State Roundup, June 18, 2018

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DOWN BALLOT RACES ATTRACT VOTERS: During an often sleepy Democratic primary for governor — the six major candidates agree on most issues — Maryland primary voters find themselves in an unusual position this year. Many are finding that the most compelling, heated and, frankly, interesting races are located further down the ballot, Luke Broadwater of the Sun reports.

GUBERNATORIAL HOPEFULS FUND-RAISING: The latest fund-raising totals in the races for nomination to run for governor show a wide disparity among candidates. And of course, incumbent Gov. Larry Hogan and Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford lead the way by a huge — YUGE margin. The list appears in Maryland Matters.

  • Gov. Larry Hogan (R) raised more than a million dollars between May 16 and June 10, his campaign said Friday, building his fundraising lead over the Democrats vying to challenge him in November. Former NAACP head Ben Jealous, who is considered a front-runner in the Democratic primary race along with Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III, reported raising about $381,000, more than twice as much as Baker, who raised $180,000, Arelis Hernandez of the Post reports.

DEM GUBERNATORIAL SPENDING: Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jim Shea spent $900,000 on media advertising during 26 days in late May and early June. Rival Ben Jealous spent almost $550,000. Meanwhile, another candidate was conserving her resources. Krish Vignarajah spent only $6,000 on media but reached June 10 with the second-largest war chest and plans for a closing ad blitz. The filings of the six remaining candidates in the June 26 primary for the nomination to challenge Gov. Larry Hogan reflect the divergent strategies adopted by their campaigns, Michael Dresser of the Sun reports.

REFLECTING GROWING DIVERSITY: With two leading candidates who have a shot at becoming Maryland’s first black governor, the crowded Democratic gubernatorial primary reflects the state’s changing demographics and the party’s efforts to harness the energy of an increasingly diverse electorate around the country, Brian Witte of the AP reports.

STATE SENATE CAMPAIGN SPENDING: As a chaotic primary season hits its final week, one thing has remained consistent: An exceedingly high number of state Senate seats are up for grabs this year — in the primary and in the general election, writes Josh Kurtz in Maryland Matters. And in the final stages of the primary, money matters. So does the way the candidates are spending their money. He outlines the fund-raising in the state Senate races.

MILLER SEEKS ANOTHER TERM: Longtime incumbent Senate President Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert, Charles, Prince George’s) seeks another run for office representing District 27. “I’m just honored to represent Southern Maryland,” Miller said. “As Southern Maryland grows more metropolitan, people are demanding, and rightfully so, that government participate more in terms of libraries, health care, sidewalks and street lights. It’s a huge growth area.” Tamara Ward writes the profile for the Calvert Independent.

DISTRICT 12 SENATE RACE: Two Columbia Democrats will go head to head in the June 26 primary election for the Democratic nomination for the District 12 Senate seat to then face off with the sole Republican candidate in the November general election. Mary Kay Sigaty and Clarence Lam both hold elected office: Sigaty represents the 4th District on the Howard County Council and Lam represents District 12 in the Maryland House of Delegates. Both candidates are running to replace state Sen. Edward Kasemeyer, 72, who held the seat since 1994 until he retired in February, Cody Boteler of the Arbutus Times reports.

FORWARDED CAMPAIGN EMAIL VIOLATED SCHOOL POLICY: A Wilde Lake High School principal used his public school system email to forward a request for workers from Mary Kay Sigaty’s state Senate campaign to the faculty and staff of the Columbia school, violating a school system policy, according to a top school administrator. Sigaty, the chairwoman of the Howard County Council, is running against state Del. Clarence Lam for the District 12 Senate seat in the Democratic primary, Kate Magill reports in the Howard County Times.

GOP THROWS SHADE ON GOP CANDIDATE: The assault by Republican leaders on Anne Arundel County Councilman Jerry Walker (R) — a former county GOP chairman who is seeking a seat in the House of Delegates — continues. In a letter sent to Republican voters, the party leaders write that Walker voted with Democrats on the County Council 57% of the time — in a county where Republicans hold a 4-3 advantage on the council, Josh Kurtz writes in Maryland Matters.

TRONE POURS IT ON: Alcohol store magnate David Trone, one of eight Democrats running for Congress in Maryland’s 6th District, has contributed another $5 million to his campaign since April, bringing the total amount he has personally contributed to about $10.3 million, Andrew Metcalf of Bethesda Beat reports.

CARDIN IS RUNNING FOR RE-ELECTION: Is anyone aware that U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin is running for reelection? And who’re all those no-names running against him? asks Frank DeFilippo for Maryland Matters. And yes, there are a lot of them of all political stripes.

