State Roundup July 9, 2010

NEW FACES: Looking at who has – and has not – filed as candidates for the November election, there will be at least 26 new members of the legislature in 2011, writes Alan Brody in the Gazette.

IMPROVED MARC: The Post’s John Wagner reports that former Gov. Ehrlich is promising to improve MARC service in the wake of numerous commuter complaints. The Ehrlich camp also produced a video of one passenger’s woes, which you can view at the bottom of the story. And Michael Dresser of the Sun says that the MTA is responding to MARC complaints by extending the hours of its customer call center and putting buses on standby. View Joel Smith’s report on WBFF-TV.

STOCK SALE: Two years after the General Assembly enacted a bill that would stop investing state pension funds in companies doing business with Iran and Sudan, the pension system has sold off stock in just one company, Royal Dutch Shell, reports Barbara Pash for

O’MALLEY PRESENTS: O’Malley will speak on interoperable communications at the National Governors Association, where he is co-chair of its Subcommittee on Homeland Security and Public Safety, writes Scott Wykoff and AP for WBAL-Radio.

EMAIL SUPPORT: President Obama sends an e-mail blast to support Gov. O’Malley’s re-election campaign, writes Aaron Davis of the Post.

GOVERNOR’S RACE: O’Malley’s recent accolades on public education pose a campaign challenge to opponent Bob Ehrlich, who is focusing his message on doubling the state’s charter schools, Laslo Boyd writes in his Gazette column. Columnist Barry Rascovar of the Gazette writes that national politics and the ruling on Anne Arundel slots could decide O’Malley vs. Ehrlich contest.

STEELE TO STAY: Robert Lang and AP report for WBAL-Radio that GOP chair Michael Steele says he “ain’t goin’ anywhere” despite calls for his resignation. See the video of his remarks here.

CORPORATE ‘CANDIDATE:’ Corporate “candidate” fails to make the ballot in the race to unseat U.S. Rep Chris Van Hollen in Maryland’s 8th district, Ben Pershing blogs for the Post.

GANSLER UNOPPOSED: Doug Gansler sees his lack of challengers for attorney general as a sign that he is doing his job well, while gubernatorial candidate Ehrlich thinks it might be because the Republican Party doesn’t have funds to help a campaign, writes Sean R. Sedam in the Gazette.

KRATOVIL-HARRIS: NPR’s Andrea Seabrook reports from the Eastern Shore on the 1st Congressional District race that could heat up between Democrat Frank Kratovil and GOP’s Andy Harris.

5TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT: At a fundraiser, Ehrlich’s praises relatively unknown GOP candidate Charles J. Lollar — hoping to unseat House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer — as if he were running unopposed in the primary.

BOND RATING: Maryland is one of seven states with a AAA bond rating. Baltimore, Carroll, Charles, Frederick, Harford, Howard, Montgomery, Prince George’s and Talbot counties are among the 77 counties nationwide that have the highest available rating, writes Gazette’s Erin Cunningham.

QUEEN ANNE’S: Political Notes in the Annapolis Capital reports that Queen Anne’s races are filled with newcomers, then lists upcoming GOP, Dems and Green Party meetings.

SLOTS: A referendum on slot machines at a casino near Arundel Mills mall could boost voter turnout in Anne Arundel County, writes Gazette’s Sean R. Sedam.

PAY MANDATE: Baltimore city’s largest merchants would be forced to pay their workers at least $10.57 an hour, more than three bucks above what state law requires, under a bill pending before Baltimore City Council, Daniel Sernovitz reports for the Baltimore Business Journal.

BALTIMORE COUNTY COUNCIL: A woman is hoping to beat 4-term Baltimore County Councilman Bryan McIntire in the Republican primary to “offer voters another choice.” So blogs Bryan Sears for Patuxent Publishing.

SIGN LAW: Baltimore County has violated a federal court order by enforcing a local law that bars campaign signs from being displayed more than 45 days before a primary, court documents contend, reports the Sun’s Arthur Hirsch.

UNFAIR LAW: The state law requiring school board members to resign if they are running for other positions – currently being fought in court by the Prince George’s County School Board – is unfair, the Gazette writes in an editorial.

PRINCESS ANNE’S THRIFT: The editorial board of the Salisbury Daily Times says that Princess Anne’s new town commissioners are showing the way the town does business by setting a thrifty example.

NOTEBOOK: The Gazette’s weekly notebook contains items on Del. Smigiel’s willingness to check out an endangered species’ habitat — but not by rappelling down a cliff — comptroller hopeful Brendan Madigan’s new radio ad, campaign scorecards from the Maryland League of Conservation Voters and Progressive Maryland, and Del. Ann Marie Doory returning campaign contributions because she’s no longer seeking another term.

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