June 16, 2014

State Roundup, June 16, 2014

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EXPLOITATION OR TRAINING? Alison Knezevich of the Sun reports that to some, workers with developmental disabilities are getting valuable on-the-job-training and the self-respect that comes with employment when they work in some settings. Others say they’re being exploited — because wages in the facility, run by a nonprofit, are as low as 25 cents an hour.

COMMON CORE: Kelcie Pegher of the Annapolis Capital reports that whatever students are learning these days in Common Core math, the most important factor in their education may be a numbers game played out on the state and county levels. And virtually no one agrees on how the figures should come out. Del. Herb McMillan said while mechanisms are needed to shunt additional funds to counties with less income, it’s unfair to base every state formula on wealth. In Anne Arundel County, McMillan said, “we’re not getting the bang for our buck. We have kids who have needs here as well.”

PHOSPHORUS RISING: Despite early progress reducing Chesapeake Bay pollution, levels of a key pollutant, phosphorus, have not come down in many rivers in the past decade — and are actually rising in several, officials say. Tim Wheeler of the Sun reports that phosphorus is one of two pollutants blamed for causing algae blooms and “dead zones” in the bay, where fish and shellfish can’t get enough oxygen in the water. Plants and animals need phosphorus and nitrogen to live, but the bay is choking on an overdose.

CANTOR MEET BYRON: In a fascinating comparison of primary races that ended in stunning defeats for incumbents that should have held onto their congressional seats, columnist Barry Rascovar for MarylandReporter.com compares the recent defeat of the No. 2 Republican in the House of Representatives, Virginia’s Eric Cantor, to that of Beverly Byron, who held a wealth of political influence and congressional power for the state of Maryland when she was ambushed in her Democratic primary in 1992.

EARLY VOTING TURNOUT: On the first day of early voting for the Maryland gubernatorial primary, 20,382 people cast ballots, according to the State Board of Elections. That’s the highest number the state has seen in a single day of early voting a for a primary, giving hope that overall turnout for the election might not be as low as expected, writes Jenna Johnson for the Post.

YEAR OF THE PHYSICIAN: Gene Ransom, of MedChi, the Maryland State Medical Society, writes for Center Maryland that this election could usher in the Year of the Physician for the General Assembly.

CONGRESSIONAL RACES: Tim Prudente of the Annapolis Capital wraps up the races for the four congressional districts that divide Anne Arundel County. Within each district, he writes, the storyline is the same: Political newcomers aim to unseat well-funded, established Democrat.

ELECTIONS COMPILATIONS: The Carroll County Times has compiled its elections-related stories in a format that should allow you to discover the candidates, polling places and other pertinent information.

SUBDISTRICTS 1C & 2A: Kaustuv Basu of the Hagerstown Herald Mail writes that the June 24 primary election will see contests in Subdistrict 1C, which includes parts of Allegany and Washington counties, and Subdistrict 2A, which includes a large portion of Washington County and will have two delegates in the House. Click on the candidates’ names to the left of the story to see how they have responded to questions from the Herald Mail.

DISTRICT 4: David Vogt III is a candidate for House of Delegates from District 4. He tells the Frederick News Post that he is running for the House because he is a “Marine who will always have a heart committed to service. I fought for our great nation as a Marine and now it is time to take that same service to protecting our citizens and their families from over-reaching government.”

DISTRICT 5: Newly drawn district lines in Carroll have changed the landscape of the county’s House and Senate representation, writes Rachel Roubein for the Carroll County Times. The boundaries essentially funneled most of Carroll’s House of Delegates representation into District 5. A portion of Carroll falls in District 4, which is mostly Frederick County, and a portion falls in the largely Howard County District 9A. Candidates in the House and Senate have to balance Carroll’s needs with their other jurisdictions.

REDISTRICTING & DISTRICT 31: One cul-de-sac, 16 homes, two legislative districts. Alex Jackson of the Annapolis Capital reports that when the General Assembly redrew district lines in 2012, nothing changed for six homes on the south side of Bramblewood Court in Anne Arundel County. They’re still represented by the same state lawmakers from District 33, formerly District 33A. But the 10 homes on the north, past the weeping willow on the cul-de-sac in Shipley’s Choice in Millersville, got new lawmakers from District 31B, a new central committee and a new polling place.

DISTRICT 35B: Readers will find links to interviews with the three candidates running in the June 24 primary election in District 35B to the left and below the ads in the Cecil Whig. Democrat Jeffrey Elliott, of Bel Air, did not return several requests for an interview. He is running against Daniel Lamey. On the Republican ballot, Andrew Cassilly, Jason Gallion and Teresa Reilly will square off to represent the GOP in the general election.

