State Roundup, October 11, 2010

DEBATE PREGAME: For the first time in this campaign, Gov. Martin O’Malley and former Gov. Bob Ehrlich will be meeting in a debate on WJZ. The Sun’s Annie Linskey and Jean Marbella handicap each party’s likely strategies. Ehrlich needs to build momentum and be likeable, while O’Malley needs to energize his voting base. Gubernatorial candidates from the Green, Libertarian and Constitution parties are also demanding to be a part of the debate, Julie Bykowicz blogs for The Sun.

For six months this gubernatorial campaign has dragged along with precious little detail about the hard choices that lie ahead now that special funds have been emptied, and the feds are unlikely to come to the rescue. Today’s debate is unlikely to change that, writes Len Lazarick of And opinionators for the Sun say that the debate will not force the candidates to make their campaigns more relevant.

MORE DEBATES: WOLB radio host Larry Young said that both O’Malley and Ehrlich have agreed to a second debate on his show on Oct. 21, reports The Sun’s Julie Bykowicz. WMAR runs the Associated Press story about the radio debate. AP reporter Brian Witte reports on WTOP’s website that a third debate — on Oct. 22 and broadcast on WTOP — has also been agreed to.

ODDS ON ENVIRONMENT: Ehrlich and O’Malley both say they are dedicated to restoring the Chesapeake Bay, each can point to actions he’s taken as governor to help the ailing body of water. But both take pains to point out the differences. And when it comes to other environmental issues, such as climate change and clean energy, they’re even more at odds, Timothy Wheeler reports for the Sun.

COMMERCIAL WARS: The Sun’s TV columnist David Zurawik takes a look at the battles Ehrlich and O’Malley are fighting on the airwaves.

RASMUSSEN ON POLL: Pollster Scott Rasmussen, who projected last week that O’Malley will be re-elected, talked to WBAL’s Bruce Elliott about his predictions for Election Day. Read the story and listen to audio here.

O’MALLEY IN MOUNTAINS: O’Malley led a rally for Garrett County Democrats on Saturday, Megan Miller reports in the Cumberland Times-News. The governor visited corrections facilities near Hagerstown as part of his Western Maryland Swing, Heather Keels in the Herald-Mail.

EHRLICH COURTS WOMEN: Ehrlich on Friday spent a second day reaching out to female voters, spending some time at the home of the president of Moms for Maryland, reports The Post’s John Wagner.

HOW TO CHOOSE: The editorial board for the Frederick News Post urges voters to choose the gubernatorial candidate who they believe will best lead the state out of this gloomy economy.

REGISTER NOW: The deadline to register to vote in the Nov. 2 general election is tomorrow, Adam Bednar of the Carroll County Times reminds.

OBAMA RETURNS: One day after his rally to support O’Malley and other Democratic candidates, President Obama returned to Maryland on Friday, reports The Sun’s Paul West. Obama came to Bladensburg to talk about jobless figures. The Post’s Aaron Davis also writes about the president’s return trip.

NEGOTIATING POWER?: Following reports that Constellation Energy shelved its proposal to build a new reactor at its Calvert Cliffs nuclear power plant because “unworkable” loan guarantee terms from the Obama administration, Ehrlich blamed O’Malley for not interceding and negotiating a better loan, reports The Post’s John Wagner.

KRATOVIL ENDORSEMENTS: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has invested $168,841 in U.S. Rep. Frank Kratovil’s hotly contested re-election campaign, reports The Sun’s Paul West. West blogs that this is part of about $2 million that the Chamber is giving to “blue-dog” Democrat candidates nationwide. On WBAL on Friday, Kratovil’s opponent Andy Harris said he is baffled by Kratovil endorsements from the National Rifle Association and Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Meanwhile, the White House intensified its attacks on the powerful Chamber of Commerce for its alleged ties to foreign donors, part of an escalating Democratic effort to link Republican allies with corporate and overseas interests ahead of the November midterm elections, Dan Eggen and Scott Wilson report for the Post. White House advisor David Axelrod defended the administration’s attacks, saying it can’t be known if the Chamber is taking overseas funds because of campaign-finance laws and First Amendment and privacy issues, reports Joseph Weber of the Washington Times.

HARRIS PROFILE: WBAL has video profile of Kratovil’s Republican challenger Andy Harris. Kratovil was profiled on Thursday.

