State Roundup, February 5, 2020

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MFUME, KLACIK WIN FOR 7th CONGRESSIONAL SEAT: Kweisi Mfume won the Democratic primary to succeed the late Rep. Elijah Cummings on Tuesday, defeating the revered lawmaker’s widow and positioning himself to reclaim the deep-blue seat he held more than 20 years ago, Jenna Portnoy of the Post is reporting. The winner of the Republican primary was Kimberly Klacik, whose video of trash in West Baltimore last summer prompted Trump to call Cummings’ district a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.”

ON KIMBERLY KLACIK: Kimberly Klacik is a Middle River resident who runs a nonprofit and is a member of a county Republican Central Committee. She has the best name recognition of any of the GOP candidates in the race, Colin Campbell writes in this Sun profile of the nominee.

ON KWEISI MFUME: Mfume, a former Baltimore city councilman, represented the 7th Congressional District for a decade before becoming president of the NAACP. First elected to Congress in 1986, he was Cummings’ immediate predecessor in the seat and served as vice chair and chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, Colin Campbell writes in this Sun profile of the nominee.

DEM PRIMARIES NOT OVER YET: Mfume will once again battle state Sen. Jill Carter, Maya Rockeymoore Cummings and other Democrats in the regular Democratic primary — also to be held April 28. The winner of that will be the party’s nominee to run in November for the new two-year term in Congress that starts in January. It’s a confusing situation that could produce two different winners. But one thing’s for certain: Mfume now has momentum, Luke Broadwater of the Sun reports.

HOW MFUME WON: Ian Round and Fern Shen of Baltimore Brew write that Baltimore-born Mfume enjoyed multiple advantages, including a familiar name and – even though he campaigned in a leased Porsche – an approachable demeanor, some said Tuesday. In addition to being road-tested, “he speaks to the common man,” Bisa Gray said.

WHAT WE LEARNED FROM PRIMARY: Scott Dance of the Sun offer six lessons learned from this 7th Congressional District primary, including that Mfume has staying power, despite the fact that he was unsuccessful in his 2006 U.S. Senate bid and he left the NAACP in 2004 amid an allegation of sexual harassment. Also, we learned that Klacik’s viral video actually paid off.

DEMS PUSH CRIME REDUCTION PACKAGE: Maryland Democratic leaders called Tuesday for an audit of all gun crimes in the state — to find out where the state’s criminal justice system is breaking down and letting shooters escape justice — as part of a package of anti-crime legislation, Luke Broadwater writes for the Sun.

RECORD FUNDING, BUT MORE SOUGHT FOR SCHOOLS: In a column for MarylandReporter, Len Lazarick writes that Gov. Larry Hogan takes credit for record after record in spending on schools and sick people. And then he lambasts the spending mandates in state law that control 83% of the budget and drive the record spending – though in some cases Hogan has added money to the mandated spending. In many cases, he takes credit for what he is forced to do. But given the mandates, it is no small feat to balance a state budget where expenses are rising faster than revenues, and to do it with no new taxes.

SENATORS QUESTION HOGAN SCHOOL PLAN: A school accountability plan floated by Gov. Larry Hogan (R) was met with skepticism Tuesday by senators, who said the plan to allow specialized teams to take over struggling schools is duplicative of current law and would create an undue burden on school communities, Danielle Gaines writes in Maryland Matters.

HOUSE OKs LONG-GUN BACKGROUND CHECKS BILL: A bill that would require background checks for private sales of long guns passed in the Maryland House of Delegates on Tuesday, 87-47, after much debate, Olivia Sanchez reports for the Capital Gazette. House Bill 4 would require a licensed firearms dealer to facilitate the transfer of a rifle or shotgun, by sale, gift or loan. The facilitated transfer would include a background check through the FBI’s National Instant Background Check System.

REDSKINS PROMISE MINORITY VENDOR: As Maryland lawmakers move closer to legalizing sports betting in the state, a representative for the Washington Redskins, which is shopping for a new stadium somewhere in the region, pledged Tuesday that the team would hire a minority vendor if it is granted permission to have a sports gaming operation at FedEx Field, Josh Kurtz reports for Maryland Matters.

HELMET-OPTION BILL REINTRODUCED: Helmets would no longer be mandatory for most motorcycle riders in Maryland under a bill that was set to be heard in a state Senate committee Tuesday. Senate Bill 237 would make motorcyclists and their passengers exempt from wearing a helmet if the motorcycle operator is 21 or older, has at least two years of riding experience and has completed an approved safety course. The legislation has been introduced in each session of the General Assembly since 2016, Jeff Barnes reports for Capital News Service.

TUSKEGEE AIRMAN HONORED BY TRUMP: President Donald Trump recognized Marylander Charles McGee of Bethesda — a retired Tuskegee Airman who flew 409 combat missions in three wars and was recently promoted to brigadier general — Tuesday during his third State of the Union address in the House chamber, Yvonne Wenger of the Sun reports.

WOMAN SWORN IN AS NEW PG FIRE CHIEF: WTOP-AM is reporting that Prince George’s has sworn in Tiffany Green as the county’s new fire chief, making her the county’s first woman to hold the position and only the ninth black woman in U.S. history to lead a fire department.