DISTRICT 41: State Sen. Lisa Gladden says her re-election campaign is about unfinished business. The Baltimore Democrat championed repeal of the death penalty in Maryland. She cheered the state’s recognition of same-sex marriage. But as she looks around her Northwest Baltimore District, she still sees troubled schools, crumbling infrastructure and poverty. Standing in her way is Will Hanna, a 43-year-old Army veteran and community activist who says change has not come quickly enough to the 41st District. Matthew Hay Brown writes about the two candidates for the Sun.

DIFFERENCES, SIMILARITIES IN AG CANDIDATES: Luke Broadwater profiles the three Democratic candidates for attorney general, writing that if state Sen. Brian Frosh has his way, voters will pick Maryland’s next attorney general based on experience — his 28 years in the General Assembly, 11 of them as a committee chairman who pushed through measures such as the state’s new gun control law. Del. Jon Cardin wants citizens to focus more on his vision for fighting cyber crimes — computer attacks he calls the law-enforcement issue of the future. And Del. Aisha Braveboy is hoping folks are concerned enough about social-justice issues to prefer her hands-on legal work to protect families from foreclosure and young people facing imprisonment.

FROSH RAISES, SPENDS: Sen. Brian Frosh has outraised and outspent his fellow candidates in a primary race where polls have consistently placed the veteran lawmaker behind his less-experienced but more renowned competitor in the attorney general contest, Arelis Hernández reports for the Post.

GUB CANDIDATES ON BUSINESS: As the June 24 primary approaches, Maryland’s gubernatorial candidates talk business — and why they think they can improve your bottom line. Sarah Meehan of the Baltimore Business Journal compiles the platforms. (Much of this is subscriber content.)

BROWN OUTRAISES: Democratic gubernatorial hopefuls Heather Mizeur and Doug Gansler on Friday both reported raising a fraction of the $813,366 that the race’s front-runner, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, accumulated during a recent two-and-a-half week period, reports John Wagner of the Post.

GANSLER TO FILE COMPLAINT: The gubernatorial campaign for Attorney General Doug Gansler plans to file a campaign finance violation complaint against both the Brown-Ulman campaign and a political action committee that has spent money attacking Gansler, writes Glynis Kazanjian for MarylandReporter.com. The complaint will be filed June 25 — the day after the primary election — and is based on recently filed campaign finance reports that show chief fundraisers for gubernatorial frontrunners Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown and running mate Ken Ulman have been consulting for a PAC that is running attack ads against Brown’s biggest rival, Gansler.

GANSLER SHOOTS WITH BOTH BARRELS: With the Maryland Democratic gubernatorial primary a week and a half away, Attorney General Doug Gansler appears to be unloading everything that he doesn’t like about his rivals onto voters, John Wagner and Jenna Johnson report for the Post.

FACT-CHECKING BROWN: Jeff Barker of the Sun does a fact-check on Democrat Anthony Brown’s campaign for governor distributes a mailer to voters questioning opponent Doug Gansler’s “puzzling priorities.”

SUN BACKS BROWN: The editorial board for the Sun endorses Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown in the Democratic primary for governor, writing that the hard-fought campaign for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination this year has provided voters with a difficult decision. All three of the major candidates bring formidable and unique strengths to the contest, and none is without serious flaws. After watching the race closely, conducting extensive interviews with each candidate and considering their stands on the issues, the board writes that it concludes that Brown is the best choice.

O’MALLEY IN N.H.: A Reuters report in the Sun says that Gov. Martin O’Malley was in New Hampshire this weekend to rub shoulders with influential Democrats in the early-voting state as he begins to test the waters for a presidential run in 2016.

SWEADNER ON FREDERICK EXEC RACE: Bethany Rodgers of the Frederick News Post does a Q&A with Mark Sweadner, who is running for the Republican nomination for Frederick County executive. He says he is running for office because “I have become very disappointed with the decision-making of the current BOCC (Board of County Commissioners), as well as previous boards.”

SCHUH-NEUMAN DEBATE: Anne Arundel County Executive Laura Neuman and Del. Steve Schuh had a more lighthearted exchange during their third and final debate Friday, writes Rema Rahman for the Annapolis Capital. It came after two debates that saw the Republican candidates for Anne Arundel’s county executive exchange criticisms of each other’s record in office and campaign tactics.

NEUMAN, SCHUH SPEND: Del. Steve Schuh and County Executive Laura Neuman are putting their money to work. The two Republicans running for their party’s nomination in the Anne Arundel County executive race each spent more than $200,000 between May 21 and June 8, campaign finance reports show, writes Alex Jackson for the Annapolis Capital.

CAPITAL BACKS NEUMAN: The Annapolis Capital editorial board writes that county Republicans should be proud they have two candidates for county executive as strong as Laura Neuman and Steve Schuh. Neuman is the sort of dynamic outside talent both parties should be trying to get into elective office. Schuh is an accomplished businessman and legislator. The editorial board supports Neuman for Anne Arundel County executive.