June 19, 2014

State Roundup, June 19, 2014

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EARLY VOTING ENDS TODAY:Wednesday had the strongest turnout for early primary voting since the procedure began in the 2010 election, with 21,407 voters showing up at 63 polling stations across the state, reports Len Lazarick for MarylandReporter.com. A record total of 111,630 voters have now cast early ballots in the gubernatorial primary, with Democrats making up three out of every four of them.

$1M SCHOOL FUNDING STUDY: The Board of Public Works approved Wednesday paying $1 million to a Colorado-based contractor that will study whether Maryland schools receive adequate funding, reports Jeremy Bauer-Wolf for MarylandReporter.com. The irony of this was not lost on Comptroller Peter Franchot, who emphatically protested the decision. “I have visited over 200 schools … I can tell you right now we have a lot of unmet needs in our public schools. I can think of several better things to do with a million dollars than hand it over to an out-of-state consulting firm,” Franchot said.

ATTORNEY GENERAL CANDIDATES: Dan Rodricks of WYPR-FM speaks with the three contenders vying for the Democratic nomination to become Maryland’s top legal officer; State House Del. Aisha Braveboy of Prince George’s County, Del. Jon Cardin of Baltimore County, and State Senator Brian Frosh of Montgomery County. You can find podcast links to Hour 1 and Hour 2 here.

GRIFFITH CHALLENGES CURRIE: After being censured by the General Assembly for an ethics violation, Sen. Ulysses Currie could be  particularly vulnerable to election year attacks. But his primary challenger, Del. Melony Griffith, has decided not to dwell on this issue when she speaks about him, reports Margaret Sessa-Hawkins for MarylandReporter.com. Griffith says she recognizes that “without trailblazers [like Senator Currie] the Melony Griffiths wouldn’t have had the opportunity to run for office.”

DISTRICT 24: There are 10 candidates competing in Tuesday’s Democratic primary for the three District 24 seats in Maryland’s House of Delegates. At a recent voters’ forum, candidates for the Maryland General Assembly talked about the importance of giving former offenders and alleged wrongdoers a second chance. In some instances, they were — in effect — talking about themselves, reports Frederick Kunkle in the Post.

SUN GENERAL ASSEMBLY ENDORSEMENTS: The editorial board for the Sun makes its endorsements in a slew of General Assembly races in districts in and around Baltimore City.

WOMEN IN POLITICS: In a column for Center Maryland, self-described moderate Republican Katie Nash urges voters to consider Heather Mizeur for governor and Aisha Braveboy for attorney general. She writes that her party right now embarrasses the hell out of her in a lot of ways. But adds that the Democrats aren’t doing such a good job of offering an alternative.

MIZEUR AS ROLE MODEL: Del. Heather Mizeur, the progressive Democrat who is running for governor, has become a role model for other women who are seeking higher office. Jenna Johnson of the Post reports that at a May event, female political activists packed a Rockville living room, with Mizeur and her wife, Deborah, looking on from the back. One by one, women running for public office took turns pitching themselves. A school board candidate started to list of what she would do if elected, then carefully corrected herself: “Or, as Heather says, when I’m on the board.” A candidate for the House of Delegates explained, “I’m running — like Heather said — to make a difference.

HOGAN BLASTS REDSKINS DECISION: Maryland Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan on Wednesday said it was an affront to free speech for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to cancel the Washington Redskins trademark registration, reports John Wagner for the Post.. In announcing the decision, the Trademark Office said the team name was “disparaging to Native Americans.” The case was filed on behalf of five Native Americans.

BROWN’S BALANCING ACT: In the last in a series of gubernatorial candidate profiles in the Sun, Michael Dresser reports that as Anthony Brown runs for governor, he often appears to be walking a political tightrope. If the lieutenant governor tips too far in the direction of independence, he risks looking disloyal to Gov. Martin O’Malley, whose firm support has given him a leg up in the Democratic primary race. If he shows too much deference to O’Malley, he risks looking more like a sidekick than a leader.

DELANEY RUNS ADS: He won’t face a challenge in next week’s primary election, but U.S. Rep. John Delaney nevertheless began running television advertisements on Wednesday, writes John Fritze for the Sun.

6th CONGRESSIONAL: Harold Painter is a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in Maryland’s 6th District. The Frederick News Post runs a Q&A with the candidate on why he is running. He says that the 6th District needs jobs that allow working families to maintain a middle-class presence.

WAITING FOR THE END: The Democratic Gubernatorial Primary campaign, which started more than a year ago, will reach its conclusion this coming Tuesday. If the recent polls turn out to be accurate, relatively little that has happened during that year will have made much of a difference, writes Laslo Boyd for Center Maryland.

VOTE AGAINST VOTER APATHY: The editorial board for the Frederick News Post writes that while voter turnout for the June 24 primary is expected to be low, it hopes that Frederick County voters aren’t afflicted with this election-season ennui. There are distinct choices to be made — and much is at stake.

HOT ARUNDEL EXEC RACE: In the race for Anne Arundel County’s next executive, the gloves came off a long time ago, according to a report at WMAR-TV. County Executive Laura Neuman said last week she’s been subject to personal attacks since she decided to run for a full term of her own after being appointed to the position last year. She maintains her campaign has only critiqued the voting record of her opponent in the Republican primary, Del. Steve Schuh.  “We said we were not going to do any personal attacks, and we have stuck by that,” said Neuman, now running for a full term of her own. Schuh, who has served two terms in the Maryland House of Delegates, sees things differently.

SUN BACKS SCHUH: In endorsing Del. Steve Schuh for Anne Arundel County executive, the Sun editorial board says that perhaps the most hotly contested — or at least the nastiest — local race in the state this year is the Republican primary for executive in Anne Arundel County. Incumbent Laura Neuman, a political novice who was appointed to the job last year after John Leopold resigned in disgrace, is fighting a challenge from Schuh, who had been planning for this race before most people in Arundel political circles had even heard of Ms. Neuman. They are spending unprecedented sums of money for a primary in Anne Arundel, and most of it appears dedicated to tearing each other down.