State Roundup, October 15, 2010

DEBATE NO. 2: Bob Ehrlich, needing to quickly gain ground in the Maryland governor’s race, repeatedly lashed out at incumbent Martin O’Malley in Thursday’s debate, accusing him of mishandling the state economy and supporting a group facilitating illegal immigration. Aaron Davis and John Wagner of the Post report that it was a sign Ehrlich was trying to close the gap on O’Malley’s double-digit lead in the polls.

The two sniped at each other in their second and likely final televised debate, while focusing on transportation, immigration, the Redskins and other issues dear to the Washington suburbs, report Annie Linskey and Julie Bykowicz of the Sun.

The two also drew clear distinctions about their views on illegal immigration, gay marriage and even the Washington Redskins, reports Joseph Weber for the Washington Times. Ehrlich berated O’Malley for calling illegal immigrants “new Americans,” writes Hayley Peterson of the Washington Examiner. So does Brian Griffiths of Red Maryland.

Here’s Annie Linskey real-time blog during the debate. Scroll down to read reader comments. Brian Witte of the Associated Press attended the debate. His piece runs in the Salisbury Daily Times. John Rydell of WBFF-TV said the two came out swinging.

WATCH IT HERE: Watch the hourlong debate here, which was hosted by the Washington Post, WUSA-Channel 9 and WAMU

ANALYZE THIS: Len Lazarick of finds that despite a teensy bit of news leaking out of the debate, the candidates come up short again on policy plans. The Post’s Mike DeBonis does the blow-by-blow analysis here.

FACT-CHECKS: The Post does a fact-check on the candidates’ assertions. Even before the debate began, Ann Marimow of the Post does a quick fact-check on an O’Malley handout. The Sun’s Annie Linskey also fact-checks the candidates’ claims and blames. And Andy Green of the Sun cuts through the rhetoric to answer the question: Which candidate is right about the attempted state take-over of 11 Baltimore city schools?

DEBATE FOLLOWUP: John Wagner of the Post answered readers’ questions following the debate.

EHRLICH IMPROVES: Sun TV critic David Zurawik says Ehrlich came off looking more telegenic and focused than in Monday’s debate.

YOUR VIEWS: Weigh in with your own views of the debate with the Post’s non-scientific poll.

RADIO DEBATES: O’Malley and Ehrlich take their debates to radio next week. The Gazette’s Alan Brody examined the strengths and weaknesses of that debate format.

DEBATES IN REVIEW: Two Gazette columnists analyze the first debate between Ehrlich and O’Malley. Barry Rascovar opines that O’Malley appeared “cool” on his televised debates — showing the appearance of a confident and competent state leader. Ehrlich, on the other hand, did not. Laslo Boyd comments on the lack of new information presented at the debate, and states that the “winner” was most likely whoever the viewer preferred before seeing the debate.

MONTGOMERY COUNTY: Despite Ehrlich’s earlier efforts to invigorate Montgomery County voters, analysts tell The Gazette’s Erin Cunningham that through his positions on the Purple Line and funding for the county schools, it looks like the Republican gubernatorial nominee is abandoning them.

BALTIMORE COUNTY: Baltimore County — Ehrlich’s home turf — is likely to once again play a pivotal role in the gubernatorial election, reports The Gazette’s Jeff Newman.

EHRLICH ON DBED: Ehrlich tells Nick Sohr of the Daily Record that he would clean out Maryland’s business regulation arm with a “power hose” and repurpose the “dormant” Department of Business and Economic Development if given another shot at running the state.

PSC TAKES CENTER STAGE: With dueling O’Malley and Ehrlich ads about assigning blame about a Baltimore Gas and Electric rate increase, the Public Services Commission — appointed by the governor to regulate utilities — is taking a central part in the gubernatorial race, reports The Gazette’s Margie Hyslop.

BLACK VOTERS: The Daily Record runs an AP article about the fact that African-American voters could sway as many as 20 U.S. House races.