REPUBLICAN COUNTY EXECS FAVORED: Three Republicans who were elected to county executive positions in 2014 after serving in the General Assembly have significant fundraising advantages over their Democratic opponents as they seek second terms, newly released campaign finance statements show. All three – Harford County Executive Barry Glassman, Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman and Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh – are currently favored to win reelection. But Kittleman could be vulnerable to Howard County Councilman Calvin Ball (D) if a national Democratic political wave rises in November, Josh Kurtz writes in Maryland Matters.

BACKING THE WRONG HORSE: In an amusing column for the Annapolis Capital, editor Rick Hutzell writes about the history of that paper’s endorsements and what can happen when a paper endorses the wrong candidate.

DISTRICT 30 ENDORSEMENTS: In endorsing candidates in the District 30 State House races, the editorial board for the Annapolis Capital writes that the district has been for many years one of the most stable in Anne Arundel County, with strong incumbents in three of four seats for more than a decade. No more. The retirement of state Sen. John Astle, D-Annapolis, created an opening coveted by Republicans eager to break the veto-proof majority of Democrats.

WHO IS WHO IN MO CO EXEC PRIMARY? One woman and five men are battling for the Democratic nomination to lead Maryland’s most populous jurisdiction. The winner of the June 26 primary will face Republican Robin Ficker in November. The Post offers up links to what you need to know about the candidates before the primary.

BIZ RATES MO CO EXEC HOPEFULS: Amid the blizzard of glossy political fliers hitting local mailboxes in recent days is one titled “Voter Guide: Your Montgomery County Economic Ballot.” It’s a scorecard with ratings of candidates for county executive and key County Council races, based on responses to a dozen questions, write Andrew Metcalf and Louis Peck in their Politics Roundup column for Bethesda Beat.

MONEY IN BA CO EXEC RACES: The Democratic candidates for Baltimore County executive continue to out-raise and out-spend their Republican counterparts. Pamela Wood of the Sun reports on the new campaign finance reports.

PRIMARY RACES HEATING UP: U.S. Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger and state Sen. Bobby Zirkin are featured on mailers promoting Democratic candidate Vicki Almond. Zirkin said he didn’t agree to being included on the mailer and isn’t endorsing anyone in the county executive’s race, Pamela Wood of the Sun reports. And Ruppersberger didn’t authorize the use of his picture on any candidate’s mailers, according to his spokeswoman Jaime Lennon. Ruppersberger, too, isn’t endorsing any of the candidates.

ALSOBROOKS LEADS EDWARDS IN MONEY RACE: Angela Alsobrooks leads Donna Edwards in the fund-raising race for Prince George’s County executive, Maryland Matters reports.

MOSBY USED TO TARGET EX-DEPUTY: One side of the political mailer shows the famous 2015 photo of Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby on the steps of downtown’s War Memorial building as she announced charges in the death of Freddie Gray. The other side accuses her of prosecuting six “INNOCENT” Baltimore police officers. But the ad wasn’t aimed at voters in Baltimore. It was sent to Republicans in semi-rural Harford County, and the target is Albert Peisinger, a former prosecutor in Mosby’s office who is now hoping to become state’s attorney in Harford County, Ian Duncan of the Sun writes.

WEIRD POLITICS: Marilyn Bentley is the accidental Clerk of the Baltimore Circuit Court. After working in the office for nearly two decades, Bentley landed the top job two years ago after her two previous bosses died in office. Now the former deputy clerk is the incumbent looking to hold onto the office against an unusually crowded and bizarre field of 11 Democrats seeking the job in the June 26 primary election, some of whom have been criminal defendants, reports Ian Duncan in the Sun.

FBI AGENT SLURRED O’MALLEY: Jeff Barker of the Sun reports that across the political spectrum, politicians – Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, Paul Ryan – were excoriated by a pair of FBI agents whose texts were disclosed in an Inspector General’s report on the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation. Former Maryland governor and Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley – a 2016 presidential candidate – did not escape the agents’ wrath. “And Martin O’Malley’s a douche,” says one of the messages on Oct. 14, 2015.

BIG PAY BUMP FOR AA CHIEF OF STAFF: Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh’s chief of staff salary increased about 43% between 2015 to 2018, the largest such increase among departments heads, according to a review of county salaries by Chase Cook of the Annapolis Capital. Diane Croghan’s pay increased from $135,252 to $193,259 from 2015 to 2018 and was the result of Schuh’s administration changing the role of the chief of staff position, county officials said.

MARYLAND CASES BEFORE SUPREME COURT: Heather Cobun of the Daily Record reports that two cases out of Maryland are among the most anticipated opinions yet to come from the Supreme Court’s fall session. Attorneys gave a rundown of the “Supreme Court Term in Review” Friday at the Maryland State Bar Association’s Legal Summit and Annual Meeting and highlighted International Refugee Assistance Project v. Trump (the travel ban) and Benisek v. Lamone (gerrymandering).