State Roundup, September 10, 2010

LEOPOLD SUIT: Mike Hellgren of WJZ-TV reports that Anne Arundel County Exec John Leopold is calling the sexual harassment accusations against him dirty politics right before the election. Nicole Fuller of the Baltimore Sun outlines the details of the new accusations in the $5 million lawsuit and Leopold’s reaction. Jeff Hager of WMAR-TV also reports on the sexual harassment lawsuit.

EARLY VOTING: Despite millions spent on early voting, The Gazette’s Erin Cunningham reports that only about 2 percent of Marylanders are taking advantage of it. If the numbers of people coming to the polls are all that matters, The Gazette’s editorial team said that early voting definitely isn’t a resounding success

PRIMARY IMPORTANCE: After the primary, where hotly contested party nominations for dominant Democrats will be won, the general election may be anticlimactic, writes The Gazette’s Alan Brody.  In his Gazette column, Blair Lee stumps for many major primary reforms — including opening them to all voters.

43rd SENATE SEAT: Former firefighter Hector Torres still wants to put out fires, according to WBAL-TV’s Deborah Weiner. That is why he is running for the state Senate for the 43rd District in Baltimore city, held by Joan Carter Conway.

BARTLETT FOE: Democrat Andrew Duck wasn’t sure about trying a third time to defeat U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett in Maryland’s 6th District, but then people asked him to run, reports Andrew Schotz for the Hagerstown Herald Mail.

KRATOVIL-HARRIS: Republican Andy Harris, who is seeking the 1st District U.S. House seat of Frank Kratovil,  is releasing his first TV commercial of the 2010 campaign, a 30-second bio-heavy spot that highlights his immigrant parents, training as a physician and five children, Paul West blogs for the Sun. The Democratic Central Campaign Committee is sticking behind incumbent Kratovil, though some predict that the nationwide “Republican wave” may encourage voters to elect Harris, reports The Gazette’s C. Benjamin Ford.

SAQIB ALI: There are many reasons Del. Saqib Ali, who is running for the Maryland state Senate, does not want to be defined by his religion, not least of which is the fact that he simply does not define himself that way. Another is political, Michael Laris reports for the Washington Post.

DELLA TAXES: Baltimore state Sen. George Della says he has contacted state and county officials and requested that he and his wife be billed for the $1,184 in back taxes he owes from the Baltimore County property, Annie Linskey writes for the Sun.

FERGUSON OVER DELLA: Bill Ferguson, Della’s foe for the 46th District state Senate seat, gets the nod from the Sun‘s opinion-makers.

REMEMBER THE CHILDREN: A poll last month showed that Maryland voters are concerned with children’s issues, and analysts feel candidates should take note, reports The Gazette’s Alan Brody.

CARROLL PRIORITIES: The Carroll County Times asked the 20 candidates seeking the seven seats that make up that county’s General Assembly delegation what their priorities will be if elected. Adam Bednar reports their responses.

O’MALLEY TALKS: Listen to Gov. O’Malley as he is interviewed on WTOP radio, where he talks about early voting, fining Pepco, gay marriage, the ICC, Montgomery County’s efforts to privatize liquor stores and slot machines. Aaron Davis of the Post was listening in. He reports on the gay marriage issue and O’Malley’s lukewarm endorsement of the reelection of DC Mayor Adrian Fenty.

EHRLICH SHRUGS: “I haven’t given it one thought,”  GOP candidate for the governor Bob Ehrlich responded when asked how much support his challenger, Brian Murphy, will draw in the Republican primary, John Wagner writes in the Post. The Sun’s Annie Linskey also writes that Ehrlich voted early, an opportunity that he tried to nix five years ago.

O’MALLEY AD: O’Malley began airing a television ad that digs at Ehrlich’s credibility when he promises no new taxes, Julie Bykowicz blogs for the Sun. Be sure to scroll down to view the ad.

IMMIGRATION: Only one in five General Assembly candidates favor an immigration law like that in Arizona, according to an informal poll by GOP Del. Pat McDonough, who plans to introduce it in Maryland if re-elected, reports The Gazette’s Alan Brody. 

