State Roundup, September 29, 2010

GRUDGE MATCH: Four years ago, Martin O’Malley tossed Bob Ehrlich out of the Maryland governor’s mansion. Now Ehrlich wants to return the favor, Susan Baer reports for the Washingtonian.

O’MALLEY LEADS: O’Malley has opened up a significant lead over Ehrlich as newly energized Democrats have turned what appeared to be a dead heat into a double-digit advantage for O’Malley, a Washington Post poll has found. Aaron Davis, John Wagner and Jon Cohen write the story. Click on the video link on the right to see the candidates speaking with Davis and Wagner on taxes. And you can answer some of the questions in the poll here. Listen to WBAL-Radio’s Steve Fermier’s report on the poll.

IMMIGRATION: The Baltimore Sun’s Annie Linskey reports on the two candidates’ views on illegal immigration and finds there is a pretty wide divide. Ehrlich calls Maryland ‘sanctuary state;’ O’Malley warns against blaming immigrants for economic woes.

HEALTH CARE: In First Click Maryland, the Post’s John Wagner reports that Vincent DeMarco hopes to bring more attention to an issue that generated no shortage of debate on the national and state levels in recent years, but has received little attention in this governor’s race — health care.

JOBS GROWTH:  Liam Farrell of the Annapolis Capital reports that the state’s handling of the gloomy economic analysis has become grist for the Republican campaign mill with Ehrlich and others saying it shows O’Malley’s administration is willing to bend the truth for political gain. Ehrlich and his supporters tried on Tuesday to use a batch of government e-mails released this week to portray O’Malley as more concerned with politics than job creation, Ann Marimow blogs for the Post.

Meanwhile, Jeff Abell reports for WBFF-TV that O’Malley is denying accusations that he suppressed an unfavorable economic report on job growth. And O’Malley defended his labor department, under fire for removing from its website a July jobs report that included a downbeat analysis of the state’s recovery and replacing it with a sunnier talking points, the Sun’s Annie Linskey blogs.

OBAMA EFFECT:  President Obama will campaign for O’Malley on Oct. 7, according to two state Democratic sources. Scroll down to listen to the new 60 second spot the president recorded for O’Malley. Ann Marimow blogs the story for the Post. News that Obama will hit the campaign trail in Maryland next week in support of O’Malley is sure to buoy Democratic hopes of retaining the governorship. But should it? A new Washington Post poll in the state reveals evidence for either answer. Here’s Annie Linskey’s blog on the Obama visit in the Sun. WBAL-TV reports on Obama’s ad supporting O’Malley. You can also take a survey on whether Obama’s support matters.

ENVIRO VOTE: The Maryland League of Conservation Voters has mailed 130,000 absentee ballot applications to registered voters — an effort that could prove beneficial to O’Malley and other candidates endorsed by the environmental advocacy group, Julie Bykowicz reports for the Sun.

ADS MISS PICTURE: Sun opinion maker Andy Green says that Ehrlich’s recent attack ads are valid but miss the big picture.

ROMNEY GIVES: Mitt Romney, Republican former governor of Massachusetts and often-discussed 2012 presidential contender, has given money to four Maryland Republicans, including Ehrlich, Julie Bykowicz blogs in the Sun.

CLINTON STUMPS: Sen. Barbara Mikulski’s office says former President Bill Clinton will headline at a campaign fundraiser for the Maryland Democrat next month in Bethesda, the AP reports in the Daily Record. Paul West blogs about Clinton’s visit in the Sun.

CARDIN’S GAME ON:  The Sun’s Paul West blogs that just because U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin isn’t facing an election for another two years doesn’t mean he isn’t actively campaigning — for others.

PLEDGE TOO: Andrew Schotz of the Hagerstown Herald Mail reports on the five local GOP delegates and candidates who signed the “Prosperity Pledge.”

ROLLE IN AGAIN: Scott Rolle, who dropped out of sight to do a TV series but won the Republican primary for state delegate in Frederick’s District 3A anyway, will drop back in for the General Election, Meg Tully reports for the Frederick News Post.

STATE ROADS: Marta Mossburg opines for the Frederick News Post that taxpayers pay a lot to maintain state roads in Maryland: $401,491 per mile versus the national average of $145,127, but do not get a lot in return.

MoCo BUDGET WOES: Montgomery County faces a $140 million shortfall for next year’s budget, Michael Laris reports for the Post.

BETTER BUDGET OUTLOOK: While the fiscal picture looks dreary for some local governments, the annual review of financial reports by the Office of Legislative Audits found that most counties and municipalities were able to stay in the black and produce independent audits with no problems, writes Megan Poinski for

TENURE PAY ENDS: The Baltimore school district and its teachers union have struck a landmark agreement that would end the longtime practice of linking pay to years of employment and place the city at the forefront of a national reform effort, according to sources familiar with the pact, Liz Bowie and Erica Green write for the Sun.

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