October 31, 2014

State Roundup, October 31, 2014

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MUM ON TAX PLANS: Talk of taxes has dominated Maryland’s race for governor. Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown promises not to raise them and hopes to cut a few.  Larry Hogan pledges more than that: He wants to roll back as many increases as possible that were passed during the eight-year tenure of  Gov. Martin O’Malley. But, reports John Wagner for the Post, with just days remaining before Tuesday’s election, Hogan and Brown have not issued plans telling voters which taxes they would cut, by how much and how quickly. And they’ve said little about what spending they would eliminate to offset lost revenue.

ON THE ENVIRONMENT: Decisions on fracking, the Chesapeake Bay, clean and renewable energy initiatives will all be in front of the next governor, whether it is Anthony Brown, the Democrat, or Republican Larry Hogan. Bryan Sears of the Daily Record compiles the candidates’ stands on a number of energy and environmental issues from interviews, debates and other public appearances.

HOGAN’S EXPERIENCE: In a profile of Larry Hogan for the Post, John Wagner looks into his business experience, his work as appointments secretary for the Ehrlich administration as well as his creation of the right-leaning tax-opposition group Change Maryland to see what kind of administration Hogan might have.

STRENGTHENING BUSINESS: After years of being buffeted by disappointing rankings on many national surveys, Maryland’s business climate is about to be overhauled. That’s what candidates in next week’s election are telling us. Both major party candidates for governor – and many others running for seats in the General Assembly – say they will make strengthening our state’s competitiveness for business growth and job creation a top priority when they convene in Annapolis next January. Specifically how Maryland’s business climate will be strengthened remains to be seen, writes Don Fry in Center Maryland.

CLINTON STUMPS FOR BROWN: Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton came to Maryland on Thursday to praise the record of the O’Malley administration and urge young voters to turn out for Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown. At a rally on the campus of University of Maryland in College Park, Clinton said that as governor, Brown “would be on your side,” fighting to promote gender equality, gun-control laws and other core Democratic values, Erin Cox and Michael Dresser write in the Sun.

FIRST LADY AT LAST MINUTE BROWN RALLY: Michelle Obama will come to Baltimore Monday for an election eve rally for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Anthony Brown, Michael Dresser of the Sun writes. The first lady’s appearance at the War Memorial Plaza on Monday is the latest evidence that national Democrats are pulling out all stops to keep the Maryland State House blue in the face of an aggressive challenge by Republican Larry Hogan in Tuesday’s election.

WHERE’S MARTIN?: Columnist Barry Rascovar in PoliticalMaryland.com speculates on the absence of Gov. Martin O’Malley in Anthony Brown’s campaign, as well as the absence of Anthony Brown from his own campaign.

HOGAN STUMPS: Larry Hogan made his way through Harford County Thursday evening a few hours before the close of eight days of early voting in advance of Tuesday’s general election. Hogan walked along Main Street in downtown Bel Air, visiting various businesses and talking with workers and customers, David Anderson of the Aegis writes.

HOGAN POLL: An internal poll for the Hogan campaign leaked to the Weekly Standard has Hogan up by five points.

HOWARD PAPER BACKS HOGAN: The editorial board for the Howard County Times, in its endorsement for governor, gives the edge to Larry Hogan, saying that Hogan has kept his message simple. His well-organized campaign, a comparatively positive one, has resonated with those who feel Maryland has gone too far to the left of center. His voice alone has helped to focus the debate on the issues. And his argument that Maryland needs greater political balance makes sense.

SHELLENBERGER IN BROWN AD: Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger is featured in a new radio ad supporting Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown‘s gubernatorial run, as Democrats try to win over county voters in the final stretch before Election Day, Alison Knezevich reports in the Sun.

DOWN TO THE WIRE: Fraser Smith, in a commentary for WYPR-FM, says that Maryland’s gubernatorial race is giving voters the full end-of-campaign treatment. Usually the deal is done by now. But this year’s campaign for governor is a race to the finish.

ON THE GOVERNOR’S RACE: The University of Maryland Center for American Politics and Citizenship recently began a partnership with The Washington Post to create in-depth public opinion polls. More than 150 students Wednesday gathered to listen to a panel of Post reporters and CAPC faculty discuss their first poll and the gubernatorial race, writes Jon Banister for the Diamondback.

