State Roundup, October 25, 2018

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STATE WORKER RALLY CALLED ‘SETBACK:” Hundreds of Maryland state workers rallied in Annapolis on Wednesday night with a goal of pressuring Gov. Larry Hogan to increase their wages. A representative for the Hogan administration called the rally “an unfortunate setback” in the negotiation process and noted that the workers lacked a permit to demonstrate, Christina Tkacik of the Sun reports.

O’MALLEY BLASTS HOGAN ON REAL ESTATE BUSINESS: Former Gov. Martin O’Malley has attacked the man who replaced him in Government House over his commercial real estate interests, reports Adam Bednar for the Daily Record. In a series of tweets Wednesday morning O’Malley, a Democrat, accused Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, of corruption and running a “Real Estate racket.” In one message O’Malley compared Hogan, who was elected in 2014, to the late Spiro Agnew.

PART 4: DECADES TO GO ON BAY CLEANUP: More than three decades after it started, the cleanup effort still has a long way to go. In its latest water quality assessment, the state-federal Bay Program partnership found that just 40% of the Chesapeake’s tidal waters met agreed-upon goals for clarity, dissolved oxygen and chlorophyll. That’s the best status report since the cleanup effort began, but still far from attaining water quality standards. So how long will it take to get there? Decades. Karl Blankenship of the Bay Journal writes this final piece on a series in MarylandReporter.

SUED LOBBYISTS RESPOND: Lobbyists who left a top Annapolis firm are responding in court to a lawsuit filed against them by their former employer, writes Bryan Sears for the Daily Record. The response, filed on behalf of Hannah Powers Garagiola and her new firm Compass Government Relations Partners, asks an Anne Arundel County Circuit Court Judge to dismiss the lawsuit filed by Alexander & Cleaver. The lawsuit alleges that the six lobbyists named plotted to leave the company by using insider knowledge regarding the expiration of client contracts, allowing those contracts to lapse to induce those clients to join their new venture.

EARLY VOTING AROUND THE STATE: Candidates in key races across the region are urging voters to head to the polls early this week and next rather than wait until Nov. 6 to cast their ballots writes Ovetta Wiggins in the Post. In Maryland, where there are hard-fought contests for governor, the legislature, and several county executive posts and congressional seats, early-voting sites open Thursday and will operate through Nov. 1.

HOGAN, MONEY & AN EASY CLIMB: In a column for Seventh State, David Lublin writes that in a state that voted over 60% for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and in which 48% of voters strongly disapprove of Donald Trump, you’d think our Republican governor would face a steep climb to reelection. But it’s not working that way. All campaigns understandably like to describe themselves as people powered but money remains the mother’s milk of politics.

GOV CANDIDATES ON ROAD ISSUES: From widening major roadways to stances on mass transit, Bruce DePuyt compares the transportation policies of the state’s gubernatorial candidates in Maryland Matters.

HOGAN & THE FICKER CONUNDRUM: By all measurements, Gov. Larry Hogan’s campaign rally in Montgomery County Tuesday night was a big success – except maybe for the Robin Ficker conundrum, writes Josh Kurtz in Maryland Matters. Asked as he was leaving Tuesday night’s rally whether he thought Republicans could pick up any seats in Montgomery County next month, Hogan seemed taken aback. “Umm…I don’t know about that,” he said as he was whisked away by staffers and his security detail.

SUN BACKS FROSH FOR RE-ELECTION: In endorsing incumbent Attorney General Brian Frosh for re-election, the editorial board of the Sun opines that Frosh “has long impressed us with his intellect, honesty and determination to do right by the people of Maryland. His successes in the last four years in protecting consumers, safeguarding the environment, furthering the cause of justice in our court system and promoting public safety give us great confidence in recommending him for a second term.”

ARUNDEL DEMS TOLD TO PULL MAILING: The Anne Arundel County election board has ordered an organization representing Democrats to stop mailing sample ballots that highlight those candidates, report Phil Davis and Rick Hutzell for the Annapolis Capital. In a letter sent Tuesday to leaders of the Anne Arundel County United Slate, election board attorney James C. Praley II told the organization to “immediately cease and desist any campaign materials which imply or assert that they have been produced or supplied by the Anne Arundel County Board of Elections.”

ADVOCATE FILES CLAIM AGAINST HARRIS: An advocate for marijuana law reform has filed a $10,420 federal claim against Rep. Andy Harris, alleging the Maryland Republican bruised her leg by slamming an office door during a demonstration and damaged her reputation by suggesting she initiated a physical confrontation, Jeff Barker of the Sun reports. “I was trying to speak to the congressman about how cannabis saved my life,” said Rachel Ramone Donlan in a news release Wednesday. “But instead of pausing to listen, he slammed the door on my leg and knee.”

COLVIN TURNS 1st DISTRICT RACE ON ITS HEAD: The television ad is set at a shooting range. Jordan Colvin, who is identified as a Republican and a former police officer, dons safety glasses and ear protection and takes aim at her paper target. Then her husband – the Democratic nominee in Maryland’s 1st congressional district – appears. “Jesse Colvin,” his wife announces in a voiceover. “Army Ranger and, well, a Democrat.” The TV spot — airing in Baltimore and Salisbury — is emblematic of a U.S. House race that is flipping the usual Maryland script as he runs against incumbent U.S. Rep. Andy Harris, writes Jeff Barker for the Sun.

6th DISTRICT DEBATES: For weeks, Amie Hoeber has complained that her main rival in the race for the open congressional seat in Maryland’s 6th District, David J. Trone, wouldn’t debate her writes Bruce DePuyt in Maryland Matters. But Tuesday night, with Trone seated just four feet away and C-SPAN cameras beaming their first face-to-face encounter to a nationwide audience, she seemed reluctant to engage him in a sustained, meaningful way.

  • The national debt, immigration, the drug epidemic and President Donald Trump’s administration were prominent topics for Maryland’s 6th Congressional District candidates at the Washington County Chamber of Commerce forum on Wednesday morning writes C.J. Lovelace in the Herald Mail. Libertarian Kevin Caldwell, Green Party candidate George Gluck, Republican Amie Hoeber and Democrat David Trone got the chance to weigh in on issues and make a final campaign pitch to the local business community

OLSZEWSKI AD: Democratic Baltimore County executive candidate Johnny Olszewski Jr. has a new ad airing on broadcast and cable stations that criticizes his Republican opponent, Al Redmer Jr. Pamela Wood of the Sun explains and fact-checks the ad, which airs starting Wednesday. It represents Olszewski’s first move to attack Redmer in an ad. Olszewski’s previous ad was a light, biographical piece that touted the candidate’s experience.

FLOREEN GOES FOR THE MIDDLE: Nancy Floreen is marketing herself as the middle point between what she calls two “flawed extremes:” Democrat Marc Elrich to the left and Republican nominee Robin Ficker  to the right, writes Jennifer Barrios in the Post. And in a county of 1 million, grappling with overcrowded schools and traffic as well as the need to grow the tax base and economy, Floreen is betting that argument will hold sway, even with voters who have elected Democrats to the top political post since 1978.

CAPITAL BOARD BACKS SCHUH: In endorsing incumbent Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh, the editorial board for the Annapolis Capital opines that “Schuh has produced a solid record in his first term, making overdue investments in public safety and education — the two most important functions of county government.”

MEETING THE TYDINGSES: In an opinion piece for the Eagle Times, Blaine Taylor recounts his meeting with the late Sen. Joe Tydings and Tydings’ then-wife Terry Lynn Huntington.