State Roundup, October 7, 2010

CUT ED FUNDS: Republican former Gov. Bob Ehrlich says he would chop $126 million in education funding that goes primarily to Baltimore and Montgomery and Prince George’s counties and use the savings to offset a penny rollback to the state’s sales tax, Annie Linskey reports for the Sun. She blogs that Ehrlich was repeating a pledge he made last week. At WTOP-Radio, Brian Witte of the Associated Press gives an interesting detailed history of these education funds and the two candidates’ views on them.

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett and Rushern Baker, the presumptive next Prince George’s County executive, held a joint press conference to protest Ehrlich’s proposal, Daniel Valentine reports for the Gazette. Here’s Leggett’s written statement on the issue, blogs Adam Pagnucco in Maryland Politics Watch.

SLOTS AN ISSUE: The Arundel County gambling debate is now part of the governor’s race, with a new ad from Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley attacking former gov Ehrlich for his law firm’s work on efforts to put slot machines at Arundel Mills mall, Liam Farrell reports for the Annapolis Capital. O’Malley has called on Ehrlich to “come clean” about the work on behalf of a casino developer seeking to build a slots parlor at Arundel Mills Mall. The campaign suggested that it had been stymied in its efforts to obtain records that would show contact between Anne Arundel County’s elected officials and employees of Ehrlich’s law firm, Ann Marimow of the Post reports.

SLOTS SPEECH: Following up yesterday’s news, Erin Cox of the Capital reports that Attorney General Doug Ganzler says that the right to free speech allows gambling giants fighting over the proposed Arundel Mills casino to continue pouring millions of dollars into the campaign.

HOCO CENTRAL: Howard County is seen as an important battleground in determining who will be the next governor of Maryland, writes Lindsey McPherson of the Columbia Flier.

OBAMA HERE: President Obama swoops into Maryland today with one task: Energize the Democratic base for O’Malley, blogs Annie Linskey of the Sun. If you missed the rally, you can watch taped TV coverage of it at 11 p.m. tonight  on C-SPAN, David Zurawik writes.

EHRLICH TV: Ehrlich begins airing his first TV ads in the Washington region, two weeks behind O’Malley, John Wagner blogs for the Post.

AD FACT-CHECK: The Post begins a weekly fact-check of campaign ads in the governor’s race. Ann Marimow check the facts on the candidates’ claims on higher education.

GREEN GOV CANDIDATE: While all the headlines in the race for the governor’s mansion has been the rematch between O’Malley and Ehrlich, Maria Allwine, the Green Party candidate, has been virtually ignored. The Marc Steiner Show on WEAA-Radio hosts Allwine, who discussed her solutions for Maryland’s economic woes, the extent that our two party system shuts out third-party candidates and what steps she would take if she were elected governor.

EHRLICH ON DELMARVA: In Steiner’s weekly segment, On Delmarva, Ehrlich talks about the issues that affect the Eastern Shore, including rehabilitating the oyster population in the bay, to taking a look at the future of development.

KATIE MINI-COOPER: First lady Katie O’Malley would rather have a Mini-Cooper christened in her name than the governor’s campaign RV, blogs Ann Marimow of the Post.

TIGHT RACE: Republican challenger Andy Harris holds an insignificant lead over incumbent Democrat Frank Kratovil in the race for Congress in Maryland’s easternmost district, according to a new poll, blogs Paul West of the Sun. Here’s a link to the results. Pat Warren of WJZ-TV interviews both Kratovil and Harris concerning campaign ads that some say is mudslinging.

3rd PARTIES IN 6th DISTRICT: Andrew Schotz of the Hagerstown Herald-Mail profiles Michael Reed, the Constitution Party candidate, and Dan Massey, of the Libertarian Party. Both are running for the 6th Congressional District held by incumbent Republican Roscoe Bartlett, and will also face Democrat Andrew Duck.

TEA IN HOWARD: The Tea Party movement has made its way into Howard County politics., reports Lindsey McPherson for the Howard County Times.

POLITICS & RELIGION: For the past three decades, an Ellicott City church has invited local political candidates to visit its congregation during each election year and meet its parishioners, writes Kellie Woodhouse of the Columbia Flier.

HOCO TRIO: Trent Kittleman, Bob Flanagan and Dennis Schrader all worked under the Ehrlich administration. Now, the trio of Howard County Republicans has teamed up again to run for seats in the county’s local government, Lindsey McPherson writes for the Columbia Flier. Len Lazarick of writes about the latest Gonzales poll that finds a tightening race for county exec between Kittleman and incumbent Ken Ulman. Here’s McPherson story on the Flanagan-Watson race for council.

ROLLE VIABLE? While some question the viability of Scott Rolle’s bid for District 3A in the House of Delegates — after he had dropped out, but still won — the former Frederick County state’s attorney says he is energized and intends to run without raising money, Katherine Heerbrant of the Gazette reports.

WICOMICO CRIME: Getting violent crime under control has emerged as a hot-button issue in Wicomico County this election season, reports Greg Latshaw of the Salisbury Daily Times. Candidates for county executive, state’s attorney and County Council gave insight into their crime-fighting strategies at a recent forum.

DISTRICT 37A: One candidate is riding on his experience, the other is touting a fresh, young mind. But both agree that agriculture and the economy are important issues in their district. Incumbent state Del. Rudy Cane has held the seat for 12 years and is facing off against Republican Dustin Mills, 25, writes Sarah Lake for the Salisbury Daily Times.

ORPHANS COURT: Sun columnist Dan Rodricks discusses the strange case of the Orphans Court. In most jurisdictions, these elected judges don’t have to be lawyers.

DJS AUDIT: A harsh audit of the Department of Juvenile Services finds millions in federal aid lost, contracts without proper approval, and employees and contractors overpaid, writes Megan Poinski for The audit report says that the DJS did not consistently implement or review treatment plans for its young charges, Julie Bykowicz reports for the Sun. The Carroll County Times runs the AP story on the audit.

FUNERAL PROTESTS: Ben Conery of the Washington Times writes that the Supreme Court took on the year’s most emotionally charged case and, while the justices sharply questioned both sides, they gave little indication of whether they would decide if a fringe group of protesters could be sued for wielding inflammatory, anti-military signs at the funerals of troops. Christian Schaffer of WMAR-TV also reports on the case. Click on the video link to view his video report.

DEADLOCKED: Jurors weighing the case against three men accused of killing former City Councilman Ken Harris told the judge they could not reach agreement on whether the defendants are guilty of murder. They were instructed to keep trying, Nick Madigan reports for the Sun.

CALL 5-1-1: The State Highway Administration has announced it will launch a free, round-the-clock “511” telephone service to provide real-time traffic information to travelers in the state, the Sun’s Michael Dresser writes.

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