State Roundup, June 29, 2018

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The front page of Friday's Capital, thanks to the Facebook posting of Rob Lang at WBAL radio.

5 KILLED AT CAPITAL GAZETTE: A gunman blasted his way into the Capital Gazette newsroom in Annapolis with a shotgun Thursday afternoon, killing five people, authorities said. Journalists dived under their desks and pleaded for help on social media. One reporter described the scene as a “war zone.” A photographer said he jumped over a dead colleague and fled for his life, Kevin Rector and Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs of the Sun are reporting.

REACTION: Catherine Rentz of the Sun compiles comments and tweets from everyone from Gov. Larry Hogan to Trump press secretary Sarah Huckabee-Sanders to Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the murders at the Capital Gazette building.

THE DEAD

ROB HIAASEN: Rob Hiaasen once wrote a description of his ideal job: “I would like to be paid for the occasional amusing remark or for simply showing up promptly to work and bringing in cookies from time to time,” he wrote a colleague. “Alas, there’s no market for those outstanding qualities.” But he was wrong, writes Jean Mirbella for the Sun.

  • Michael Ruane of the Post writes that Rob Hiaasen, wrote about snow snorkeling. He wrote about his bat house: “Bats can eat as many as 1,200 insects an hour. .?.?. And I want to meet the person who tallied some bat’s hourly chow.” He wrote about a conversation with his dog, Earle.

GERALD FISCHMAN: The first time Gerald Fischman applied for a job at The Capital, the editor passed him over. Fischman’s personality was so quiet and withdrawn that it hid the brilliant mind, wry wit and “wicked pen” that his colleagues would treasure. Erin Cox of the Sun writes that for more than 25 years, Fischman was the conscience and voice of the Annapolis news organization, writing scathing, insightful and always exacting editorials about the community.

  • Joe Heim of the Post writes that Gerald Fischman was known in the newsroom for his shy demeanor, smart writing, wry wit and the cardigan with holes in the elbows that he always seemed to be wearing. He was also known for being in the office at all hours.

JOHN McNAMARA: John McNamara was toiling as a news copy editor at the Capital Gazette when he left to pursue his dream: sports reporting, Andrea McDaniel writes in the Sun. He honed his skills at the Prince George’s Journal, a competitor to the Annapolis news organization. Within a few years, the Capital Gazette hired him back. He would work there for nearly 24 years.

WENDI WINTERS: Wendi Winters spent a dozen years writing her way into the Capital Gazette newsroom. After a career in fashion and public relations in New York City, the 65-year-old mother of four moved to Maryland 20 years ago and began stringing for the Annapolis news organization. She soon built a reputation as a prolific freelance reporter and well-known community resource, Yvonne Wenger writes in the Sun.

REBECCA SMITH: Rebecca Smith was a recent hire at the Capital Gazette but had already proved herself a valuable asset. Smith, 34, a sales assistant, worked in the news organization’s office in Annapolis. Her boss, Capital Gazette advertising director Marty Padden, said she made sure the sales office ran smoothly, writes Jessican Anderson for the Sun. “She was a very thoughtful person,” Padden said. “She was kind and considerate, and willing to help when needed. She seemed to really enjoy to be working in the media business.”

MORE MVA BALLOT ISSUES: The State Board of Elections disclosed Thursday that the Motor Vehicle Administration had informed it that and additional 7,200 voters had been affected by the computer glitch that forced many Marylanders to cast provisional ballots in Tuesday’s primary. The additional names bring the number of voters whose updates of their addresses or party registrations were not sent to the elections board this year and in 2017 to almost 90,000, reports Michael Dresser for the Sun.

DEL. WASHINGTON HOLDS LEAD IN CARTER CONWAY RACE: Del. Mary Washington continued to hold a small but comfortable lead over Sen. Joan Carter Conway Thursday as the last two precincts in their North Baltimore district reported their returns in the Democratic primary, reports Michael Dresser in the Sun. With all 55 precincts reporting in the 43rd District and some absentee ballots counted, Washington led her veteran rival by 469 votes. Provisional and some absentee ballots remain to be counted but the margin makes it difficult for Conway to close the gap.

BLAIR CUTS INTO ELRICH’s LEAD: Potomac businessman David Blair cut into County Council member Marc Elrich’s lead in the Democratic primary for Montgomery County executive after the first count of absentee ballots Thursday. Elrich, of Takoma Park, is now holding onto a 269-vote lead after the county’s Board of Elections Thursday counted 3,140 absentee ballot in the race, Andrew Metcalf of Bethesda Beat reports.

42 VOTES BETWEEN OLSZEWSKI & BROCHIN: Former state Del. Johnny Olszewski Jr.’s lead in the race for the Democratic nomination for Baltimore County executive narrowed to just 42 votes Thursday as county officials tallied absentee ballots from the primary election. Following a round of absentee ballot reviews, Olszewski still led state Sen. Jim Brochin, 27,270 votes to 27,228, for the party nomination, writes Pamela Wood in the Sun. County Councilwoman Vicki Almond remained in third place with 26,211 votes — 1,059 behind Olszewski.

NEW FACES ON PG COUNCIL: The Prince George’s County Council will be filled with new faces in December, thanks to term limits and a ballot measure that allowed voters to choose nominees for two new at-large seats in Tuesday’s primary. Two of the races are still too close to call and will not be determined until absentee and provisional ballots are counted, Rachel Chason of the Post reports.

AN ABNORMAL PRIMARY: Barry Rascovar, in his Political Maryland blog, writes that in the Age of Trump it should come as no surprise that nothing about Maryland’s June 26 mid-term primary was normal. From the software glitch that left 80,000 voters temporarily off the rolls, to stunning state Senate upsets, virtual ties in key executive races in two large counties and a strong showing by the Democratic Party’s left wing, last Tuesday’s balloting defied expectations. He offers a set of ideas we can glean from the primary.

ELLICOTT CITY & FLOOD MITIGATION: Life safety is at the heart of Howard County’s plans for the future of Ellicott City and the time has come for a “new conversation” over how the historic district and the Patapsco River can “co-exist” following last month’s deadly flood, County Executive Allan Kittleman said Thursday night. The recurrence of powerful storms and the floodwaters they bring is a reality that must be addressed as a “transformative” plan is drawn up, Kittleman told more than 200 people at a public meeting, Kate Magill of the Howard County Times reports.

REP. HARRIS LECTURES MOHLER: The letter begins politely enough, with congratulations to Baltimore County Executive Don Mohler on his new job. But then the writer, U.S. Rep. Andy Harris, embarks on a brief lecture on immigration law, issues a warning about a gang, and posed a pointed question, writes Ian Duncan in the Sun. “Do you intend to continue the misguided policies of your predecessor with regard to making Baltimore County a sanctuary jurisdiction?” Harris wrote on Thursday, referring to deceased County Executive Kevin Kamenetz

SUPREME COURT CONTENDER FROM MARYLAND: A leading contender for President Trump’s next Supreme Court pick is an appellate judge from Maryland whose work on the Starr Report drew the ire of Democrats when President George W. Bush nominated him for the U.S. Court of Appeals. Christina Tkacik of the Sun reports that a longtime protege of Kenneth Starr, Brett M. Kavanaugh was on the White House’s list of potential Supreme Court nominees in November. But after the announcement came Wednesday that Justice Anthony Kennedy would be retiring at the end of July, he has been mentioned again as a possible nominee. Kavanaugh, who grew up in Bethesda, serves on the federal appeals court in D.C.