State Roundup, November 9, 2018

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EARLY REDISTRICTING PROCESS: A federal court decision forcing Maryland to redraw its congressional district lines in the next six months — in time for the next round of elections — has thrust state leaders into a redistricting process that most weren’t expecting to deal with until after the next federal Census, Bruce DePuyt of Maryland Matters writes. It has also generated a host of questions about how, exactly, the state should proceed to satisfy the conditions the court established.

CUMMINGS ON OVERSIGHT: On the day after voters handed Democrats control of the House of Representatives, President Trump said members of the opposition party can work to strike bipartisan deals on policy or they can use their newfound power to investigate him – but they can’t do both. Bruce DePuyt of Maryland Matters writes that the likely future chairman of the powerful House Oversight and Government Reform Committee doesn’t see it that way. “We have a duty to look into government and to try to figure out what might be wrong, and try to correct it and make things better,” said Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), currently the ranking member of the panel.

RAIN DAMAGES OYSTERS: As shucking season begins, the forecast for Chesapeake Bay oysters is worrisome. Record rainfall has made the water less salty — and oysters need salt to thrive. Harvesters may find fewer of them this year, and many will be too small, Scott Dance of the Sun reports.

CHARTING HOGAN’s WIN: Gov. Larry Hogan’s victory Tuesday by many measures was more decisive than his win 2014. He captured 51% but won with 56%, rivaling the only other Republican governor to have won re-election in Maryland history, Theodore McKeldin in 1954. Hogan pulled off his victory by appealing to voters outside his party and gaining more votes from the increased turnout at the polls. CNS’s Lindsay Huth offers up five graphs that explain Hogan’s win in this article published by Maryland Reporter.

FIVE TAKEAWAYS, FROM GOV TO MO CO EXEC: Bethesda Beat opinionator Adam Pagnucco lists five take-aways from the elections, starting off with Maryland’s blue wave that didn’t touch the governor’s mansion; and the fact that development interests failed to make headway in the Montgomery County executive’s race with its backing of Democrat-turned Independent Nancy Floreen over Democrat and winner Marc Elrich. In doing so, it damaged the business community.

DEM GOV CANDIDATES & THE DILEMMA: The editorial board for the Sun opines that in Baltimore City, Democrats outnumber Republicans nearly 10 to 1. In Prince George’s County, it’s 11-1. That’s somewhere beyond dominant in both jurisdictions, and it’s been that way for generations. For the party’s gubernatorial candidates, that may be a problem. The board explains why and what Democrats should do about it.

LATINO VOTERS DON’T: Despite their growing numbers in the U.S. population, Latino voters turn out in notoriously low numbers on Election Day. Dominique Maria Bonessi of WYPR went looking for Latino voters at polls on Tuesday to see who showed up and who they voted for.

WINNERS & LOSERS: Josh Kurtz of Maryland Matters offers up a list of winners and losers emerging from this years midterm elections. Some are quite obvious and then there are a few surprises.

IMPORTANT STORIES OUT OF 2018: Greg Kline of Red Maryland writes that there will be specific stories that will be covered in the next four years, thanks to the elections and recent court rulings. Among them, the greatest drama and most consequential issue in Maryland politics over the next four years will be redistricting. Next, the same old leadership in the General Assembly (particularly in the Senate) will have to deal with a more progressive caucus.

KURTZ ON 2022: Is it too early to speculate about the election for governor in 2022? asks Josh Kurtz for Maryland Matters. “Of course not!” he answers. “The truth is, we don’t know what the political terrain in Maryland – or the nation – will look like in four years. It’s not even worth speculating about, especially in the Trump era and in the era of social media, where the ground shifts every five minutes or so. But we can make a few observations.” And he does.

REGISTER MACFARLANE CHARGED: As a follow-up to the story about the breach of security at the Howard County Courthouse, Register of Wills Byron Macfarlane was charged on Tuesday with a misdemeanor of “display of gov’t ID of another,” according to Maryland court system records. His trial in the Howard County District Court is scheduled for January 8. Macfarlane was re-elected on Tuesday. Also elected was the new State’s Attorney Rich Gibson, who ran with Macfarlane as part of the Democratic courthouse team that included the new sheriff, Marcus Harris. The State’s Attorney’s Office is listed as Byron’s prosecutor.

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CAROZZA’s DECISIVE WIN: With a clear mandate in the district, Republican challenger Mary Beth Carozza beat previously undefeated Democratic incumbent Jim Mathias for the District 38 state Senate seat in one of the most-watched elections across the state. When the final votes were tallied, Carozza had collected 24,441 total votes, or 53%, in the district that includes Worcester, Wicomico and Somerset counties, while Mathias finished with 21,597, or about 47%. Carozza carried Worcester and Wicomico handily but lost Somerset by six votes, 3,623 to 3,629, Shawn Soper of the Dispatch reports.

DISTRICT 42 SPLIT BETWEEN D & R: Races for four seats in Maryland Legislative District 42, which stretches from Towson to northern Baltimore County, saw split results on election night, Libby Solomon of the Towson Times reports. The district, which has four seats in total – three delegates and one senator – split down the middle. Republicans won the Senate seat and one House of Delegates seat while Democrats won the remaining House seats.

YEAR OF WOMAN IN ARUNDEL: At least 50 women ran for office in Anne Arundel County this election cycle, the most ever according to state election records. Of the 33 who made it through the primary, 20 won their races Tuesday, sometimes competing against each other. Danielle Ohl of the Annapolis Capital writes about the Year of the Woman in Anne Arundel.

ELRICH & THE BIZ COMMUNITY: Marc Elrich has some work to do. He was elected with a decisive mandate Tuesday to lead Montgomery County, Maryland’s most populous — and one of its most economically powerful — jurisdictions. But his progressive campaign drew attacks and sharp criticism from business and development leaders in the liberal suburb, who rallied around Nancy Floreen, a longtime Democrat who dropped her party affiliation to challenge Elrich as an independent. Now Elrich must repair relations with the business community, Jennifer Barrios of the Post reports.

FICKER GOES FOR TAX CAP: Robin Ficker, Republican candidate for Montgomery County executive, says he won’t run for elected office again, but when the next election rolls around in 2020, he will attempt to get another charter amendment on the ballot. This one, he said, will prevent property tax hikes above the rate of inflation, Dan Schere of Bethesda Beat reports.

NEW HARFORD ELECTIONS DIRECTOR: Cynthia Allred, who was named acting director of the Harford County Board of Elections just over a week ago, oversaw the first of three post-election ballot counts Thursday morning. Allred was on hand for the canvass of more than 2,500 absentee ballots at the elections office in Forest Hill, David Anderson of the Sun reports.