State Roundup, August 31, 2010

BOOZE TAX: Health care advocates say they have 146 General Assembly candidates signed on to a proposal that would raise the state’s alcohol taxes by a dime a drink, Nick Sohr blogs for the Daily Record.

EHRLICH EYES MOCO: John Wagner of the Washington Post reports that to win back his old job, former Republican Gov. Bob Ehrlich has set his sights on an unlikely target: the Democratic bastion of Montgomery County. And Julie Bykowicz of the Sun gives a quick rundown on the geographic and demographic territories incumbent Gov. Martin O’Malley and Ehrlich have battles in.

TAX OR NO? looks into Ehrlich’s claims that he didn’t raise taxes, then declares them “total malarkey.” Be sure to check out the video posted on the page.

FINANCE REPORTS: The next campaign finance reports are due at the end of the week, Julie Bykowicz blogs for the Sun.

FRANCHOT RIVALS: The Daily Record is running an Associated Press article about the three Republicans who are vying for a chance to take on state Democratic Comptroller Peter Franchot: a former Amtrak chief financial officer, a retired teacher and an 18-year-old with a five-point plan.

MOCO SLUGFEST? The usually tame-by-comparison races in Montgomery County have taken on Baltimore city’s more rough-and-tumble feel.  Josh Kurtz of Center Maryland outlines the more interesting races.

KRATOVIL AD: Democrat U.S. Rep. Frank Kratovil is launching the first TV ad,  in which he distances himself from the toxic political scene in Washington, blogs the Sun’s Paul West.

VETERAN LAWMAKERS: begins a series on veteran legislators, those 70 years and older who have served two decades or more in the General Assembly, and aren’t about to retire.

VETERAN STONE: Megan Poinski of writes about veteran lawmaker Norm Stone of Dundalk, who was inspired by the young John F. Kennedy in 1960, then ran for House of Delegates in 1962. He’s now a state senator with no intention of leaving office.

DISTRICT 30: This House of Delegates race promises to be one of the most intense of the General Assembly contests, with two Democratic newcomers looking to join two political veterans — including House Speaker Michael Busch, reports Liam Farrell for the Annapolis Capital.

SOLAR CAMPAIGN: A Bethesda resident vying for one of three District 16 House of Delegates seats wants to use solar panels to generate revenue by selling power unused by government buildings back to electric companies, Sarah Breitenbach writes for the Gazette.

BERNSTEIN-JESSAMY ON AIR: The Sun’s Jean Marbella writes that a new ad by Baltimore State’s Attorney candidate Gregg Bernstein says incumbent Pat Jessamy refuses to prosecute crimes when there is only one witness.  Meanwhile, Jessamy was on WEAA-FM taking callers’ questions, and answering those from hosts Marc Steiner and Anthony McCarthy. Justin Fenton blogs the show for the Sun. To listen to the WEAA interview, click here.

HARRIS MURDER TRIAL: A judge will allow prosecutors to present DNA evidence linking a suspect to the fatal shooting of former Baltimore city Councilman Ken Harris. You can read WBAL-TV’s story and view Dave Collins video report. Nick Madigan reports on the trial’s opening day for the Baltimore Sun. Here’s Jeff Hager’s report for WMAR-TV. Here’s John Rydell’s story for WBFF-TV. Brendan Kearney wrote the story for the Daily Record.

SIGATY, BOBO ENDORSED: In the two major contested Democratic primary races in Howard County, African Americans in Howard County, an umbrella organization that conducts political research, endorsed incumbents Mary Kay Sigaty for the County Council and Elizabeth Bobo for the House of Delegates. Lindsey McPherson of the Columbia Flier reports.

MOXLEY BACKS KAMENETZ: Baltimore Councilman Sam Moxley is endorsing Councilman Kevin Kamenetz in his bid to become county executive, writes Bryan Sears for Patuxent Publishing.

ABSENTEE BALLOTS: Voters have until Sept. 7 to request an absentee ballot by mail, fax or e-mail for the Sept. 14 primary election, reminds the Capital.

PEPCO OUTAGES: During a regulatory hearing in Rockville, what became apparent was that if the excruciating days it took to restore power after this summer’s storms felt long, the quest to fix Pepco’s reliability problems for good may feel like a lifetime, writes Michael Laris of the Post. Annie Linskey of the Sun blogs that Gov. O’Malley is asking the state agency that regulates utilities to keep a closer eye on Pepco.

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