DEL. SOPHOCLEUS DIES: Del. Ted Sophocleus, one of the longest-serving public officials in Anne Arundel County history, died Friday while hospitalized in Baltimore. He was 79, report Chase Cooke and Pat Furgurson for the Annapolis Capital. The Democratic delegate from Linthicum was running for another term in a crowded District 32 primary election. He went through surgery earlier this year after a neck injury and took a brief leave of absence during the 2018 General Assembly session. He returned to applause from his delegate colleagues.
- The editorial board for the Annapolis Capital remembers Del. Sophocleus: If you scoured the State House from end to end during a session, you wouldn’t have found anyone who had more commitment to the job and to his community, who shared more invaluable institutional knowledge and who left behind more affection and respect, among his colleagues and his constituents.
JEALOUS, BAKER LEAD NEW POLL: Former NAACP chief Ben Jealous and Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker have emerged from the crowded Democratic field as the front-runners in the primary race to be Maryland’s next governor, report Luke Broadwater and Erin Cox in the Sun. Baker and Jealous are tied with 16% of the vote each in the seven-way contest, according to a new poll of registered likely voters for The Baltimore Sun and University of Baltimore.
HOGAN REMAINS POPULAR: Even among Maryland’s Democratic loyalists, Republican Gov. Larry Hogan remains popular, Erin Cox and Luke Broadwater of the Sun report. Sixty percent of Democrats who say they’re likely to vote in their party‘s primary this month approve of the job Hogan is doing, according to a new poll for The Baltimore Sun and the University of Baltimore. At the same time, nearly half of likely Democratic voters say they aren’t better off than they were four years ago. They just don’t seem to blame Hogan, said Steve Raabe, president of the Annapolis-based OpinionWorks, which conducted the poll.
6 TAKEAWAYS FROM RECENT POLLS: After a three-month polling drought, two new surveys offer a clear read on where voters stand two weeks ahead of Maryland’s June 26 Democratic gubernatorial primary, as well as some clues for what will matter most in the final stretch. Scott Clement of the Post offers up six takeaways from a Baltimore Sun-University of Baltimore poll released Sunday and a Washington Post-University of Maryland poll published last Tuesday.
HOGAN KICKS OFF CAMPAIGN: Republican Gov. Larry Hogan kicked off his 2018 reelection bid Saturday before a cheering crowd of several hundred supporters in Annapolis, touting his high job approval ratings and crediting himself with turning around the state’s economy, Erin Cox of the Sun reports. “An overwhelming majority of Democrats and independents and Republicans approve of the job that we’re doing,” Hogan said. “So, maybe they should just consider letting us continue to do this job for another four years.”
- Reporters for the Post report that across Maryland Saturday, the crowded field of Democrats vying to challenge Republican Gov. Larry Hogan campaigned for votes, aware that just over two weeks remain before the June 26 primary. “I don’t know much about these nine candidates running for governor,” Hogan said. “But I do know one thing — and that is that every single one of them wants to take us in a completely different direction … Do we want to take Maryland backward and return to the failed policies of the past?”
- Josh Kurtz of Maryland Matters writes that Hogan described the campaign under way as “a fight for Maryland’s future” – but he didn’t talk about Maryland’s future much. Instead, he talked a lot about Maryland’s recent past – about his 2014 upset election, about his mandate to “clean up the mess in Annapolis,” and about how he turned around the state’s fortunes.
HOGAN MAKES CLIMATE CHANGE WORSE: In an op-ed for the Post, Mike Tidwell of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network opines that Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, is not responsible for the mind-boggling rainfall and flooding that once again tore apart Ellicott City. But I serve as an appointed member of the Maryland Commission on Climate Change, under the aegis of the governor’s staff, and I have seen firsthand the governor’s policies that make Maryland’s contribution to global warming worse.
JEALOUS GETS PROGRESSIVE, LABOR SUPPORT: A coalition of progressive groups and labor unions is spending nearly a half-million dollars to turn out the vote for Ben Jealous in the June 26 Maryland Democratic primary, reports Ovetta Wiggins of the Post. The coalition, which includes the Working Families Party, Progressive Maryland and Our Revolution Maryland, announced Friday that it plans to pour nearly $500,000 into targeted mailing, digital advertising and canvassing about 250,000 homes in Baltimore City and in Montgomery, Prince George’s and Baltimore counties.
ON VALERIE ERVIN: Valerie Ervin thought she was done with politics, writes Ovetta Wiggins in this candidate profile for the Post. She had spent 10 years in elected office, on the Montgomery County school board and council, saying and doing what she thought was right even if it angered her allies in the process. She left the council in 2013 to become executive director for the Center for Working Families, where she could advocate directly against policies that she believed discriminated against the poor and people of color. After a brief run for Congress in 2015 and a flirtation with seeking the chairmanship of the Maryland Democratic Party, she was content to stay “in my own world, doing the work that I was doing.” Then the call came.
