State Roundup, September 13, 2010

POST COVERAGE: Washington Post ombudsman Andrew Alexander is highly critical of that paper’s lack of coverage of races in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties compared to the emphasis on the mayor’s race in the District.

TEA PARTY: While Maryland’s Tea Partiers don’t have much political clout yet, the Sun’s Annie Linskey writes that former GOP Gov. Bob Ehrlich will be able to see how many he’s alienated when vote tallies come in on Tuesday. Two Republicans claiming Tea Party cred are emerging as front-runners in the U.S. Senate race against longtime Democrat incumbent Barbara Mikulski, Capital News Service’s Jon Aerts reports on WTOP’s website. 

GOV ADS: Baltimore Sun TV critic David Zurawik writes that Gov. Martin O’Malley’s new ad attacking Ehrlich on fees does a good job of questioning the former governor‘s credibility.  WBFF’s Keith Daniels takes a look at both major candidates’ ads.

O’MALLEY ENDORSED: SEIU 1199 United Healthcare East did endorse O’Malley for governor, reports Scott Dance of the Baltimore Business Journal.

GOV REMATCH: The AP’s Brian Witte previews the likely general election rematch of 2006 gubernatorial opponents O’Malley and Ehrlich in the Salisbury Daily Times. 

MURPHY CAMPAIGN: The Post’s John Wagner calls underdog GOP gubernatorial candidate Brian Murphy a wild card in Tuesday’s primary.

THE OTHER DEMS: Red Maryland’s Brian Griffiths blogs that the primary results worth watching on Tuesday are those of the Democratic challengers to O’Malley, J.P. Cusick and Ralph Jaffe. These numbers, Griffiths said, will show discontent from Democrats.

COMPTROLLER RACE: Three generations of Republicans — ranging in age from 72 to 18 — are looking to unseat Democratic incumbent Peter Franchot. CNS’s Abby Brownback profiles them in the Sun.  Franchot, in the meantime, sends a sandwich to try to make up with former Baltimore mayor, governor and state comptroller William Donald Schaefer, his primary opponent four years ago, blogs the Sun’s Matthew Hay Brown.

PRIMARY RACE: The Sun’s Julie Bykowicz runs down the primaries to watch.  The Herald-Mail staff also gives a listing of primaries in Washington County

ATTENTION GRABBERS: Following tepid interest in early voting, Maryland polling stations will reopen in about 24 hours for Primary Day, writes John Wagner in the Post. Wagner then outlines a half dozen items that has grasped his attention, in both statewide and local contests.

DECIDED ELECTIONS: Although the general election is still two months away, Tuesday’s primary will decide almost half the state Senate races, much of the House and shake up larger counties, Len Lazarick of writes.

WE THE CORPORATIONS: Despite a lot of rhetoric about “we the people” and “taking back America,” campaigns are being fueled by undisclosed corporate and union sources, writes the Salisbury Daily Times.

BERNSTEIN-JESSAMY: The Sun endorsed challenger Gregg Bernstein in the hotly contested Baltimore city state’s attorney election.  The newspaper put together a package on the race between Bernstein and incumbent Pat JessamyHere, the Sun’s Tricia Bishop examines Jessamy. Bishop also profiles Bernstein here.  Rep. Elijah Cummings and former Congressman and NAACP leader Kweisi Mfume held a rally for Jessamy in North Baltimore on Friday night, wrote Justin Fenton.  Fenton also wrote that high profile criminal defender Billy Murphy said that Jessamy has failed.  Both candidates answer questions posed by The Daily Record here. WBFF’s Jeff Abell has video of Jessamy’s North Baltimore rally, and a commentary on her controversial statement that Bernstein would take the city “back 60 years” if elected.  WJZ’s Mike Hellgren also reports on the campaign.

KRATOVIL-HARRIS: House of Representatives Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that Democrats will likely lose congressional seats in the midterm election — but not their majority — and that Rep. Frank Kratovil, facing a tough re-election challenge from Republican Andy Harris, was one of his top priorities, The Sun’s Matthew Hay Brown blogs. If Harris is elected to the U.S. House — as part of a predicted nationwide “Republican wave” — he would be in the right place at the right time, The Sun’s Paul West reports.  Former Republican Rep. Wayne Gilchrest, who once held the seat, is endorsing Harris’ primary challenger, businessman Rob Fisher, reports The Post’s Ben Pershing. 

DISTRICT 7: Ehrlich endorses his former intern and legislative aide Del. J.B Jennings to succeed state Sen. Andy Harris — over his former state Insurance Commissioner Al Redmer, reports The Sun’s Raven Hill.

LEOPOLD CASE: The sexual harassment accusations against Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold never made it to the correct court on Thursday, prompting a threat of legal sanctions from the County Attorney, reports The Capital’s Erin Cox.  The Sun’s Nicole Fuller also has the story. The whole case puts voters in a difficult spot, writes The Capital’s editorial staff.

CONTI-LEOPOLD: After a murder in Glen Burnie last week, Democratic Anne Arundel County Executive challenger Joanna Conti claimed that incumbent Republican Leopold left grant money on the table instead of hiring more police officers, reports The Capital’s Erin Cox.

OLD TIME BALTIMORE: Sun columnist Jacques Kelley remembers old-time politics in Baltimore, when it was all about who you knew.

AA CIRCUIT JUDGES: Tuesday’s primary could be decisive in the race for two seats on the bench of Anne Arundel County’s Circuit Court, writes The Sun’s Andrea Siegel.

HOCO CAMPAIGN: The Sun’s Larry Carson gives a rundown of last-minute campaign activity in Howard County.

