State Roundup, July 30, 2018

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DEL. ANDERSON LOSING SUPPORT: Del. Curt Anderson, under investigation amid allegations of sexual misconduct, is facing mounting calls to decline the nomination for re-election that he narrowly won in June’s primary, Michael Dresser of the Sun reports.

  • The Maryland Democratic Party is cutting ties with embattled Del. Curt Anderson (D-Baltimore City), who has been accused by multiple women of sexual misconduct, writes Josh Kurtz for Maryland Matters. In a memo written Friday to members of the Maryland Democratic Party executive committee, state Democratic Chairwoman Kathleen Matthews says that as the party ramps up its coordinated campaign for the fall election, “we have no plans to campaign with or for Delegate Curt Anderson in 2018.”

RENEWABLE PROJECTS CRITICIZED: Two new studies criticize a Maryland program designed to promote renewable energy projects, saying it also boosts fossil fuels and other sources of air pollution, reports Scott Dance for the Sun. In its study, the environmental group Food and Water Watch accuses the state of “cleanwashing” dirty sources of energy. Maryland was among seven states whose renewable energy policies got a failing grade in the group’s nationwide report card.

JEALOUS, HOGAN AGREE ON CLIMATE CHANGE: Maryland is ahead of the curve when it comes to addressing climate change. About a decade ago, the state established a commission to make recommendations. It is one issue both Gov. Larry Hogan and Ben Jealous recognize as a serious problem, Dave Collins of WBAL-TV reports. Politically, climate change used to fall along party lines. Republicans dismissed human influence and Democrats embraced ways to resolve it. However, both Hogan and Jealous agree on the issue.

SEN. WARREN BACKS JEALOUS: Democratic gubernatorial nominee Ben Jealous received support from another well-known national progressive on Friday, picking up an endorsement from Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Ovetta Wiggins of the Post reports.

HOGAN OUTGUNS JEALOUS OVER NRA: Who would’ve thought a simple questionnaire could become a campaign flashpoint? asks Frank DeFillipo in a commentary for Maryland Matters. But this one was not an ordinary fill-in-the-blanks bio that shuffles past candidates every election year. Ben Jealous, the Democratic candidate for governor, issued a double-dare, something no seasoned candidate would do (unless it’s an iron-clad gotcha). Republican Gov. Larry Hogan was ready with a “yo momma.”

RGA ADS FOR HOGAN: For the thousands of Maryland women watching “The Bachelorette,” who Becca picks in the coming finale — will it be Blake or Garrett? — may seem like the only decision on the romance reality television show. The Republican Governors Association is asking Maryland women to make another decision: Choose Larry over Ben. Bryan Sears of the Daily Record reports that the summer television campaign ad buys and mailings by the RGA appear to be an effort to bring out older women who once voted Republican and convince others to consider the party in a year when larger than usual numbers of women are expected to vote to express opposition to Republican President Donald Trump.

WHO FINANCES RGA ADS? Adam Pagnucco of Seventh State analyzes the large corporate contributors paying for the ads being run by the Republican Governors Association against Ben Jealous.

FRANCHOT TO STAY NEUTRAL: More than two months before the primary, Comptroller Peter Franchot was asked if he planned to support his party’s gubernatorial nominee. “Yes,” he said. “I’m a Democrat.” But earlier this month, Franchot told WYPR-FM that he has decided to stay neutral in the gubernatorial race, Bruce DePuyt writes in Maryland Matters.

DEMS, PROGRESSIVES WRESTLE: In a column for Red Maryland, Brian Griffiths writes that recent editorials and columns and articles indicate that the Democratic Party and progressives are in an all-out war in the state of Maryland.

PUGH PUSHES CONGRESS ON OPIOID CRISIS: With 175 Americans dying each day from drug overdoses, the opioid crisis is akin to “a plane crashing every day,” Mayor Catherine Pugh said Friday as she and other Baltimore officials urged Congress to approve comprehensive legislation to combat the epidemic, Jeff Barker of the Sun reports. “We are in desperate need at this particular point in time,” Pugh said at a roundtable discussion that included Rep. Elijah E. Cummings of Baltimore, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, community leaders and addiction experts at the city offices of Health Care for the Homeless.

