October 24, 2014

State Roundup, October 24, 2014

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RGA POURS IT ON FOR HOGAN: The Republican Governors Association plans to spend $500,000 on television ads in the final stretch of the governor’s race in heavily Democratic Maryland to bolster the candidacy of GOP nominee Larry Hogan, Jenna Johnson, John Wagner and Mike DeBonis  write in the Post. The 30-second spot highlights tax increases passed during the eight years that Hogan’s opponent, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, served with Gov. Martin O’Malley. The ad says that Brown would be “the second string for O’Malley’s third high-tax term.”

RACE CARD: The Maryland Democratic Party is playing the race card in a mailing aimed at driving black voters to the polls for the gubernatorial election, reports Bryan Sears for the Daily Record. The glossy mailings, sent out in the days before the beginning of early voting, target black voters in key areas in support of Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown. Samples obtained by the Daily Record were sent to voters in Charles and Prince George’s counties.

Souls to the Polls

Sen. Verna Jones-Rodwell, at podium, along with other Baltimore City senators and Senior Pastor Alvin Hathaway of the United Baptist Church in Baltimore, held a press conference Thursday to kick off the “Souls to the Polls Mobilization Movement.” Pastors are being asked to encourage their congregations to vote. (Photo by Alexis Webb)

FINGER-POINTING: Democratic gubernatorial Anthony Brown derided as “ridiculous” a charge Thursday by Republican rival Larry Hogan that the lieutenant governor is planning to raise tuition rates at community colleges. Brown’s reaction came as the candidates continued their recent spate of highly questionable allegations against each other, reports Michael Dresser in the Sun.

CRITICIZING BROWN: The editorial board for the Sun opines that, after complaining about his Democratic opponent’s repeated and disingenuous attacks on his plans to trim the state budget, Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan is engaging in exactly the same sort of cynical campaigning with his claims that Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown wants to cut funds for school lunches, community colleges and scholarships. That’s a shame because there’s plenty of substantive criticism that could be levied at Mr. Brown’s fiscal plans.

CRITICIZING HOGAN: Montgomery and Prince George’s county officials blasted Maryland Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan for opposing the $2.4 billion Purple Line, which Hogan said the state cannot afford “right now,” Kevin James Shay writes in the Gazette.

CRITICIZING BOTH: Election day is less than two weeks away and the two major candidates for governor continue their negative campaigning. WYPR’s Fraser Smith talks to Andy Green of the Baltimore Sun about the economic claims Democratic Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown and Republican Larry Hogan are using to smear each other.

CAMPAIGN PORTFOLIO: The Sun puts together a photo essay, complete with written narrative, of the campaign for Maryland governor thus far.

QUESTION 2: A state constitutional amendment to permit local voters to fill a mid-term county executive vacancy snuck up on Marylanders as Question 2 on this year’s ballot, writes Len Lazarick of MarylandReporter.com.  The amendment, first proposed by the Montgomery County delegation, got virtually no attention from reporters as it made its way through the legislative process earlier this year. It didn’t get all that much attention from legislators either.

WRITE-IN AGAINST CONAWAY: Del. Shawn Tarrant isn’t giving up on being re-elected to a second term in office despite losing in the primary election four months ago, writes Bryan Sears of the Daily Record. Tarrant, D-Baltimore City, is mounting an unusual campaign as a write-in candidate seeking to unseat Del. Frank Conaway, who was the subject of a recent article detailing Conaway’s unusual videos and writings.

MO CO STATE HOUSE ENDORSEMENTS: The editorial board for the Post makes its endorsements in Montgomery County’s contested State House races with an eye toward getting more balance in the party representation. The board stated, “We do not offer endorsements in every district; rather, we’ve focused our attention on races where there is a choice between or among credible candidates. … our picks in Prince George’s will appear in the coming days.”

LAZARICK ON STATE CIRCLE: Len Lazarick, editor and publisher of MarylandReporter.com, will be on Maryland Public TV’s State Circle program tonight (Friday) at 7:30 p.m. discussing the election with host Jeff Salkin and Erin Cox of the Sun.

EARLY VOTING TURNOUT: Nikki Charlson, deputy administrator at the Maryland State Board of Elections, said there were no reports of late starts or other problems at early voting sites around the state. She said about 30,000 people had voted by 3:30 p.m., according to the Cumberland Times News. After the entire first day of early voting in June, about 20,000 people voted, Charlson said.

STATE ADDRESSES EBOLA: Health officials across the state say they are prepared to keep daily tabs on people who travel from West Africa to Maryland for three weeks after they arrive, as required by federal officials’ expanded Ebola containment effort, Alissa Gulin reports for the Daily Record. State officials Thursday also announced that three area hospitals – two in Baltimore and one in Washington, D.C. — have been designated to handle any Ebola patients in Maryland should no federal facility be available.

SOFTWARE CONTRACT QUESTIONS: The approval of an emergency software contract for the state’s overhauled health insurance exchange has left a number of unanswered questions, reports Bryan Sears for the Daily Record. The board that oversees the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange scheduled a teleconference meeting late Thursday afternoon to approve a contract for customer service-related software. The terms of the contract, including the cost and other provisions, were not discussed in public session and were not immediately available.

STEADY ECONOMIC GROWTH: Despite “lagging behind the nation,” Maryland’s fiscal forecast appears optimistic, speakers agreed Thursday at the Greater Baltimore Committee Economic Outlook Conference, reports Alexis Webb for MarylandReporter.com. Hundreds of leaders and managers from Baltimore-area businesses gathered at the Hilton Baltimore for breakfast to hear the state and regional fiscal forecast.

MISTAKENLY FREED SUSPECT CAUGHT: Colin Campbell of the Sun reports that a fugitive who was mistakenly released from a state detention center in Baltimore last week while awaiting trial for murder was caught Thursday. The man, Rodriquez Purnell, 30, was arrested about 6 p.m. in the 2800 block of Belmont Ave., less than a mile from where the killing in which he is charged took place. He had become part of a political narrative that gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan is using against Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, in citing his lack of leadership.

CHILDREN OF HOWARD: Courtney Watson and Allan Kittleman are children of Howard County. In a hard-fought campaign season that’s run the gamut of issues over the past year, it’s a core fact that keeps each candidate for county executive grounded. Follow Watson or Kittleman to just about any spot in the county, and they can share a childhood memory of the place: learning to swim at Running Brook pool, ice skating on Lake Kittamaqundi, buying baseball trading cards at the Wilde Lake pharmacy, writes Amanda Yeager for the Sun.