State Roundup, October 22, 2018

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UM FOOTBALL FALTERS: Jeff Barker and Talia Richman of the Sun report on the state of football at the University of Maryland, what joining the Big Ten was supposed to do and what actually happened, especially in light of the death from heat stroke of student athlete Jordan McNair. Department financial records show a football program dwindling in popularity despite its high-profile athletic conference and a $196 million investment by private donors, the university and the state in a new football field house and multipurpose center.

LAUREL TO HOST PREAKNESS? It’s looking more and more like Laurel will be the future home of the second jewel of horse racing’s Triple Crown. Next month, the Maryland Stadium Authority is expected to release its report on the feasibility of building a new Pimlico Race Course. But even if that’s the recommendation and there is significant public support for the project, it still might be a hard sell, Peter Schmuck reports in the Sun.

PART 1: BAY IS CLEANER, BUT OFF TARGET: The Bay Journal’s Karl Blankenship reports in the first of four-part series titled “The Bay’s Pollution Diet: Is it Working?,” running in Maryland Reporter, that as the Chesapeake Bay region enters what was supposed to be the final stretch of a decades-long effort to clean up the nation’s largest estuary, it — once again — faces a cleanup goal it appears likely to be missed. Progress has been made — and Bay water quality has improved — but the region is significantly off track to meet its 2025 cleanup goals, but a shortfall is greater than previously thought.

GOP ATTEMPTS TO BREAK DEM SUPERMAJORITY: Maryland Republicans have mounted an unprecedented effort to break Democrats’ supermajority in the state Senate, hoping to capitalize on the popularity of Gov. Larry Hogan at a time when much of the nation is focused on a possible “blue wave.” Republicans, who lag in voter registration in Maryland by a margin of more than 2-to-1, must flip five seats to break the veto-proof majority that Democrats have held for nearly 50 years, Rachel Chason reports in the Washington Post.

ON LARRY HOGAN: Luke Broadwater of the Sun writes that critics contend Gov. Larry Hogan would abandon moderation and turn sharply to the right if he wins a second term in November, saying he’d have nothing to lose because he’s limited to two terms. The governor pledges that won’t happen. “What we’ve been doing has been working so well, I can’t imagine that it would make sense to throw all that out and do the opposite,” Hogan says.

ON BEN JEALOUS: Ben Jealous is a man with plans. The Democratic gubernatorial candidate has released more than a dozen detailed proposals in his quest to unseat Republican Gov. Larry Hogan: Medicare for all. Free college tuition. Universal prekindergarten. Ending what Jealous calls mass incarceration. Cutting the state sales tax. Critics have pointed out that some of Jealous’ plans could be expensive. Some contend his numbers don’t add up.

HOGAN’s FINAL COMMERCIAL APPEALS: In this 4-minute video, Sun TV critic David Zurawik gives high praise to Gov. Larry Hogan’s final commercial push as we head into the November election. He calls the million dollar push campaign advertisement “at or near its highest level.”

RAPPERS CHANNEL JEALOUS, HOGAN: Doing his best to channel Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous, rapper J. Law stood before a crowd of Baltimore residents Sunday afternoon and tossed barbs at his opponent, fellow battle rapper Ray Cobaine — aka incumbent Republican Gov. Larry Hogan. It was a battle combining politics and prose by two East Baltimore men who support the candidate that they were channeling, writes Kevin Rector for the Sun.

OPINION: HOGAN GOVERNS FROM THE MIDDLE: The editorial board for the Annapolis Capital endorses Gov. Larry Hogan for re-election, writing that “Republican Larry Hogan has done what he told voters he would do four years ago on the day he was sworn in as governor of Maryland: govern from the middle. He has accomplished this even as his national party is drawn down a well of outrage widening under Washington in the era of President Donald Trump. By comparison, Hogan in Annapolis continues to impress us with a reasonable tone and realistic approach to governing.

OPINION: BEN JEALOUS’s AMATEUR HOUR: In column for his Political Maryland blog, pundit Barry Rascovar writes that the “Ben Jealous Amateur Hour” continued last week with a display of mind-boggling campaign incompetence. Normally in a race for Maryland governor,  there’s plenty to critique on both sides. That’s been tough this year. Republican Gov. Larry Hogan has run a non-controversial, feel-good campaign with no new proposals for his second term. But Democrat Jealous continues to make missteps and take pratfalls in a campaign that looks every bit like the candidate’s first stab at elective office.