VOTER CHANGES: C. Fraser Smith writes for the Daily Record that the voter calculus changes in a year of uncertainty.

ON MIKULSKI: WBAL-TV’s Kate Amara profiles U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski.

37B HOUSE: With one shoo-in and two contenders vying for a second seat, the District 37B delegates race is gearing up, reports Sarah Lake of the Salisbury Daily Times.

KRATOVIL BUCKS: National Democrats are still pouring money into the reelection bid of freshman U.S. Rep. Frank Kratovil, even though they have given up on other races, blogs Ben Pershing of the Post.

HOYER-LOLLAR DEBATE: The Center for the Study of Democracy and the St. Mary’s County Branch of the NAACP will sponsor a forum between Democratic U.S. House majority leader Steny Hoyer and Republican challenger Charles Lollar on Friday, Oct. 29th. It will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Auerbach Auditorium in St. Mary’s Hall, Todd Eberly blogs for The Freestater.

LEOPOLD ON ILLEGALS: Among the items in the Annapolis Capital’s Political Notes: Arundel County Exec John Leopold is touting his record against illegal immigration.

1 GOAL, 2 PATHS: The Sun’s Larry Carson reports that with less than three weeks to go, Howard County Exec Ken Ulman and rival Trent Kittleman are pursuing different paths to hoped-for victory.

STATE’S ATTY: In the race for Baltimore County state’s attorney, a rematch of the 2006 contest between Scott Shellenberger and Stephen Bailey, law-and-order issues have taken a back seat to accusations of wasteful spending. Raven Hill reports the story for the Sun.

AMBULANCE FEE ISSUE:Montgomery County Exec Ike Leggett says that uniformed firefighters can distribute information on ambulance fees leading up to a countywide referendum on the issue, leaving many people wondering if they should, reports The Gazette’s Erin Cunningham.

FREE PUBLIC SCHOOLS? State Board of Education President James H. DeGraffenreidt Jr. has asked all of the state’s schools to send information on course fees, how they are set, and if they can be waived, to determine if the schools are meeting the constitutional requirement of providing a free public education, reports The Gazette’s Andrew Ujifusa.

CURRIE OPPONENT: Jennifer Lowery-Bell, the retired nurse who has filed as a write-in candidate against indicted state Sen. Ulysses Currie, tells The Gazette’s Daniel Valentine that she believes in “honesty and integrity.”

NEW HELICOPTERS: The Board of Public Works is set to consider a $72.2 million contract for six new medevac helicopters next week, reports The Gazette’s C. Benjamin Ford.

GAZETTE NOTEBOOK: Gazette reporters give the rundown on the “1,000 Women” rally — for Gov. O’Malley, Sen. Barbara Mikulski, and surprisingly, The Redskins; Ike Leggett loves his wife the most; Gansler and Delaware AG Beau Biden raising money in Potomac next week; and Republican District 16 Senate candidate Jerry Cave publishes a 35-page campaign magazine.

SLOTS PLANS: Celebrity chef Bobby Flay, a Maryland-based entertainment venue and three restaurants will round out the offerings at the Cordish Cos.’ planned casino at Arundel Mills mall, company officials announced, writes Nicole Fuller for the Sun. Daniel Senovitz writes the story for the BBJ.

FORECLOSURE MESS: The Gazette’s C. Benjamin Ford explains how Attorney General Doug Gansler’s office is working to untangle mortgage forclosures, an issue his spokeswoman called a “freaking mess”

REACTOR REACTION: Opinionmakers at the Capital say that the collapse of plans for a new nuclear reactor spells bad news for the state.

HOYER PRAISED: House of Representatives Majority Leader Steny Hoyer had praise heaped upon him by military leaders for showing them the importance of southern Maryland’s military bases by shepherding them through BRAC, reports The Gazette’s Jeff Newman.

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