State Roundup, September 3, 2010

CURRIE ANALYSIS: The Washington Post’s Aaron Davis analyzes the political implications of the indictment of state Sen. Ulysses Currie. Writing for the Daily Record, C. Fraser Smith says that the indictment of Sen. Currie is a crashing embarrassment for the political community of Annapolis. Gigi Barnett of WJZ-TV reports on further details of the case against Currie, including reading a statement from Currie’s attorney.  Attorney Barry Pollack — who represented former state Sen. Tommy Bromwell — says the recent Currie indictment shows that lawmakers can be targeted for their outside-of-session jobs, Daniel Valentine and David Hill report in the Gazette. Meanwhile, Currie’s resignation as head of the Budget and Taxation Committee has not caused much of a stir in the committee; vice chairman Ed Kasemeyer is the committee’s interim chair, and Senate President Mike Miller said he will re-evaluate membership on the committee at the beginning of the next General Assembly session, reports the Gazette’s Alan Brody. 

EARLY VOTING: Primary voters hit the polls today for the state’s first-ever experience with early voting — a dry run, candidates and election officials say, for the weeklong voting period before the general election in November. The new system has cast office-seekers as de facto educators, Julie Bykowicz reports for the Sun. Adam Bednar writes about early voting for the Carroll County Times. And opinion makers at the Cumberland Times-News say thanks to early voting, there is now no excuse not to vote. In its first year, candidates and activists are not sure how to make their polling-place strategies fit early voting, reports the Gazette’s Erin Cunningham.

O’MALLEY, EHRLICH INTERVIEWS: If you want a different take on two candidates for governor, listen to John Lofton’s recent radio interview with Gov. Martin O’Malley and rival Bob Ehrlich “On God, Government and the Origin Of Law.” The two tackle questions of philosophy, theology and constitutional government. Not your typical radio interview.

DC MARKETS: Gubernatorial candidates have yet to advertise in DC’s pricey media markets, and analysts say that a strategic financial decision is when they should start, reports The Gazette’s Alan Brody.

UNION FOR EHRLICH: The Post’s John Wagner writes that Ehrlich came under heavy attack by Democrats when as he picked up the endorsement of a modest-sized state employees union.

RAABE ON POLL: In a Gazette column, OpinionWorks President Steve Raabe defends last week’s poll that showed O’Malley has a six-point lead over Ehrlich — a larger margin than other recent polls.

ANTI-MIKULSKI AD: Eric Wargotz,  one of 11 Republicans angling to face U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski in November, is on the air with his first campaign ad, and it’s not subtle. You can also view the video. Ben Pershing blogs for the Post.

1st DISTRICT: Republican state Sen. Andy Harris has raised more money than Democratic U.S. Rep. Frank Kratovil, but Kratovil still has more cash on hand in Maryland’s 1st District congressional race, WBAL-TV reports.

MURPHY CAMPAIGN: Gazette columnist Blair Lee thinks that while Republican gubernatorial hopeful Brian Murphy won’t defeat Ehrlich in the Republican primary, a “perfect storm” of conservative qualifications could win him a third of that party’s vote.

HUCKABEE ENDORSES: Ex-Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a one-time presidential hopeful, endorsed Justin Ready for the state House of Delegates from Carroll County. Ready served as Huckabee’s campaign director for Maryland in 2008. The Post’s John Wagner blogs.

JESSAMY-BERNSTEIN: The Gazette’s Sarah Breitenbach reports that mobilizing voters and getting them out to the polls could be the key in the hotly contested Baltimore city state’s attorney’s race.  Gazette columnist Barry Rascovar analyzes the statewide implications of this race.

VETERAN LAWMAKERS PART 4: Sen. Delores Kelley has been involved in politics all her life,  starting with the Democratic Party and working her way into the halls of Annapolis. At 74, she says there is still work to be done. Thirty-six years ago, Republican Wade Kach was just trying to stop shoddy construction work in his community. He found the best way to do it was from a seat in Annapolis, which is where he intends to continue his work. Megan Poinski of profiles both veteran Baltimore County lawmakers.

VOTERS’ ISSUES: Most voters want to know what Maryland’s gubernatorial candidates think about on key issues that will define our state’s economic climate and quality of life for the next four years, writes Donald Fry for Center Maryland.

EXPLAIN SLATES: The Gazette editorial board tells candidates that it is OK to be part of a slate — but the voters should know why they are backing the other candidates.

PAPER BACKS MUNSON: Sen. Donald Munson  and the challenger for his District 2 seat, Del. Christopher Shank deserve high marks for their work, writes opinionators for the Hagerstown Herald-Mail as they endorse Munson for re-election.

DISTRICT 3B: The primary contest between GOPers Michael Hough and incumbent Del. Charles Jenkins of District 3B has devolved into a debate about who is telling the truth when it comes to pointing out each other’s perceived foibles, Katherine Heerbrandt of the Gazette writes. Editorialists for the Frederick News Post say that that the candidates’ war of words took an ugly turn when the two started launching mud pies at each other. Who is right? the writers ask. Neither, they answer.

DISTRICT 1A: The battle for the?District 1A seat in the House of Delegates won’t be fought until the general election, but both incumbent Republican Wendell Beitzel and Democrat challenger “Smokey” Stanton are immersed in preparations and early campaigning, writes Megan Miller for the Cumberland Times-News.

DONATION TIMING: Charlene Sharpe of the Salisbury Daily Times reports that owners of land that the town of Berlin is buying and reserving for a police station and community center contributed $2,500 through companies they control to a campaign fund for Berlin Mayor Gee Williams shortly before the town acted on the purchase.

RACE TO TOP: The successful quest for federal Race to the Top dollars has strengthened the working relationship of O’Malley and Superintendent of Schools Nancy Grasmick, the Gazette’s Andrew Ujifusa reports. And Sun editorial writers say that though Maryland won a $250 million federal Race to the Top award, educators are still working out the details of a formula for tying teacher evaluations to student achievement.

CARDIN ON DR. PAY: If U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin gets his way in Congress, physicians, especially those in primary care, could get a bigger paycheck, writes Emily Mullin for the Baltimore Business Journal.

HARRIS TRIAL: Prosecutors and defense lawyers could take a week to pick a jury in the trial of three men accused of killing former Baltimore City Councilman Ken Harris, Nick Madigan writes for the Sun.

GAZETTE NOTEBOOK: In Gazette reporters’ weekly collection of political stories: Unopposed Gansler will be talking Redskins once again this year at the Comcast SportsNet pre-game show; MoCo Council candidate Robin Ficker and daughter take on 60-mile bike trek through his district; Ehrlich plans primary-night fundraiser; former cabinet members host fundraisers for Ehrlich.

MOCO COUNCIL: New PAC forms to promote responsive government — and targets the ousting of Montgomery Council President Nancy Floreen, reports the Gazette’s Erin Cunningham.

ALCOHOL TAX: The alcohol tax proposal creates something unusual: more than 140 candidates willing to raise taxes in an election year, reports the Gazette’s Jeff Newman.

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