State Roundup, October 11, 2018

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POST ENDORSES HOGAN: In endorsing Gov. Larry Hogan for re-election, the editorial board of the Washington Post opines that, “Gov. Larry Hogan … struck a clear and bracing note on the day he took office, promising in his inaugural address to surmount partisanship and wedge politics in favor of what he called a bipartisan politics of ‘middle temperament.’ That was January 2015, before anyone foresaw the rise of Donald Trump. To his immense credit, Mr. Hogan, a Republican in a state where Democrats enjoy a 2-to-1 advantage, has largely fulfilled that pledge, rejecting what he called ‘the extremes of either political party’ and taking a pragmatic, centrist approach to leadership that has been a tonic in a venomous era.”

EMPLOYEE SUES STATE: A state employee is asking a federal judge to stop the Department of Natural Resources from punishing her after she referred to a leading candidate for governor as an “a–clown” on social media. Candus Thomson, a spokeswomen for the Maryland Natural Resources Police, was demoted last month from her position as spokeswoman for the agency after making a critical comment about Ben Jealous’ decision to veto a reporter’s participation in a debate with Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, according to filings in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, Bryan Sears of the Daily Record reports.

JEALOUS, HOGAN ADDRESS FREDERICK QUESTIONS: Democrat candidate for governor Ben Jealous and incumbent Larry Hogan answered five questions posed by the Frederick News-Post related to Frederick County and economic development. Reporter Steve Bohnel writes an article based on those answers.

CHALLENGER WOLF DOES WELL AGAINST FROSH: Attorney General Brian Frosh (D) leads his Republican challenger Craig Wolf by fewer than 10 points in a new poll — an indication that the race, which has focused in part on presidential politics, could be closer than expected. Frosh, who has touted his lawsuits against the Trump administration, earned the support of 43% of likely Maryland voters in poll released Wednesday by Gonzales Research & Media Services, compared with 34% for Wolf, who has criticized Frosh as devoting too much time and taxpayer money to the lawsuits, Rachel Chason and Scott Clement report in the Post.

ODD STATE OF POLITICS: In a commentary for Maryland Matters, Josh Kurtz opines on the odd state of politics in Maryland and nationally. “Suddenly there is Republican exuberance everywhere – the longstanding narrative about the direction of this election cycle turned on its head. Not to mention longstanding assumptions about voter behavior in midterm elections,” he writes.

23A CANDIDATES FOCUS ON EDUCATION: With the election fast-approaching, education-related issues seem to be on the minds of voters, according to the three women running for the District 23A seat in the House of Delegates, reports Rachael Pacella for the Annapolis Capital. While many seats seem to have been decided in the primary election, incumbent Geraldine Valentino-Smith is facing a Republican challenger, Kathleen Kositzky Crank, as well as a write-in candidacy from Shabnam Ahmed, a Democrat Valentino-Smith defeated by 42 votes this spring.

DELEGATE HOPEFUL IS REALLY RUNNING: Lorig Charkoudian, a Takoma Park Democrat running for a seat in District 20 of the Maryland House of Delegates, will run 70 miles over the course of Saturday and Sunday in a fundraiser for the state’s re-entry mediation program for soon-to-be-released inmates, Dan Schere of Bethesda Beat reports. The program, now 10 years old, is available at all state prisons and 11 local detention centers.

DEL. WEST RESPONDS TO OP-ED: Del. Chris West, who is running for state Senate from Baltimore County, responds to an op-ed by Peta Richkus in Maryland Matters, which we linked to yesterday. West contends that Richkus “ignores the obvious fact that Gov. Larry Hogan has created a new brand of moderate and reformist Republicanism, which is so appealing to Maryland voters that recent polls not only give him a 20-point lead.” West says that he too is that kind of Republican.

OP-ED: A MISSING VOICE: In a column for Maryland Matters, Jerome Segal of the Bread and Roses Party, who failed to get on the ballot to run against incumbent U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin, explains why he should have been allowed to participate in a recent televised debate as he challenges the state Elections Board decision.

REDMER, OLSZEWSKI DEBATE: Pamela Wood of the Sun reports that Baltimore County executive candidates Johnny Olszewski Jr. and Al Redmer Jr. met Wednesday afternoon in the only televised debate in the campaign, touching on familiar themes of taxes, public safety, affordable housing and government transparency — but also fielding a question about the approach they’d take to fight sex trafficking. Olszewski, a Demcorat, and Redmer, a Republican, have faced off numerous times previously in debates and forums around the county.

PITTMAN WANTS TO BAR SOME DEVELOPER DONATIONS: Anne Arundel County executive candidate Steuart Pittman revealed Wednesday his plan to bar developers from donating to campaigns when they have applications pending before the county. Pittman, a Democrat, said he will introduce the legislation to the General Assembly if he is elected in November. The ban will also extend to a developer’s attorneys, architects and other agents, Lauren Lumpkin and Pat Furgurson report in the Annapolis Capital.

MARC ELRICH SPEAKS: Bethesda Beat political writer Louis Peck sat down with the candidates for Montgomery County executive to discuss the issues and their visions for the county. In the first Q&A, he speaks with Democratic nominee Marc Elrich, who says, “I’ve taught in the schools, I’ve worked for a big business, I’ve worked for a small business, I’ve done community organizing. I’ve had more time in government, in two different governments. … The biggest issues are not ‘What do I do to stimulate real estate development?’ The biggest issues are ‘What are we going to do about traffic?’ and ‘How are we going to deal with our overcrowded schools?’ ”

FLOREEN’s CABLE BUY: Montgomery County executive independent candidate Nancy Floreen has spent another $30,000 on a set of cable television advertisements, which are running on nine channels available in the Washington, D.C., market for Comcast customers, reports Dan Schere for Bethesda Beat.

CATHOLIC ID CARDS: The Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore will issue identity cards to undocumented immigrants and other vulnerable people that the Baltimore Police Department has agreed to recognize — a program activists hope will make people more willing to cooperate with law enforcement, Ian Duncan reports in the Sun.