State Roundup, April 22, 2016

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HOGAN ON SHORE TOUTING PROJECTS: Gov. Larry Hogan heard mostly thank-yous Thursday as he crisscrossed the Republican-friendly Eastern Shore, announcing new road and bridge projects, drawing drastically different responses than he has received from critics in Baltimore and the Washington suburbs, reports Josh Hicks in the Post. Less than a month after the Democrat-majority General Assembly overturned his veto of legislation that requires the state to score transportation projects before choosing which plans to fund, the Republican governor has embarked on a three-day tour of Eastern Maryland, partly to visit jurisdictions that benefit from his latest decisions.

MAKING MARYLAND BIZ-FRIENDLY: In an effort to attract more businesses to the state, Gov. Larry Hogan has established a new task force to market Maryland as a business-friendly state. The Maryland Public-Private Partnership Marketing Corp., known as P3, will work with the state’s Department of Commerce to drive “branding and marketing efforts to attract businesses, create jobs and grow the state’s economy,” according to the economic development agency, writes Jonathan Munshaw for the Baltimore Business Journal.

HOGAN CANDID ON CANCER: Mattie Quinn of Governing Magazine interviews Gov. Larry Hogan about his cancer diagnosis and what it was like to undergo treatment while a newly elected Republican governor in a solidly Democratic state, and the insights he gained into the health care system and his new appreciation for cancer cure research.

EARLY VOTING UP: Early voting ended Thursday with record-high turnout across Maryland for a primary election — three times the last presidential primary in 2012. Numbers were up across the state, but they surged particularly in Baltimore City, where seven times the number of early voters cast ballots as they did in the last mayoral primary in 2011. More than 260,000 people voted statewide, more than 30,000 of them in Baltimore City, report Luke Broadwater and Tim Prudente for the Sun.

A REAL RACE FOR JUDGESHIPS: In the 46 years that Circuit Court judges have been elected in Prince George’s County, only candidates vetted by a nominating commission and placed on the ballot by the governor have ever won a seat. Rarely, a lawyer has launched an independent effort to wrest a spot on the bench from one of the nominees on the approved slate. So far, none has succeeded. Two such challengers are competing in the state’s April 26 primary, turning what is normally a sleepy selection process into something more akin to a legislative race, Arelis Hernandez of the Post reports.

TRADE POLITICS & MARYLAND: Presidential candidates in both parties are proposing changes to international trade policies that could have dramatic impacts not only on the United States in general, but also on busy trade centers like Maryland. Trade is a closely watched issue in Maryland, which hosts its presidential primary on Tuesday, along with Connecticut, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island, Joelle Lang, Auburn Mann and Troy Jefferson of CNS write in MarylandReporter.com.

PICKING DELEGATES IN MARYLAND: Selecting delegates for the national conventions this year has confounded voters and angered presidential candidates. With 118 delegates up for grabs in the Democratic primaries and 38 for Republicans, Phil Davis of the Annapolis Capital offers a look into the delegate selection process in Maryland.

  • Tamela Baker of the Hagerstown Herald Mail writes that, if you are a member of either major political party, your primary election ballot on Tuesday will, of course, ask you to vote for your favorite presidential candidate. But you also will be asked to choose from a list of candidates vying for the opportunity to go to your party’s national convention — and they will choose the nominee who will end up on your general-election ballot on Nov. 8.

TRUMP SIGN CAN STAY: With Maryland’s presidential primary looming Tuesday, a Lothian man will get to keep a homemade “Trump” sign on the roof of his barn — winning out over objections last month from county zoning inspectors, Meredith Newman reports for the Annapolis Capital.

TRANS TEEN, MOM OUSTED FROM CRUZ RALLY: A 16-year-old transgender boy from Frederick said he was asked to leave Ted Cruz’s campaign rally at the Weinberg Center for the Arts on Thursday morning, Danielle Gaines and Nancy Lavin report in the Frederick News Post. Draped in a flag that represents the transgender community, James Van Kuilenburg made his way into the theater with the rest of the ticket holders. But he and his mother, Nicola, said they were escorted out by campaign staff who told the Van Kuilenburgs it was because they were with peaceful protesters outside earlier. Since it was a private event, they could be asked to leave, Nicola Kuilenburg said she was told.

