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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.
- Bryan Sears of the Daily Record reports that the resignation came just 24 hours after James Brady told a Baltimore radio station that he believed the controversy over keeping the University of Maryland football team head coach would quickly blow over. Brady’s abrupt resignation came hours after Gov. Larry Hogan told reporters that he intends to “get to the bottom” of a controversial review of the death of a University of Maryland football player.
- The Sun is reporting that in a statement Brady said, “In recent days, I have become the public face of both the board and its decisions. … my continued presence on the board will inhibit its ability to move Maryland’s higher education agenda forward. And I have no interest in serving as a distraction from that important work.” His resignation took effect immediately.
- The Diamondback is reporting that Barry Gossett, a prominent donor to this university’s athletic department, was serving as vice-chair, but Brady’s replacement is yet to be determined.
- Gov. Larry Hogan’s close ties to the University System of Maryland — a body now in full public meltdown following the resignation of Board of Regents chairman James T. Brady — is proving to be a nettlesome distraction for a governor who otherwise appears to be on cruise control in his bid for a second term. Brady was one of Hogan’s most trusted allies — a longtime Annapolis insider who had served governors of both parties and chaired Hogan’s 2014 campaign and was co-chairman of his transition team following the Republican’s upset victory. Bruce Depuyt analyzes in Maryland Matters.
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.
- Durkin’s firing was announced less than two hours after Hogan called on the regents and Loh to reconsider decisions that Durkin and athletic director Damon Evans would keep their jobs and that Loh would retire in June, Luke Broadwater of the Sun reports.
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.
- Susan Svrluga of the Post reports that the University of Maryland’s accreditation is being reviewed following the death of a student-athlete and media reports of problems within the state flagship school’s football program. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education asked for more information in August after reading reports in the media about problems at the school’s athletic program. The request is focused on two of the commission’s required standards, ethics and integrity, and the student experience.
- Tim Curtis of the Daily Record writes that the University System of Maryland Board of Regents’ mishandling of a review into the Maryland football program may have dealt a ‘fatal blow’ to the university’s $1.5 billion fundraising campaign, the University of Maryland College Park Foundation said in a letter to the board Thursday.
- Two UM football players got into a fight and one came away with injuries, according to a story by Luke Broadwater in the Sun. The injured team member said the altercation erupted because others discovered he was the whistleblower during the investigation into UM’s football culture. The fight occurred after Coach DJ Durkin was reinstated but before UM President Wallace Loh fired him.
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.
- Nearly 9,000 Washington County residents cast ballots during early voting, soaring past 2014’s total and setting a record for a gubernatorial election, CJ Lovelace reports for the Hagerstown Herald Mail.
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.
- In Fishbowl’s interview with Republican Al Redmer, a lifelong Baltimore County resident who has worked in both the public and the private sector, Redmer discusses why he thinks Baltimore County is finally ready for a Republican leader, cooperation with Baltimore City and the opioid crisis among other topics.
- Democrat Johnny Olzsewski Jr., who grew up in Dundalk and considers himself a progressive, talks about his support for more low-income housing in Baltimore County and the incentives to create more, the aging Baltimore County school infrastructure, the city-county relationship, the opioid crisis and his approach to criminal justice.
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.