State Roundup, September 28, 2010

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EHRLICH BLASTS O’MALLEY: Republican former Gov. Bob Ehrlich accused the O’Malley administration of meddling with state labor department operations for political gain, releasing documents that illustrate how employees removed the downbeat jobs assessment from a website after what workers said was pressure “from the top,” the Baltimore Sun’s Annie Linskey reports. Here’s her blog on Ehrlich and the General Assembly’s two top GOP leaders, who sought to pressure the administration by releasing e-mails they believe show a coordinated effort to hide the negative jobs report.

Mark Newgent of Red Maryland outlines how the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, with an assist from the governor’s press office, worked to cover their tracks.

The mistakenly released emails are a PR disaster for Gov. Martin O’Malley, writes Aaron Davis, John Wagner and Ann Marimow of the Washington Post. View John Rydell’s report on WBFF-TV. Dave Collins of WBAL-TV also reported on the Ehrlich accusations. Sarah Breitenbach of the Gazette also writes about Ehrlich’s criticism.

JOBS BILL SIGNING: Democratic leaders, including O’Malley, joined President Barack Obama at the White House for the signing of a bill aimed at helping small businesses, Julie Bykowicz blogs in the Sun. Three Maryland small business owners also joined Obama for the  bill-signing ceremony. The legislation forms a $30 billion small business lending fund, Kevin James Shay reports for the Gazette. The federal jobs act is being hailed as a boon for small businesses, but some of the people for whom it is intended don’t see it that way. Barbara Pash reports for

JOB CREATION: Editorial writers for the Cumberland Times-News write that the state needs to promote the tax credit program to help small businesses create jobs since six months into it, only 10% of the $20 million the state budgeted for new job hires has been used. 

OBAMA PITCHES O’MALLEY: Baltimore area residents who listen to African-American radio stations like WOLB this morning will hear Obama making a pitch to re-elect O’Malley, according to the governor’s campaign, Annie Linskey blogs for the Sun.  Meanwhile, Aaron Davis of the Post writes that Obama’s role in the race remains unclear.

REVENUE REVIEW: John Wagner of the Post looks at the revenue records of O’Malley and challenger Ehrlich.

STATE POLITICS: On WEAA on Monday, Anthony McCarthy and Marc Steiner discuss with two guests state and national politics, including the race for Maryland governor.

SLOTS DAY ONE:  Maryland’s first casino opened three days early, and even with the rainy day, thousands came to spend money at the highly anticipated destination. Just don’t expect them all to return, reports Liz Farmer for the Washington Examiner. The Post’s John Wagner reports on opening day crowds. Liz Kay of the Sun writes that casino crowds grew throughout the day. Here’s Brian Witte’s story for the Associated Press in the Annapolis Capital. The Sun’s editorial board says that opening of Maryland’s first casino is an important occasion, but tough questions remain about how to make the slots program successful.

VAN HOLLEN’S BURDEN: As chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen has bigger worries than his Nov. 3 opponent, Mike Phillips, writes Josh Kurtz of Center Maryland. Van Hollen is monitoring dozens of competitive House races across the country.

ELECTION CERTIFIED: Annie Linskey of the Sun blogs that members the state Board of Elections certify primary election results today — a procedural step that starts the clock for any candidate interested in a recount.

BALLOT LAWSUIT: WJZ-TV’s political reporter Pat Warren explains the lawsuit that the Military Voter Protection Project filed against the Maryland State Board of Elections. The issue is the timely delivery of absentee ballots to our soldiers on active duty.

POOR TURNOUT: Editorial writers for the Frederick News Post say that dismal voter turnout turned out some well known and appreciated incumbents.

KRATOVIL ATTACKS:  U.S. Rep. Frank Kratovil is sharpening his message in his tough reelection race, airing his second consecutive negative ad that purports to expose “the real Andy Harris,” Ben Pershing of the Post writes. The ad is embedded in the text.

HOLT-KAMENETZ DEBATE: Baltimore County executive candidates Ken Holt and Kevin Kamenetz met Sunday night on WCBM’s “All Politics is Local” show, hosted by Jay Liner, Patuxent Publishing editor Bryan Sears and Al Forman of Hear it here. During debate, Sears got an intriguing text message. “Joe wants to call in right now…” Read about that here.

CORRECTIONS AUDIT: Megan Poinski of reports that state auditors found credit card misuse and failure to monitor $81M in contractor hours at corrections department.

ALCOHOL SALES: Takoma Park officials finally made a decision on the city’s century-old ban on alcohol sales. The city council voted to request a change in its laws so that restaurants may sell carry-out beer and wine. Elahe Izadi for writes.

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