State Roundup, October 25, 2010

O’MALLEY BREAKING AWAY: Gov. Martin O’Malley has opened a 14-point lead over former Gov. Bob Ehrlich, solidifying his Democratic base and winning over independents while his rival struggles to capitalize on voter anger that is propelling Republicans in other parts of the country, according to two new polls — one from the Baltimore Sun, the other by the Washington Post.

Julie Bykowicz and Annie Linskey write the story for the Sun.

The Post’s Aaron Davis and Jon Cohen write that Ehrlich has failed to capitalize on continuing anxiety over the economy.

Take a look at the stats from the Post poll. The margin of error is 2.5 percentage points. And the Post reprints the questions and results from its poll.

Suzanne Collins of WJZ-TV reports on the Sun poll and includes comments from the candidates.

TOUGH ECONOMY: Aaron Davis of the Washington Post writes that tough economic times don’t translate into votes for Ehrlich. Davis also interviews O’Malley and Ehrlich on jobs and the economy.

REACTION: Ehrlich’s camp questions the accuracy of the poll, pointing to other recent polls that have shown the candidates to be in a tighter race. O’Malley’s people say that it proves “Maryland families are rejecting Bob Ehrlich’s failed policies,” Julie Bykowicz blogs for the Sun. And Andy Green in his Second Opinion column for the Sun writes that while the O’Malley numbers are surprising, there is nothing to indicate that they are unrealistic.

CRIME STANDS: The Sun’s Julie Bykowicz writes about the fact that O’Malley and Ehrlich have crossed political boundaries when it comes to crime and punishment, with O’Malley taking a tougher anti-crime stance and Ehrlich focussing on rehabilitation.

BAY STANDS: While Ehrlich and O’Malley tout their environmental records, it’s not clear that the environment will influence voters in this election, Pamela Wood reports for the Capital.

ON TRANSPORTATION: The divide between O’Malley and Ehrlich has been most visible in their positions on transit lines planned for Baltimore and the Washington suburbs, reports Nick Sohr of the Daily Record.

GUILIANI HERE FOR BOB: Calling O’Malley “the most anti-business governor in the country,” former NYC Mayor Rudy Guiliani came to Montgomery County Sunday to stump for Ehrlich. The theme of the rally, writes Annie Linskey of the Sun: Don’t be distracted by recent political polls and go vote.

The Sun’s Barbara Haddock Taylor offers up this photo gallery of the event.

BUCKS RAISED: O’Malley has raised more than $1.6 million since the end of August and had about $1.1 million in the bank as of last week to finance the rest of his reelection bid, his campaign said Friday. Ehrlich outraised him by more than $1 million in that period of time, Julie Bykowicz blogs for the Sun.

AD BUYS UP: Ehrlich has increased his ad spending dramatically in the six weeks — $2.6 million on advertising on television and other media, up from $100,000 between April and September, blogs Matthew Brown of the Sun. O’Malley, meanwhile, has spent nearly $6 million on media buys since Aug. 30, according to summary campaign finance data, blogs Aaron Davis of the Post.

DGA AD PRO-EHRLICH? The Sun’s Annie Linskey blogs that the Ehrlich camp says an ad by the Democratic Governors Association running in Rhode Island makes a good case for voting for Ehrlich. Read the blog then view the ad here.

ROAD TRIP: Ehrlich launched a campaign road trip from downtown Cumberland Saturday morning, rallying voters with a message of lower taxes and job creation, writes Megan Miller of the Cumberland Times News.

BOB-FEST: Marie Gilbert of the Hagerstown Herald Mail reports that a GOP meet-and-greet in Boonsboro turned into a Bob-fest with the former governor’s attendance. Scroll down, then click on the video link on the right to see and hear Ehrlich at the event.

EARLY VOTING HEAVY: Julie Bykowicz blogs for the Sun that early voting statewide is heavy.

Baltimore County also is reporting heavier than expected early voting. “I am amazed at the turnout. What a big difference from the primary … more people showed up [to vote] in the first two hours today than in the entire primary election,” Sonia Austin, Democratic chief judge of elections at the Towson polling station said Friday, reports Steve Schuster of the Towson Times.

Want to vote early but don’t know how or where? Check out this link.

REV UP THE VOTE: The Democratic and Republican parties revved up their political machinery in Maryland to boost early voting turnout, reports Aaron Davis and John Wagner of the Post.

VOTE ON: In an op-ed piece for the Salisbury Daily Times, Geoff Smoot writes that voter turnout, especially for progressives, is important in this election.

IT’S THE ECONOMY: Maryland has endured a bruising recession better than many other states, but voters here are still wary over the economy and personal finances, the recent Sun poll shows. Gus Sementes writes the story.

FLIER FUN: The Capital’s Eric Hartley offers humorous and informative education on how to decipher the reality behind the claims of all those campaign fliers that are showing up in your postal box.

BE A PUNDIT: Center Maryland gives readers another chance at being the Supreme Pundit by predicting the results of the November election.

CON-CON CONS: Megan Poinski of writes that it is unlikely that Maryland voters will chose to convene a constitutional convention this election year. Jessica Anderson of the Sun reports that some experts say the referendum to launch the process of revising the state constitution will be a hard sell since there are no “galvanizing issues” that mobilize voters.

CON-CON PROS: Brian Griffiths of Red Maryland offers some reasons why you should vote for a constitutional convention.

NO DEBATE: Ben Pershing of the Post writes that there is one thing on which U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski and her opponent, Queen Anne’s County Commissioner Eric Wargotz, agree — they won’t be convening for any full-fledged debates before Election Day.