Ted Cruz Neil Parrot

Sen. Ted Cruz, center, poses with Del. Neil Parrott and family backstage in Frederick. From Parrott’s Facebook page.

CRUZ SPEAKS: Backstage at the Weinberg Center for the Arts, Texas senator and GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz did an interview with Danielle Gaines of the Frederick News-Post, which is excerpted in the paper.

DAUGHTER CAMPAIGNS FOR CLINTON: Chelsea Clinton made a quick swing through Maryland on Thursday, campaigning on behalf of her mother at a brewery, a library and a jobs center, writes Ian Duncan for the Sun.  Overall, Hillary Clinton, who is running to be the Democratic nominee for president, is polling well ahead of her rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders, in Maryland. But Clinton’s campaign has struggled to generate the kind of enthusiasm Sanders has stoked up among young voters.

ON DAN BOLLING: Dan Bolling, a 65-year-old Bethesda resident who has never held office, is one of the least well-known of the nine candidates seeking the Democratic nomination in Maryland’s 8th Congressional District. Fenit Nirappil of the Post offers five interesting facts about him. The Post ran the profile so long ago, it seems only fair to refer to it again.

TRONE ATTACKS RASKIN, MATTHEWS: Businessman and District 8 Democratic congressional candidate David Trone took shots at his two leading competitors—state Sen. Jamie Raskin and former news broadcaster Kathleen Matthews—in a TV ad that criticized them for accepting money from lobbyists and other special interests, reports Andrew Metcalf for Bethesda Beat.

IN THE 5TH CONGRESSIONAL: Is the weirdness of the 2016 presidential election contagious? Looks like it, judging by events in the normally sleepy 5th Congressional District of Maryland, outside of Washington, D.C. The Republican and Democratic primary ballots there were already a bit, well, distinctive, with a transgender ex-Navy SEAL, a retired CIA officer and a court-martialed former Air Force doctor vying to replace the longtime Democratic incumbent, Steny Hoyer, the favorite to keep the job he’s held since 1981, Jeff Stein writes in Newsweek.

THE SENATE HOPEFULS: Here’s a series of Sun video interviews with the candidates for Senate.

ON KEFALAS: Chrys Kefalas, who is running for Senate as a Republican, usually worked the front of the house at Costas Inn — the Dundalk institution his family has owned for decades — because he was good with names and faces and, even as a high school kid, paid attention to detail. But as he slung crab cakes and bused the dinner rush, Kefalas was also acutely aware that the family business was slipping along with the number of workers collecting a paycheck at nearby Sparrows Point, John Fritze reports in the Sun.

ON SZELIGA: Kathy Szeliga introduces herself to voters with the story of how she eloped as a teenager 36 years ago, when she and her husband had $5 in savings and a pair of minimum-wage jobs. Erin Cox of the Sun reports that she likes to talk about the price they paid for their first car, a jalopy. The state delegate, who is running for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat held by Barbara Mikulski. “It was worth $80 and a drill,” she says, and laughs. Then she details her path to becoming a small-business owner.

VAN HOLLEN LEADS EDWARDS IN NEW POLL: Rep. Chris Van Hollen has a double-digit lead over rival Rep. Donna Edwards in a new poll released Thursday in Maryland’s competitive Senate race.Van Hollen, a Montgomery County Democrat, is up 52% to 36% over Edwards, of Prince George’s County, in the Monmouth University Poll. The 16-point lead is the largest any declared candidate has had in the race since it began last year.

EMILY’S LIST FUNDS NEW EDWARDS AD: Prince George’s County, in the Monmouth University Poll, John Fritze writes in the Sun. Women Vote!, a super PAC tied to the Washington-based group Emily’s List, which is a leading supporter of Rep. Donna Edwards’ campaign for Senate, said Thursday it is making a last-minute investment in the contest — just as a new poll indicated rival Rep. Chris Van Hollen was potentially gaining momentum, writes John Fritze for the Sun.

VAN HOLLEN, THE ANTI-OUTSIDER: Chris Van Hollen’s résumé reads like a carefully crafted road map to the U.S. Senate. Twelve years in the state legislature, 13 in Congress. Special assistant to the speaker of the House. Ranking Democrat on the Budget Committee. Yet the arsenal of credentials he has built to justify that promotion is now being used against him.