State Roundup, September 20, 2010

CURRIE PLEADS NOT GUILTY: State Sen. Ulysses Currie, indicted on corruption charges for not reporting income from Shoppers Food Warehouse, pleaded not guilty to the charges in federal court on Friday, reports The Sun’s Julie Bykowicz. Currie was represented by a public defender because hiring private counsel for this sort of case is very expensive, a Currie lawyer told The Post’s John Wagner.  Currie’s attorney tells The Gazette’s Sarah Breitenbach that the charges are a horrible strain on Currie, who has numerous health problems.  The Capital ran Brian Witte’s AP story. WBFF’s Jeff Abell has video.

LT GOV PROFILE: The Sun’s Julie Bykowicz writes a profile of Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, also a colonel in the Army Reserve, and the highest-ranking elected state official in the nation to have served a tour in Iraq.

GOV’S RACE: The Sun’s Annie Linskey Harris examines former Gov. Bob Ehrlich’s roadmap to the future — which Gov. Martin O’Malley has called a roadmap to nowhere.  Ehrlich makes a weekend campaign stop at the Great Frederick Fair, reports the Frederick News Post’s Blair Ames. WBFF’s Melinda Roeder takes a look at the upcoming gubernatorial rematch between incumbent O’Malley and Ehrlich as does the Sun’s Julie Bykowicz. And New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, an independent, listed several “middle of the road” candidates he is supporting nationwide, including O’Malley, reports The Sun’s Annie Linskey. 

GOV WRITE-IN: Ralph Jaffe, who finished third in the Democratic gubernatorial primary and hoped to unseat O’Malley, will lead a motorcade to Annapolis today to launch a write-in campaign for the state’s chief executive, reports WBAL’s Robert Lang.

SPECTATOR SPORT: Voting has become a spectator sport for the bulk of those eligible, writes Len Lazarick of

TEA PARTY: While Tea Partiers lost hope of having one of their own in the governor’s mansion in Tuesday’s primary election, Capital News Service’s Richard Abdill and Jon Aerts wrote a story appearing in The Capital about the Tea Party candidates who will appear on state ballots in November. And Larry Carson writes for the Sun that Howard County Republicans are confident that they can ride a wave of national discontent over government spending, debt and accountability to victory in November.

KRATOVIL-HARRIS: Incumbent U.S. Rep. Frank Kratovil released his first commercial attacking challenger Andy Harris, decrying Harris’ support of a national sales tax, reports The Sun’s Paul West. Similar ads elsewhere have been called misleading, as Kratovil’s ad does not mention that the proposed national sales tax would replace income taxes.  West also blogs about the ad, and includes a link to watch it on YouTube. And Harris’ primary opponent Rob Fischer endorses Harris, West reports.

VAN HOLLEN FOES: Only 35 votes separate the top two finishers — Michael Philips and Bruce Stern — in the GOP primary to take on U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen in November, reports The Post’s Ben Pershing.

MIKULSKI-WARGOTZ: A Rasmussen poll of likely voters had 54 percent supporting incumbent Sen. Barbara Mikulski, and 38 percent supporting Republican challenger Eric Wargotz, blogs Stan Moore for Inside Charm City. Meanwhile, Wargotz assembles his team for the November election, writes The Sun’s Paul West.

CARDIN Q&A: U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin appeared on WBAL’s Q&A on Sunday. Click here for video.

BERNSTEIN WINS: With a decisive majority of votes going to challenger Gregg Bernstein, Baltimore city State’s Attorney Pat Jessamy conceded the race, reports The Sun’s Tricia Bishop. There is video of her concession at the top of the page.  The Daily Record’s Brendan Kearney writes about Jessamy’s concession and Bernstein’s victory speech. The Baltimore Business Journal’s Scott Dance also reports on Jessamy’s concession,  as does ABC2’s Jeff Hager, as well as WBAL, WJZ’s Pat Warren,  WYPR has audio of Sunni Khalid’s report,  and the station blogs about it here. The Sun’s Jean Marbella praises Jessamy in a commentary for bowing out gracefully.  Now that the campaign is over and Bernstein will be the new Baltimore city state’s attorney, Marbella details some of the toughest challenges he will face.  The Daily Record features a poll on its homepage about whether Bernstein will have a significant impact on crime and the way it’s prosecuted in Baltimore.

