State Roundup, October 28, 2010

HIS LAST RACE?: While just last week, Republican Bob Ehrlich was looking toward his first day back in the Governor’s Mansion, he now says he is unlikely to run for public office again if he loses the race for governor on Tuesday to incumbent Martin O’Malley, characterizing the election as “up or out” for him, John Wagner blogs for the Post. This item is confirmed by the Sun’s Childs Walker, who adds that Ehrlich said he’s also finding it harder to be away from his children and he has attractive fallbacks in his WBAL radio show and private sector legal work.

Whichever way it goes, Ehrlich will spend election night at the State Fairgrounds in Timonium, the Towson Times reports.

VIDEO INTERVIEWS: Here’s video from the Sun editorial board shot during interviews with O’Malley and Ehrlich as they talk about the Chesapeake Bay and the environment. presents the 2nd part of its interview with O’Malley. The sound was poor this morning, but we’ve asked them to fix it.

KANE IN SHADOWS? Mike DeBonis of the Washington Post profile Ehrlich running mate Mary Kane, whose moderate views make her a boon to the ticket, but who seems to be in the shadows.

FINANCIAL DISCLOSURES: has posted the financial disclosure documents for all 13 candidates for governor, lieutenant governor, comptroller and attorney general. The disclosures themselves do not reveal many surprises, report Megan Poinski and Len Lazarick, but Megan Poinski details how difficult they were to get.

EARLY VOTING: Though early voting for the general election does not end until tonight, the turnout already has nearly doubled the early voting turnout during the primary election in Howard County, the Columbia Flier reports.  In Frederick County, 3,500 have already voted early, reports Sherry Greenfield of the Gazette.

With just six days till the election, WJZ-TV’s Pat Warren reports on how early voting could effect the outcome of key races.

AMENDMENTS: There are three amendments to the Maryland Constitution up for consideration. The Post explains them.

ROBOCALLS: They are annoying and may be ineffective. But robocalls aren’t going away. Julie Bykowicz of the Sun writes, “Think of it as auditory spam: With less than a week to go until Election Day, robocalls are peaking.”

ROBOCALL RE-CALL: The Sun is seeking true stories of robocalls you’ve received this political season. Share your stories here.

SHARE THE WEALTH: Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, a Democrat, and Michael Steele, chairman of the Republican National Committee, are sharing their largesse with those hopefuls who are less fortunate, reports the Sun’s Larry Carson.

WARGOTZ RAP: The Sun’s Laura Vozzella hits on several campaign topics, including Ehrlich’s humorous comeback to O’Malley’s “new Americans” phrase. But the topper is about Dr. Eric Wargotz, who is seeking U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski’s seat. Wargotz’s three children created a campaign rap song, which he videotaped. View the video on YouTube.

ONE PRICEY RACE: The down-to-the-wire rematch between Frank Kratovil and Andy Harris for Maryland’s easternmost congressional seat is now one of the 10 most expensive House races in the nation in terms of spending by outside groups, blogs Paul West of the Sun. Brian Hughes of the Washington Examiner calls this race “a bellwether of the national mood that is too close to call.”

TEA PARTY IN HARFORD: The Dagger writes up this item from Tony Passaro, publisher of “Tea Party Views”: “Under the light of a full moon, approximately 500 of the Tea Party faithful came together on a balmy Fall evening to listen to election eve speeches at a local grass roots ‘Now or Never’ rally.” Speakers included Kendel Ehrlich and Ellen Sauerbrey.

‘FRAUDSTER’ SHE SAID: Republican Del. Tony McConkey’s Democratic challenger Madonna Brennan unleashed a scathing attack on McConkey, calling him a “bi-partisan fraudster” in response to reports that that a state agency suspended his real estate license, the Sun’s Nicole Fuller reports.

BALTO COUNTY FORUM: County exec candidates Democrat Kevin Kamenetz and Republican Kenneth Holt sparred at a Wednesday night forum and showed striking differences, reports’s Barbara Pash.

ILLEGAL TUITION: Del. Pat McDonough is asking Maryland authorities to investigate whether Montgomery College is breaking the law by allowing illegal immigrants to enroll as county residents and therefore obtain lower in-county fees, Daniel de Vise reports in the Post. Andrea Siegel of the Sun writes that McDonough said an audit at the college concluded the cost of the benefit might have topped $2 million for about 11,000 credit hours during the past academic year.

Suzanne Collins of WJZ-TV has the video report.

INCUMBENT DOLLARS: If campaign funds are any indication, challengers in most of the races in Howard County will have a tough time unseating incumbents in next week’s election, writes Lindsey McPherson for the Columbia Flier.

CAMPAIGN DEBT: Even after the last ballot is counted, some candidates may still have a lingering reminder of the campaign season: debt. Candidates running for major races in the three Lower Shore counties have accumulated $24,936 in financial obligations exceeding the cash they have on hand, a review of campaign finance records shows, Jennifer Shutt of the Salisbury Daily Times reports.

WICOMICO CHARTER: Sarah Lake of the Salisbury Daily Times reports on the four Wicomico County charter amendments that will be listed as ballot questions. If they pass, they will become effective within 30 days.

MATHIAS BACKED: In the state Senate race for the Lower Shore, the Salisbury Daily Times editorial board is endorsing Jim Mathias.

SMITH POWER: Although Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith is not on the ballot next week, he still has considerable power in this year’s election, reports John Rydell of WBFF-TV.

BAKER BUCKS: Rushern Baker spent $1.3 million on his successful bid during the Prince George’s County exec primary, writes Daniel Valentine of the Gazette.

BALT CO ENDORSEMENTS: Among the Baltimore County races, the Sun editorial board endorses Kevin Kamenetz for county exec. Scroll further in the editorial for its council endorsements.

ARUNDEL ENDORSEMENTS: The Sun editorial board praises John Leopold as county exec, but — in light of a harassment lawsuit — refuses to endorse anyone. Read further for its council endorsements. The Annapolis Capital makes its council endorsements, and throws in one for Peter Franchot for state comptroller to boot.

SPARROWS POINT: Gov. O’Malley, U.S. Sens. Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski, U.S. Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger and John Sarbanes, Baltimore County Exec Jim Smith and the “Eastside” delegation from the General Assembly offered “to do whatever is possible” to help the Russian owner of the Sparrows Point steel mill, while the company repeated its complaint that a slow economy and expensive raw materials have forced the shutdown of most of the mill, Mark Ruetter reports for the Baltimore Brew.

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