State Roundup, August 6, 2010

PALIN’S NOD: Republican former Gov. Bob Ehrlich said that Sarah Palin’s nod to his primary opponent, Brian Murphy, “doesn’t change anything” in his bid to win back the governor’s mansion, blogs Annie Linskey of the Baltimore Sun. But Murphy says the endorsement has given him a boost, reports Mike Hellgren for WJZ-TV. Check out the Washington Post’s Palin endorsement tracker.

EHRLICH VIEWS: Ehrlich says it’s embarrassing that Maryland is seeking a waiver to a federal law designed to give voters overseas more time to send ballots, reports Ingrid Haynes for the AP. Here’s Ehrlich at Ravens’ training camp.

MARRIAGE EQUALITY: WBAL-TV’s Dave Collins reports on Ehrlich’s and O’Malley’s views on same-sex marriage.

TO DEBATE OR NOT?: The general election is still months away, but Alan Brody of the Gazette speculates on what kind of debate — and how many — the public may see betweeen Gov. Martin O’Malley and former governor Bob Ehrlich.

DIVERSE DEMS: The state Democratic Party hopes to bring voters of all ethnic and social backgrounds to the polls through its Diversity Leadership Council program, Alan Brody writes for the Gazette.

CARDIN VISITS ISLAND: U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin has scheduled his very first trip to Smith Island this weekend to meet with residents and tour federally funded projects as a kickoff to a three-day visit to the Eastern Shore, Liz Holland of the Salisbury Daily Times reports.

1ST DISTRICT: Rob Fisher, the political newcomer challenging state Sen. Andy Harris for the Republican nomination against Democratic U.S. Rep. Frank Kratovil in the 1st District, is doubling down on his self-financed longshot bid by buying another $80,000 in commercials, writes Paul West of the Sun.

TRANSIT OVERSIGHT: Sen. Barbara Mikulski remains dedicated to have a bill considered to give the federal government oversight and regulation authority for mass-transit systems — including the DC Metro and Baltimore Subway, writes The Gazette’s Margie Hyslop. The Gazette’s editorial board supports her efforts.

LEGAL ADS: In a move that could take more revenue from newspapers, Gaithersburg City Council amended its charter to cut down on the legal ads that must appear in print — and is pushing for a change to state law requiring legal ads, reports The Gazette’s Erin Cunningham.

3RD DISTRICT: Annapolis Capital Punishment writes a piece about John Kibler and the host of others who are running for the 3rd Congressional District.

HODGE ENDORSEMENT: The Maryland League of Conservation Voters endorses Gary Hodge’s candidacy for delegate, despite his longstanding support of the cross-county connecter as a Charles County commissioner, The Gazette’s Alan Brody writes.

JOB CLAIM QUESTIONED: Dave McKenna of the Washington City Paper looks into a claim by state House of Delegates candidate Michael Vaughn of Prince George’s County that he played pro football for the Dallas Cowboys for three years.

TRUTH SQUAD: In his Gazette column, Blair Lee asks who is fact-checking O’Malley’s campaign claims.

HEALTH CARE: The state Health Care Commission has launched an experiment that could change the way patients receive health care, increase reimbursements to physicians, and generate cost savings for insurance companies,’s Barbara Pash reports.

SECRET PANEL: Paige Hill of the Montgomery Sentinel reports that the Montgomery County Council publicly announced the businessmen to head up a new fiscal planning commission, but is mum on what the panel will be doing. The panel also is not required to hold public meetings or reveal any conflicts of interest.

PG EXEC FORUM: Dozens of residents filled an arts center to hear four PG county exec hopefuls talk about their political platforms, Michelle Nealy reports for the Prince George’s Sentinel.

DISTRICT 39: Del. Saqib Ali and Sen. Nancy King debated their effectiveness and service to the people on NewsChannel8 Thursday, reports The Gazette’s Erin Cunningham.

CARROLL FORUMS: The League of Women Voters is hosting a series of state and local candidates forums throughout Carroll County for the 2010 primary elections. Read the schedule in the Carroll Eagle.

GOP COMEBACK: Gazette columnist Barry Rascovar looks at the nationwide Republican resurgence, and how it is playing out in Maryland.

BERNSTEIN SIGN: City Police Commissioner Frederick Bealefeld isn’t endorsing anyone in the city state’s attorney’s race, as a citizen he is. A sign for Gregg Bernstein, who is challenging incumbent Pat Jessamy, has sprouted on his lawn, Justin Fenton of the Sun reports.

GAZETTE NOTEBOOK: This week in the notebook, immigration supporters plan to rally support for Arizona at upcoming Nationals-Diamondback games; Del. Hattie Harrison rejoins 45th District Legislative Unity Team; Maryland League of Conservation Voters endorsements; a hacker sends out an e-mail hoax from Bonnie Cullson’s campaign; and Michael Steele to headline a fundraiser for AA County Council Chair Cathy Vitale.

CRIME STAT: A claim by Councilman Kevin Kamenetz, who is running for Baltimore County exec, that crime at shopping centers has dropped 31% can’t be confirmed, writes Bryan Sears for Patuxent Publishing.

MCDONOUGH SURVEY: Art Buist, a Towson Democrat, is used to filling out surveys as he runs for House of Delegates, was surprised to receive one in the mail from Republican Del. Pat McDonough. That survey questions candidates’ views on illegal immigration, reports Bryan Sears of Patuxent. You can listen to Sears and Bill Vanko talk politics on WBAL-Radio.

POLL EXPLAINED: Laslo Boyd uses his weekly Gazette column to provide a peek at the methodology, analysis and press coverage of last week’s Gonzales poll on the gubernatorial election.

BIG WINNER: College student Andrew Alger emerged as the top vote-getter in Tuesday’s Brunswick City Council election after the votes were recounted and the results certified, reports the Frederick News Post.

STATE RENT: Daniel Sernovitz of the Baltimore Business Journal reports that State of Maryland will be charged one of the most expensive rental rates in Baltimore under its proposed $1.5 billion State Center redevelopment project.

TAX HOLIDAY: Comptroller Peter Franchot is encouraging Maryland parents to do their back-to-school shopping next week, during the state’s tax holiday, writes The Gazette’s Erica Mitrano.

LECOMTE DIES: Michelle LeComte, former Gazette of Politics and Business editor, died this week after a three-year battle with cancer, reports The Gazette’s C. Benjamin Ford.

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