DISTRICT 3: Eight vie for seat in Maryland’s Congressional District 3, where incumbent Sarbanes is said to have ”invisible” opponents, reports Lindsey McPherson in the Columbia Flier.

SUN BACKS KAMENETZ: Opinionators of the Baltimore Sun throw their weight behind Kevin Kamenetz for Baltimore County executive.

SHERIFF SECURITY: Jayne Miller of WBAL-TV reports about long-time city Sheriff John Anderson, who is running for re-election and has executive protection that has racked up $130,000 in overtime pay.

BERNSTEIN-JESSAMY: Baltimore State’s Attorney Pat Jessamy is asserting that her primary opponent — Gregg Bernstein — would “set us back 60 years” if elected, an assertion that may be resonating among some voters. Bernstein tries to counter the perception that his policies would burden black communities, Justin Fenton reports for the Sun.

ORPHAN’S COURT: A young attorney aims to roll through barriers to become a judge of an Orphan’s Court, reports Barbara Pash for

EASY FILING: Easy filing for major party candidates makes for crowded primary ballots, writes Megan Poinski for

MOCO SENATE PRIMARIES: While there are no big primary contests in most of the major statewide offices, Allan Lichtman writes in a Gazette commentary there’s plenty of excitement in Montgomery County’s contested state Senate races. 

ECONOMIC FEAR: Economic fears hover over Montgomery County’s elections, the Post’s Michael Laris writes.

SIGN WAVING: Some candidates in Anne Arundel County use sign-waving as a way to connect with voters, others find more unique ways, writes Liam Farrell of the Annapolis Capital.

HOYER RACE: U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer was absent from a candidate forum at St. Mary’s College, so his challengers took the opportunity to take potshots at him, reports The Gazette’s Jeff Newman.

GAZETTE NOTEBOOK: Gazette reporters write about the end of the “highway to nowhere,” funny T-shirts for candidate Andy Serafini, name wars between state Senate candidates Roger Manno and Mike Lenett, and O’Malley’s limit busting number of Facebook friends.

CAPITAL NOTEBOOK: The Capital’s Political Notebook features an item about a state business group quizzing the candidates, the annual crab feast fundraiser for Del. Steve Schuh, party meetings abound and who’s endorsing who.

PG SCHOOLS: Prince George’s Sentinel reporter Tauren Dyson writes that the changing the image of the county was at the center of a county executive candidate forum, attended by 200 residents. But that what that discussion really revolved around was improving public schools.

REJECTED ENDORSEMENT: Brutal campaign fliers sent out by the Service Employees International Union Local 1199 criticizing several Prince George’s County candidates have led Del. Doyle Niemann to reject their endorsement, reports The Gazette’s Daniel Valentine.

PG CRIME: Crime looms as the major issue in race for state’s attorney in Prince George’s, reports Frederick Kunkle of the Post.

CHANGES IN STORE: Prince George’s residents could see big changes once the dust settles after the Sept. 14th primary, reports Miranda Spivack of the Post.

BLUE RIBBON SCHOOLS: The U.S. Education Department named five schools in the state as Blue Ribbon Schools for their high academic performance, reports The Gazette’s Andrew Ujifusa. Those schools are Eastern Technology in Baltimore County, Ellicott Mills Middle School in Howard County, Northern Middle School in Calvert County, New Market Elementary School in Frederick County and Northwestern Elementary School in Wicomico County.

FED SCHOOL FUNDS: State officials have not yet decided how to distribute almost $179 million the state expects to receive from the federal Education Jobs bill, but the expectation is that each local public school system will receive a share, writes Julie Greene of the Hagerstown Herald Mail.

CURRIE INDICTMENT: Gazette columnist Barry Rascovar predicts that the indictment of state Sen. Ulysses Currie will give his story an unhappy ending.

STATE HIGHWAYS: Maryland’s and the District’s highway systems are among the worst in the nation in terms of quality and cost, while Virginia’s major roads have performed much better, according to a new report. Markham Heid of the Washington Examiner reports. John Wagner of the Post blogs that the Maryland Municipal League has passed a resolution urging the governor and General Assembly to restore state aid for roads and police. And the Baltimore Business Journal reports that the number of traffic deaths dropped in 2009, including 44 fewer fatalities in Maryland.

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