State Roundup, October 3, 2018

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JEALOUS PLEDGES TO HONOR AMAZON DEAL: Democratic gubernatorial nominee Ben Jealous—who during this year’s primary was critical of the package of incentives offered to Amazon to attract its second headquarters to Montgomery County—pledged late Monday to honor the deal if elected the state’s chief executive next month, reports Louis Peck in Bethesda Beat.

JEALOUS BACKS OFF GERRYMANDER IDEA: After seeming to suggest late last week that, as governor, he would seek to redraw the district lines to elect an all-Democratic congressional delegation, Ben Jealous sought to soften his tone during an appearance Monday, Louis Peck writes in Maryland Matters. Responding to an audience question, he added: “We all have an interest in moving beyond these games of partisan gerrymandering –– but the only way we get there that is sustainable is that we lead regionally and we lead nationally. That’s my track record — and that’s what you can expect from me as governor.”

COMPARING THE POLLS: Political science Professor Todd Eberly takes a close look at the three gubernatorial polls done by Gonzales, Goucher and Mason Dixon and compares their results. He writes in his FreeStater blog: After seeing the Mason Dixon poll I took to social media and wrote that the Goucher, Gonzales, and Mason Dixon polls all saw a similar race. That there really wasn’t a difference among them. Needless to say, this observation didn’t sit too well with folks who don’t study polls or probability. So I thought I’d spend a little time explaining why these surveys are seeing essentially the same race.

TARGETING 2 IN BALTIMORE COUNTY: Maryland Republicans believe they have a chance to stick a political knife into the Democrats’ veto-proof majority in the state Senate in November. They need to flip five seats. Two of the seats they think they can pick up are in Baltimore County. The success for the GOP may ride on whether the governor’s popularity trumps a possible blue wave. John Lee of WYPR-FM looks at those two races: Democrat Robbie Lee is running against Republican Del. Chris West and Republican Del. Christian Miele (who isn’t mentioned in the story) is running against longtime Democratic incumbent Kathy Klausmeier.

TRONE SAYS HE IS CANCER FREE: David Trone, the Potomac Democrat seeking to succeed Rep. John Delaney (D) in Maryland, declared himself “cancer-free” Tuesday and said that he has resumed campaigning nearly three weeks after undergoing surgery, Paul Schwartzman writes in the Post. In a statement released by his campaign, Trone pronounced the operation to remove a kidney a “success” and said his recovery “is going very well.”

STATE, COUNTIES GET OPIOID CRISIS FUNDS: The Maryland and St. Mary’s County health departments will receive a total of more than $1.6 million in U.S. Justice Department grants to combat the opioid crisis, the federal agency announced Tuesday. Steve Lash of the Daily Record reports that in addition, Cecil County and Salisbury will get a total of more than $1 million from the Justice Department as part of its $320 million nationwide grant program in response to what U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has called an opioid epidemic.

CUMMINGS IN LINE TO PROBE TRUMP: Jeff Barker of the Sun reports that if Democrats win control of the House of Representatives in the November elections, U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings is in line to ascend to the chairmanship of a committee with the authority — so far untapped — to demand documents related to Trump’s personal finances and policies, as well as possible agency abuses.

POT ADVOCATES ARRESTED AT REP. HARRIS ‘ OFFICE: Police arrested two marijuana legalization advocates Tuesday outside Rep. Andy Harris’ office, and the Baltimore County congressman said he bruised his wrist during an encounter with the activists that “demonstrates the problem with political discourse today,” Luke Broadwater and Jeff Barker report in the Sun.

HOYER ADVOCATES FOR STRONGER GUN LAWS: U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-District 5, visited the Annapolis Capital to discuss gun violence issues and his advocating for universal background checks and stronger laws — commonly called red flag laws — that allow police to seize weapons from potentially dangerous people, Chase Cook reports. His visit Monday follows the three-month anniversary of The Capital shooting.

OLSZEWSKI DROPS OUT OF DEBATE: Baltimore County executive candidate Johnny Olszewski Jr. pulled out of a debate planned for Friday night, frustrating organizers and his opponent, Pamela Wood of the Sun reports. Olszewski, a Democrat, was scheduled to debate Republican Al Redmer Jr. at the North Point Government Center in Dundalk. Olszewski said “an unexpected family event has required my time and attention on Friday.”

REDMER AD LAUNCHED: Republican Al Redmer Jr. is the first on the air with television ads in the Baltimore County executive race, with an ad that paints his Democratic opponent, Johnny Olszewski Jr. as a “big spending taxer.” In this Ad Watch column for the Sun Pamela Wood explains the ad then fact-checks it.

POLL FINDS CLOSE HO CO EXEC RACE: The race for Howard County executive is close – within the margin of error – according to a Democratic poll taken three weeks ago and obtained by Maryland Matters Tuesday. It stands in contrast to two recently released polls on the election but is consistent with another Democratic survey taken in August, Josh Kurtz reports.

AFTER FB POST, GRASSO RESIGNATION SOUGHT: The Council on American-Islamic Relations called Tuesday for County Councilman John Grasso to resign after he shared a series of “hate-filled, Islamophobic and xenophobic” posts about Muslims on his Facebook page, reports Selene San Felice for the Annapolis Capital. Zainab Chaudry, the Maryland representative for the national group, said several community members reached out to the council with concern after Grasso shared posts on his personal page including “One nation under God, not Allah” and statements that Muslims should not be allowed in the United States.

SUBPOENAS IN MYERS’ CASE QUASHED: Julie Greene of the Hagerstown Herald Mail reports that a judge has quashed subpoenas for former Washington County Administrator Greg Murray and a current county employee as part of County Commissioner LeRoy Myers’ defense discovery for a civil suit. The judge’s rulings mean that if the attorney who is defending Myers wants to see data, including emails and texts on cellphones and computers, he will need to go about it differently.

OPEN MEETINGS ACT VIOLATION: The Carroll County Industrial Development Authority has violated the Open Meetings Act in a number of ways over the past two years, according to an opinion written by the Maryland Open Meetings Compliance Board, Jennifer Turiano reports for the Carroll County Times. The authority, according to it articles of incorporation, was created “to secure new industries for Carroll County by purchasing, erecting, leasing, mortgaging, selling, renovating, repairing and improving land and buildings, or any interest therein, suitable for industrial purposes, in order to promote the growth and expansion of the industries established in Carroll County,” and has five commissioner-appointed members.