the Post Office, written by volunteers to friends or neighbors urging them to vote for Andrews.