August 27, 2014

State Roundup, August 27, 2014

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HOGAN LEADS IN MONEY RACE: Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan jumped out to a massive — but almost certainly temporary — lead in cash in hand over Democratic rival Anthony Brown, the Hogan campaign reported Tuesday night. Hogan’s better than 3-1 advantage — $2.4 million to Brown’s $760,000 — was based largely on a July 9 lump sum payment of $2.6 million from the state’s public financing fund after the June 24 primary. However, writes the Sun’s Michael Dresser, Hogan’s fund-raising for his general election campaign is essentially frozen, while Brown can continue to raise money through the Nov. 4 election.

FEDS SUBPOENA IN HEALTH EXCHANGE: John Fritze and Meredith Cohn of the Sun are reporting that federal auditors looking into Maryland’s flawed health insurance exchange are subpoenaing documents as part of their probe and have sought information from the lead contractor hired by the state to build the site. A WJZ-TV report featuring U.S. Rep. Andy Harris tops the article.

POT PANEL CRITICIZED: Critics took aim Tuesday at proposed regulations to create a medical marijuana industry in Maryland as a state commission tasked with writing the rules rushed toward a deadline it might not meet, reports Erin Cox for the Sun. Physicians, patients, advocates and potential growers said the commission did not collect enough public input before drafting the rules — which they said appear to forbid a medical marijuana dispensary anywhere within Baltimore City limits.

Mike Miller and Melanie at Horseshoe Casino

Senate President Mike Miller, a long-time advocate for increased gaming to boost state revenues, attended the opening night of the Horseshoe Casino with daughter Melanie Miller. (From Melanie Miller’s Facebook page.)

HORSESHOE OPENS: Even on a normal night, casinos can assault the senses with glitz, flashing lights, showgirls, cocktails, high rollers, fancy food and blaring music. So it follows that the long-awaited opening night of the $442 million Horseshoe Casino Baltimore would include all of those things — but magnified tenfold, writes Jeff Barker in the sun.

GUN LAW REALITY: In a piece for MarylandReporter.com, Mark Newgent of Red Maryland responds to Vincent DeMarco’s defense of the 2013 gun law, writing that G.K. Chesterton once said fallacies do not cease to be fallacies simply because they become fashion. Newgent says this describes Vinny DeMarco’s “utterly unoriginal and fallacy laden piece,” defending the Firearms Safety Act of 2013.

VOTER FRAUD: Want a real-life example of voter fraud? Fairfax County election officials say they have 17 — and they’re providing names to local, state and federal authorities for prosecution, writes Kenric Ward of Watchdog.org. The 17 voters reportedly cast ballots in both Fairfax County, Va., and the state of Maryland during the 2012 presidential election.

ONLINE BALLOT SUIT: Testimony is in its last scheduled day in a federal lawsuit over Maryland’s refusal to implement an online ballot-marking tool for the blind, according to an AP story in the Daily Record. Maryland Assistant Attorney General Dan Friedman argued Tuesday in Baltimore that the state shouldn’t be forced to use a ballot system that hasn’t been certified by the Maryland State Board of Elections.

GA ATTORNEY NAMED JUDGE: Gov. Martin O’Malley has appointed the lawyer who defends the General Assembly to a seat on the state’s second highest court, reports Erin Cox for the Sun. O’Malley on Tuesday appointed Dan Friedman, an assistant attorney general, to the at-large position on Maryland’s Court of Special Appeals, a job vacant since Judge Albert J. Matricciani resigned earlier this year.

CHALLENGING KITTLEMAN: KittlemanFacts.com and a new mailer challenge Allan Kittleman’s positions that put him at odds on issues that have strong appeal to Democratic voters — school funding, abortion, environmental policy, gun control and the minimum wage. The site and the mailer are designed to label him as a loyal Republican, and not the “independent leader” he proclaims on his campaign signs as he runs for Howard County executive, according to Len Lazarick of MarylandReporter.com.

Kittleman mailer cover

Cover of a mailer attacking Sen. Allan Kittleman’s record in the race for Howard County executive.

YOUNG BEATS IN MONEY RACE: Republican Frederick County executive candidate Blaine Young amassed more than $227,700 in campaign funds in recent months, raising seven times the total of his Democratic rival, Jan Gardner, writes Bethany Rodgers for the Frederick News-Post.

KAMENETZ TROUNCES IN MONEY RACE: Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz ended the most recent campaign finance reporting period with just over $1 million in the bank. His Republican rival, George Harman, reported just under $3,000, writes Michael Dresser for the Sun.

SCHUH AHEAD IN MONEY RACE: Democrat George Johnson raised less than half as much in campaign contributions as his Republican challenger for Anne Arundel County executive Steve Schuh in the latest 10-week reporting period, campaign finance reports filed Tuesday show. Johnson reported $66,918.91 in contributions from clubs, individual donors, slate accounts and political action committees — about double what he has reported in previous finance submissions this year. Schuh reported $165,741 in contributions from individuals and PACs, reports Rema Rahman for the Annapolis Capital.

HIGH PRICE PER VOTE: David Lublin of the Seventh State blog writes Dana Beyer and Jonathan Shurberg now have significantly lighter wallets but still managed to lose their primaries. Beyer spent $332,503 – or $63.48 per vote – on her failed bid for the District 18 Democratic state Senate nomination. Shurberg’s total so far is $140.76 per vote but that could rise to $165.76 based on his loans and gifts to his losing campaign to gain the House of Delegates’ nomination in District 20.

NEVERDON APPEALS: A hearing has been scheduled for next week in Russell Neverdon’s appeal of a decision that has left him off the general election ballot as an independent candidate for Baltimore City state’s attorney, reports Danny Jacobs for the Daily Record.

CITY-COUNTY TEAM ON RED LINE: Baltimore city and county leaders announced Tuesday that they are committing a combined $280 million to fund construction of the Red Line light rail even as the estimated cost for the project has ballooned to $2.9 billion, Kevin Rector and Alison Knezevich report in the Sun.

POLICE UNION DONATION STUNS OFFICERS: Anne Arundel’s African-American police officers said they were “shocked and taken aback” by a donation from the county’s largest police union to a defense fund for a police officer who shot an unarmed African-American man earlier this month in Ferguson, Mo., reports Ben Weathers for the Annapolis Capital.