State Roundup, June 25, 2018

VOTERS GUIDES: If you’re still trying to make up your mind about Tuesday’s election, here are links to several voters guides:

MVA VOTER REGISTRATION SNAFU: Officials with the Maryland State Board of Elections said Saturday that more than 18,700 people who updated voter registration information through the MVA over the past year might not be correctly registered for Tuesday’s primary election, Jim Joyner reports in the Sun. Then, in a statement issued a day after the election board announcement, the head of the state Senate committee that deals with elections placed blame on the governor’s administration and announced that the committee would hold a hearing in July on the issue.

EARLY VOTING WAS WAY UP: Early voting wrapped up and the State Board of Elections has posted results.  Folks, writes Adam Pagnucco for Seventh State blog, we can say this: a wild race just got a whole lot wilder. First, as we saw from the first day of early voting, turnout is waaaay up. He offers up an analysis of the numbers from Montgomery County.

FINAL PRIMARY PUSH: The six Democrats who are competing for their party’s nomination for governor crisscrossed the state this weekend in a final push to connect — and persuade — the legion of undecided Democratic voters who have only recently started paying attention. From churches to pride parades to rallies and appearances with celebrities, the Democrats, who until recently had failed to attract much attention, pushed all their resources in these final days into asking voters for their support in Tuesday’s primary, Erin Cox and Michael Dresser of the Sun report.

JEALOUS GETS BIG CALIF. BUCKS: Robert McCartney of the Post reports that six wealthy liberals, all but one from California, have contributed $600,000 to two of four political action committees supporting Ben Jealous in the Maryland Democratic gubernatorial primary, highlighting how large, outside donors are increasingly influencing campaigns far from home. The individuals’ contributions, together with nearly $900,000 from labor unions, have given the Jealous campaign a significant financial edge over most of his five main rivals, and especially over his principal opponent, Rushern Baker, in advance of Tuesday’s election.

POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY & MONEY: Maryland’s shifting political geography could play a big role in Tuesday’s Democratic primary for governor. So could outsider money. With a crush of bland candidates, no issues differentiating the Democratic contenders and a voting public focused more on Donald Trump’s antics than the gubernatorial contest, it’s tough to figure out how this will end, Barry Rascovar of the Political Maryland blog writes.

ERVIN CONTINUES TO FIGHT FOR BAKER: Valerie Ervin may have dropped out of the race for governor, but she has not backed down. Ervin is trying to harness the attention and support she garnered in her unexpected and short-lived candidacy to help one of her former rivals — Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker — and to make sure another, Ben Jealous, doesn’t get elected, Erin Cox reports in the Sun.

CHANGING DEM DEMOGRAPHICS: The two straight white guys are near the bottom of the polls. That’s one way to capture the unusual diversity of the Democrats competing in Tuesday’s primary for a chance to unseat Gov. Larry Hogan (R) — another straight white guy, Rachel Chason of the Post reports. The two candidates at the top of the polls are African Americans. And then there is a gay married man and a Sri Lankan immigrant woman. The diverse slate shows Maryland’s Democratic Party — which in the past has been accused of not embracing candidates of color — is “slowly confronting changing demographics,” said Lorenzo Morris, professor of political science at Howard University.

DEMS URGE GOP TO DONATE TRUMP MONEY: The Maryland Democratic Party on Friday urged the state GOP to donate $100,000 raised by President Donald J. Trump at a 2015 fundraiser to a nonprofit that reunites migrant families separated at the southwest border. Erin Cox of the Sun reports that the Democrats called the donations to the Maryland Republican Party from the three-year-old event “tainted” after the recent uproar about the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy that has been separating children from parents as families tried to cross the border illegally. Dozens of those children are being held in Maryland.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY’s YOUNG CONTENDERS: While the heated gubernatorial race has captured most of the attention in Maryland’s June 26 primary, several competitive General Assembly races involving younger, more progressive candidates have the potential to shift power in Annapolis. The biggest change could happen in the Senate, where at least three high-ranking Democrats face tough battles Tuesday from younger challengers who — unlike past generations — are not content to bide their time, Ovetta Wiggins of the Post reports.