WICOMICO FORUM: Wicomico voters will have a chance to hear from Maryland General Assembly incumbents and challengers for Districts 37 and 38 on the same stage at a Wednesday night forum, Greg Latshaw of the Salisbury Daily Times.

LEOPOLD RACE: In the race for Anne Arundel County executive, Democrat Joanna Conti has begun sending out mailers that criticize incumbent Republican John Leopold for his treatment of women. Erin Cox reports in the Capital.

HOCO EXEC RACE: The Sun’s Larry Carson examines the battle between incumbent Democrat Ken Ulman and Republican challenger Trent Kittleman to be the next Howard County executive.

JOE LIKES KEN: Baltimore County Councilman Joe Bartenfelder, defeated in the Democratic primary for county executive by Kevin Kamenetz, sure likes GOP nominee Ken Holt, calling him “a person of honesty and integrity.” But he added that this isn’t an endorsement. Maryann James blogs for the Sun.

SLOTS REFERENDUM: Both sides of the referendum question about a slot machine casino at Arundel Mills Mall have poured millions into the campaign so far — $2.6 million for the casino, $3.3 million against it — reports The Post’s John Wagner. Members of No Slots at the Mall, opposed to the referendum, fired back at criticism that their TV ads were misleading, reports The Sun’s Nicole Fuller. Erin Cox of the Annapolis Capital reports that the group fighting a casino at Arundel Mills mall fought back against allegations their campaign has lied to the public, accusing the other side of misleading voters. WBAL also reports on the group’s reaction. WBFF did its own report on the controversy.

ICC E-ZPASS: In preparation for opening the Inter-County Connector as a toll road, the state opened E-ZPass centers at MVA offices in Beltsville and Gaithersburg, writes The Post’s traffic columnist “Dr. G.” Drivers also can open an account online at

HALT FORECLOSURES: Maryland’s Congressional delegation joined O’Malley, U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, and Attorney General Doug Gansler in demanding a temporary moratorium on foreclosures from the Maryland Court of Appeals, reports WBAL.

MARYLANDREPORTER.COM SURVEY: Tell the editors at what you think about the publication.

FUNERAL PROTEST CASE: For the first time ever, the U.S. Supreme Court released recordings of arguments on the case testing whether religious fundamentalists’ protests outside the funeral of a Maryland Marine were protected by the First Amendment, reports WJZ’s Mary Bubala. WBAL has audio of portions of the arguments, and links to an audio file of all of it.

ROSES FOR ROSA: At the bill signing ceremony for “Rosa’s Law,” a bill co-sponsored by Sen. Barbara Mikulski that changes the phrase “mentally retarded” to “intellectual disability” in federal law, Obama congratulated the law’s namesake: 9-year-old Rosa Marcellino from Edgewater, reports The Sun’s Paul West. Rosa has Down syndrome.

HARRIS CONVICTIONS: Two of the three men on trial for the 2008 murder of former Baltimore City Councilman Ken Harris were convicted of murder, assault, robbery and weapons charges Friday night, reports The Sun’s Tricia Bishop and Nick Madigan. A third man was found not guilty of murder, but convicted of other charges. The Sun has video of reaction from Harris’ wife Annette, as well as the attorneys who argued both sides of the case. WBAL-TV also has video about the verdicts. WMAR’s Roosevelt Leftwich reported from the scene, as did WBFF’s Joy Lepola. WJZ’s Mike Hellgren also filed a report.

FORMER CANDIDATE CHARGED: Jerry Mathis, an unsuccessful candidate for Prince George’s County Council, was charged with three misdemeanor counts of distributing campaign materials without proper authority lines, reports The Post’s Miranda Spivack.

TUITION RISE: Maryland’s community colleges have not been able to match their four-year counterparts with a total freeze in tuition hikes during the economic downturn, due to drops in state and local funding, reports Megan Poinski of

ORPHANS’ COURT: Dan Rodricks follows up last week’s Sun column on the Orphan’s Court with an interesting tidbit: One candidate could win the race — and lose it on the same day.

TERRAPIN SURVIVAL: Schools in Maryland are raising tiny terrapin turtles that get released into the Chesapeake Bay, but it appears that not many are surviving, a scientist said, according to Pam Wood in the Annapolis Capital.

ALLEGANY COURT: A new Allegany County District Court building built by a public-private partnership with nonprofit groups won praise from Comptroller Peter Franchot, Jeffrey Alderton reports in the Cumberland Times-News.

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