State Roundup, August 27, 2010

SEX & POLITICS: Bryan Sears of Patuxent Publishing follows up a Sun story we linked to yesterday with a closer look at the sitting judges who put up a website outlining an opponent’s Facebook entries and the opponent’s reaction.

EHRLICH PLEDGE: Former Gov. Bob Ehrlich’s pledge not to raise new taxes or fees if returned to power in Annapolis seems capable of becoming a far bigger force in Maryland’s gubernatorial race between now and November. Read Aaron Davis’ Washington Post blog. Watch Karen Parks’ story on WBFF-TV, where she interviews both Gov. O’Malley and Ehrlich.

IMMIGRATION FEUD: Del. Pat McDonough says the Baltimore mayor and Gov. O’Malley are in violation of federal immigration law. See Michael Buczyner’s report on WBFF-TV.  And a sheriff, a delegate and a commissioner want Maryland to move to an Arizona-style immigration law, Nicholas Stern reports for the Frederick News Post.

IMMIGRATION NONISSUE: Republican gov candidate Brian Murphy makes illegal immigration one of his main campaign topics, but Marylanders don’t seem interested — and seem unlikely to make it an issue in the rest of the campaign, writes The Gazette’s C. Benjamin Ford.

DISTRICT 47: Both state Sen. David Harrington and Del. Victor Ramirez believe that the next senator of the 47th District should be someone who fights for the issues constituents of the PG County district hold dear. But they disagree on who that should be, writes Megan Poinski of

ATTACK SEASON: With the main contests in the primary for mostly Democratic Montgomery County, political attacks are ramping up, writes The Gazette’s Sarah Breitenbach. Blair Lee writes in his Gazette column about the tricks coming into play in the O’Malley/Ehrlich race, including phony polls, misleading videos, and empty promises.

CONSERVATIVE EHRLICH: Robert Weiner and Jonathan Battaglia opine in their Gazette column that Republican gov hopeful Bob Ehrlich is being painted as a moderate since Sarah Palin gave her endorsement to one of his primary opponents — and Ehrlich is anything but moderate.

CURRIE CASH: The Washington Post is reporting that state Sen. Ulysses Currie, chair of a powerful legislative committee who has been under federal investigation, has about $180,000 less in the bank for his campaign than the previously reported cash balance. Annie Linskey of the Sun writes that Currie’s attorney claims the “inconsistencies” seem to be the result of a former campaign treasurer’s conduct.

ANTI-INCUMBENT FEELINGS: Barry Rascovar reviews the incumbents facing tough primary challenges in his Gazette column, wondering if the anti-incumbent sentiments in the rest of the nation will also factor into the primaries.

MIKULSKI RACE: Incumbent U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski stands out in a crowded field, Liam Farrell of the Annapolis Capital writes.

FRIENDS WITH MONEY: The Gazette’s Alan Brody writes about how unopposed candidates are finding themselves with lots of friends in their party — especially unopposed candidates who have done substantial fundraising.

CONTI’S SALVO: Democrat Joanna Conti has fired the first attack of the Anne Arundel County executive race, criticizing Republican incumbent John Leopold’s record on public safety. Read about it and other political happenings in the Annapolis Capital’s Editor’s Notebook.

BERNSTEIN-JESSAMY: The campaign of Pat Jessamy, who is seeking re-election for Baltimore city state’s attorney, is attacking opponent Gregg Bernstein for the clients he represents, Justin Fenton blogs for the Sun, including a co-defendant in the firebombing of the home of a community activist. Dave Collins of WBAL-TV interviews the woman at the center of Bernstein’s  campaign ad that claims that Jessamy’s office dropped the ball on protecting the Dawson family,  killed in a firebombing.

MORTGAGE INDUSTRY: State oversight of the mortgage industry fell short during the years when the foreclosure crisis mounted and housing prices plummeted, Nick Sohr reports for the Daily Record. And Jamie Hopkins of the Sun reports that fewer Maryland homeowners were behind on their mortgages or on the brink of foreclosure this spring, a welcome improvement but one that faces strong headwinds from an uncertain economy.

BACO EXEC: Arthur Hirsch of the Sun profiles the three Democratic primary candidates for Baltimore County exec. Ronald Harvey won’t shake your hand, but he has an insider’s view of politics and county government — he served in the Human Resources Department for more than two decades. Joe Bartenfelder leads a double life: He’s a politician and a farmer, mixing the two by taking business calls while on his tractor.  And Kevin Kamenetz is calling on his softer side as he tries to be more approachable to voters. Deborah Weiner of WBAL-TV also reports on Bartenfelder, the farmer, teacher, father and politician

O’CONNOR DONATES: Former Baltimore County State’s Attorney Sandra O’Connor has been living the quiet life during the nearly four years since she left office. But her name has resurfaced in the race for her former job, writes Bryan Sears of Patuxent.

EARLY VOTING: Elections officials throughout the state tell The Gazette’s Erin Cunningham early voting, which begins next week, is not likely to increase voter turnout. Gail Ewing echoes the sentiment in her Gazette column.

GOP WANTS INFO: The Maryland Republican Party has filed a Public Information Act request for all correspondence relating to a monthly unemployment report posted briefly on the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation’s website last week — then abruptly replaced with a more positive assessment hours later, writes The Gazette’s Alan Brody.

RACE TO THE TOP FUNDS: Montgomery and Frederick County Schools will not be sharing in the state’s $250 million education windfall because they refused to sign off on the Race to the Top application, reports The Gazette’s Andrew Ujifusa. The districts believe that their teacher evaluation procedures and academic performance do not need to be changed.

BUSINESS UNFRIENDLY: The need for more business development and a perception that Frederick County is not business friendly were recurring themes at a forum for county commissioner candidates, Ike Wilson of the Frederick News Post reports.

DEMS UPBEAT: Democratic incumbents and other candidates worked the pavilion at Thursday’s annual Washington County party picnic, gave stump speeches and predicted victory, Andrew Schotz of the Hagerstown Herald-Mail writes.

COMMISSION FORUM: Washington County Commissioners candidates shared their ideas for going green, helping small businesses and keeping an airline at Hagerstown Regional Airport, Heather Keel reports for the Hagerstown Herald Mail.

GAZETTE NOTEBOOK: In the Gazette’s weekly political roundup, penned by Alan Brody, Young Republicans hope that victory over Dems on the softball diamond continues to November; Republican Montgomery Council candidate — and female — Robin Nixon Uncapher looks like a balding middle aged man in Leisure World pamphlet; Republican Montgomery County Exec candidate Daniel Vovack steals O’Malley campaign sign design to show he can work with Democrats.

METRO WORK: Development at Owings Mills Metro station is resuming after a three-year delay, reports Barbara Pash for

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