State Roundup June 18, 2010

An O’Malley campaign ad comes out swinging at Ehrlich, who calls the attack “contemptible;” both candidates have strong ties to Maryland’s large Jewish community; rail stations will be eligible for state spending and tax incentives; some question government readiness to handle oil spill in the Chesapeake Bay; city bottle tax defeated; Smith has cash to spare.

O’MALLEY ATTACKS: The airwaves heat up as Gov. O’Malley launches an attack ad on Bob Ehrlich, seeking to portray the former Republican governor as an agent of Big Oil and linking him to the Gulf disaster. Ehrlich shoots back, calling the ad intentionally misleading, Aaron Davis details in his Washington Post blog. And the GOP mounts an all-out offensive against the O’Malley push, writes Anne Linskey in the Baltimore Sun. Robert Lang, on WBAL-Radio, reports that the ad is expected to air during Ehrlich’s weekly talk show on his station.

EHRLICH SHOW: Bob Ehrlich has just a few weeks more to go on his radio show, but wife Kendel will take over the duties, Sean Sedam reports in the Gazette. He analyzes the dynamics of Ehrlich’s radio presence and the couple’s chemistry.

CAMERAS ON CANDIDATES: It’s routine for operatives of O’Malley and Ehrlich to photograph and videotape the other’s public speaking engagements to use in this real-time campaign world in which we now live, blogs Meg Tully of the Frederick News-Post.

JEWISH VOTE: O’Malley and Ehrlich could split the state’s large Jewish vote, which some say will only be critical if a candidate makes a significant and offending gaff, writes Barbara Pash for

TRANSIT & TRACK: O’Malley will designate 14 rail stations as initial sites for mixed-use development connected with transit projects, making them eligible for state spending and tax incentives, writes Michael Dresser in the Sun. Meanwhile, Hanah Cho reports that the administration is trying to mediate a solution to keep open bankrupt harness track Rosecroft Raceway and preserve 200 jobs.

BAY SPILL READINESS: Scientists and environmentalists question how prepared the state, local and federal governments are to respond if a ship or barge were to leak oil into the Chesapeake Bay, Sharon Behn writes in the Sun.

SMITH’S CASH: Just because Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith isn’t running for office this year doesn’t mean he won’t be able to throw a little of his $1.1 million campaign kitty around to help out his friends who are running for office, blogs Bryan Sears in Patuxent Publishing.

SLOT MACHINES: As they prepare to seek Board of Public Works approval for another large order of slot machines, Maryland lottery officials defend the state’s first foray into slots ownership, a $50 million deal that set off waves of criticism, writes Nicholas Sohr of the Daily Record. The state Lottery Agency says there were inaccurate reports about the true cost of the video lottery terminals the state is purchasing, Sean Sedam writes in the Gazette.

BOTTLE TAX DEFEAT: The Baltimore City Council kills the 4-cent tax on bottled beverages that could have prevented scores of city workers from losing their jobs, reports Julie Scharper in the Sun. Check out Christian Schaffer’s report here on WMAR-TV.

BIOTECH MERGER: Lutherville biotech firm Arginetix has merged with a Philadelphia-area pharmaceutical startup and pulled in more venture capital along the way. The company will be based in Lutherville and led by the Arginetix CEO, reports Scott Dance in the Baltimore Business Journal.

RADIO ONE: Lanham-based Radio One Inc. has obtained a $50 million revolving line of credit and a $350 million term loan, which it will use to refinance all its outstanding debt and fund an additional $82 million investment in TV One LLC, writes Jeff Claybaugh in the BBJ.

GAY OFFICIALS: Erin Cunningham at the Gazette writes about the record number of openly gay, lesbian and transgendered candidates for the legislature.

ELECTRICITY COMPETITION: Critics say the Public Service Commission has not done enough to tell consumers about their options for buying electricity at lower prices. Margie Hyslop reports in the Gazette. Barry Rascovar lambastes the PSC over the issue in his Gazette column.

CHARTER SCHOOLS: Bob Ehrlich wants the state school board to be able to approve charter schools rejected by local boards, Marcus Moore reports in the Gazette.

NO STIMULUS: Blair Lee in his Gazette column examines the impact of the failure of Congress to pass another stimulus package for the states, as appears likely.

PAGE ELMORE: Del. Page Elmore has been hospitalized and is reconsidering a re-election run, Liz Holland reports in the Salisbury Daily Times.

NOTEBOOK: This week’s Reporter’s Notebook in the Gazette includes the Ben Carson-for-LG rumors, chicken protests, Del. Elmore’s illness and the Forehand-Kagan race.

PUNCH: There’s always talk of election “fights,” but one GOP delegate candidate punched another in Calvert County, and the party wants him to withdraw from the race. Alan Brody has the blow-by-blow in the Gazette.

TEACHERS UNION: The Maryland State Education Association wants the state to modify its Race to the Top application for federal funds in regard to teacher evaluations, Marcus Moore reports in the Gazette.

DEMOCRAT ENTERS: A Washington County Public Schools teacher is a first-time candidate and the only Democrat seeking the state delegate seat from Subdistrict 2A, which is held by a Republican, writes Andrew Schotz in the Herald-Mail of Hagerstown.

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