State Roundup, September 20, 2018

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HOGAN TROLLS TEACHERS’ UNION: Gov. Larry Hogan’s campaign trolled the state’s teachers’ union Wednesday after its representatives warned him that he was violating its red apple trademark logo. For years, candidates supported by the 80,000-member Maryland State Education Association have proudly displayed its logo on their campaign materials to burnish their education bona fides with voters. So, when representatives of the union — which has endorsed Hogan’s opponent, Democrat Ben Jealous — noticed Hogan was using a red apple logo and touting support from teachers in his campaign materials, they objected. And Hogan turned to social media, reports Luke Broadwater in the Sun.

POLL NUMBERS JOLT DEMS: Whatever suspense existed in the Maryland gubernatorial race may have evaporated in the wake of this week’s poll by the politics team at Goucher College, which showed Gov. Larry Hogan with a commanding 22 point lead over challenger Ben Jealous. The numbers are something of a jolt for Maryland Democrats, who hoped to prevent Hogan from becoming the first Republican governor in more than 60 years to win a second term, writes Bruce DePuyt for Maryland Matters. (Be sure to read the long comment by the Green Party’s Kevin Zeese on how corporate and high-level Democrats have abandoned Jealous. It provides an interesting analysis from a different point of view.)

  • The editorial board of the Sun opines that among the many fascinating contradictions about Maryland’s electorate revealed by the latest Goucher Poll is that the only thing voters like more than our pro-business Republican Gov. Larry Hogan (67% approval rating) is one of the core goals of the progressive left — a $15 an hour minimum wage (69% support). That’s perhaps not quite as weird as the greater opposition among Maryland Republicans to the Affordable Care Act (80% unfavorable impression, 14% favorable) than straight-up, single-payer health care (72% unfavorable, 20% favorable). But it’s close.

JEALOUS’s EVEREST: Brian Witte of the AP reports that Ben Jealous compared his decisive Maryland Democratic primary victory in June to climbing the world’s second-highest mountain — a prelude, he hopes, to ascending the state’s political Mount Everest to knock off popular Republican Gov. Larry Hogan. Instead, Jealous has had to reverse course in recent weeks after some highly publicized missteps.

THE LONE DEBATE: The lone debate scheduled between Republican Gov. Larry Hogan and Democratic nominee Ben Jealous will go ahead as planned Monday after the Jealous campaign dropped its veto of a western Maryland newspaper’s statehouse reporter as a panelist, Michael Dresser of the Sun reports. Now, Tamela Baker of The Herald-Mail in Hagerstown is back as a questioner. And The Baltimore Sun, which had said it was reconsidering its participation over concern about allowing candidates to choose the reporters who question them, will take part.

  • In a commentary for Maryland Matters, Josh Kurtz writes: One hour, one stinking hour, for Jealous to appear on the same stage as Hogan, to make the case to voters for why they should fire Hogan and hire him. It’ll be over before anyone knows it – and it’ll be tough for Jealous to engage Hogan again in such a meaningful way during the last six weeks of the election. They must get tired of high-fiving and chest-bumping over at Hogan headquarters these days.

CARET ON UM FOOTBALL SCANDAL: University System of Maryland Chancellor Robert L. Caret continues to hear the same phrase when it comes to the investigation clouding over the University of Maryland football program: “Let’s just get it done.” The state’s flagship school has been rocked by an ESPN report about what it called a “toxic culture” in Maryland football’s program under Coach DJ Dirkin that may have led to the June 13 death of freshman lineman Jordan McNair. Caret said during an interview with Ryan Sharrow of the Baltimore Business Journal, “But by the same token, we have made it clear and my board has made it clear we’re not going to rush this process.”

CONOWINGO TO OPEN MOST GATES: Marinas and their boaters are already tired of dealing with the debris flowing south in the Chesapeake after the Conowingo Dam opened flood gates to relieve pressure from this summer’s record rainfall. Today, seven to 10 gates of the dam are scheduled to be opened again to relieve pressure from the remnants of Hurricane Florence. Some 200,000 cubic feet of water per second are expected to flow through the dam tonight, Pat Furgurson of the Annapolis Capital reports.

ERVIN TAKES JOB IN PG SCHOOLS: Onetime Maryland gubernatorial candidate Valerie Ervin was hired into a six-figure job with the Prince George’s County school system less than three months after she dropped out of the primary race and threw her support behind the county’s top leader. In the final stretch of the campaign, Ervin regularly stumped for Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker, who was in a heated battle for the Democratic nomination. Baker hinted publicly that if he were elected, Ervin would join his administration, Donna St. George and Ovetta Wiggins report.

