October 23, 2014

State Roundup, October 23, 2014

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SPREADING UNTRUTHS: Michael Dresser and Erin Cox of the Sun outline the distortions and outright lies that the two gubernatorial candidates have been tossing around, writing that, surrounded by a dozen other Democrats, Anthony Brown summoned the news media Wednesday to once again claim that his opponent wants to cut nearly half a billion dollars in state school construction funding. Republican Larry Hogan has never said that. Hogan, meanwhile, issued a statement Wednesday charging that Brown wants to wipe out funding for school breakfasts. Brown has never said that.

RGA PLANS HOGAN AD BUY: John Wagner of the Post writes that, according to a GOP source familiar with the Republican Governors Association strategy, the RGA is planning to purchase television ads in the final stretch of the governor’s race in heavily Democratic Maryland. Word of the RGA’s plans comes on the heels of a visit to Montgomery County on Tuesday by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, the organization’s chairman, on behalf of Maryland Republican gubernatorial nominee Larry Hogan.

VOTING EARLY: Marylanders who don’t want to wait for Election Day can cast early ballots at polling centers in every county and Baltimore city starting today, writes Michael Dresser in the Sun.  Campaigns from the governor’s race to the little-watched county courthouse contests are working to get their supporters to the polls during the eight days they can vote this month. While Maryland’s majority Democrats are known for pushing early voting, Republicans are determined to catch up.

HOGAN IN EASTON: Larry Hogan made his way through Easton on Wednesday — stopping at local downtown businesses and talking to owners about taxes, regulations and economic policies that he says have “crushed our state,” Josh Bollinger reports for the Easton Star Democrat.

TOUGH FIGHT FOR LIBERTARIAN: Libertarian Leo Wayne Dymowski says he knows he has little chance for victory in his third-party bid for Maryland attorney general — and that the long odds give him a “freedom feeling,” reports Steve Lash for the Daily Record. That includes the freedom to say unpopular things, such as “all drugs should be legal.”

CONAWAY PULLS VIDEOS: In an update to the story by Julie Scharper of the Sun about Del. Frank Conaway’s rambling YouTube videos that talk about “Ancient Egyptian carvings. The Book of Revelations. Canned chicken.” Conaway abruptly pulled all the videos down on Wednesday morning. He said he did so over concerns about his various planned businesses being public.

WHERE JALISI LIVES: Hasan “Jay” Jalisi, a Democratic candidate for District 10 delegate, has responded to the petition filed earlier this month by a Republican challenger intent on removing him from the Nov. 4 ballot on the basis that he is not a resident of the district he seeks to represent, Heather Norris reports in the Jewish Times. “I live in Owings Mills, within the boundaries of my 10th legislative election district,” Jalisi asserted in an email last week.

BONGINO TOUTS LIBERTARIAN IDEALS: Dan Bongino, Republican candidate for the 6th District Congressional seat, visited the Cumberland area on Wednesday to push his alternate offerings to the democratic principles of incumbent Rep. John Delaney, writes Greg Larry for the Cumberland Times-News. A former secret service agent who served for presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama, Bongino holds libertarian ideals dear as he hopes to lower taxes on citizens and businesses and reduce regulations on Marylanders

SUN ENDORSES KITTLEMAN: Giving Allan Kittleman the slight edge in the race for Howard County executive, the editorial board of the Sun opines that there may be no race in the state (up to and including that for governor) that pits two so well-qualified candidates against each other. Republican Allan Kittleman and Democrat Courtney Watson are both exemplary elected officials who have brought nothing but intelligence, dedication and integrity to their long records of service to the people of Howard County.

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TOUGH RACES: Josh Kurtz of Center Maryland outlines some noteworthy national races in which Democrats are facing tough challenges and compares the patterns to several Maryland Senate races, including Sen. Jim Brochin’s in Baltimore County.

SECURE VOTING: The state Democratic Party, mindful of past “shenanigans” at the polls, launched a program Wednesday that they said would protect Marylanders’ right to vote in the Nov. 4 election. The Sun’s Michael Dresser reports that two of the party’s senior leaders, U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin and U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, held a news conference in Baltimore to call attention to the Democrats’ “voter empowerment operation.”

HEALTH EXCHANGE PAPER TRAIL: Jayne Miller of WBAL-TV has uncovered new questions about Maryland’s health insurance exchange, such as where the paper trail is to justify the money being spent.

PLUNDER OR NOT? Fraser Smith of WYPR-FM goes to Maryland’s chief fiscal analyst, Warren Deschenaux, to answer a listener’s concerns about Gov. Martin O’Malley fiscal actions during his two terms in office. The listener claims that O’Malley “plundered dedicated funds from the budget and transferred them to the general fund.”

ALLOWED TO WALK: The Sun editorial board opines that officials at the Maryland Reception, Diagnostic and Classification Center say they still don’t know why a man being held on murder charges was mistakenly allowed to walk out of the facility last week — or why it took authorities two days to discover the error. It appears, the board writes, to have stemmed not from any elaborate conspiracy or corruption scheme but from simple incompetence.

TEACHERS RALLY: Hundreds of Baltimore area teachers, parents, and students rallied in Baltimore City Hall Tuesday afternoon to demand support and funding for more inner city community schools, reports Alexis Webb for MarylandReporter.com.  The Baltimore Teachers Union, Maryland Communities United and the Central Labor Council organized rally goers on Holliday Street in hopes of compelling Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and the Baltimore City Council to pledge a financial commitment of $10 million for emerging community schools.

MARYLAND’S BEN BRADLEE: In a tribute to Ben Bradlee, the late Washington Post editor, Len Lazarick of MarylandReporter.com writes that Ben Bradlee had lots to do with Maryland in the final quarter century of his 93 years — not to mention the thousands of Maryland stories, big and small, that ran in the Post during his 26 years as executive editor.

***The Open Society Institute-Baltimore brings Piper Kerman, author  of “Orange is the New Black” to present at Big Change Baltimore 2014 Monday, Oct. 27, 3:30-7 p.m. at Center Stage in Baltimore. Other speakers at this forum for business and civic leaders are Ian Haney López, author of “Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Wrecked the Middle Class;” Bill Keller, former executive editor of The New York Times and editor-in-chief of the newly-formed “The Marshall Project;” and Freeman Hrabowski III, president of UMBC and chair of President Obama’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans. For more information about tickets, visit bigchangebaltimore.org***