October 21, 2014

State Roundup, October 21, 2014

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NRA BACKS HOGAN; BROWN CHEERS: The National Rifle Association on Monday announced its endorsement of Republican Larry Hogan in Maryland’s gubernatorial contest, citing his “support and commitment to the Second Amendment,” John Wagner reports in the Post.

HOGAN BLASTS O’MALLEY: Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan criticized the O’Malley administration Monday over its decision to delay a lawsuit against the contractor it has blamed for the failed launch of the state’s health exchange web site, writes Michael Dresser of the Sun.

HOGAN ON PARDONS, HEROIN PROBLEM: Larry Hogan says he will continue focusing on his economic message that Maryland taxes are too high and regulations are overly constrictive to attract businesses, as he campaigns down the stretch against Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown in Maryland’s governor’s race. Hogan also outlined some social concerns in an interview with the Associated Press, including plans to take a greater interest in pardons and commutations and fighting heroin. The article appears in the Daily Record.

HOGAN’S SIN: Gazette opinionmaker Blair Lee writes that “Larry Hogan has committed the unpardonable sin — he’s closed within striking distance of winning Maryland’s governor’s race. For this he must be punished: No, he must be destroyed. If you think the Democrats and their press corps allies have resorted to distortions, falsehoods, biased reporting and selective fact-checking to date, just wait until you see what happens between now and Election Day. By the time they’ve finished with Larry Hogan, his own mother won’t recognize him.”

BROWN & GETTING BLACKS TO VOTE: Center Maryland political prognosticator Josh Kurtz writes about why it is so difficult for Anthony Brown to stir up enthusiasm among black voters. The African-American vote was always going to provide part of Brown’s structural advantage in this campaign, he writes, “and there is little doubt that Brown, percentage-wise, will win the overwhelming support of African-American voters again in the general election. The question becomes how many black voters Brown can actually turn out. Why has this become such a challenge for the Democrat?”

VOTE EARLY: The editorial board of the Frederick News Post is touting the benefits of early voting, saying that it’s “the best thing since sliced bread. It helps ensure voters can cast their ballots and gives them a range of days and times to do so — when it’s convenient for them.”

YES ON QUESTION 1: In a MarylandReporter.com commentary, Len Lazarick writes: “Shouldn’t the money we pay in the gasoline tax be used to fund the roads and bridges it was supposed to build and maintain? Yes, of course, you say. That’s the answer voters need to give to Question 1 on the state ballot this year.

CANDIDATE SUES FORMER CAMPAIGNERS: A Baltimore County real estate investor running for House of Delegates is suing three former contract employees of his campaign, claiming the men made defamatory comments about him and divulged confidential information in violation of a non-disclosure agreement, the Daily Record’s Bryan Sears is reporting. Hasan M. “Jay” Jalisi is seeking $100,000 in compensatory and $100,000 in punitive damages from three men — Saliou Dioum, Andrew Levin and his brother Seth Levin. In a lawsuit, Jalisi said he hired Dioum and the Levins to help manage his campaign.

DISTRICT 1B: Economic development is forefront for both incumbent Del. Kevin Kelly and his House of Delegates District 1B challenger, Cumberland attorney Jason Buckel. Both candidates have ideas for legislation they say they’d like to work on getting through the General Assembly, including dealing with economic development in Allegany County, reports Matthew Bieniek for the Cumberland Times News.

DISTRICT 36: Del. Jay Jacobs is running unopposed for his seat in the House of Delegates in District 36 in the upcoming 2014 general election. District 36 can choose a total of three delegates from either Kent, Queen Anne’s or parts of Caroline and Cecil counties, Josh Bollinger reports in the Easton Star-Democrat. There are no candidates left in the race from Cecil County following the primary election in June. There are two candidates, one Republican and one Democrat, each in Queen Anne’s and Caroline counties. That leaves Jacobs, the current chairman of the House Republican Caucus, by himself in Kent County.

DISTRICT 37B: The four candidates for House of Delegates District 37B agree Maryland’s economy needs help, but offered different ways to fix it during a forum in Easton, writes Henley Moore for the Easton Star Democrat. Two seats will be filled from District 37B, but the two delegates may not be from the same county.

collateral_damage_300x250_r1 with border*** Please join us today at 5 p.m. for the Baltimore premiere of Collateral Damage: A Farm Family Under Attack, a 15-minute documentary presented by Save Farm Families in partnership with MarylandReporter.com. There is a reception, a brief talk introducing the film by Len Lazarick of Maryland Reporter, and the 15-minute documentary. The hour-long event is at Landmark Theatres Harbor East Cinema • 645 S. President Street • Baltimore, MD • 21202. Please RSVP to collateraldamagemd@gmail.com***

PRITZKER TOUTS INDEPENDENCE: Steve Lash of the Daily Record reports that Jeffrey Pritzker, the Republican nominee for attorney general, says Maryland needs a top lawyer who’s willing to stand up to the Democratic stronghold in Annapolis — both in the General Assembly and, if necessary, the executive branch.

BROWN MUM ON BACKING O’MALLEY: Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown Friday declined to say whether he would endorse a presidential run by Gov. Martin O’Malley. In a CNS story in the Chestertown Spy, Brown said, “I’m not trying to be evasive, let me tell you this, there’s one election right now, for obvious reasons, that I am focused on almost 99.99% of my waking hours and that’s the general election Nov. 4, 2014, and I think the people of Maryland deserve that.”

GAS PRICES DROP: While gas prices are normally lower in the fall than in the summer, they have dropped sharply in recent weeks in Maryland and across the country thanks to a dive in the global price of crude oil. Crude oil is selling now for just over $80 a barrel, down from more than $100 as recently as July, driven by global supply and demand — a strong supply of crude oil, including in the United States, and weak international demand, including in Europe and China. It’s a classic formula for lower prices, reports Kevin Rector for the Sun.

DISCIPLINED IN NOOSE CASE: Three Anne Arundel County employees have been disciplined after one of them made a rope noose, another joked about it, and a third employee found it two weeks later and hung it on county property, said County Executive Laura Neuman, Tim Prudente of the Annapolis Capital is reporting.