OPINION: MO CO GOP CAN’T WIN IF IT WON’T COMPETE: In an opinion piece for Bethesda Beat, Adam Pagnucco opines that the GOP was once a factor in Montgomery County politics. Many folks remember Connie Morella, the courtly and moderate Republican congresswoman from Bethesda who represented the 8th District from 1986 to 2002. Fewer folks remember that MoCo’s first executive, Jim Gleason, was a Republican who served in the 1970s. But the dismal fundraising efforts by this year’s Republican candidates makes one wonder if they are a factor. GOP success in MoCo may have to wait until President Trump is out of office. But for the party to have a shot at winning here, first it has to compete.

AMENDMENT COULD KILL RX POT BILL IN ARUNDEL: Legislation reducing restrictions on medical marijuana businesses in north Anne Arundel County has broad support, but may be in trouble after a controversial amendment was added, reports Chase Cook for the Annapolis Capital. The amendment, which was passed 4-3 Monday by the Anne Arundel County Council, would exempt medical marijuana businesses from residential setback requirements if they are built in industrial districts.

  • kevinzeese

    Thanks for highlighting my comment on a story about the gubernatorial poll. I am republishing it here since it on another website.

    If Ben Jealous is able to cut Hogan’s lead in half he will still lose by a landslide. Without a major surprise it is hard to see Jealous doing better than shrinking his loss to a landslide from a complete blowout.

    But, the problem is not only Jealous – the problem is the Democratic Party abandoned Jealous as soon as he defeated the machine candidate the Party was behind. How much money has Van Hollen raised for Jealous? How much has he moved from his campaign account to the Jealous campaign? How about Cardin? Steny Hoyer? Mike Miller? Michael Busch? Keep going down the list and you will almost no Democrats helping their nominee. The Democratic Party abandoned Jealous and now claim to be surprised he’s losing. That is like knifing someone in the back and being surprised they are bleeding.

    When the Republican Governor’s Association attacked Jealous defining him as a tax and spend socialist — a false description that has stuck — what did the Democrats do to respond? Nothing. They allowed the Republicans to define Jealous and left him defenseless. Of course he is behind. The only campaign has been an anti-Jealous campaign. There has barely been a Jealous campaign.

    Has anyone in the Democratic Party done the opposition research about the ongoing Hogan real estate company — which he has not put in a blind trust — that has entered into many new contracts and made the governor $2.4 million, on top of his $180,000 salary? Did that company benefit from the inside knowledge of a governor, knowing where government investment is going? Were decisions made to benefit Hogan Real Estate Services? Research on that one issue could have transformed the campaign and redefined Hogan as a mini-Trump who is profiting from being in office. Instead, there is silence from Dems.

    Instead, there are people like State Senator Kathy Klausmeir, a Deputy Majority Leader who put out a mailing last week praising Hogan paid for by the Democratic Senate Caucus. The mailer said she and Hogan were working for the same goals even though they were from different parties. Is the Deputy Majority Leader campaigning for Hogan? Has she done a mailing for Jealous? Have any Democratic Party leaders done any mailings for Jealous?

    Jealous has made a lot of mistakes so he deserves blame for his failing campaign, but the Democratic Party is undermining his campaign by abandoning him. In the article above, Dems are now using it as an excuse – Jealous is doing poorly so we can distance ourselves from him.

    The Maryland Democratic Party is a centrist party that is funded by big business, developers, real estate and the insurance industry. That is who they serve. They can manage Hogan. The General Assembly sets the legislative agenda. They pass whatever laws they want. If Hogan vetoes it they override it. Why do they need a governor who defeated the machine in office? Much better to use Jealous to teach a lesson to other Democrats — don’t challenge the machine, be a centrist.

    The reality is, if people want progressive government they are not going to get it from the Democratic Party. Progressives are throwing their vote away when they vote for any Democrat. We need to build an alternative party that puts the people’s necessities and protection of the planet before the profits of campaign donors. The only party that will do that is the Green Party. People need to use their vote to help build that party — voting Green for Governor and Lt. Governor — Ian Schlackman and Rev. Annie Chambers — as well as voting Green down ballot. We will not get progressive government from the Maryland Democratic Party. They are proving that in the gubernatorial election for those who did not already know it.