State Roundup, May 4, 2016

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PUGH ELECTION MAY BE CHALLENGED: Former Baltimore City Mayor Sheila Dixon said Tuesday she is considering challenging election results that gave state Sen. Catherine Pugh a narrow victory in the Democratic primary for Baltimore mayor last week. Dixon said she did not “necessarily concede” on election night and is exploring legal options. About 3,000 votes separate Dixon and Pugh, who declared victory based on the unofficial tally, Doug Donovan, Ian Duncan and Jessica Anderson report in the Sun.

EMILY’S LIST A BIG LOSER: Three Maryland women who were financially backed and/or endorsed by Emily’s List for higher office — U.S. Rep. Donna Edwards for Senate and Kathleen Matthews and state Del. Joseline Pena-Melnyk for U.S. House — all lost, Alex Roarty reports for Roll Call.  This calls into question Emily’s List’s strategies and its influence.

UNDERWATER GRASSES: Underwater grass abundance increased 29% between 2014 and 2015 in Maryland waters, indicating an improvement in water quality, according to the Department of Natural Resources. The vegetation growth hit a new record, 52,277 acres, putting the state at 94% of its 2017 goal of 57,000 acres, reports Christina Jedra for the Annapolis Capital.

AIRPORT GROWTH: Gov. Larry Hogan says he is committed to continuing the growth at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport. Local business leaders gathered to listen to Hogan’s outlook on the crucial airport. Phil Davis of the Annapolis Capital writes that the airport has seen some significant change in the past few years, including initiatives to expand international travel and a $125 million project to construct a secure connector between two concourses, facilitated by  former Gov. Martin O’Malley. Hogan said his administration is committed to facilitate further growth with an eye on international travel.

CARROLL CONCERNS: The Carroll County Board of Commissioners joined with the county’s Annapolis delegation Tuesday night to discuss some of the topics most pressing in the county, including funding for schools. Annapolis delegation members told the commissioners that Carroll County is often fighting an uphill battle against larger, better-funded opponents from more liberal and urban jurisdictions, making progress difficult on issues close to Carroll, Heather Norris of the Carroll County Times reports.

EDITOR AWAY: Editor Len Lazarick is away. If there is a problem with roundup or the newsletter, contact roundup editor Cynthia Prairie at cynthiaprairie@gmail.com; if there is a problem with the website or one of the stories published there contact Meg Tully at megctully@gmail.com

MIKULSKI DROPS THE MIC: After years of steering government support toward NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski had only one thing left to do: drop the mic. Literally. Taking a cue from President Barack Obama, who ceremoniously let go of his microphone three nights earlier at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, the soon-to-retire senator from Maryland ended her remarks to the facility’s staff Tuesday with a similar flourish, Jeremy Cox reports for the Salisbury Daily Times.

PART 3, SICKER, LONGER BEFORE SEEKING HELP: In Part 3 of the CNS series in MarylandReporter.com on Unhealthy Baltimore, Rachel Greenwald and Rachel Bluth write about Bon Secours Hospital in West Baltimore, a fixture there since 1919, and the differences in the patients it receives vs. the ones other hospitals see. They are poorer and sicker, and have been sicker for a longer time.

THORNTON OUT AT CITY SCHOOLS: Erica Green of the Sun reports that after months of searching for a new leader amid criticism of city schools CEO Gregory Thornton, the school board announced Tuesday that he will be replaced by a former administrator who oversaw improving academic performance in the district. Thornton will step down Friday, and Sonja Santelises will take over July 1. The board made its offer to Santelises on the last day of the Maryland General Assembly session in April, when lawmakers approved legislation that established a partially elected school board and required one lawmaker each from the House of Delegates and the state Senate to take part in selecting the next CEO. That bill has not been signed by Gov. Larry Hogan and has not become law.