State Roundup, August 30, 2018

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WHERE HOGAN, JEALOUS DONORS COME FROM: Erin Cox of the Post reports that Gov. Larry Hogan and his Democratic challenger Ben Jealous have raised campaign cash from dramatically different classes of donors. Over the past 10 weeks, Hogan captured big donations from big local names who gave the maximum possible, while Jealous, the former NAACP chief, picked up cash from national Democratic activist figures and thousands of small-dollar donors from inside the state and across the country.

BEN JEALOUS, VENTURE CAPITALIST: In a lengthy article on Ben Jealous’ career as a venture capitalist (that is not in today’s print edition), Luke Broadwater of the Sun writes that after stepping down as president of the NAACP in 2013, Jealous found a new calling as a partner at his friend Mitch Kapor’s firm, helping it find small companies working on social justice issues in need of seed money that wouldn’t otherwise have connections to Silicon Valley. In his career, Jealous has spent the past five years as a venture capitalist seeking to apply novel, market-based solutions to tackle social problems that government efforts have failed to improve.

HOLDER BACKS JEALOUS: Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on Wednesday endorsed Democrat Ben Jealous for Maryland governor — the latest in a series of high-profile Democrats backing the former NAACP president in his underdog campaign against Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, Luke Broadwater of the Sun reports.

JEALOUS SUPPORTERS FIGHT HOGAN UNION NARRATIVE: If Gov. Larry Hogan Jr. (R) seems to have some extra pep in his step as he takes part in Labor Day parades in Kensington and Gaithersburg this weekend, there’s ample reason.  Hogan has attracted more support from organized labor than any GOP candidate for governor in recent memory, giving the impression that he has the support of rank-and-file workers. Democrats and the unions backing challenger Ben Jealous are pushing back hard against this carefully crafted narrative from the incumbent, Bruce DePuyt reports in Maryland Matters.

SSA UNIONS IN LIMBO: Unions representing thousands of Social Security Administration employees say their ability to represent their members remains restricted as they wait for the Baltimore-based agency to comply with a federal judge’s decision, Jeff Barker of the Sun reports. “I still have not heard a thing” about when the agency will comply with the judge’s decision last Saturday concluding that executive orders issued in May by President Trump violated federally approved union rights, said Jack Riismandel, executive vice president of an American Federation of Government Employees local that represents most of the more than 11,000 Social Security workers at the Baltimore headquarters.

MILLER JOINS CHORUS BLASTING LOH: State Senate President Mike Miller, a rabid supporter of the University of Maryland’s athletic program, said the athletic department has been “adrift” since the June 13 death of football player Jordan McNair — especially as a result of the player’s family hiring prominent Baltimore attorney Billy Murphy Jr., Don Markus of the Sun reports. Miller praised university President Wallace Loh, but said Loh is in a losing battle with Murphy, who has secured settlements and waged public-relations battles while representing high-profile clients such as the family of Freddie Gray.

STATE FINES MO CO FOR FAILING TO CURB POLLUTION: There’s a price to be paid, sometimes, for being at the head of the pack. In the case of Montgomery County, the price is $300,000. That’s the penalty the county agreed earlier this year to pay for its failure to curb pollution sufficiently from its streets, sidewalks, parking lots and buildings. The Bay Journal’s Tim Wheeler, in an article in MarylandReporter.com, writes that under a municipal stormwater permit issued by the state in 2010, Montgomery was the first county in Maryland required to capture or treat runoff from 20% of its pavement and buildings.

FEWER IN BAIL JAIL: More than a year into Maryland’s bail reform efforts, supporters and observers are pleased the use of cash bail continues to fall drastically, Heather Cobun of the Daily Record reports. “We’re saving money for every person that is not in jail and that person is able to go to work, take care of their family and go about their life rather than sitting in jail at the taxpayers’ expense,” said Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh. “That’s a win.”

RED FLAG LAW: In an op-ed for the Sun, Dorothy Paugh, of the Alliance of Hope for Suicide Loss Survivors, writes that the state’s new Extreme Risk Protection Order law — a.k.a. the “red flag” law — that goes into effect on Oct. 1 promises to save many lives by removing firearms from those in danger of harming themselves or others. Over 250 Marylanders shoot themselves every year. Rural counties have 35% higher suicide rates because guns are used more often in the act. Firearms are the single most common and least survivable method, used in roughly half of all suicides.

RECORD NUMBER DIE FROM HEAT: Twenty-five people in Maryland have died from heat-related deaths so far this summer, marking the deadliest season in at least five years, Andrea McDaniels of the Sun reports. Most of the deaths, 12, occurred in Baltimore City, according to statistics from the Maryland Department of Health.

