State Roundup, October 1, 2010

DNC BUCKS: Paul West of the Baltimore Sun blogs that the Democratic National Committee has just put another $125,000 into Maryland, bringing the total for the campaign cycle to $225,000.

BIZ BOARDS ENDORSE: The Greater Washington Board of Trade has endorsed Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) for reelection. The group endorsed former Gov. Bob Ehrlich (R) in both 2002 and 2006. And until last year, John Kane, husband of Ehrlich’s running mate, was the board’s chair, blogs Aaron Davis of the Washington Post. Michael Dresser of the Sun blogs that the snub of Ehrlich is related to Ehrlich’s opposition to building the Purple Line. The Daily Record’s Nick Sohr reports that Ehrlich won the backing of the National Federation of Independent Business, a nonprofit, small-business advocacy group in Annapolis. Some business leaders are on the fence, donating neither to O’Malley or former gov Bob Ehrlich, or donating money to both, reports The Gazette’s Kevin James Shay.

GOP SEEKS PROBE: The Republican leaders of the Maryland Senate and House of Delegates have asked Democratic Attorney General Doug Gansler to investigate the upbeat changes made to the analysis of an July jobs report posted on the state Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation’s website in August, Len Lazarick reports for Political observers say that the protests being raised by Ehrlich and other Republicans will just turn voters against politics, reports The Gazette’s C. Benjamin Ford.

DEBATE ON: After weeks of wrangling, O’Malley and Ehrlich have agreed on one televised debate: They will square off Oct. 11 on WJZ, the CBS affiliate in Baltimore, John Wagner reports for the Washington Post. Julie Bykowicz of the Sun reports that the debate will be sponsored by the Baltimore Jewish Council. And, of course, WJZ-TV has the report as well.

BLOOMBERG WORTH: Kevin Robillard of asks why Marylanders should care that NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg endorses O’Malley for governor.

PENSIONS: It hasn’t been a campaign issue so far, but analysts say that O’Malley and Ehrlich both need to tell the voters how they will fix insolvency problems in the state’s underperforming pension system, writes The Gazette’s Alan Brody.

O’MALLEY ON ENVIRONMENT: O’Malley highlighted environmental issues during a campaign stop at Charlestown retirement community in Catonsville, reports Lauren Fulbright for the Arbutus Times.

EHRLICH’S ECONOMICS: Gazette columnist Laslo Boyd notes that Ehrlich has several talking points, but no serious economic plans or new ideas except repealing the sales tax. Maryland State Education Association President Clara Floyd explains the association’s O’Malley endorsement in a Gazette commentary by questioning Ehrlich’s budget-gap-reduction math.

REFERENDUM RULING The Court of Appeals’ written ruling on the case allowing a Montgomery County ambulance fee to go on the November ballot — despite early interpretations that many signatures were not valid — is certain to have a far-reaching effect on how the state validates signatures on petitions, writes The Gazette’s Erin Cunningham.

NRA BACKS KRATOVIL: The National Rifle Association has endorsed the re-election of Rep. Frank Kratovil of Maryland in the state’s most competitive congressional contest, Paul West blogs for the Sun.

POST POLL: In his Gazette column, Blair Lee looks at the methodology behind the recent Washington Post poll showing that O’Malley is 11 points ahead of Ehrlich, and concludes that O’Malley’s lead is not that big.

TRANSPORTATION FUNDING: Increasing the gas tax and embarking on public-private partnerships are two ways that business and community leaders at a forum sponsored by the Gaithersburg-Germantown Chamber of Commerce and 270inc Magazine embraced for raising more transportation money, writes The Gazette’s Kevin James Shay.

DELMARVA REPORT: Marc Steiner of WEAA-Radio speaks with Kirkland Hall, immediate past president of the NAACP of Somerset County, on the ongoing struggle for civil rights and equal opportunity. And Kratovil discusses the key issues facing the Eastern Shore, which makes up a large part of his district.

GOP AND TEA: Frederick News Post columnist Steve Berryman says that the GOP should embrace the Tea Party principles.

ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION: Some Anne Arundel County Council candidates are focusing on illegal immigration as a campaign issue, reports Allison Bourq of the Annapolis Capital.

ARUNDEL EVENTS: The Capital’s Political Notes highlights the recent Post poll that puts O’Malley ahead of Ehrlich, plus upcoming fundraisers and candidate forums in Arundel County. Paul Foer of Annapolis Capital Punishment also offers a list of events for those interested in state and local politics.

FINANCE COMMISH: Ryan Sharrow of the Baltimore Business Journal reports that O’Malley nominated Mark Kaufman, currently Maryland’s deputy commissioner of financial regulation, as the state’s commissioner for financial regulation. He would replace Sarah Bloom Raskin, who was confirmed Thursday for a seat on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, effective Oct. 1.

VICTIMS RIGHTS: Starting today, reports Barbara Pash for, domestic violence and sexual assault victims who rent their homes are better protected from future attacks and eviction, thanks to a new law that came out of intense negotiations between representatives of victims and landlords.

SLOTS DEBUT: The Post’s Ian Shapira treks to Perryville to find O’Malley celebrating the opening of the state’s first slots parlor, which has attracted 21,000 visitors in three days. Shapira also offers a short history on how slots finally came to Maryland. Now that there is a slots casino operating in the state, Gazette columnist Barry Rascovar looks at how its revenue — and revenues from other casinos on the way — should help the state’s financial situation.

DROP THE PHONE: Alexis Gutter of Capital News Service writes in the Sun that the ban on using handheld phones behind the wheel goes into effect today, but it will still be legal to make a call using a hands-free device (and scarf down a cheeseburger, apply lipstick, search for a dropped item, and yell at your children) while driving. While several states have this kind of law, The Gazette’s Sarah Breitenbach writes that the effectiveness of those laws is unclear. The Gazette lists several other new laws that go into effect today.

EARLY VOTE TALLIES: The State Board of Elections passed an emergency regulation that all early voting results from the General Election will be processed and submitted two hours before the polls close, reports The Gazette’s Alan Brody. This is seen as a way to minimize delays in counting all votes cast for the November election.

CAPITALS REPORT: Those interested in what’s going on at state capitals around the country have a new resource called, launched yesterday by the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity. News from, Virginia Statehouse News, Illinois Statehouse News, the Nevada News Bureau and other online news operations established with the Franklin Center’s help will be posted on the site every day. Read the story here.

DEFEAT DREAMS: Previously unknown in politics, challengers Chris Davies, a Democrat, and Erik Anderson, a Republican, hope to defeat current House of Delegates leaders Anthony O’Donnell and John Bohanan, reports The Gazette’s Jeff Newman.

ROLLE’S STRATEGY: After deciding to run for House of Delegates after an unexpected win, Frederick Republican candidate Scott Rolle tells The Gazette’s Katherine Heerbrandt that he will not work hard to raise money for campaign ads, planning instead to meet voters and win re-election the old-fashioned way.

GAZETTE NOTEBOOK: In this week’s collection of short pieces from reporters, they handicap endorsements for Maryland governor from generations of prominent New York politicians; introduce Howard County Ed Priola’s campaign dinosaur; confirm that Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett can’t see Russia from his house; recap bad mustache luck; and reveal the frustrated college professor inside Ehrlich.

BOOZE TAX: Editorial writers for the Howard County Times urge state lawmakers to resist the booze lobby and impose the 10-cents-a-drink liquor tax.

HARRIS TRIAL: Sun reporter Nick Madigan blogs that the prosecution lays out impassioned closing arguments in the trial of three people charged with murdering former City Councilman Ken Harris. Brendan Kearney writes the story for the Daily Record.

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