State Roundup, May 23, 2018

NEW BALLOTS URGED: The death of gubernatorial candidate Kevin Kamenetz continues to ripple through Maryland’s Democratic primary as state election officials struggle to replace his name with Valerie Ervin’s without having to toss the 1.5 million ballots they’ve already printed. The Maryland Board of Elections proposed a solution on Tuesday: Post signs alerting voters of Kamenetz’s death and informing them that ballots cast for him will count for Ervin, his former running mate. But the concept is not sitting well with Ervin and some of her Democratic rivals, Ian Duncan reports for the Sun.

  • Gubernatorial candidate Alec Ross is urging the state Board of Elections to list rival Valerie Ervin as a gubernatorial candidate on the ballot next month, arguing that refusing to do so “calls the integrity of the election into question.” Ovetta Wiggins of the Post reports that in a letter to state elections administrator Linda Lamone, Ross questioned the board’s decision not to reprint ballots after Ervin filed candidacy papers last week. He said printing organizations contacted by his campaign staff have assured them there is sufficient time to reprint the 3.5 million ballots before voting begins in mid-June.

FIX THE FLAWED SYSTEM: The editorial board for the Sun agrees with Len Lazarick of MarylandReporter on the need to fix the state elections system, whose flaws have been brought to light with the death of gubernatorial candidate Kevin Kamenetz.

DEBATE STANDOUTS? Sun TV critic David Zurawik writes that the first TV debate with Democratic candidates was more revealing than you might think. With eight not-so-widely known candidates and eight platforms that overlap quite a bit, it might seem wishful thinking to expect any kind of separation after just 50 minutes of television. But some things were surpisingly clear at the end of Monday’s debate, which was produced by Maryland Public Television in partnership with WBAL.

ON VIGNARAJAH: Erin Cox of the Sun profiles Krish Vignarajah, in this 5th in the series of profiles of democratic gubernatorial candidates. Cox writes, at a recent forum in Baltimore, Krish Vignarajah was the last Democratic candidate for governor to step onto the stage. By then, it was already crammed with men. The scene demonstrated why Vignarajah, a lawyer and former policy director for Michelle Obama, jumped into the crowded race to take on Republican Gov. Larry Hogan — even though she has never run for office and had a baby just three months before launching her bid.

JEALOUS AHEAD IN FUNDRAISING: Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous has pulled ahead of his rivals in fundraising, solidifying his position among the front-runners to challenge a far better-funded Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) this fall. The former NAACP president’s campaign raised $974,274 since mid-January, a total that easily surpassed his opponents, he announced Tuesday. The total included $100,000 that Jealous and his running mate, Susan Turnbull, loaned to their campaigns. The ticket that came closest, that of attorney Jim Shea, raised nearly $700,000 during the same period, Steve Thompson of the Post reports.

WELL, ACTUALLY, HOGAN IS: Gov. Larry Hogan and Lt. Gov. Boyd K. Rutherford reported Tuesday that they raised more than $1 million in roughly a month this spring, bringing their campaign cash total to more than $9 million — far outpacing their Democratic challengers. The Republican governor’s campaign now has more than twice as much cash as all of the seven major Democratic Party candidates combined, Luke Broadwater and Michael Dresser of the Sun report.

STATE LAUNCHES CLIMATE ACADEMY: Maryland is launching the nation’s first state-sponsored Climate Leadership Academy to help local governments, state agencies, nonprofits and the private sector prepare to address the impact of global warming. State officials kicked off the initiative during a three-day State of the Coast conference taking place this week in Cambridge, laying out their vision for how the state can help stakeholders gird for climate change, Josh Kurtz of Maryland Matters writes.

REP. BROWN BACK ON THE HILL: The AP is reporting that Rep. Anthony Brown, who suffered a minor stroke this month, has returned to Capitol Hill to get back to work. Brown, a Democrat, planned to speak Tuesday evening on the House floor about the defense authorization bill. Matthew Verghese, Brown’s spokesman, says Brown also planned to sign a discharge petition to force floor votes on immigration legislation.

SEIU LOCAL BACKS EDWARDS IN PG: Service Employees International Union Local 500 is backing Donna F. Edwards in her bid to be the next county executive of Prince George’s, citing her advocacy on behalf of working people, Rachel Chason of the Post reports.

REPLACING KAMENETZ: Baltimore County Councilwoman Vicki Almond, who is running for county executive, on Tuesday removed herself from consideration to serve as interim county executive as the council moves to fill the vacancy left by Kevin Kamenetz’s death. During the hearing, multiple residents told council members they wanted them to pick Don Mohler, a longtime county official who was Kamenetz’s chief of staff, as the interim executive. Councilman Tom Quirk said later Tuesday that Mohler has support among council members, Pamela Wood of the Sun reports.

AFZALI AHEAD MONEY-WISE: Del. Kathy L. Afzali enters the final weeks before the Frederick County executive primary with a commanding fundraising advantage over her two GOP rivals, CPA Regina M. Williams, the former budget officer for Frederick County, and Kirby Delauter, a businessman and former county commissioner now serving on the Frederick County Council, Bruce DePuyt of Maryland Matters writes.

MO CO GIVE IMMIGRANT DEFENSE GO-AHEAD: The Montgomery County Council plans to provide money for the legal defense of undocumented immigrants facing deportation. The legal aid for low-income immigrants was initially supposed to come in the form of a grant to the Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition and be available to detained immigrants with few financial resources. But CAIR said it would decline the grant after the council attached a lengthy list of criminal convictions that would disqualify many applicants, Jennifer Barrios of the Post reports.

FRUGING: Doug Donovan of the Sun writes about FRUGing – Fund-Raising Under the Guise of Research. Using a survey to help raise money is a tactic used by all political parties and interest groups, said Mileah Kromer, director of Goucher College’s Sarah T. Hughes Field Politics Center. “It’s using a survey to engage folks to think about issues in a way that would compel them to donate money,” Kromer said. “It’s common practice.”

About The Author

Cynthia Prairie

Contributing Editor Cynthia Prairie has been a newspaper editor since 1979, when she began working at The Raleigh Times. Since then, she has worked for The Baltimore News American, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Prince George’s Journal and Baltimore County newspapers in the Patuxent Publishing chain, including overseeing The Jeffersonian when it was a two-day a week business publication. Cynthia has won numerous state awards, including the Maryland State Bar Association’s Gavel Award. Besides compiling and editing the daily State Roundup, she runs her own online newspaper, The Chester Telegraph. If you have additional questions or comments contact Cynthia at:

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