State Roundup, October 16, 2018

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NATIONAL GOP GROUP TARGETS DEM DELEGATES: A national Republican group just poured nearly $90,000 into mailing flyers that oppose more than a dozen Democrats running for the General Assembly, Pamela Wood is reporting in the Sun. Included on the list are Jon Cardin, Eric Bromwell and Stephen Lafferty. The mailers were sent the same day the Washington-based Republican State Leadership Committee formed as an independent expenditure committee in Maryland, according to documents filed with the State Board of Elections.

DEL. SIMONAIRE SWITCHES PARTIES: Del. Meagan Simonaire checked a box Monday and switched from Republican to Democrat, a move she said will allow her to remain true to herself and her more conservative Anne Arundel County constituents after coming out as bisexual earlier this year during a debate on the House floor, Jeff Barker of the Sun reports.

UNCONVENTIONAL GOP COMPTROLLER CANDIDATE: Anjali Reed Phukan is nothing if not an unconventional politician. When she meets voters, she hands out individually wrapped red Twizzlers. “I’m red with a twist, a Republican with a twist,” she explained during a recent interview in Ocean City, where she lives. She is a CPA running to unseat Democratic Comptroller Peter Franchot and is going it pretty much without formal Republican Party support, writes Josh Kurtz for Maryland Matters.

VOTERS GUIDES: MarylandReporter.com links to a variety of guides for voters to choose their candidates. Registration is over Tuesday, Oct. 16, but voters can also register and vote during early voting, which begins Thursday, Oct. 25. If readers find other useful guides for this year’s election, please forward the URL hyperlink to Len@MarylandReporter.com.

HOGAN’s VISION OF 2nd TERM SAME AS 1st Gov. Larry Hogan imagines that, if re-elected, his second term in office will look much like his first, writes Lauren Lumpkin for the Annapolis Capital. Since Hogan took office in 2014, the economy has improved, he said. He’s poured a record $25 billion into education — though required to by law — and invested in transportation and infrastructure projects across the state. Under Hogan’s administration, the number of heroin overdoses dropped 20% statewide and prescription drug-related deaths fell 7%.

TRONE BOOSTS CAMPAIGN WAR CHEST: A cash infusion has left congressional candidate David Trone with a considerable war chest heading into the final weeks of the 2018 election, writes Danielle Gaines in Maryland Matters. Trone (D) donated $1.5 million to his campaign and loaned it an additional $3 million during the last quarter, according to campaign finance reports filed with the FCC on Monday night. Trone has given or loaned his campaign for the 6th District congressional seat just under $16 million this election cycle, according to filings.

SUPER PAC BACKS ELRICH: Democratic Montgomery County executive candidate Marc Elrich now has the force of a Super PAC behind him. Dan Schere of Bethesda Beat writes that Progressive Maryland Liberation Alliance PAC, which is the Super PAC of the liberal group Progressive Maryland, will be working to support Elrich in the last few weeks before the Nov. 6 election, said Chairman Larry Stafford.

ELRICH HAS FUNDING EDGE OVER FICKER: Dan Schere of Bethesda Beat reports that Democrat Marc Elrich, who is running to be the next Montgomery County executive, has more than a two-to-one edge in funding over Republican Robin Ficker, according to campaign finance reports.

BA CO EXEC FORUM: In a forum for the Baltimore County executive candidates, Democrat Johnny Olszewski Jr. and Republican Al Redmer Jr. squared off in front of about 100 people at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County Monday night. The candidates discussed topics from school construction to mitigating climate change, Cody Boteler of the Catonsville Times reports.

ARUNDEL COUNCIL MAY BECOME MAJORITY FEMALE: The seven-member Anne Arundel County Council, which has been without a woman member since late 2010, could well have a female majority after the November election, Josh Kurtz and Danielle Gaines kick off Maryland Matters Political Notebook. And Ben Jealous, the Democratic nominee for governor, will be the beneficiary of a fundraiser Sunday in San Francisco, among other items.

SMITH HAS NO PLANS TO RUN FOR MAYOR: Former Baltimore Police spokesman T.J. Smith hasn’t said exactly what his plans are since abruptly leaving the department last week, but it could involve house hunting, writes Jessica Anderson for the Sun. Former Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis, Smith’s former boss who was fired by Mayor Catherine E. Pugh in January, has said Smith should run for mayor in the 2020 election. But before Smith could run for any political office in Baltimore, the current Baltimore County resident would have to move.

WA CO’s FIRST RX POT DISPENSARY: Washington County’s first medical cannabis dispensary is planned for a former bank building, writes Mike Lewis of the Hagerstown Herald-Mail. Maryland Health and Wellness Center Inc. intends to make about $250,000 worth of renovations to transform the building into the dispensary, according to a building permit application on file with Hagerstown city officials.