State Roundup, June 21, 2018

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IMMIGRANT KIDS, SEPARATED PARENTS IN MARYLAND: Ian Duncan of the Sun reports that immigration agents have sent dozens of children to Maryland since the Trump administration announced it would separate undocumented families at the southwest border, service providers here say. Some of the children, who are mostly from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, are being placed with foster families coordinated by an organization based in Anne Arundel County. Others are being held in dormitories in Anne Arundel and Baltimore counties, according to people involved in the process.

STATE RETIREES UPSET OVER COVERAGE CHANGES: Maryland government retirees are in an uproar over changes coming to their prescription drug coverage after receiving letters from the Hogan administration that some say are politically charged, reports Andrea McDonald for the Sun. The Maryland Department of Budget and Management started sending letters to retirees last month to explain that their drug coverage shifts from a state plan to a federal Medicare Part D plan on Jan. 1. The letter blamed the General Assembly and the administration of former Gov. Martin O’Malley for the switch and some criticized Hogan for politicizing it as he seeks re-election.

DELEGATE SEEKS INTERIM REPORT ON ANDERSON: A state delegate from Baltimore City is calling on legislative leaders to publicly release an interim report on allegations of sexual misconduct against Del. Curt Anderson, Bryan Sears of the Daily Record reports. Del. Mary Washington, who is a candidate for Maryland Senate from Anderson’s district, called for the release in a letter Wednesday to House Speaker Michael E. Busch and Senate President Mike Miller.

FROSH DEFENDS SUING TRUMP ADMIN: Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh on Wednesday defended as apolitical efforts to protect Marylanders his office’s legal challenges to President Trump’s restrictions on immigration from majority-Muslim countries, the marketing of the president’s Washington hotel and his administration’s rollback of regulations designed to protect the environment, Steve Lash of the Daily Record reports. “We stand up for important public policies,” Frosh said at a Greater Baltimore Committee breakfast. “We are going to fight for justice.”

EARLY VOTING A SIGN OF BLUE WAVE? NOT REALLY: Marylanders have cast early primary votes at a record clip so far this year. Three times as many Democrats as Republicans have turned out. Democrats see the increase as a sign of blue wave of opposition to President Donald Trump that they hope will defeat Gov. Larry Hogan and sweep the country in November. But analysts warn that predictions based on early voting patterns are fraught with risk. After all, if early voting reliably predicted final results, Anthony G. Brown would be governor, and Hillary Clinton would be president, Michael Dresser of the Sun reports.

SLOW EARLY VOTING IN GARRETT: Renee Shreve of the Garrett County Republican reports that early voting hasn’t been brisk everywhere. Garrett County Board of Elections Director Steve Fratz said the turnout has “been very sluggish.” Early voting began June 14, and included an opportunity to cast ballots on Saturday and Sunday. Garrett County’s two polling places were open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. “As of Tuesday morning, a total of 567 have voted,” Fratz said.

DIVISIONS OVER HOW DEMS CAN WIN: The gubernatorial battle between Ben Jealous, a first-time candidate, and Rushern Baker, the two-term Prince George’s county executive, mirrors a national pattern: Activists inspired by the 2016 presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) — and frustrated by recent Republican victories — are confronting more traditional candidates closer to the mold of Hillary Clinton, the party’s 2016 presidential nominee. What’s different about Maryland is that Jealous, a former NAACP president, has expanded the Sanders base by adding support from influential unions, prominent African American politicians and cash from national liberal donors, Robert McCartney and Ovetta Wiggins of the Post report.

ON BEN JEALOUS: Ben Jealous has had the advantage in Maryland’s Democratic gubernatorial primary of having prominent national figures show up to stump for him. There were senators Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker and Kamala Harris as well as comedian Dave Chapelle, Mary Rose Madden of WYPR-FM profiles Jealous.

ON JIM SHEA: Jim Shea has an impressive resume—successful lawyer, chair of the University System of Maryland Board of Regents—but he’s never held public office. In the latest WYPR series of profiles of Democratic gubernatorial candidates, he says he’s the only one who can beat incumbent Gov. Larry Hogan.

GETTING TECHY IN GOVERNOR’s RACE: Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, who effectively used Facebook to help him win the 2014 election, is now gaining traction with digital-savvy supporters through a new venue: a mobile app that rewards them for their mobilizing efforts. And two Democratic gubernatorial candidates hoping to challenge Hogan in November have been using some of the latest technology to help them expand their reach beyond physical glad-handing, phone-banking and median-waving, Pamela Wood of the Sun reports.