HOT HOUSE RACES: Josh Kurtz of Maryland Matters takes a look at the competitive State House races and how its candidates are stacking up in the fund-raising race.

FRANCHOT’s WIDE MONEY LEAD: A 24-1 edge in cash on hand? That’s a nice cushion for Gov. Larry Hogan Jr. over his Democratic challenger, Ben Jealous. But it’s peanuts compared to the 5,369-1 financial edge that Hogan’s buddy, Democratic state Comptroller Peter Franchot has over his Republican challenger, Anjali Reed Phukan, Josh Kurtz writes for Maryland Matters.

FREDERICK EXEC RACE COFFERS: The Frederick News-Post is reporting that with a little more than two months to go until the general election, two of the three candidates for Frederick County executive have raised more than $40,000 in the last two months. Democratic incumbent Jan Gardner raised $49,675 between June 11 and Aug. 21 to boost her coffers to $145,833 in her bid for re-election. Republican challenger Kathy Afzali spent nearly as much as the $40,449 she raised. Afzali, who has served in the House of Delegates since 2010, spent nearly $30,000 on direct mailings alone in the last reporting time frame. Her $37,427 total expenditures brought her coffers to $107,546 as of Aug. 21, which includes a $20,000 loan she gave to herself.

SCHUH-PITTMAN MONEY RACE: Contributions to Steve Schuh and Steuart Pittman were almost identical between June and August, but Schuh still has about three times as much money as his Democratic opponent, reports Chase Cook for the Annapolis Capital. Schuh raised $135,703 between June and August, according to the August general election report. Pittman raised $131,424 in the same time frame. This is a much closer gap than the previous report when Schuh raised about $57,000 more than Pittman.

ALSOBROOKS FOE TO ENDORSE HER: Jerry Mathis, who until Friday was the Republican candidate for county executive in Prince George’s County, will endorse his former opponent, Democrat Angela Alsobrooks, today, Bruce DePuyt of Maryland Matters writes. A lifelong Democrat, Mathis said he switched parties and became a candidate to give voters in the overwhelmingly Democratic county more choices.

BLAIR SPENT RECORD $$: Potomac businessman David Blair spent a record $5.4 million on his unsuccessful campaign for Montgomery County executive, channeling his own money in a way never before seen for a local political race in the county, Jennifer Barrios of the Post reports. Blair’s latest campaign finance report, filed Tuesday, shows that he loaned his campaign $2.5 million between June 11 and Aug. 9, on top of previous loans of $2.6 million and his own contributions of $301,640. He finished a close second in a six-way primary, losing to at-large council member Marc Elrich by 77 votes.

MO CO COUNCIL CANDIDATE SPENDING UP: With a boost from Montgomery County’s new public campaign finance system, spending by the leading contenders for at-large County Council seats in the June 26 Democratic primary increased significantly from four years ago—when the system was not yet in existence, according to the latest campaign finance reports filed Tuesday with the State Board of Elections, Louis Peck of Bethesda Beat reports.

BUSINESS COMMUNITY IN REVOLT: In a commentary for Bethesda Beat, Adam Pagnucco opines that it’s an unusual event for a MoCo countywide general election to be contested, but here we are. Everyone is talking about the face-off between county executive candidates Marc Elrich (the Democratic nominee), Nancy Floreen (a former Democrat running as an independent) and Republican Robin Ficker. But what they should also notice is a fact written plain as day in Floreen’s campaign finance report: The business community is not accepting the result of the Democratic primary. In fact, it is revolting against the county’s Democrats. But will it pay off?

SINCLAIR COUNTER-SUES TRIBUNE: Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. called its once acquisition target Tribune Media Co. “self-serving” in a lawsuit responding to a $1 billion lawsuit Tribune filed this month after its merger deal went south, Holden Wilen of the Baltimore Business Journal reports. Hunt Valley-based Sinclair was slated to buy Tribune for $3.9 billion until the FCC moved for a hearing on the deal in front of an administrative law judge after Chairman Ajit Pai raised “serious concerns.” Chicago-based Tribune subsequently pulled out of the sale and filed a lawsuit claiming Sinclair “fought, threatened, insulted and misled” federal regulators.

McCAIN’s ACADEMY SERVICES: David Lightman of the Annapolis Capital outlines the plans for the Naval Academy services and burial on Sunday for the late Sen. John McCain of Arizona.

EX-OC MAYOR POWELL DIES: Former Ocean City mayor Roland E. “Fish” Powell died Wednesday morning at age 89, the AP is reporting. Powell served as mayor of the resort town from 1985-1996. He also served as a town councilman and a Worcester County commissioner.