SUN FOR MIKULSKI: Pugnacious and proud of it, Barbara Mikulski, the one-time crusader against a highway, merits a historic reelection to the U.S. Senate, opines the Sun’s editorial board.

HOUSE Q&A: The Hagerstown Herald Mail asked the four candidates for U.S. House of Representatives for the 6th District questions from the economy to privatizing Social Security. Their answers can be found here.

SUN BACKS KRATOVIL: In endorsing U.S. Rep. Frank Kratovil for a second term, the Sun editorial board writes that Kratovil went to Washington promising to put his constituents above his party, and he’s accomplished that.

OUT SPENDING: Capital News Service reporter Richard Abdill reports the campaign bills of Kratovil and Harris far exceed other House races in the state.

BIDEN FOR KRATOVIL: VP Joe Biden will headline a fundraiser on Thursday for Kratovil, Paul West blogs for the Sun.

42nd DISTRICT: Republican Party strategists are targeting Baltimore County’s 42nd District Senate seat held by Jim Brochin, hoping Kevin Carney can ride support for Ehrlich to victory, writes Barbara Pash for

JACOBS-HELTON: He authorized robo-calls criticizing her for missing key legislative votes; she started a website of supporters, featuring testimony from his ex-wife. Art Helton and Nancy Jacobs have reignited their old rivalry in state Senate race for District 34, writes Brian Goodman of The Dagger.

STATE SENATE Q&A: The Hagerstown Herald Mail asked candidates for state Senate from District 1 eight questions on issues from state spending cuts to changes in the state pension system.

TAX SQUABBLE: A squabble between two state delegate candidates from Washington County over a “no-tax” pledge has intensified, drawing in other elected officials and a national conservative activist, reports Andrew Schotz for the Herald Mail.

HOCO STATEHOUSE: Lots of politicians running for election shade their positions to seem friendlier to whatever group they are addressing, but don’t count Democratic state Sen. Jim Robey among them in Howard County, writes Sun’s Larry Carson in this profile of several candidates in state House and Senate races.

DISTRICT 5: The economy and the business climate are key factors as two old schoolmates face each other to replace retiring state Sen. Larry Haines in District 5, writes Pat van den Beemt of the Carroll Eagle.

DISTRICT 38A: Liz Holland of the Salisbury Daily Times reports that agriculture is one focus in the race to fill the seat of late state Del. Page Elmore.

DISTINCT CHOICE IN AA: The three-way race for Anne Arundel county executive offers voters a choice among a well-known incumbent with a dedication to constituent service, a businesswoman with a no-nonsense approach to county government but little name recognition, and a community activist and environmentalist turned politician, Erin Cox reports for the Annapolis Capital.

CONTI ATTACKS: In the Anne Arundel County executive race, campaign literature for Democrat Joanna Conti is reminding voters about the sexual harassment accusations against incumbent Republican John Leopold.

ULMAN’S BIG BUCKS: Ken Ulman raised so much more money in the past seven weeks than Trent Kittleman, his rival for Howard County executive, that she burst into laughter upon hearing the numbers, reports the Sun’s Larry Carson.

WICO CO EXEC: Greg Latshaw of the Salisbury Daily Times gives the two candidates vying to become the next county executive for Wicomico lots of space to explain their visions and their views.

MACIARELLO ENDORSED: The Salisbury Daily Times editorial board endorses Matt Maciarello as the better choice for Wicomico state’s attorney.

REELECT JUDGES: Incumbent Circuit Court Judges Ronald Jarashow and Laura Kiessling, appointed to the bench by O’Malley and forced to stand for reelection, should be reelected, opines the editorial board of the Capital.

SENSIBLE PROPOSALS: As in past years, the Frederick County Commissioners spent months crafting 22 pieces of legislation that, because of the county’s outmoded form of government, must go before the Maryland General Assembly for approval. Because of the election, the package will be reworked by the new board. Only legislation of direct impact on Frederick County — sensible, feasible legislation — should remain, maximizing the chances of passage, editorial writers for the Frederick News Post say.

LOTS FOR SLOTS: Daniel Sernovitz reports for the Baltimore Business Journal that a proposed slots parlor to be built at Arundel Mills gained support from a trio of unions representing Anne Arundel County teachers, police and firefighters. And Elisha Sauers of the Capital reports that three dozen Arundel County employers are backing slots and doing so at their offices.

Meanwhile, voters in Anne Arundel County are nearly evenly split on a ballot referendum that will decide the fate of the planned billion-dollar slots casino and entertainment complex, Nicole Fuller of the Sun writes about a new Sun poll. There’s also a clickable video interview by the Sun’s David Nitkin with Steve Raabe of OpinionWorks.

And you can view a graphic of the poll results here.

NOT FOR SLOTS: Adam May of WJZ-TV reports that a Glen Burnie man has been charged with stealing lawn signs urging voters to approve a slots parlor. He was caught on tape and you can view that as well. And slots opponents hope other foes will vote early, writes Ben Weathers of the Capital.

RED DAMASCUS: In a corner of northern Montgomery County, Damascus remains a bastion of conservative sentiment, writes Michael Laris of the Post. If you’ve never been there, take this photo tour of the area, shot by Katherine Frey of the Post.

WHY STATE CENTER? With a half-empty 15-story Redwood Tower in downtown Baltimore, brokers and landlords wonder why the state should build the new State Center, writes Lorraine Mirabella in the Sun.

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