State Roundup, September 2, 2010

CURRIE CHARGED: State Sen. Ulysses Currie of Prince George’s County has been indicted on 18 counts of bribery and mail fraud,  Jayne Miller of WBAL-TV reports. He has stepped down from his chairmanship of the powerful Budget and Taxation Committee, writes Annie Linskey of the Baltimore Sun. Maria Glod and John Wagner of the Washington Post write that Currie is charged with taking more than $245,000 in bribes to use his position and influence to do favors for the Shoppers Food Warehouse grocery chain, which was also indicted and is seeking to settle the case. Karen Parks reports the story for WBFF-TV. Here’s the Associated Press article, running in the Carroll County Times. Here’s a link to the indictment. Here’s the link to the Shoppers Food Warehouse indictment.

EARLY VOTING: The Sun’s Julie Bykowicz updates yesterday’s early voting blog to report that the state Democratic and Republican parties are to hold a joint press conference to promote the process.

EHRLICH CLAIMS: Republican Bob Ehrlich has charged that his Democratic opponent, Gov. Martin O’Malley, plans to expand the sales tax for some services, but the O’Malley campaign said that’s not true. Dave Collins of WBAL-TV has a written report.

STATE SURPLUS: Maryland closed fiscal year 2010 with a $344 million surplus after the recession’s impact on tax revenue, while still harsh, was milder than expected, reports Scott Dance of the Baltimore Business Journal. State revenue collections, which include sales and property taxes and various fees, amounted to $12.6 billion in the fiscal year that ended June 30, the Sun’s Julie Bykowicz reports. The Daily Record’s Nick Sohr reports that the surplus provides a glimmer of hope.

KANE CAMPAIGNS: Ehrlich’s running mate, GOP lieutenant governor candidate Mary Kane campaigned in Westminster this week, speaking with business folks of all stripes, writes Kevin Dayhoff for the Carroll Eagle.

CUMMINGS CHALLENGE: Four candidates are seeking to unseat Elijah Cummings, who has been in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1996. Lindsey McPherson writes the story for the Howard County Times.

DISTRICT 36: Liam Farrell of the Annapolis Capital profiles candidates in the race to unseat state Sen. E.J. Pipkin as well as the House races in District 36.

MUNSON MONEY: Are Democrats trying to help state Sen. Donald Munson win a Republican primary? asks Andrew Schotz of the Hagerstown Herald Mail. Not as much as his opponent Del. Christopher Shank is saying. 

GAZETTE ENDORSEMENTS: The Gazette editors have come out with their endorsements. In Montgomery County’s contested Senate races they are backing the incumbents, except for Sen. Mike Lenett.  In Prince George’s, the editors endorsed the delegates challenging incumbent Sens. Nathaniel Exum and David Harrington on the basis of ethical issues.

CAPITAL ENDORSES: Editors for the Annapolis Capital make their endorsements for District 31 and 32 races.

SWITCH TO BAKER: As the heated race for PG County exec enters its final weeks, county politicians have begun to take sides. Or, in the case of County Council member Will Campos, to switch sides, reports Miranda Spivack for the Post. Campos had backed Sheriff Michael Jackson. He now backs Rushern Baker.

WAGNER TALKS: The Post’s John Wagner did an interview about the campaigns with a reporter from the Columbia Journalism Review.

WICOMICO STATE’S ATTY: The three Wicomico County state’s attorney candidates differ on how they would handle child sex cases and violent crimes writes Greg Latshaw of the Salisbury Daily Times.

VETERAN LEGISLATORS III: More than 30 years ago, Baltimore city Del. Hattie Harrison was the first black woman to be named chairwoman of the Rules and Executive Nominations Committee, a post she still holds. Now she is seeking her 10th elected term, Megan Poinski reports for
At 77, Del. Sonny Minnick of Baltimore County hopes to be able to continue going to bat for small business owners, of which he is one, Poinski reports.

ALSO FOR ALSOBROOKS: Former state Sen. Gloria Lawlah, now head of the state Department of Aging, and Dels. Anne Healy and Jolene Ivey said they are backing Angela Alsobrooks in her bid to become PG County state’s attorney, Frederick Kunkle blogs for the Post.

JESSAMY-BERNSTEIN: Jayne Miller of WBAL-TV reports that city State’s Attorney Pat Jessamy is using her own funds to help pay for campaign ads while challenger Gregg Bernstein is being endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police. Also, Peter Hermann writes for the Sun that state Sen. George Della’s name was mistakenly linked to an endorsement of Jessamy. And Bryan Sears writes for Patuxent Publishing that Baltimore County state Sen. Jim Brochin, who donated to Bernstein’s campaign, believes that county citizens need to be concerned about this race.

HARRIS MURDER TRIAL: Following pre-trial motions, the jury in the murder trial of former city Councilman Ken Harris is expected to be picked, writes Nick Madigan for the Sun. Brendan Kearnan of the Daily Record sheds some light on the trial and how it relates to issues in the Jessamy-Bernstein race.

DISTRICT 13: Luke Broadwater of the Howard County Times writes about the four GOP hopefuls who are seeking to seize the three state delegate seats in Howard County’s District 13 which are held by unopposed Democrats.

FLIER COMPLAINT: The State Board of Elections will conduct a preliminary review to see if an anti-incinerator flier circulating in Frederick County violated campaign finance law, Meg Tully of the Frederick News Post reports.

WALKED A CHECK? The owner of Ledo Pizza in Crofton has filed a police report naming Del. Gerron Levi, a PG County exec candidate, as his chief suspect in leaving the restaurant without paying a check.

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