COMPLAINTS AGAINST LEOPOLD: A door-knocking campaign stop turned into an experience Gita Ladd said left her feeling unsafe in her Pasadena home. Ladd told The Capital that former county executive John Leopold “barged” into her home in February, demanding she tell her husband — a Republican voter — that he visited in his campaign for the House of Delegates, Chase Cook reports.

GRASSO, BRYANT SPAR: Arundel County Councilman John Grasso and his Republican primary opponent for state Senate District 32, Maureen Bryant, have taken the gloves off as they seek the nomination to run against Del. Pam Beidle, Chase Cook and Danielle Ohl of the Annapolis Capital write.

ANTI-SEMITIC SLUR: Catherine Rentz of the Sun reports that Del. Shelly Hettleman said a man yelled “Heil Hitler!” at her from his car while she was campaigning in Baltimore County last Monday. Hettleman, a Democrat from Baltimore County, said the man stopped his car about five feet away from her, stuck his head out the window and shouted “Heil Hitler! You don’t represent us!” along with several expletives.

GERRYMANDERING & RESIDENCY: In the crowded and competitive race for Maryland’s only open congressional seat – now held by U.S. Rep. John Delaney — some of the better known candidates don’t actually live in the district and they blame the lingering effects of partisan gerrymandering, which has gotten new attention and court challenges recently in the state and beyond. Indeed, voters have not had a chance to vote for an actual resident of the district in the last two general elections, reports Brian Witte of the AP.

CARDIN FACES LOTS OF CHALLENGERS: Several of Sen. Ben Cardin’s challengers in the Democratic primary have expressed frustration that the race’s low profile has denied them the opportunity to introduce themselves and their ideas to the voters. There have been candidate forums and party dinners, but no debates. The Democratic gubernatorial primary and several city and county races have all attracted more attention, writes Jeff Barker for the Sun.

  • “At no point has there been any indication that voters weren’t satisfied with the job he (Cardin) was doing,” said Todd Eberly, a political-science professor at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Teo Armus of the Post writes that still, a total of 21 other candidates — including 11 Republicans and seven Democrats — are seeking their party’s nomination for the seat this year for reasons that range from his “no” vote on the Iran deal to greater representation for women and disabled people in Congress.

ANTI-DEVELOPER CANDIDATES: In Baltimore, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, candidates who are highly critical of real estate developers – and skeptical of rampant development – are among the leading contenders in Democratic primaries for county executive, Josh Kurtz of Maryland Matters writes.

ANTI-BLAIR AD TO CONTINUE TO RUN: David Blair, a Democratic candidate for Montgomery County executive, objected so strongly to a cable TV ad attacking him that his lawyers told Comcast Spotlight that it “should remove or reject it.” Len Lazarick and Glynis Kazanjian of MarylandReporter report that, after reviewing the ad by the Progressive Maryland Liberation Alliance PAC, Comcast Spotlight said it found the ad part of “reasonable political debate” and continues to run the ad on cable channels in Montgomery County.

PG COUNTY EXEC CONTENDERS: Prince George’s voters go to the polls Tuesday to nominate candidates for county executive, county council, school board, state legislature and more. In the overwhelmingly Democratic county, many of the primary winners will be unopposed in the general election. Others will be heavily favored. There are nine Democrats running for county executive, and one Republican, Jerry Mathis, who is assured a spot on the ballot in November. The Post profiles the top three Democratic contenders.

WHO’s RUNNING FOR PG COUNCIL? Rachel Chason of the Post introduces readers to all of the candidates running for Prince George’s County Council. In addition to voting for two at-large council members for the first time, Prince George’s County residents will decide Tuesday whom to elect to nine district council seats.

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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