ON RICHARD MADALENO: In a profile for WYPR-FM, Rachel Baye takes a closer look at gubernatorial candidate Richard Madaleno, a state senator who has always been fascinated with politics and elective office. He worked as a budget analyst for the state, then went on to be elected to the House of Delegates, where he served from 2003 until 2007 and sat on the Appropriations Committee. He’s now vice-chair of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee, and many of his General Assembly colleagues consider him an expert on the state budget.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN THE GOV’s RACE: The editorial board for the Sun takes a close look at the economic development issue in the governor’s race, writing that that is Larry Hogan’s brand. It was the key issue in his campaign for governor four years ago, and iif his first campaign commercial is any indication, the notion that Maryland was in the doldrums before he came along and is humming now will be central to his re-election effort. Polling tends to suggest that voters are persuaded; he consistently gets good marks for his handling of the economy. So, are the Democrats seeking to challenge him ceding the issue? No way.
HOGAN’s HEALTH CARE AD: Gov. Larry Hogan’s campaign began a new online ad that portrays him as a bipartisan problem-solver among the discordant political voices in Washington on the issue of health care, writes Michael Dresser in the Sun. Dresser looks at the reality behind the ad.
RATING THE ADS: Sun TV critic David Zurawik rates the gubernatorial candidates’ commercials running in the Baltimore market based only on their effectiveness as marketing tools, not on whether they are accurate. He finds Gov. Hogan’s commercial very strong messaging.
THE RACE THUS FAR: In an analysis for Maryland Matters, Josh Kurtz writes that former Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) has finally weighed in, casting his lot with Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker. State Sen. Richard Madaleno (D) is airing an ad that is getting national attention because it shows him kissing his husband. The other candidates are ramping up their advertising, issuing policy proclamations, jabbing at each other, analyzing the latest polls, and appearing in illuminating profiles in the state’s two leading daily newspapers.
RELEASING TAX RETURNS? Michael Dresser of the Sun does a short piece on the Democratic gubernatorial field and where they stand on releasing their tax returns. The subject came up during the latest debate when Baltimore lawyer Jim Shea called on former NAACP President Ben Jealous last week to explain why he hadn’t released his tax returns yet. Shea noted that he had released his returns, two weeks after state Sen. Richard S. Madaleno Jr. became the first of the contenders in the June 26 Democratic primary to do so.
MAPPING MO CO MONEY: Eric Hensal of the Daily Kos maps the money coming into the crowded Montgomery County Democratic primary from those who also donate to Republican Gov. Larry Hogan. It is the only way to see the slate of candidates Republican/developer donors in Montgomery County want elected in its Democratic primary.
AFFORDABLE HOUSING IN MO CO: Five of the seven candidates running for Montgomery County executive provided more details about their plans to address the local affordable housing shortage at a Thursday night forum in Kensington, Andrew Metcalf of Bethesda Beat reports. Missing from the event was businessman David Blair and state Del. Bill Frick (D-Bethesda). The sponsors of the event, The Montgomery Housing Alliance, said Blair had a “family emergency” and couldn’t attend.
BLAIR BUYS BIG WITH FACEBOOK ADS: In their Politics Roundup column for Bethesda Beat, Louis Peck and Andrew Metcalf lead off with this financial tidbit: Since May 7, Montgomery County executive candidate David Blair has been significantly outspending his Democratic opponents on ads running on the social media platform. According to Facebook, which only provides a range of the amount of money that candidates spend on the ads, Blair paid between $10,000 and $50,000 for one sponsored post that highlights his endorsement by The Washington Post.
THE BROCHIN AD: Pamela Wood dissects the new commercial by state Sen. Jim Brochin, who is running for the democratic nomination for Baltimore County executive. The 30-second spot reviews Brochin’s accomplishments in the Senate.
REDMER AD ATTACKS McDONOUGH: State Insurance Commissioner Al Redmer began running television ads Wednesday in the Republican primary race for Baltimore County executive. The ad attacks Redmer’s opponent, state Del. Pat McDonough. It calls Redmer “Republicans’ best choice.” The Sun’s Alison Knezevich takes a closer look at the ads and assesses its truthfulness.
CITY STATE’s ATTORNEY DEBATE: William Zorzi of Maryland Matters writes that what is likely to be the only election forum for the Baltimore City State’s Attorney candidates, incumbent Marilyn J. Mosby did her best Thursday to swat back the opposition, but her two Democratic primary challengers have been waiting all year to take their best shots – and they did.
SINCLAIR AWAITS TRIBUNE PURCHASE OK: Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. expects its heavily debated acquisition of Tribune Media Co. to close next month, reports Holden Wilen for the Baltimore Business Journal. The Hunt Valley-based broadcaster has been working for more than a year to get the deal completed. The Federal Communications Commission is nearing the end of a public comment period that ends on July 12. If the agency provides quick approval, Sinclair could complete the deal in late July, CEO Chris Ripley said in a phone interview Thursday afternoon following the company’s annual shareholders meeting.