State Roundup, July 5, 2018

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JEALOUS CHALLENGES HOGAN ON ABORTION STAND: Abortion — an issue that has been muted in Maryland politics — resurfaced Tuesday when Democrat Ben Jealous questioned Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s commitment to women’s reproductive rights as President Donald Trump prepares to nominate a Supreme Court justice who could threaten Roe v. Wade, Michael Dresser writes in the Sun. The Democratic gubernatorial nominee challenging Hogan in the November election issued a statement criticizing the Republican’s record on abortion after the governor declined to take a position on the looming Supreme Court struggle during an interview with Washington’s WTOP radio.

GOOGLE WON’T TAKE MARYLAND POLITICAL ADS: At least one tech giant has stopped accepting state and local political ads in Maryland as a result of a new state law that regulates such online material, Ovetta Wiggins and Tony Romm write in the Post. A representative from Google said the company made its decision before the law — one of the first of its kind in the country — took effect July 1.

DISASTER AID FOR MARYLAND: The Trump administration has approved a request from Gov. Larry Hogan (R) to declare the recent flooding in Baltimore and Howard counties a federal disaster, making assistance available for rebuilding Ellicott City and other parts of the region that were deluged by water in May, Ovetta Wiggins of the Post reports. A similar request for financial assistance is pending for Baltimore City, which also was damaged in the severe May 27 storm.

MD. CAN CO. SEEKS TARIFF EXCLUSION: Maryland’s Independent Can Co. faces an uphill battle in its quest for an exclusion from tariffs imposed by President Donald Trump’s administration on imported steel as rulings on similar applications have begun to trickle out. The Belcamp company must navigate a bureaucratic process over the objections of the domestic steel industry, reports Tim Curtis for the Daily Record.

CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS RECRUITING: Maryland officials are looking to a recruiter to help them hire as many as 1,000 correctional officers to work inside state prisons, Bryan Sears of the Daily Record reports. The announcement of a search for a consultant is the latest in a series of incentives and job fairs aimed at filling vacancies within the system.

REP. SARBANES: TRUMP INITIALLY REFUSED FLAG LOWERING: U.S. Rep. John Sarbanes’ office confirmed Wednesday that the White House had initially declined to act on the request to lower the U.S. flag to half-staff out of respect for the five people slain at the Capital-Gazette office last week, Pat Furgurson of the Annapolis Capital reports.

HOYER TREATED FOR PNEUMONIA: A spokeswoman says Democratic Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland is being treated at a Washington hospital for pneumonia but is expected to recover quickly. Spokeswoman Katie Grant said Wednesday in an emailed statement that the congressman was being treated with antibiotics and resting after being admitted to the George Washington University Hospital a day earlier.

SOPHOCLEUS’ WIDOW NOMINATED: The widow of Ted Sophocleus, a longtime Anne Arundel County delegate who died last month, has been nominated to serve out the remainder of his term, the county’s Democratic Central Committee announced Tuesday. Alice Sophocleus’ nomination will be forwarded to Gov. Larry Hogan, who has up to 30 days to approve the choice to fill that vacancy. Her husband’s term ends in November, Colin Campbell of the Sun writes.

BA CO EXEC NOMINEE STILL A MYSTERY: Baltimore County Democrats might not learn who their nominee is for county executive until next week, according to county elections officials. That’s how long it might take them to review and count about 1,600 provisional ballots — many of which could affect the race for the Democratic nomination, Pamela Wood of the Sun reports.

FICKER GETS PUBLIC FUNDS: Republican Robin Ficker will get public matching funds for his campaign for Montgomery County executive after all, the Post’s Jennifer Barrios reports. Ficker, who sued state and county officials after he was denied public funds last month, received an email Tuesday saying he had been approved for an initial sum of $231,185. “As soon as I get the check in my account, I’m going to dismiss the lawsuit,” Ficker said. “It’s a big victory.”

  • Ficker ran unopposed in the Republican primary. Andrew Metcalf of Bethesda Beat writes that he faces either County Council member Marc Elrich or businessman David Blair in the general election depending on the outcome of the ongoing ballot count that will decide the Democratic primary. The final results are expected to be released at the end of the week. A third candidate—at-large County Council member Nancy Floreen—filed Monday with the county Board of Elections to run as an independent.

FLOREEN’s OBSTACLES: Andrew Metcalf of Bethesda Beat writes that political observers are saying that County Council member Nancy Floreen’s potential independent candidacy for Montgomery County executive faces obstacles in becoming a reality, but could offer voters a moderate choice in the November general election if County Council member Marc Elrich ends up being the Democratic nominee,

FORMER PG COUNCILMAN RETAKES SEAT: A familiar face is heading back to the Prince George’s County Council District 1 seat, according to unofficial results of the Tuesday primary race from the Maryland State Board of Elections. Former District 1 Councilman Tom Dernoga earned 52% or 5,215 votes and current Laurel Mayor Craig Moe, 58, earned 47.7% or 4,755 votes. Dernoga won by 460 votes, Jess Nocera of the Laurel Leader reports.