State Roundup, November 2, 2018

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Happy Birthday to us. MarylandReporter.com and its daily State Roundup turn nine years old today, with more than 2,200 newsletters sent since 2009.

THANKS FOR THE BIRTHDAY GIFTS: Thanks to the dozens of people who responded to yesterday’s fundraising letter launching the third annual NewsMatch drive.  We raised over $2,600, more than 10% toward our $25,000 goal that will be doubled by four national foundations. And yes, we got the link to the DONATE button fixed. Every tax-deductible gift up to $1,000 given by Dec. 31 will doubled.

BRADY RESIGNS UM BOARD OF REGENTS: James T. Brady, as chair of the system’s Board of Regents the leader of the University System of Maryland’s governing board, resigned Thursday, the latest surprise in a fast-moving power struggle between the state’s flagship school and the board that arose after a football player died following a team workout, the Washington Post is reporting.

WHY BRADY NEEDS TO GO: In a column written for the Annapolis Capital before James T. Brady resigned from the Board of Regents, sports writer Bill Wagner deftly explains the situation surrounding UM football and the Board of Regents, and why Brady needed to resign.

HOGAN HINTS AT UM FUTURE: University of Maryland President Wallace Loh’s decision Wednesday to fire head football coach D.J. Durkin isn’t the “end of the story,” Gov. Larry Hogan said Thursday. Speaking to C4 on WBAL-TV, the governor said he remained “so shocked” at the decision by the University System of Maryland Board of Regents to recommend Durkin and Athletic Director Damon Evans be retained. The story is topped by a 19-minute video of the program.

UM ACCREDITATION REVIEWED, OTHER FALLOUT: Sun staff is reporting that consequences of the turmoil that followed the death of UM football player Jordan McNair began to materialize Thursday: The flagship institution’s main accreditation under scrutiny. Academic officials condemning a breakdown in integrity. A major donor withholding support. Damage has been done, university leaders said. And they pointed most of the blame toward the system’s board of regents, whose chairman, James Brady, stepped down Thursday.

SUPPORT SOUGHT FOR CANNABIS AS ADDICTION AID: Two Maryland men, who are using cannabis products to get themselves off opioids, have filed a formal petition to ask the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission to put opioid addiction on its list of qualifying conditions for patients, Ethan McLeod of Baltimore Fishbowl reports. They’ve gotten letters of support from lawmakers, including Sens. Ronald Young (D-Frederick County) and Brian Feldman (D-Montgomery County).

BAY DEAD ZONES STEADY: The Bay Journal’s Tim Wheeler writes in MarylandReporter that the Chesapeake Bay’s overall “dead zone” turned out to be average in size this year, but abnormal weather through spring and summer made for some extreme conditions along the way, according to reports from Maryland and Virginia.

GETTING TO THE POLLS: With Election Day right around the corner, several nonpartisan organizations in the Baltimore area have revved up efforts to encourage voter turnout. The initiatives range from driving voters to polling places to catering hot meals at registration sites and block parties. Hallie Miller of the Sun outlines some of the ways groups are working to get people to the polls on Tuesday, Nov. 4.

HIGH TURNOUT AS EARLY VOTING ENDS: Anne Arundel County and the state saw their highest numbers of early voters on Thursday, wrapping up the eight-day early voting period, with 675,010 people voting statewide and more than 70,000 voting in Arundel County alone. The state Board of Elections released the unofficial final numbers Thursday night, according to the Annapolis Capital.

GROWING LATINO POPULATION DOESN’T VOTE: Dominique Maria Bonessi of WYPR-FM reports that Latinos may be the fastest growing minority in the U.S. and Maryland, but it appears they don’t show up in growing numbers at the polls. And, according to local politicians, Latino turnout tends to lag behind other minorities. Says former Democratic Del. Marice Morales of Montgomery County, “And I can tell you as a Latina elected official I did everything I could when I first ran to engage Latino voters.”

INDEPENDENT SIMON SAYS HOGAN VOTED FOR HIM: Potomac businessman Neal Simon—seeking to become the first person in Maryland history to win a U.S. Senate seat running as an independent—got a boost Thursday when, according to Simon, Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, told Simon that he had cast his ballot for him during early voting, Louis Peck of Bethesda Beat reports.

WILL MO CO BACK A REPUBLICAN GOV? In an interesting analysis, Bethesda Beat commentator Adam Pagnucco delves into Montgomery County’s voting patterns and ponders if highly popular Republican Gov. Larry Hogan can actually win in Montgomery County. The question seems preposterous on its face. MoCo has not voted for a GOP gubernatorial nominee since 1966, when the Republicans ran Baltimore County Executive Spiro Agnew and the Democrats nominated segregationist George P. Mahoney. Since then, MoCo has reliably voted for Democrats for governor.

IS FRANCHOT A FAKE DEMOCRAT? In a column for Maryland Matters, Josh Kurtz writes that Halloween just passed, so it’s fair to ask: Is state Comptroller Peter Franchot (D) merely masquerading as a Democrat? Franchot’s third term as the state’s tax collector has been defined, more than anything, by his buddy-buddy relationship with Gov. Larry Hogan Jr. (R) and his growing estrangement from the state’s Democratic establishment – or “the Annapolis machine,” as he likes to call it.

INTERVIEWS WITH REDMER, OLZSEWSKI: Brandon Weigel and Ethan McLeod of Baltimore Fishbowl interview the Baltimore County executive candidates.

FICKER KNOWN FOR PUBLICITY STUNTS: If Robin Ficker (R) wins the three-way battle for Montgomery County executive, his victory will serve as a bookend to his only other political win, one that came 40 years ago. In 1978, Ficker, then a 35-year-old attorney and Republican activist, was elected to the Maryland House of Delegates. His four-year tenure in Annapolis was, according to people who were there, marked by publicity stunts, stubbornness, self-defeating antics, alienation and, ultimately, defeat. Montgomery County voters ousted him after one term, and they’ve been saying no ever since, Bruce DePuyt of Maryland Matters writes.

FICKER ON AIR: With less than one week until the next Montgomery County executive is expected to be elected Tuesday, Republican candidate Robin Ficker is making his presence known on the airwaves of the Washington, D.C., region, Dan Schere of Bethesda Beat reports.

YOUNG CANDIDATES RISE: After winning one of two Democratic nominations for Calvert County commissioner in June, 20-year-old Matt Bennett, a junior at University of Maryland, Baltimore County, moved home, cut back on credit hours and put his athletic career on hold. He’s part of a small but growing cohort of candidates younger than 30 running in the general election, an uptick that political experts say could indicate growing enthusiasm, optimism and engagement in politics among young people. Hallie Miller of the Sun introduces readers to a group of those running.