State Roundup, May 17, 2018

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BAKER BRINGS A PLAN: Democrat Rushern Baker on Wednesday became the first candidate in the crowded primary election for Maryland governor to pitch a detailed plan tailored to helping Baltimore, the state’s largest and most troubled city writes Erin Cox in the Sun. The Prince George’s County executive released a seven-page proposal to help Baltimore reverse its chronic population loss, promote homeownership, lure more arts, science and film companies to the city and to revive the $3 billion Red Line transit project and State Center redevelopment canceled by Republican Gov. Larry Hogan.

BAKER PROFILE – SUCCESSES AND CHALLENGES: The Sun’s Erin Cox also profiles Baker’s style and personal challenges as he tries to sell Maryland’s voters that as governor he could turn around the state the same way he’s turned around Prince George’s County, hoping his record of success against long odds will catapult him beyond the other five major Democrats running in the June 26 primary. The winner will take on Republican Gov. Larry Hogan in November.

ERVIN FACES DEADLINE TODAY: Lt. Governor candidate Valerie Ervin is facing a deadline of 5 p.m. Thursday to decide whether she wants to run for governor in place of her deceased running mate, Kevin Kamenetz who died suddenly on May 10 writes Pamela Wood in the Sun. State law allows her until the fifth business day after Kamenetz’s death — which is Thursday — to file paperwork to to run for governor herself and name a lieutenant governor running mate, or remain as a candidate for lieutenant governor with a new partner running for governor.   

PUGH: I OWN DE SOUSA APPOINTMENT: Mayor Catherine Pugh continued to defend former police commissioner Darryl De Sousa and his crime-fighting efforts Wednesday, even as violence in the city has ticked up, and federal investigators have expanded their probe beyond the tax charges that prompted his resignation write Ian Duncan and Kevin Rector in the Sun. “I own the appointment of Darryl De Sousa as commissioner for Baltimore City,” the mayor said at her weekly City Hall news conference. “I watched his work. I’m pleased with where we are in terms of reducing violence.

BALTIMORE MEDIA PUNCHING BAG AGAIN: With his resignation Tuesday, Baltimore is once again a national media punchline. And all the police-community-misery from the Gun Trace Task Force scandal to the uprising of 2015 is back on full display writes David Zurawik in the Sun. The mayor and many others in this town complain about a “narrative” outside of Baltimore that the city is a dysfunctional mess. But The Times, CNN, AP, the Wall Street Journal and all the other news outlets that covered this didn’t make it up.

CAMPOS WILL DO TIME: A former Maryland state delegate and ex-Prince George’s County Council member was sentenced to four and a half years in prison Wednesday in a bribery case prosecutors said involved “the use of taxpayer money as if it were a literal slush fund” writes Lynn Bui in the Post. William A. Campos, 43, of Hyattsville, pleaded guilty in January 2017 to accepting roughly $50,000 in bribes and kickbacks in exchange for official favors and help obtaining government money.

P.G. COUNTY EXEC. RACE TURNS UGLY: It doesn’t get more pernicious in Prince George’s County than accusing a political candidate of “pay-to-play” politics write Arelis R. Hernandez and Rachel Chason in the Post. Now it is being levied by a super PAC backing county executive candidate Donna F. Edwards, in mailers, Facebook ads and other media attacks on her primary rival, Prince George’s state’s attorney Angela D. Alsobrooks. The PAC suggests that campaign contributions by developers buy influence.

POST ENDORSES FOR MOCO COUNCIL: The Washington Post has made its endorsements for nine members of the Montgomery County Council and several members of the elected school. The Post endorsement may carry extra weight in a year with 50 Democrats running for council. Endorsed are: At-Large: Gabe Albornoz, Marilyn Balcombe, Evan Glass, incumbent Hans Riemer; District 1: Andrew Friedson; and the rest of the incumbents: Craig Rice (District 2); Sidney Katz (3); Nancy Navarro (4); Tom Hucker (5); Board of Education At-Large: Julie Reiley; District 3: Pat O’Neill

MORE CHALLENGERS: In recent cycles, it’s been common around the country for more than 40% of seats to be left uncontested. This year is different, writes Alan Greenblatt in Governing magazine. States where filing deadlines have passed have seen more Democratic candidates sign up than any time since at least 1982. “Thank you, Donald Trump,” says Andrea Dew Steele, president and founder of Emerge America, which recruits and trains Democratic women candidates.

BPW NIXES COURT FEE HIKES: The Maryland Judiciary walked away with a split decision from the Board of Public Works Wednesday after the three-member panel voted to eliminate some filing fees and rejected a request to impose new ones writes Bryan P. Sears in the Daily Record. The fee changes requested by the courts drew the attention of Republican Gov. Larry Hogan. “I’m opposed to creating new fees or increasing fees regardless of which branch of government tries to impose them,” said Hogan during the Wednesday meeting.

LEVENTHAL AS SUPERHERO: Montgomery County Executive candidate George Leventhal, known to have a wicked sense of humor, has released one of the most creative ads of this political cycle writes Ryan Miner in The Avengers-themed ad depicts Leventhal, a four-term at-large Montgomery County councilman, as a superhero will stand up to Donald Trump and protect MoCo values. The ad could help garner him the extra attention he needs to stand out in the six candidate slugfest.

About The Author

Len Lazarick

Len Lazarick was the founding editor and publisher of and is currently the president of its nonprofit corporation and chairman of its board He was formerly the State House bureau chief of the daily Baltimore Examiner from its start in April 2006 to its demise in February 2009. He was a copy editor on the national desk of the Washington Post for eight years before that, and has spent decades covering Maryland politics and government.

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