ARUNA MILLER VS. MONEY: Simone Pathe of Roll Call profiles Del. Aruna Miller, who is running for Congress. Miller, she writes, checks many of the boxes for the sorts of candidates Democrats are nominating this year: She’s an immigrant, has a science background, and she’s outraised her primary opponents in the race. But she’s running against a self-funder, who has spent more of his own money on a House race than any other candidate in history — besides himself, when he ran unsuccessfully for another open Maryland seat in 2016. David Trone, the co-owner of Total Wine & More, spent more than $13 million running in the 8th District last cycle, when he finished second in the primary. He’s on track to spend more than $11 million of his own money on this year’s 6th District primary.

UNION PAC WASN’T REGISTERED: The New York-based political action committee for a health care workers union has given hundreds of thousands of dollars in both cash and indirect campaign help to Maryland candidates without registering with the State Board of Elections, as is required by law, William Zorzi of Maryland Matters reports.

LEOPOLD SEEKS TO RETURN TO OFFICE: John Rydell of WBFF-TV reports that former Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold, who was convicted of misconduct in office in 2013, is attempting to return to public office. Leopold, a Republican, is running for House of Delegates in Anne Arundel County’s Legislative District 31-B. In an interview outside an early voting center in Glen Burnie Wednesday, Leopold said: “I still have the passion and the ability to get things done for people.”

SUN BALTIMORE COUNTY ENDORSEMENTS: Click here for the Sun endorsements in the State House Republican and Democratic primaries for Baltimore County’s Districts 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 42 and 44. The races and the districts are as varied as any in Maryland.

SUN BALTIMORE CITY ENDORSEMENTS: The youth movement that has swept Baltimore politics in the last few years has produced some highly competitive primary elections this year, with young upstarts seeking to oust veteran lawmakers from one corner of the city to another. Click here for the Sun’s picks in the Democratic primary for state Senate and House of Delegates in Baltimore. (There are no competitive Republican primaries for city legislative races this year.) The districts are 40, 41, 43, 44A, 45 and 46.

BROCHIN-ALMOND FIGHT: WYPR-FM reports on the continuing dust-up between two Democratic candidates seeking their party’s nomination for Baltimore County executive. Councilwoman Vicki Almond is getting financial backing from a well-known developer. One of Almond’s opponents, state Sen. Jim Brochin, said that makes his case that she is in the developers’ pocket. Almond countered her integrity is being attacked unfairly.

LAST MINUTE, $200,000 AD BUY: After sitting on his campaign cash for weeks, Baltimore State’s Attorney candidate Thiru Vignarajah on Wednesday launched a $200,000 ad buy for the final week before the June 26 Democratic primary election. Vignarajah announced he had spent $50,000 on two new radio spots and $150,000 on a network and cable television ad, writes Tim Prudente for the Sun.

EXPLOSION OF CAMPAIGN MAILINGS: Some people keep it in a bowl. Others make a pile on the dining room table. Still others toss it right into the garbage can. While Montgomery County voters might have different ways of dealing with the sheaves of campaign literature stuffing their mailboxes In the run-up to Tuesday’s primary, on this they can agree: There’s a lot, writes Jennifer Barrios for the Post.

NEW PSC CHAIR TAPPED: Gov. Larry Hogan has picked Jason Stanek, a longtime federal civil servant and current Capitol Hill adviser, to serve as the next chairman of the state Public Service Commission, the body that sets utility rates across the state. Stanek is senior counsel to a House of Representatives energy subcommittee. Before that, he worked 16 years for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. He replaces Kevin Hughes, who had served as a policy adviser to three Democratic governors before former Gov. Martin O’Malley selected him for a five-year term as commission chairman in 2013. That term ends this month, Scott Dance reports in the Sun.

NEW HOWARD COURTHOUSE: Howard County has selected a development consortium to spearhead the design, building, financing and operation of a 237,000-square-foot courthouse on county-owned land on Bendix Road in Columbia, the Sun reports. Edgemoor-Star America Judicial Partners was one of three finalists for the public-private partnership to build the $140 million project that will replace the county’s 175-year-old courthouse in Ellicott City, the county executive’s office announced Monday.