November 10, 2014

State Roundup, November 10, 2014

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TRANSITION BEGINS: Gov. Martin O’Malley’s chief of staff was scheduled Friday afternoon to hold the first meeting with a representative for Gov.-elect Larry Hogan to begin the transition process following the Republican’s upset victory on Tuesday, Doug Donovan reports for the Sun.

RELEVANCE REGAINED: John Wagner and Jenna Johnson  of the Post write that for Maryland Republicans, the meaning of Tuesday’s elections could be summed up in three words: “We’re relevant again.” That assessment by Joe Cluster, the state party’s executive director, followed a decisive win by Republican Gov.-elect Larry Hogan and gains for Republican members of the General Assembly. Come January, a party that many had dismissed as unlikely to ever win another statewide contest in heavily Democratic Maryland will all of a sudden have a real say in Annapolis.

HEALTH EXCHANGE’S FUTURE: Maryland Republicans say they are hopeful that Gov.-elect Larry Hogan will usher in a new era of transparency and, perhaps, other changes related to the much-maligned Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, reports Bryan Sears in the Daily Record. A revamped version of the site, which crashed on the day it launched last year, is being re-launched later this month for the fall open enrollment period.

REVAMPED EXCHANGE: As state officials prepared to unveil a revamped exchange Sunday, they faced a new set of challenges: They must eliminate technological problems that led the website to crash on its launch last year, restore consumer confidence in the system and — with Republicans poised to control Congress and the Maryland governor’s seat — confront more questions about the future of Obamacare, reports Meredith Cohn for the Sun.

Md Reporter 300x250 5th BirthdayTHANK YOU TOUR: Gov.-elect Larry Hogan (R) plans to launch a thank-you tour on Tuesday in St. Mary’s County, his campaign announced Sunday on its Facebook page. The campaign said it would start the tour at a Veterans Day parade in the county, saying it “only seems right to thank our veterans first,” writes the Post’s John Wagner.

WHY HE LOST: David Lublin of Seventh State attempts to burst some of the myths that some Democrats are proffering about why they lost the election, including that Hogan’s election was a fluke. The article appears in MarylandReporter.com.

HOW HE WON: In an op-ed for the Washington Examiner, Jim Pettit writes that, “Before launching a formal campaign bid, Hogan set up what amounted to an exploratory committee. Instead of following the typical campaign script  … Hogan launched Change Maryland two years ago … This set up a media platform enabling the future candidate to get out some sobering facts about Maryland’s economy.”

ONE-PARTY DEBACLE:  Barry Rascovar, in a piece for MarylandReporter.com, writes that one-party rule turns general elections into mere formalities. Local political clubs don’t get energized. Local politicians don’t bother campaigning. The local party is on cruise control. Democratic voters feel the same way. Why go to the polls in November when all the local races already have been decided?

WHACKING LOONEY:  A Maryland Reporter article on Friday touched a nerve with a number of newly elected members of the House of Delegates. The lead sentence said: “While the new governor-elect is a pro-business Republican, the newly elected “Democrats coming in are more progressive and more anti-business” than those they are replacing, Comcast lobbyist Sean Looney told a Baltimore-Washington Chamber of Commerce luncheon.” Seventeen freshman Democrats who will be sworn in Jan. 14 signed this letter to Sean Looney and they requested that MarylandReporter.com publish it.

POLLING COMPARISON: In light of the fact that Nate Silver’s prediction was so far off, the Sun compares polls in this interactive chart and finds that one — Larry Hogan’s — was a close to correct as possible.

OTHER WINNERS: Was Larry Hogan the only upset?  Were there other Republican wins in Maryland this week? Andy Green, from Baltimore Sun’s Editorial page, talks to Fraser Smith of WYPR-FM about the other big winners in this week’s general election.

BALTIMORE COUNTY CHANGES: Amid a tide of Republican victories in Maryland, Kevin Kamenetz is one of the Baltimore region’s blue survivors, reports Pamela Wood in the Sun.  The Democrat defeated little-known and poorly funded Republican challenger George Harman to win a second term as Baltimore County executive, but he will start that term with a changing landscape all around him — a Republican governor, more Republican elected officials in his county and a ring of Republican-led counties around Baltimore.

MONTGOMERY STAYS HOME: About 50,000 fewer Montgomery County voters hit the polls Tuesday than in the last three gubernatorial elections, and overall voter turnout in the county was at a 24-year low. Exactly why is unclear, reports Kate Alexander in the Gazette.

BONGINO CONCEDES: Republican challenger Dan Bongino has conceded the race for Maryland’s sixth Congressional district to Democratic incumbent John Delaney, Arelis Hernandez reports in the Post.

Redistricting forum med rect 11-10-2014REDISTRICTING FORUM: There is a Tame the Gerrymander forum tonight, Nov. 10 at the University of Maryland College Park with guest speakers U.S. Rep. John Delaney, Del. Aisha Braveboy and Dan Vicuna, the National Redistricting Coordinator for Common Cause. The Seventh State blog runs a short item.

THE WEED BUSINESS: Doug Porter’s cannabis-motif shirt is a dead giveaway, as are the terms he uses in his business lecture, such as weed and buzz, reports Joe Burris for the Sun. On Saturday, Porter helped lead a how-to session for launching a marijuana business. The California-based Cannabis Career Institute offered the daylong seminar at a BWI Marshall Airport hotel less than a week after D.C. residents voted to legalize marijuana.

O’MALLEY’S LARGESSE: Gov. Martin O’Malley’s political action committee dispatched and paid for a total of 32 staffers to aid candidates and state parties in Iowa, New Hampshire and other battleground states during the mid-term elections, reports John Wagner in the Post

EHRLICH RETURNS TO N.H.: Former Maryland Gov. Bob Ehrlich (R) was back in New Hampshire on Friday, making his third visit in three months to the early presidential nominating state, writes John Wagner for the Post.

CLINTON FUNDRAISERS: As Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) weighs a 2016 presidential bid, a raft of other prominent Maryland politicians are booked to attend a pair of fundraisers next month for a group laying the groundwork for Hillary Rodham Clinton to run, Anne Gearan and John Wagner report in the Post.

BAKER IMPROVES PG’S IMAGE: Post columnist Robert McCartney writes that four years after its agents bugged the phone of the top politician in Prince George’s County, the FBI today is seriously considering moving its headquarters there. It’s a telling example, and there are others, of how much the county’s image has improved under County Executive Rushern Baker, who easily won reelection to his second and final term Tuesday.

SCHUH’S PLANS: Anne Arundel County-executive elect Steve Schuh is preparing to put his plans in action when his administration takes over the Arundel Center’s fourth floor on Dec. 1. The first thing on his mind, he says, will be to get his budget plans under way — and with the County Council retaining its GOP majority, it appears there will be little resistance, reports Rema Rahman in the Annapolis Capital.