State Roundup, November 8, 2010

BUDGET CUTS: In a red sea change, the course is unclear for Gov. Martin O’Malley in a blue Maryland. But budget cuts, as in the past, would be made with families in mind, Aaron Davis writes for the Washington Post. You can listen to O’Malley discuss the difficulty in explaining the “sustainable economy.”

AND TAX TALK: While O’Malley has said he will not propose new taxes to repair the budget gap, that doesn’t mean legislators cannot, report Annie Linskey and Julie Bykowicz of the Baltimore Sun.

ICC INVITATION: Now that O’Malley has won his second term as governor, he is assured of being the man with the scissors at the opening of the first section of the $2.5 billion Intercounty Connector late this year or early next. Smart politics would dictate that he should invite rival Bob Ehrlich, writes Michael Dresser of the Sun.

FOUR CONCERNS: Now that O’Malley won decisively, here are four areas that he needs to concentrate on: juvenile services, transportation, the budget and economic development and jobs, writes the editorial board for the Sun.

ROBOCALLS & EHRLICH: Julius Henson, a Democrat who was being paid by the Ehrlich campaign, is behind the “just relax” robocalls on Election Day. Henson claims that the calls were made to motivate Republicans to vote, Justin Fenton of the Sun reports. John Wagner of the Post adds that Henson said Ehrlich probably didn’t know about the calls, which went to 50,000 households.

And the owner of a company that sends out robocalls says he is cooperating with Maryland state prosecutors in an investigation into it, reports the Associated Press in the Daily Record. Listen to Henson defend his use of the call. Dave Collins of WBAL-TV reports.

If you weren’t one of the 50,000 to receive the call, listen to it here.

EHRLICH MUM: During a rather sad six minutes on his wife Kendel’s WBAL-Radio show on Saturday, Bob Ehrlich had nothing to say about the “relax” robocalls and subsequent revelations tying them to his campaign, Paul West blogs for the Sun.

Listen to the interview here. George Lettis of WBAL-TV also reports on Ehrlich’s call into the Kendel Ehrlich Show. Meanwhile, Kendel Ehrlich plans to continue her show on WBAL, blogs Annie Linskey of the Sun, even though her husband won’t.

State Sen. Jim Brochin weighs in on the robocalls on WBAL-Radio’s C4.

NO REGRETS: Ehrlich tells Adam May of WJZ-TV that he has no regrets about the campaign.

GOP REASSESSING: Republicans in Maryland now have to reassess their future, John Rydell reports for WBFF-TV.

ELECTING JUDGES: Annapolis Capital opinionmakers say that this election should convince state legislators that the system for putting judges on the bench needs to be fixed.

ENDORSE, FOOL! If you want to make enemies, writes the Capital’s Tom Marquardt, make endorsements. Even the ones the Capital made this year — of both Republicans and Democrats — drew a lot of fire.

CLOSER TO HOME: While the national elections may have spoken of a mandate, on the local level, voters got the opportunity to vote for or against those who they know, writes opinionators for the Salisbury Daily Times.

PELOSI BLOCKS HOYER: Nancy Pelosi has once again blocked Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer from advancing to the top Democratic spot in the House of Representatives by announcing that she wants to be Minority Leader, blogs Paul West of the Sun. She announced her intentions on Friday, writes Paul Kane and Perry Bacon of the Post.

VAN HOLLEN STEPS DOWN: Rep. Chris Van Hollen is stepping down as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee after his party lost more than 60 seats to Republicans Tuesday, writes Sean Lengell in the Washington Times.

WRITE-IN COUNT: Montgomery is the only county in Maryland not to have completed its count of the first batch of absentee ballots — the overwhelming majority of all absentee ballots, writes David Lublin of Maryland Politics Watch.

WRITE-INS IN HARFORD: The Dagger writes a piece about “throw-away votes,” in which Harford County voters wrote in the names of people and/or cartoon characters  — well,  non-candidates. More than 7,000 of these votes were cast in Harford County alone.

LEOPOLD’S STATUS QUO: Arundel County Exec John Leopold, speaking to Erin Cox of the Annapolis Capital, said his new agenda includes promises to keep many things the same: low taxes, enforcement of environmental laws, constituent service and investing to get county citizens into cybersecurity and defense industry jobs.

PAID CONSULTANTS: Paid consultants provided an edge to the winners in the Anne Arundel County Council races, Ben Weathers of the Capital reports.

BARGAINING CHIP: The new Baltimore County Council appears ready to carry out the will of voters, who gave strong support to a ballot question giving the council authority to expand labor bargaining rights for more government employees, reports Arthur Hirsch of the Sun.

WASHINGTON CO CHANGE: Andrew Schotz of the Hagerstown Herald Mail writes that Washington County’s General Assembly delegation has been reshaped and rebalanced with the election.

PRISON AUDIT: There were so many opportunities for fraud and misuse of money by workers in the Baltimore region of the state prison system that state auditors are asking the attorney general to look into possible criminal charges, Megan Poinski reports for

BAY CLEANUP: Today is the deadline for residents and business owners in the watershed to comment on the new proposals to clean up the Chesapeake Bay. Desy Campbell of the Gainesville Times reports on WTOP-Radio.

TREASURER’S AUDIT: The Office of Legislative Audits found a dozen areas where the State Treasurer’s Office could improve operations, reports Megan Poinski of

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