BIG SPENDERS: Spending of the Democratic 13 candidates vying for three slots on the ballot to represent District 16 — Bethesda and Chevy Chase — in the General Assembly is skyrocketing, reports The Post’s Miranda Spivack and Meg Smith.

CURRIE TREASURER INDICTED: Olivia Harris, the former campaign treasurer for embattled state Sen. Ulysses Currie, was indicted on charges of stealing more than $150,000 from Currie’s campaign account, the Post’s John Wagner reports.  The Sun’s Annie Linskey writes that prosecutors found that Currie was not involved in this wrongdoing.  The Gazette’s Daniel Valentine also reports the story.  The Capital carried AP reporter Brian Witte’s story.

PG CAMPAIGN: Miranda Spivack of the Post reports on the last-minute campaigning blitzes of several Prince George’s County candidates. Primary candidates filled many of the county’s sanctuaries on Sunday, reports The Post’s Miranda Spivack, Ovetta Wiggins, and Frederick Kunkle. 

PG EXECUTIVE: Undecided Post readers give Miranda Spivack their opinions and concerns on the Prince George’s County executive race. 

SIGN VIGILANTE: Someone is stealing campaign signs from Silver Spring yards, reports the Post’s Annys Shin.

AA SPENDING: The Capital’s Liam Farrell analyzes how campaign dollars are spent in Anne Arundel County, finding that funds needed and used vary by district and candidate decisions.

PRO-SLOTS CAMPAIGN: Supporters of a slot machine casino at Arundel Mills Mall launched their campaign by opening a campaign HQ and airing pro-casino ads, reports The Capital’s Erin Cox.

EARLY VOTING: Early voting was used by only about 77,000 voters and cost the state about $3.4 million, blogs The Sun’s Julie Bykowicz.  The Cumberland Times-News’ Kevin Spradlin reports that early voting went smoothly in Allegany and Garrett counties.

BARTENFELDER-KAMENETZ: Comptroller Peter Franchot said that the Baltimore County executive’s race took an “ugly turn” after a website affiliated with Kevin Kamenetz accused opponent Joe Bartenfelder of being racially insensitive, reports Bryan Sears for Patuxent Publishing. Also, Kamenetz names the campaign staffers who are paid about $81,000, Patuxent Publishing’s Bryan Sears writes.

HARRIS TRIAL: A jury was seated Friday to hear the case of three men accused of gunning down Baltimore City Councilman Ken Harris, WBAL’s Scott Wykoff reported. Opening statements begin Monday, and the trial is expected to last at least a month.

DISTRICT 46: WYPR’s Frazer Smith looks at the race between incumbent state Sen. George Della and challenger Bill Ferguson. An audio player is at the top of the page.  The Sun’s David Nitkin reports that two Baltimore City councilmembers have endorsed Ferguson over Della. ABC2 has video

JOHNSON ENDORSES JACKSON: WTOP reports that outgoing Prince George’s County Executive Jack Johnson endorsed Prince George’s County Sheriff Michael Jackson as his replacement.

CONGRESSIONAL RACES: WTOP runs several Capital News Service stories about the upcoming Congressional elections. Political novices are vying to replace Rep. John Sarbanes, Alix Farr reports. Challengers to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer are primarily focused on ousting the incumbent, reports Stephanie Gleason.  While Rep. Christopher Van Hollen’s Democratic seat is considered “safe,” many eyes are focusing on the four Republicans vying to unseat him, reports Laura Thornton. 

ANDREW GALL: Keith Berner of Left-Hand View endorses idealistic Rep. Steny Hoyer opponent Andrew Gall. The blog post also appeared in The Washington Post.

CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT 5: Mariko Hewer reports for the Prince George’s Sentinel that there wasn’t much to debate at the final forum for the congressional candidates of Maryland’s Congressional District 5.

NO ENDORSEMENT: U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin is refuting a campaign flier claiming that he endorses Baltimore County Council candidate Vicki Almond, blogs The Sun’s David Nitkin. 

TOUTS RELIGION: Sherrie Becker – who is running against Almond and five others seeking the Democratic nomination for the open seat being vacated by Baltimore County exec candidate Kamenetz — made a point of saying in upper case letters in a recent direct mail flier that she is the “ONLY JEWISH WOMAN CANDIDATE” in the contest. Read Arthur Hirsch’s blog in the Sun.

VIOLATED CONDUCT STANDARDS: The Maryland Judicial Campaign Conduct Committee found that Baltimore County Circuit Court candidate Scott Beckman and incumbents Jan Alexander, Sherrie Bailey, Ann Brobst and John Nagle violated a standard for “truthfulness and dignity” in campaign communications by posting derogatory messages about each other online, reports the Sun’s Arthur Hirsch.

NATION’S #1 SCHOOLS?: While prominent recent surveys have said Maryland has the nation’s best public schools, other studies and other measures indicate they’re not quite at the top, the Post’s Aaron Davis reports.

POLITICS A LA MODE: A women’s gun group set up in a tent beside Peace Action Montgomery, and a man walked near an anti-death penalty booth carrying a yellow sign that read: “Don’t Save the Bay, Save Babies Instead.” This was the scene at a Takoma Park festival that mixed chickpeas, chicken and politics, Michael Laris reports for the Post.

WMATA SEEKS EXEMPTION: Metro is seeking an exemption from Montgomery County’s new energy taxes — the centerpiece of County Executive Ike Leggett’s plan to fill a budget gap in the county. The Examiner’s Brian Hughes reports that Metro says it is exempted from other taxes — and should also be from this one.  The Carroll County Times ran the AP story.

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