FROSH APPEALS DRUG RULING: Attorney General Brian Frosh on Friday appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court an earlier decision by a federal court that struck down a Maryland law to curb unreasonable price increases for generic drugs. The General Assembly passed the so-called “price-gouging” law in 2017 at the urging of Frosh and health care advocates, and over the objections of the pharmaceutical industry, Michael Dresser of the Sun reports.

  • A federal appeals court refused a request from Frosh in July to reconsider the lawsuit filed by generic-drug manufacturers after a three-judge panel ruled that the law violates the commerce clause of the Constitution, writes Ovetta Wiggins in the Post. According to the filing, “this case presents the question whether the states’ sovereign power to regulate in-state commerce includes the power to impose consumer-protection requirements on both in-state and out-of-state manufacturers of goods destined for sale in the state.”

POST EDITORIAL BOARD BACKS FROSH: The editorial board for the Washington Post endorses Brian Frosh for re-election as Maryland Attorney General, writing that Frosh was a well-regarded state lawmaker for 28 years before winning his current job in 2014. … In 2017, he has … aggressively … challenge(d) Trump administration policies, often in concert with other Democratic attorneys general. … In most cases, though, he has argued cogently that the suits are intended to protect the interests of Marylanders.”

HOEBER HUSBAND DONATES MORE: Mark Epstein, a telecommunications executive married to District 6 Republican congressional nominee Amie Hoeber, in recent weeks has made a total of $1.2 million in contributions to two “Super PACs” promoting Hoeber’s campaign, Louis Peck reports in Bethesda Beat. He so far has given a total of $1.6 million during the current election cycle to the two groups. The disclosure comes just days after reports filed by the personal campaign committee of Hoeber’s Democratic opponent, David Trone, reported that Trone had either contributed or loaned $16 million in personal assets to his bid for the seat being relinquished by U.S. Rep. John Delaney, a Democrat.

ELRICH CONTRADICTED ON DEVELOPER MONEY: In a column for Bethesda Beat, Adam Pagnucco writes that Montgomery County executive candidate Marc Elrich has taken money from developers and attorneys who represent them for years. They are small amounts, especially compared to the hundreds of thousands of dollars that Floreen and other politicians have accepted.  But they contradict his long-time assertions that he never takes their money.

PITTMAN-SCHUH DEBATE ON VIDEO: The Annapolis Capital posts video of the Steve Schuh-Steuart Pittman debate for Anne Arundel County executive that it sponsored last week.

MILLER PRESSES PUGH ON CRIME: Senate President Mike Miller is pressing Mayor Catherine Pugh for answers about her strategy for reducing violent crime in Baltimore, saying the city’s murder rate is unacceptable, writes Michael Dresser for the Sun.

BA CO COUNCIL HOPEFUL FACES QUERY ON POLICE REPORT: In a Baltimore County Council race that’s being closely watched for its potential impact on the county’s political leadership, the Republican challenger is facing questions about a 2007 police report that details an alleged physical altercation with his then-girlfriend, now his wife. Republican Ryan Nawrocki, who is running against incumbent Democrat Cathy Bevins in the November election for a council seat, was never charged with a crime, and says the claims in the report that he struck his girlfriend, pushed her down and choked her were an exaggeration to police, reports Pamela Wood for the Sun.

SOLE INCUMBENT LEFT ON ARUNDEL COUNCIL: Anne Arundel County Councilman Andrew Pruski is the only incumbent left after term limits and the primary, but his Republican opponent Torrey Snow says District 4 needs new leadership. The two, who were uncontested in the primary, will face off in the Nov. 6 general election. Pruski’s defeat would mean an entire new council — seven members — in December, writes Chase Cook in the Annapolis Capital.

DEPUTY KILLS CANDIDATE’s EMU: A Calvert County sheriff’s deputy reportedly shot and killed an emu on Old Bayside Road on Sept 16. The deputy was assisting Calvert County Animal Control in apprehending the large flightless bird. The emu belonged to District 3 Calvert County commissioner candidate Holly Budd (D), who faces Kelly McConkey (R) in the November election, Tamara Ward reports in the Calvert Recorder.