State Roundup, August 13, 2010

EHRLICH FUND: Former Maryland governor Bob Ehrlich is set to release his fundraising total that is “a little bit ahead” of a $3 million goal his campaign set for the period, John Wagner reports for the Washington Post. And it’s that money that talks, blogs the Post’s Aaron Davis in his First Click, Maryland

GOV DEBATES: The debate over gubernatorial debates ratcheted up with the Ehrlich campaign proposing two television and three radio encounters, the Post’s John Wagner reports. Julie Bykowicz of the Baltimore Sun writes that Gov. Martin O’Malley’s camp has responded that the governor “will be happy to debate whoever is the Republican nominee after the primary.” Erin Cunningham writes about the debates debate for the Gazette.  And Nick Sohr blogs about the issue for the Daily Record.

GAY MARRIAGE: John Rydell of WBFF-TV interviews the top gubernatorial candidates on same-sex marriage.In the Gazette, columnists Blair Lee and Alan Lichtman weigh in on opposite sides of the gay marriage issue in wake of a new federal court decision.

MEDICAID AID: Maryland won’t be getting as much federal help in increased Medicaid payments as O’Malley hoped for in the state budget, but the aid will enable the state to avoid a backup plan that would have made it harder to address next year’s deficit, the Associated Press reports in the Daily Record.

FED OVERSIGHT: Gov. O’Malley said federal monitors had concluded they would soon end federal oversight of the Baltimore City Juvenile Justice Center. Aaron Davis of the Washington Post reports that the oversight began under the Ehrlich administration.  Here’s Weijia Jiang’s report for WJZ-TV.

PEPCO PROBE: Paige Hill of the Montgomery Sentinel reports that O’Malley has joined the Montgomery County Council’s call for a probe into how Pepco handled power outages that affected more than 300,000 customers, and the Maryland Public Service Commission confirmed the investigation will begin shortly. Customers of PEPCO in the Washington suburbs experience many more electricity outages than do folks served by BGE, reports Margie Hyslop in the Gazette.

JESSAMY-BERNSTEIN: Tricia Bishop and Justin Fenton scrutinize statements made by city State’s Attorney Pat Jessamy and her challenger, Gregg Bernstein, during a debate on WYPR’s show with Dan Rodricks. Here’s the audio from the Rodrick’s program.  You can watch some video of the testy discussion from WBAL-TV and read Dave Collins’ report.  And here’s Brian Kuebler’s reporting for WMAR-TV.  WYPR’s Sunni Khalid takes a closer look at the background of the race.  And that station’s Fraser Smith says that it’s about time this type of campaign was held in the city.

BEALEFELD FALLOUT: Clerk of the Courts Frank Conaway is calling for Baltimore City Police Commissioner Frank Bealefeld to step down following his involvement in the Jessamy-Bernstein race, WBFF-TV reports.

SIGN SIZE: From politicians caterwauling over a political sign found in a police official’s yard to the legal challenge mounted over a county’s restrictions on such signs, one would assume local voters made choices based solely on who has the biggest and best-placed sign on their block. But restricting sign size is reasonable, writes the Baltimore Sun editorial board.

CARDIN EARMARKS: U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin sponsored or co-sponsored 94 earmarks totaling $123 million in fiscal year 2010, ranking him 32nd out of 100 senators, according to, reports Chet Dembeck of the Washington Examiner.

ELECTION CONTROLS: After an audit this summer pointed out that the State Board of Elections did not tightly control its voter registration system, changes have been made – but their effectiveness won’t be proved until Sept. 14, reports Megan Poinski of

STEELE STUMPS: The Annapolis Capital’s Political Notes includes an item about GOP Chair Michael Steele (Maryland’s ex-LG under Ehrlich) will be thumping the tub for Cathy Vitale, who is running for state delegate in District 33A, as well as other upcoming events.

FREDERICK COMMISSIONER: Meg Tully of the Frederick News-Post profiles Jerry Trout, a Democrat running for Frederick County Commissioner, who wants to use his expertise to help reduce the county’s budget.

UNION PREFERENCE: Baltimore City Councilman Bill Henry is trying to revive a controversial bill that would require some developers and contractors to give preference to union labor, Daniel Sernovitz reports for the Batimore Business Journal.

MACo RECEPTIONS: There will be fewer receptions this year at the annual Ocean City conference of the Maryland Association of Counties, Alan Brody reports in the Gazette of Politics and Business.

PALIN: Barry Rascovar in his Gazette column takes a look at the impact of the endorsement of the GOP’s Brian Murphy for governor by Sarah Palin.

ROSECROFT: Developer Mark Vogel wants to turn Rosecroft Raceway into a “major gaming destination,” writes Joshua Garner in the Gazette.

SCHOOL BOARDS: Scores of candidates for county school boards around the state raise scores of issues, Andrew Ujifusa reports in the Gazette.

BACKGROUND CHECKS: Center Maryland features the rest of the candidates for Prince George’s County Council in its Know your Candidates Background Checks.

NOTEBOOK: This week’s Reporters Notebook in the Gazette includes O’Malley trash talk on Florida in the Race to the Top fund competition; Sonic fast-food fanfare in Baltimore County; John Leopold’s aloha conversation with Michelle Obama; and items on Jim Smith, Gail Bates and Dora the Explorer.

HARFORD BALLOTS: The Harford County Board of Elections posted the Primary Election ballots for each polling place, allowing voters to see what their ballots will look like in advance and hopefully eliminating any voting booth surprises on Election Day, reports the Dagger. You can access those ballots by clicking here.

COOL MEETINGS: Hancock citizens will find it easier to attend Town Council meetings no matter how heated the issues get now that the building’s a new heating and air-conditioning system is up and running, Don Aines of the Hagerstown Herald-Mail reports.

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