State Roundup, November 1, 2018

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LOH FIRES UM COACH DURKIN: In the face of mounting outrage and pressure from the governor, legislators, students and the community, the University of Maryland fired football coach DJ Durkin on Wednesday, one day after allowing him to return to his position, Rick Maese and Nick Anderson report in the Post.

LOH STILL TO RETIRE: Tim Curtis of the Daily Record reports that Loh also indicated that he will keep with his plan to retire next year, saying he will devote the remaining months of his presidency to reforming the athletic department.

LOH DID THE RIGHT THING: Post sports columnist Barry Svrluga opines that, “finally, someone with the most basic combination of sanity, decency and clearheadedness surfaced Wednesday evening at the University of Maryland. Let’s not overstate the praise of Wallace D. Loh, president of the flagship College Park campus, because his fingers are all over this mess that has stained the school.”

HOGAN ALLY TRIPS OVER DURKIN DECISION: When few people were rallying around Larry Hogan’s long-shot bid for governor in 2014, James T. Brady was there to help, serving as the Republican’s campaign chairman. This week, Brady — whom Hogan appointed to chair the University System of Maryland’s Board of Regents after his upset victory in the governor’s race — threw an unexpected wrench into the 2018 gubernatorial campaign, in announcing the controversial decision to retain coach Durkin, Luke Broadwater reports in the Sun.

REGENTS FUMBLE: In a column for the Sun, Peter Schmuck opines that it was certainly fair to wonder what the University System of Maryland Board of Regents was thinking when it announced Tuesday that DJ Durkin would be reinstated as Terps football coach. Now, it has become apparent that the regents were not thinking at all.

ON McNAIR’s DEATH, DURKIN’s FIRING: The Sun’s Sarah Meehan pulls together a slew of information headlined: What you need to know about how Jordan McNair’s death led to Maryland coach DJ Durkin’s dismissal.

WHO ARE THE UM REGENTS? Talia Richman of the Sun profiles the UM Board of Regents who decided to keep Coach Durkin and allow President Wallace Loh to retire, despite the investigation that just fell short of calling the football program toxic.

SHA SAYS IT’s READY FOR WINTER: The Maryland State Highway Administration says it’s ready for whatever Mother Nature brings this winter. SHA spokesman Charlie Gischlar said officials have budgeted $71 million this winter to remove snow and ice from 17,950 miles of roads across the state, which includes numbered routes, such as Md. 65 and Interstate 70 in Washington County, Dan Dearth of the Frederick News-Post reports.

GA PANEL LOOKS INTO STATE HIRING: A Maryland General Assembly committee is digging into concerns about whether politics are playing a role in state hiring. Lawmakers are concerned that the office is considering the political leanings of state applicants or other information that should not be relevant to their qualifications for employment, Danielle Gaines of Maryland Matters reports.

CELEBRATING THE FEW FIRST-TIME VOTERS: In a column for the Post, Courtland Milloy writes about the enthusiasm that is greeting first-time voters at the polls. “On a sidewalk outside an early voting site in Prince George’s County, a woman in her late teens entered a gantlet of campaign volunteers. And as she made her maiden voyage to the polls, that sidewalk turned into a virtual red carpet.” Of course, he writes, there just aren’t a lot of them.

REZNIK PUSHES FOR VOTING DAY REGISTRATION: Louis Peck of Bethesda Beat writes about the delegate behind the proposed constitutional amendment to allow eligible Maryland residents to register on the day of the election itself and cast an immediate vote. It is the culmination of a decade of effort by Del. Kirill Reznik, a Germantown Democrat.

TRONE SLAMS HOEBER ON BIRTH-RIGHT CITIZENSHIP: The issue of birthright citizenship, a constitutional protection President Trump pledged on Monday to end, has found its way into the race for Congress in Maryland’s 6th District. Democrat David J. Trone posted video from a 2016 Republican congressional candidates forum at which his rival, Amie Hoeber, expressed support for ending the presumption of citizenship for anyone born on U.S. soil, Bruce DePuyt of Maryland Matters reports.

CAPITAL BOARD ENDORSES FOR CONGRESS: The editorial board for the Annapolis Capital makes its endorsements in the races for U.S. Congress, admitting that “some of our endorsements this political season have been influenced by our status as a victim of mass violence.”

POST BOARD BACKS CARDIN: The editorial board for the Washington Post is backing incumbent U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin for re-election, opining that the fact that Cardin has held public office since 1967, when Lyndon B. Johnson was president, is being used against him, predictably, in his campaign for a third term in the U.S. Senate. Unfortunately for his rivals, none of them particularly qualified for high elective office, longevity has dimmed neither his energy nor his abilities. Maryland’s senior senator remains, as he has been for decades, a conscientious, substantive and ethical public servant.

HOGAN A ‘JOCULAR EVERYMAN:’ Gov. Larry Hogan has a jocular everyman persona that has helped catapult his popularity in a blue state few thought the Republican could win four years ago. It’s an image Hogan, the son of a congressman, has cultivated and maintained despite his wealth, lifelong political ambitions, and the gobs of national attention he has received as a different type of GOP politician in the era of President Trump, Erin Cox of the Post reports. A master of pragmatism who thrives on retail politics, Hogan, 62, has mostly governed from the middle, avoiding controversy, embracing Democratic initiatives and preaching the value of working across the aisle.

JEALOUS’s ENTHUSIASTIC RALLY: As the crowd chanted its support for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous during Tuesday night’s rally at Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club, the scene was reminiscent of a campaign event for former President Barack Obama. As Jealous, the evening’s final speaker after Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Gov. Martin O’Malley, was midway through his 20-minute speech, the crowd of 1,000 supporters, according to Jealous campaign officials, began chanting “Yes we can,”—a common slogan from Obama’s 2008 campaign, Dan Schere of Bethesda Beat writes.

SEN. BATES SEEKS ANSWERS IN SECURITY BREACH: State Sen. Gail Bates is asking for answers about a breach of security at Howard County  Courthouse involving Register of Wills Byron Macfarlane at the end of September, Meg Tully reports for Maryland Reporter. Howard County Sheriff’s Office deputies found a group of 15 to 20 in the courthouse with an access pass from Macfarlane, said Major Donald Knott, chief deputy. At the time the courthouse was closed and Macfarlane was not present.

NewsMatch LAUNCHES TODAY: With more than $3 million in grants, NewsMatch, the largest grassroots fundraising campaign to support nonprofit news organizations, launches today in newsrooms across the country and online at newsmatch.org, according to MarylandReporter.com. The campaign doubles donations to 155 nonprofit newsrooms in nearly every state across the country, starting today and running through Dec. 31, 2018. MarylandReporter.com is participating for the third year in a row.