State Roundup, November 5, 2010

SECOND TERM: At Gov. O’Malley’s first Cabinet meeting after his re-election — open to the press for about 10 minutes — Budget Secretary T. Eloise Foster opened by telling agency heads, “It’s going to be a tough year,” reports The Sun’s Annie Linskey.  The Baltimore Business Journal’s Scott Dance reviews some of the tough budgeting O’Malley and his Cabinet will need to do. It will be a challenging second term for Gov. Martin O’Malley, Alan Brody reports in the Gazette.

O’Malley decisively won another four years in office. Now it’s time for him to take action and actually show how he will solve problems of tight finances, transportation, and state employee and teacher pensions, opines the Daily Record’s editorial board. 

CONCESSION BY VOICEMAIL? Members of the O’Malley camp said that a defeated former Gov. Bob Ehrlich called the governor’s mansion during O’Malley’s election night victory party and left a message on the voicemail, reports The Sun’s Laura Vozzella.

NEW LEGISLATURE: Len Lazarick at writes there will be little change at the State House. The Gazette’s Alan Brody has more on the changes in the legislature. House Speaker Michael Busch tells The Capital’s Liam Farrell that Maryland is an oasis from the tumultuous political turnover throughout the nation — meaning that Maryland has the opportunity to build and grow.

MOONEY CONCEDES: Former Frederick Mayor Ron Young is heading to Annapolis to represent District 3 in the state Senate, after incumbent Republican Alex Mooney conceded on Thursday, reports The Frederick News-Post’s Rob Snyder.

ROBOCALLS: U.S. Sen. Benjamin Cardin has asked U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate Election Day robocalls asking Democrats not to vote, reports The Sun’s Julie Bykowicz. Cardin has also asked Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy to hold a hearing on deceptive voter practices nationwide, reports The Post’s John Wagner. The Daily Record’s Nick Sohr posts audio of the robocall . WMAR posts the AP story.

FIRST DISTRICT: U.S. Rep. Frank Kratovil, the only congressional incumbent in the state to lose his seat in the election, said he has no regrets in the way he ran his campaign, reports The Sun’s Paul West. Kratovil lost to Republican state Sen. Andy Harris by a margin of 14 percentage points.

Meanwhile, Rep.-elect Andy Harris told The Sun’s Paul West he’d like the spot on the House Agriculture Committee that Kratovil had — though he’s unsure of what he’ll be offered.

Harris also told David Dishneau from the Associated Press that he will uphold his promise of opposing any and all tax increases. The story ran in The Capital.

REAPPORTIONMENT: The legislative knives are already being sharpened to carve up Maryland’s congressional districts in a way that would make it harder for Andy Harris to get re-elected to Congress, Sarah Breitenbach reports in the Gazette. It may even require a special session of the General Assembly next year.

REBUILDING THE GOP: With the loss of Bob Ehrlich, Maryland Republicans are looking for a new leader, Alan Brody reports in the Gazette.

2014: Just days after the election, political junkies are already turning their eyes to the next one, says the Gazette’s Alan Brody.

ELECTION ANALYSIS: On the Gazette’s op-ed, columnists Blair Lee and Barry Rascovar slice and dice how O’Malley won and Ehrlich lost.

ETHICS NO PROBLEM: Two candidates with ethics issues — Del. John Cardin, who used a police boat for a marriage proposal stunt last year; and Del. Anthony McConkey, whose real estate license was suspended a week before the election due to rules violations — were both re-elected by large margins, reports The Sun’s Michael Dresser.

STEELE IN SPOTLIGHT: Some Republican insiders expect that former GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin will endorse former Maryland lietuenant governor Michael Steele for another two-year term as Republican Party chairman, reports The Sun’s Paul West.  However, The Post’s Mike DeBonis writes that Steele hasn’t fulfilled a main campaign pledge: making the GOP more attractive to blacks.  The Washington Times’ Dave Berg calls Steele “the other elephant in the room.”

CAMPAIGN FINANCES: Attorney General Douglas Gansler has announced a new bipartisan committee to look at issues involving campaign finance regulations and laws. WJZ ran an AP story on the proposal.

KAMENETZ PLANS: Baltimore County Executive-elect Kevin Kamenetz will analyze the county’s finances and technology, reports The Sun’s Raven Hill. He hopes to cut spending by attrition of staff and tech projects to improve productivity. Gary Haber reports the story for the Baltimore Business Journal. Patuxent Publishing’s Steve Schuster reports that former county executive Ted Venetoulis is playing a key role on Kamenetz’s transition team. WBAL has video and audio.