KAMENETZ GETS SUPPORT: After Kevin Kamenetz defeated opponent Joe Bartenfelder in the Democratic primary for Baltimore County executive, the Metropolitan Baltimore Council AFL-CIO — which initially endorsed Bartenfelder — switched its endorsement to Kamenetz, reports The Sun’s Jonathan Pitts.  The Sun’s Andy Rosen blogs about it.

BALTO COUNTY COUNCIL: Democrat Mike Ertel declared victory in the Democratic primary for District 5 for the Baltimore County Council — even though his closest opponent, Bill Paulshock, has not yet conceded, The Sun’s Raven Hill tells Andy Rosen. Ertel posted “We Won!” on his Facebook page, reports Patuxent Publishing’s Bryan Sears.  After Todd Huff beat incumbent Bryan McIntire for the GOP nomination from District 3, he caught up on his rest, reports Pat van den Beemt for the North County News.

CARROLL COUNTY: It appears that Carroll County voters ousted two incumbent county commissioners and opened up all five district seats to someone new, reports The Carroll Eagle’s Steve Jones, Kevin Dayhoff and Bob Allen.

MOCO COUNCIL: If all of the Democrats who won Tuesday’s primary go on to win the election, four of nine members of the county council will live along the border of Silver Spring and Takoma Park, reports The Post’s Michael Laris. 

PG CHANGES: With several reform-minded candidates getting big wins in primary elections in Prince George’s County, the county might be on the road to real change, reports The Post’s Robert McCartney. 

ALSOBROOKS’ GOAL: Angela Alsobrooks, who is almost certain to be the next state’s attorney in Prince George’s County, said her most ambitious goal would be to replicate a high-profile California program designed to break the cycle of crime, Fred Kunkle of the Post reports.

LEOPOLD CASE: The Capital’s Erin Cox talks with attorney John Singleton, the man leading the legal battle against Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold.

ENDORSEMENTS IN RETROSPECT: Tom Marquardt, editor and publisher of The Capital, takes a look back at the newspaper’s primary contest endorsements in his column.

DISTRICT 33A: Though the vote totals are still close, the two Republican primary challengers to Del. Tony McConkey have conceded, writes The Capital’s Liam Farrell.

DISTRICT 2C: Andrew Schotz of the Hagerstown Herald-Mail reports that the Democrat incumbent state Del. John Donoghue of Subdistrict 2C has declined a request to debate by Republican Cort Meinelschmidt, his opponent in the general election.

JUDGES RETIRE: The 1st Judicial Circuit Nominating Commission is busy after Worcester County Circuit Court Administrative Judge Theodore Eschenburg Sr. retired earlier this year and Wicomico County Circuit Court Administrative Judge Donald Davis is slated to retire next month, reports The Salisbury Daily Times’ Sharahn Boykin.

LOWER SHORE RECAP: The Salisbury Daily Times’ Greg Latshaw recaps the most interesting races in the area following the primary election.

POVERTY RATE: Although the percentage of people living in poverty in the United States has increased, The Cumberland Times-News runs Michaelle Bond’s CNS story about how Maryland’s figures may not follow suit.

CAMPAIGNS AND MONEY: Candidates for the Allegany County Commission know how important funds are to successful campaigns and appeal for more funds, reports the Cumberland Times-News’ Kevin Spradlin.

DRINK TAX: It’s been 55 years since the tax on spirits has been raised, and 38 years since an increase in the tax on beer. Editorial writers for the Frederick News Post say it’s time to raise the tax.

BROADBAND MONEY: Maryland received $115 million in stimulus funds to install more than 1,200 miles of fiber-optic cable, creating a broadband link that will increase online speeds for hospitals, schools, and emergency communication networkds across the state, reports The Sun’s Larry Carson and Gus Sentementes.  State officials say that the increase in broadband will attract businesses and workers for the high-tech sector to Maryland, reports The Daily Record’s Nick Sohr.  About $72 million of that is for Howard County, reports Ellicott City Patch’s Brandie Jefferson.

HEALTH GRANT: Maryland also received more than $1 million in federal funds to strengthen the health care workforce, The Sun’s Andrea Walker reports.

CECIL SLOTS: Attorney General Doug Gansler promises speedy legal guidance for state regulators investigating charges that Penn National Gaming got in the way of another company’s plans for a slots casino in Anne Arundel County, reports The Sun’s Nicole Fuller.

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