LEGISLATIVE MAP: A special master appointed by the Maryland Court of Appeals to examine the legal challenges to legislative redistricting enacted earlier this year has found that all the challenges are without merit and should be denied, blogs Len Lazarick for MarylandReporter.com. If the court accepts the recommendation in the report by retired appeals Judge Alan Wilner following a Nov. 7 hearing, it will uphold the plan Gov. Martin O’Malley submitted to the legislature in January.
RELIGIOUS DISTRICTING: The shape of Maryland’s 3rd Congressional District has been compared to everything from a Rorschach Test inkblot to a crime-scene blood spatter to a broken-winged pterodactyl, but according to a theory by Republican activist Howard Gorrell, its odd dimensions could have a basis in religion as well as politics, writes Michael Dresser in the Sun.
STAR-STRUCK: Star-studded and referendum? Those two words are increasingly seen together. Steve Hendrix and John Wagner of the Post report about the star-studded campaigns for two of Maryland’s referendums – one on gambling expansion, the other on gay-marriage.
TAGLIABUES SUPPORT MARRIAGE EQUALITY: Football and politics meet again as former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue and his wife have said they will give $100,000 to Maryland’s same-sex marriage campaign, writes Annie Linskey in the Sun.
MARRIAGE ADS BEGIN: Annie Linskey of the Sun blogs that opponents of same-sex marriage will start their television ad campaign Monday morning, according to documents filed with the Federal Communications Commission. Two days later, the supporters will go up on television.
GAMBLING GAMBOL: MGM Resorts International reported a modest increase in its spending on the ad wars over the referendum on gambling expansion in Maryland, but it isn’t matching rival Penn National million for million, reports Michael Dresser in the Sun.
In his Gazette column, Barry Rascovar argues that Maryland politicians are not fighting back hard enough against Penn National’s expensive campaign to defeat an expansion of gambling here that would hurt its West Virginia casino.
BALLOT QUESTIONS: The Post offers the text from the Nov. 6 ballot questions.
MARC TRAIN: The state Board of Public Works delayed a vote Wednesday on a $205 million contract for Bombardier Transportation to run the Camden and Brunswick MARC commuter train lines, writes Jack Lambert for the Baltimore Business Journal.
A CURIOUS MVA EXPERIENCE: Former Ehrlich speechwriter Richard Cross, in an op-ed in the Frederick News-Posts, writes about his rather pleasant experience renewing his driver’s license at the MTA, save for one curious question that several of his fellow Republican friends have also been asked.
O’MALLEY SPINS OBAMA: That was Gov. Martin O’Malley spinning away in Denver Thursday morning, putting the best possible face on a debate performance by President Obama that even his supporters considered a disappointment. Appearing on MSNBC’s “Daily Rundown” with Chuck Todd, O’Malley praised Obama’s demeanor and command of facts in his face-off with Republican nominee Mitt Romney, writes Michael Dresser in the Sun.
John Wagner of the Post blogs that O’Malley said, Romney “tells us we can all eat cake and lose weight, ‘Trust me, I’ve got a secret plan behind door No. 2. That’s going to wear old with intelligent voters over the course of these next debates.”
OBAMA VS. O’s: Tim Pratt of the Capital Gazette finds that some bars and restaurants tuned into the presidential debate while others were more than happy watching the Orioles last regular season game.
MEDIA DEBATES: David Moon at Maryland Juice writes that while the candidates have been debating, so too will various other politicians and media types, including Moon squaring off with Mark Newgent of Red Maryland.
FRANCHOT’S COOL: Alexander Pyles of the Daily Record writes that Peter Franchot, the state’s tax collector, a likely candidate for governor when Martin O’Malley’s term expires after 2014, has already perfected the rebelliously-cool no-tie look.
SUDDENLY IT’S SOBHANI: Suddenly in September, independent Rob Sobhani began popping up on TV screens across Maryland as he challenged both incumbent U.S. Senator Ben Cardin and Republican upstart Dan Bongino. Sobhani talked directly to voters about his plans to create thousands of jobs with billions in private investment and he was spending millions of his own money to get his message out. Len Lazarick of MarylandReporter.com tries to answer the question: So who is he?
Here’s Lazarick’s video of interview with Sobhani.
CLINTON STUMPS FOR DELANEY: Former President Bill Clinton will headline a fundraiser this month for John Delaney, the Democratic candidate running for Congress in Maryland’s competitive 6th District against incumbent Roscoe Bartlett, John Fritze reports in the Sun.
RURAL ECONOMY: During a Thursday visit to Washington County, Comptroller Peter Franchot said that he’s noticed a disconnect between the predominantly public economic approach in the state’s capital compared to the rural areas of Western Maryland that rely heavily on private-sector jobs, reports C.J. Lovelace of the Hagerstown Herald Mail.
HOWARD JAIL PROGRAM: Howard County is one of six jurisdictions chosen from 17 applicants nationwide to be included in the “Transition from Jail to Community” program established by the nonprofit Urban Institute and an agency within the U.S. Department of Justice in an effort to curb recidivism, Arthur Hirsch reports in the Sun.
BIG BOX REFERENDUM: Daniel Menefee of the Chestertown Spy writes about a referendum that Queen Anne’s County voters will face on Nov. 6 that could decide the future of Big Box retailing and mom & pop shops in that jurisdiction.
BLUE BLUES: Maryland loses money and attention by not being a battleground state in presidential campaigns, Benjamin Ford writes in the Gazette.
NEW STATE SUPER: Having watched Maryland schools for years from across the Delaware border, state Superintendent Lillian M. Lowery is well-positioned to step into the shoes of Nancy Grasmick, who led the Maryland Department of Education for two decades, reports the Gazette’s Holly Nunn.
REDISTRICTING REVOLT: Gazette columnist Blair Lee writes about the revolt over the congressional redistricting ballot question by Montgomery County Democrats that has state party leaders upset.