ORPHANS’ COURT JUDGE FIASCO: Sitting and re-elected Baltimore City Orphans’ Court judges called Tuesday’s election to the bench of Laudette Ramona Moore Baker — who is not an attorney — “probably the worst thing that could possibly have happened to this court,” reports The Sun’s Tricia Bishop. Voters on Tuesday also passed a constitutional amendment requiring all Baltimore City Orphans’ Court judges to be attorneys.

CORDISH WANTS RACETRACKS: Days after voters greenlighted his company’s plan for a slots parlor at Arundel Mills Mall, developer David Cordish asked the state to seize the Pimlico and Laurel Park racetracks from the Maryland Jockey Club and sell them to him. Cordish believes that through the success of the slots casino, he could make the racetracks profitable, reports The Sun’s Nicole Fuller and Hanah Cho. Daniel Sernovitz reports the story for the Baltimore Business Journal. WBFF has video.

Cordish said it’s full steam ahead for his casino plan, reports WBAL’s Scott Wykoff. Video is embedded in the story. The Daily Record’s Nicholas Sohr reports that the chairman of the Video Lottery Facility Location Commission is likely to consider Cordish’s plan to erect a temporary slots facility while the permanent casino is built.

AA COUNTY RACES: As absentee ballots are being counted, incumbent Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney Frank Weathersbee is ahead of Republican challenger Eric Grannon by more than 7,000 votes, reports The Sun’s Andrea Siegel. For Grannon to win, he would have to receive more than 75 percent of the still-uncounted votes. There are fewer than 3,000 absentee ballots that were issued and are yet to be returned or counted, and the county will get to work on provisional ballots next week, reports The Capital’s Pamela Wood.

ASTI LITERATURE: In his Capital column, Paul Foer goes after what he thinks was deceptive literature put out by successful judicial candidate Alison Asti.

BALTO. COUNTY COUNCIL: As absentee votes are being tallied, Democrat Cathy Bevins is leading Republican Ryan Nawrocki, reports The Sun’s Raven Hill.

HOWARD COUNTY KEEPS INCUMBENTS: Democrats are still firmly in control of the county’s state and local offices after voters overwhelmingly returned incumbents to office, reports The Sun’s Larry Carson. Incumbents Sandra French and Frank Aquino were re-elected to the county board of education by a wide margin, while absentee ballots will determine the two other winners in a three-way close race between Cindy Vaillancourt, Brian Meshkin and David Proudfoot, reports The Sun’s Joe Burris.

CENTER OF POLITICS: Residents at Brighton Gardens assisted-living facility in Columbia were treated to campaign blitzes from Democrat election victors O’Malley, Mikulski and Howard County Executive Ken Ulman — as well as Republican lieutenant governor candidate Mary Kane, reports The Sun’s Larry Carson.

BERNSTEIN TRANSITION: Now the official Baltimore City state’s attorney-elect, Gregg Bernstein prepares to hit the ground running, reports WJZ’s Mary Bubala.

WASHINGTON COUNTY: Absentee ballots are being counted by the Washington County Board of Elections, but the board will not release any updated vote tallies until all ballots are counted, writes the Herald-Mail’s Andy Schotz.

WORCESTER COUNTY: While absentee ballots are changing how tight some races are, they have not impacted any of Tuesday night’s winners, reports The Daily Times’ Jennifer Shutt.

ALLEGANY COUNTY: Fresh off the campaign trail, just re-elected Dels. Kevin Kelly and LeRoy Myers agreed to cooperate and work on behalf of the county’s residents, reports the Cumberland Times-News’ Matthew Bieniek.

BAY POLLUTION: Congressional Democrats acknowledged that although they got more funding for Chesapeake Bay restoration this week, the Republican takeover of the House of Representatives may make it harder to get future environmental dollars, reports Alex Dominguez of the Associated Press in a story run by WTOP. 

CON-CON: On the state constitutional convention, a majority was not really a majority, Erin Cunninghma writes in the Gazette.

EDUCATION RACE: With one race over, the state must now figure out how to implement the school reforms promised in winning its Race to the Top grant, Andrew Ujifusa reports in the Gazette. 

WINNERS, LOSERS: The Gazette does it usual recap of winners and losers in the election.

JIM SMITH: The Gazette analyzes the role of Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith in O’Malley’s re-election.

BUSINESS ISSUES: The issues that Maryland businesses face in next year’s legislative session aren’t much different from ones seen in recent years: taxes, health insurance and transportation, according to Kevin James Shay in the Gazette.

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