DEM ACTIVISTS SEEK BAN ON CAMPAIGN TACTIC: A potent campaign season tool in Prince George’s County for decades is attracting the ire of newly energized Democratic activists who want party leaders to step in and ban a tactic they claim is designed solely to confuse the electorate, Bruce DePuyt of Maryland Matters writes. The cause of their fury: campaign literature that includes the words “Official Democratic Sample Ballot.”

BUILDING MORATORIUM IN ELLICOTT CITY: The Howard County Council on Friday unanimously approved a one-year freeze on development in the Tiber River and Plumtree Branch stream watersheds surrounding Ellicott City, where the low-elevation historic district was hit by intense flooding in May for the second time in less than two years, Leah Brennan reports in the Howard County Times.

ANNAPOLIS COUNCIL SEEKS CLARITY ON DONORS: Several members of the Annapolis City Council who were targeted in last year’s election by a group called Preserve Annapolis Now want to require outside groups to file donor disclosures more frequently with the city, reports Annie Linskey for the Annapolis Capital. Annapolis’s election code lays out clear rules for a “central committee,” a “partisan organization” and a “political committee.” But the terms aren’t well explained and also include an exemption for “political clubs,” undefined groups that do not need to file anything with the city.

HEARING FOR CAPITAL GAZETTE MURDER SUSPECT: It might be the most high-profile murder case in Maryland, but Monday’s initial appearance hearing for the man charged with killing five people last month at the Capital Gazette office in Annapolis is expected to be routine, Chase Cook of the Annapolis Capital reports. Jarrod Ramos, 38, who is charged with five counts of first-degree murder and other charges, could appear at the hearing in Anne Arundel County Courthouse or might not.

WINTERS’ SON ISSIE PLEA TO U.S. REP. HARRIS: Phoenix Geimer, the son of slain journalist Wendi Winters, in an op-ed for the Annapolis Capital, writes “news sources are facing unprecedented assaults from people seeking to avoid accountability. Reporters are described as really bad people. The press is painted as liars with pathological bias. Invoking violence against journalists is a routine part of political rallies.” He urges U.S. Rep. Andy Harris to not only take a stand against such language but to stop adding to the fire.

GOP TRAILBLAZER TERHES DIES: Joyce Lyons Terhes, a former chairwoman of the Maryland Republican Party who elevated the state GOP to new levels of competitiveness and relevance, died late last week following a lengthy illness. She was 78, writes Josh Kurtz of Maryland Matters.

SUN PACKS UP FOR MOVE: Reporters at the Baltimore Sun are packing up their notebooks this week as the newspaper prepares to move to Port Covington. A Sun spokeswoman said Friday the 300 employees will leave 501 N. Calvert St. by Aug. 12. The move marks the end of an era for the Midtown neighborhood where the Sun has been a fixture for decades, Melody Simmons for the Baltimore Business Journal reports.

WHIG CUTS PRINT EDITION TO 2 DAYS: Cecil Whig readers will be reading the last Monday print edition in their hands today, but the newspaper will be launching a local sports recap e-edition on Mondays in coming weeks, , Jacob Owens of the Cecil Whig reports. David Fike, president of the Whig’s parent company, Adams Publishing Group Media of Chesapeake, announced the cut down to two printed Whig editions — now Wednesday and Friday — in a July 6 editorial, citing a massive increase in newsprint costs due to tariffs approved by the Trump administration,

SINCLAIR IN DOJ PROBE: Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc., Tribune Media Co. and other TV broadcasters are reportedly being investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice for possible violations of antitrust laws, Holden Wilen of the Baltimore Business Journal writes. The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed sources, reported the Department of Justice is looking into whether the broadcasters inflated prices for local TV commercials when their ad sales teams communicated about performance. The DOJ came across the alleged ad sales practice during its review of Sinclair’s $3.9 billion proposed acquisition of Tribune, according to the report.