VIDEO PROFILES OF STATE CANDIDATES: Haven’t voted yet? Haven’t made up your mind on some of the statewide candidates? Capital News Service broadcast reporters have produced a series of 2 1/2-minute profiles of the statewide candidates. The first two on Democrat Anthony Brown and Republican Larry Hogan Jr. include interviews with Len Lazarick, editor and publisher of MarylandReporter.com and Josh Kurtz, political columnist for Center Maryland. There are also profiles of Brian Frosh and Jeff Pritzker running for attorney general and Peter Franchot and Bill Campbell running for comptroller.

HOGAN WHITE GUY

WHICH WHITE GUY?: A Baltimore reader visiting St. Mary’s County saw a collection of campaigns that seemed to accidentally mirror Democrats’ appeals to black voters.

BIG TENT IN 4th DISTRICT SENATE RACE: Fraser Smith writes in the Daily Record about an interesting race for state Senate in the 4th District in Frederick County that is pitting a little known Democrat Dan Rupli against Republican and tea partier Del. Michael Hough, who beat state Sen. David Brinkley in a bruising primary. Rupli is trying to bring together Republicans, Independents and Democrats under his big tent and he seems to be succeeding. But, wonders Smith, where is the Democratic Party support?

MILLER HELPS BROCHIN:  In an effort to maintain their strong Democratic majorities, General Assembly leaders are using campaign “slate” funds to help the lawmakers that are vulnerable in this year’s election. WYPR’s Karen Hosler and Fraser Smith explain how it works, and answer why Senate President Mike Miller is helping Sen. Jim Brochin, who doesn’t always toe the Democratic Party line. (The audio file is missing. Hopefully WYPR will fix soon.)

GET OUT THE VOTE: It was Saturday morning, and most people were still at home eating breakfast, reading a newspaper or, perhaps, sleeping in. Shoppers at Columbia’s King’s Contrivance Village Center were scarce; sometimes several minutes would slip by before someone would walk into the Harris Teeter grocery store there. That didn’t deter Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, writes Amanda Yeager for the Sun.

EARLY VOTING TURNOUT: More than 3,500 Washington County residents cast their votes for Tuesday’s general election during eight days of early voting that ended Thursday, Kaustuv Basu reports for the Hagerstown Herald Mail.

VOTE SWITCHING: John Chino wanted to vote for Del. Herb McMillan Thursday. Instead, Chino said, the voting machine counted his vote for McMillan’s opponent Chuck Ferrar. Chino is the latest person to report a case of “vote switching” from Republicans to Democrats in Maryland, reports Jack Lambert for the Annapolis Capital. Members of the state GOP have called for an investigation, while Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan has asked the attorney general to set up a voter hotline on the issue.

PROVISIONAL BALLOT PROBLEM: Maryland jurisdictions with a large share of minority voters are more likely to have a higher rate of provisional ballots on Election Day, according to a report Wednesday by the Center for American Progress. The group notes that many provisional ballots — about one-third — are ultimately not counted, usually because the voter fails to correctly sign the document, reports John Fritze for the Sun.

GROWTH IN FREDERICK: In the race for Frederick County’s first county executive, growth is a major issue. And the two candidates — Democrat Jan Gardner and Republican Blaine Young — couldn’t be farther apart on how to approach development, writes Christopher Connelly for WYPR-FM.

CLEAN CONOWINGO, CLEAN BAY: Dan Menefee, in an article for MarylandReporter.com, writes that a new report from the Maryland Public Policy Institute warns that Maryland’s $14.4 billion plan to clean up the Chesapeake Bay will not satisfy an EPA mandate—because the plan ignores the Conowingo Dam as the single largest source of sediment and nutrient pollution in the Bay.

PENTAGON OBJECTS TO SHORE WIND: A politically divisive Eastern Shore wind energy project hit a new roadblock Thursday, as the Pentagon lodged a formal objection to it, saying the towering turbines would interfere with operations at Naval Air Station Patuxent River across the Chesapeake Bay, reports Tim Wheeler for the Sun.

PURPLE LINE: After 30 years of planning and years of political bickering, the Purple Line is finally scheduled to break ground. The cost has ballooned and the argument for building it has morphed from relieving traffic to fostering community and economic development, writes Louis Peck for Bethesda Magazine.