State Roundup, November 8, 2018

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6th DISTRICT ‘UNCONSTITUTIONAL:’ A three-judge federal court panel ruled Wednesday that the state unconstitutionally drew the boundary lines for Maryland’s 6th Congressional District to benefit Democrats, and banned the map from being used in future elections. Because the congressional maps are interconnected, the decision effectively requires the state to alter more than just the 6th District’s outline — and sets a four-month deadline for making the changes, Jeff Barker reports for the Sun. The 6th District race was just won by Democrat David Trone.

AMAZON HQ2 TO BE SPLIT? Crystal City in Northern Virginia remains favored to land thousands of Amazon jobs as part of the company’s planned expansion, but individuals close to the process said they now expect the project’s 50,000 jobs to be split between at least two cities — an abrupt last-minute change to a search that has lasted more than a year, Jonathan O’Connell and Robert McCartney of the Post report. The New York Times reported Monday that half the project was expected to go to Long Island City, in Queens.

NEW REGENTS CHAIR TAPPED: A retired Lockheed Martin executive will assume leadership of the University System of Maryland Board of Regents, facing an uphill battle to regain public trust after the way the governing body handled the investigations into the death of 19-year-old football player Jordan McNair. Talia Richman of the Sun reports that Linda Gooden’s first public act as chair was to apologize for the way the board bungled its responsibilities related to the athletic department scandal in College Park.

HOGAN LAYS OUT AGENDA: On the day after becoming just the second Republican to be re-elected governor in Maryland history, Larry Hogan pledged to continue governing the blue state as a centrist while he laid out some of his second-term agenda, Luke Broadwater and Michael Dresser report for the Sun. Speaking to the news media, Hogan said he planned to push for tax cuts, increased accountability in local school systems and a non-partisan commission to redistrict Maryland after the 2020 Census.

HOGAN BLAMES TRUMP FOR LOCAL GOP LOSSES: Gov. Larry Hogan Wednesday lamented the election night defeats of members of his own party in Maryland and laid the blame on the president of the United States, Bryan Sears of the Daily Record reports. “We had President Trump say the election should be about him even though he’s not on the ballot. That’s exactly what happened,” Hogan told reporters. “It was a repudiation of the president, who lost this state by 30 points, and people came out and expressed their frustration against just about all Republicans in our state with exception of us. It’s a tough night.”

HOGAN ON NATIONAL STAGE? Post staff is reporting that Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s decisive reelection win in Democratic Maryland is fueling speculation about whether he can parlay his popularity into a more prominent role on the nation’s polarized political stage.

NOW WHAT FOR HOGAN, DEMS: In an editorial headined: What now? The editorial board for the Sun ponders whether Gov. Hogan will continue to govern from the middle/right or whether, as some critics say, he will now be free take hard-line positions on social issues; whether he’ll seek a national spotlight and what the Democrats need to consider in Ben Jealous’ loss.

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INDEPENDENTS LOSE: The Washington Post staff toss out some things that can be learned from Tuesday’s election, including that most independents running for office, even well-known ones like Montgomery County’s Nancy Floreen, have a tough hill to climb, and even popular officials, like Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, don’t have coattails.

JEALOUS DIDN’T LOSE; HOGAN WON: In an opinion piece for the Sun, Mileah Kromer of the Goucher Poll writes that critics will argue that Ben Jealous was a flawed gubernatorial candidate with poor campaign messaging, lackluster fundraising and an inability to unify the party or reach voters outside of a narrow progressive base. His supporters will blame the halfhearted endorsements, little to no support from key elected officials and more moderate Democratic voters, who turned their backs on their nominee. But to focus on the shortcomings of Democrats distorts the political reality. Jealous didn’t lose this race nearly as much as Hogan won it.

HOGAN’s VICTORY WAS PERSONAL: David Lublin of Seventh State looks at the victory of Gov. Larry Hogan and writes “that his rout was a personal, not a partisan, victory. The governor had no coattails. Heck, he had anti-coattails as Democrats did very well below the top. Democratic AG Frosh and Comptroller Franchot won reelection by enormous margins.”

VOTERS JUST NOT INTO TRUMP: In an analysis/opinion piece for Red Maryland, Brian Griffiths writes that while Gov. Larry Hogan’s victory was important, his Drive for Five effort and the loss of Republican county executives were stunning defeats. There are no coattails here. “Voters were not into what President Donald Trump was selling,” he writes, “and they were willing to punish down-ballot Republicans to send some sort of message. Will that message be received in Washington?”

CHAMBER CONCERN OVER DEM STATE HOUSE: In a short opinion piece for the Maryland Chamber of Commerce, Larry Richardson, vice president of government affairs for the chamber, hails the victory of Gov. Larry Hogan, but not so much the victory of Democrats in the State House. He writes that the “incoming makeup for the 2019 Maryland General Assembly appears to be lighter on the Republican side, and a bit more progressive on the Democratic side. … (and) unfortunately, produced preliminary outcomes that raise a bit of concern for the futures of job growth and an overall business climate that is conducive to business growth and expansion.”

KITTLEMAN CONGRATULATES BALL PERSONALLY: Two candidates in the Howard County executive race put aside politics on election night and engaged in a rare embrace after a winner had been called. For months, incumbent Allan Kittleman, a Republican, and his Democratic challenger, Calvin Ball, campaigned in the swing jurisdiction, which has had an equal number of Democrats and Republicans as county executives since 1990, Lillian Reed of the Sun reports. Here’s a Facebook video of the encounter by Maureen Evans Arthur.

TRANSITION TO COUNTY EXECUTIVES: Pamela Wood of the Sun reports that the Baltimore region’s three new county executives began transitioning from campaign mode to governing on Wednesday, one day after scoring strong Democratic victories in the suburbs. Baltimore County’s executive-elect, Johnny Olszewski Jr., spent his day savoring his win and thanking voters before getting deep into the work of setting up a transition team.

  • Chase Cook of the Annapolis Capital reports that about 12 hours after his victory over Steve Schuh, Anne Arundel County Executive-elect Steuart Pittman said he will move quickly to establish his administration. He better. The incoming county executive has less than 30 days to set up a transition team. On Wednesday, Pittman named former County Executive Janet Owens and County Councilman Chris Trumbauer as co-chairs of his transition team. They will oversee the staff that takes Anne Arundel County from the Schuh era to the Pittman era.

MO CO SEES 50%+ VOTER TURNOUT: According to unofficial results from the Montgomery County Board of Elections that were recorded at 11:42 p.m. Tuesday, 358,879 voters had cast their ballot, for a turnout rate of 54.8%. The report was taken with 266 of 269 county precincts reporting. This does not include outstanding absentee and provisional ballots, Dan Schere of Bethesda Beat.

CUMMINGS EYES TRUMP PROFITS: Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Maryland Democrat who is slated to take over the powerful House Oversight Committee, says a key focus for the newly aligned panel would be to determine whether President Trump is improperly profiting from his office, Paul Schwartzman of the Post reports.

GOP STRONG IN WA CO: Despite some statewide and national races favoring Democratic incumbents, Republicans in Washington County asserted their voting power in just about every local race on Tuesday. Democrat Doug Mullendore’s re-election as county sheriff was the only contested partisan race that didn’t have a GOP candidate topping the list of results. More than 50% of county voters hit the polls, reports CJ Lovelace of the Hagerstown Herald-Mail reports.