State Roundup: Would Youngkin strategy work in Md.; McGrath shares Hogan text, claims support of severance payment

State Roundup: Would Youngkin strategy work in Md.; McGrath shares Hogan text, claims support of severance payment

The years-long renovation of the old Annapolis Post Office on Church Circle has been completed and is now home for some of the governor's offices. The 1901 structure was purchased by the state for $3.2 million in 2013 and $16 million was budgeted for its restoration. Governor's Office photo by Patrick Siebert.

DEM EXPERT: MD WON’T RESPOND TO YOUNGKIN TACTICS: Maryland Republicans should be careful not to emulate the type of campaign Glenn Youngkin ran to get elected governor of Virginia if they want to have a chance of holding on to the governor’s mansion in 2022, former Democratic National Committee chair and gubernatorial candidate Tom Perez said in a report by Bryan Renbaum for Maryland Reporter. But several nonpartisan experts said Youngkin’s type of campaign could have broader appeal in many states if it focused on the economy and providing a quality education in the wake of virtual learning.

TWO DEMS FOR GOV RUNNING ADS: Two Democratic candidates for governor have launched the first ad buys of the state’s 2022 election, Ovetta Wiggins reports for the Post. Wes Moore and Mike Rosenbaum are the two first candidates to run ads; Moore is running radio ads and Rosenbaum is doing social media and connected TV platform ads.

MCGRATH RELEASES TEXTS, DOCUMENT: Roy McGrath, the former chief of staff to Gov. Larry Hogan facing state and federal criminal charges, says the governor approved his controversial payout from a state agency — and claims to have a document proving it, Pamela Wood reports for the Sun.

  • “I know you did nothing wrong. I think it is unfair. I will stand with you,” Hogan wrote to his former aide in the undated message, Ovetta Wiggins and Rebecca Tan report for the Post. The text came after it was publicly revealed in mid-August that McGrath received a $233,647 severance package from Maryland Environmental Services, which became the basis of a federal and state indictment. A spokesman for the governor acknowledged the texts but said they were sent before the governor knew the full story behind the severance package.
  • McGrath resigned from the chief of staff job less than three months after his severance payment was first reported, Kate Ryan reports for WTOP.
  • Hogan’s communications director Mike Ricci told WBAL News Radio that McGrath’s statements are dishonest, calling them “falsehoods.”

VACCINE MANDATE COMING TO LARGE EMPLOYERS: Large private companies will need to fully vaccinate employees for COVID or begin testing employees who decline vaccination by early January under rules announced by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration Thursday, Bryn Stole reports for the Sun. But it may not be possible for Maryland’s workplace safety organization to adopt requirements in time for the deadline, since it has been given only 30 days to fully adopt the new regulations and has a legally mandated regulatory review process which also requires approval by a committee of state lawmakers.

  • There are 21 states that enforce their own workplace safety rules like Maryland does, Laura Olson reports for Maryland Matters.

CAMPAIGN TO CONVINCE PARENTS, VACCINATE KIDS BEGINS: Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott says the time for children to be vaccinated is now, and the health department will be offering Pfizer vaccines for children ages 5 to 11 next week, Sarah Kim reports for WYPR.

  • While a straightforward decision for the roughly a third of parents who have booked vaccine appointments for their children, some parents remain unconvinced about the safety and effectiveness of the newly authorized coronavirus vaccine for kids, despite endorsements from state and federal officials and major institutions such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, Hallie Miller reports for the Sun.

LOCAL VACCINE MANUFACTURER BACKS OUT OF FEDERAL PROGRAM: The specialty pharmaceutical manufacturer that operates the troubled Baltimore facility where millions of Johnson & Johnson vaccines went to waste this year is ending its contract to produce COVID vaccines, Hallie Miller reports for the Sun. Emergent BioSolutions announced the end of its involvement Thursday in a federal program that prepares for and responds to infectious diseases and other threats to public health.

FIRST MD TREE TO BE AT ROCKEFELLER CENTER: A 79 foot tall Norway spruce now growing in Cecil County will be cut next week and taken to Rockefeller Center in New York City to become the iconic Rockefeller Square Christmas Tree, Jane Bellmyer reports for the Cecil Whig. This is the first time a tree from Maryland will grace Rockefeller Center in the 90 years of the tradition. It will be cut Nov. 11.

NEW DELEGATE APPOINTMENTS: Gov. Larry Hogan has appointed Anne Arundel attorney Rachel Muñoz and retired math teacher and Environmental Protection Agency worker Faye Martin Howell to two open delegate seats recently vacated, the Sun reports. Muñoz will finish out the remaining term of former Del. Michael E. Malone, who resigned to become a circuit court judge, and Howell will take the seat of Erek Barron, who left the House of Delegates to become Maryland’s United States attorney.

CELEBRATING 12 YEARS OF JOURNALISM: Twelve years ago this week, we launched as the state’s first nonprofit news website covering state government and politics. Since the very first day, we have produced a daily State Roundup and a newsletter that has now gone out 3,000 times linking to coverage from around the state. We’ve also run another 4,500 original stories by our own staff and our news partners. We are asking you to help us celebrate our 12th birthday by donating during our major fundraising drive of the year – the NewsMatch program when every contribution up to $1,000 is matched by national foundations.

ANNE ARUNDEL USING FEDERAL FUNDS TO ADDRESS SCHOOL BUS DRIVER SHORTAGE: Anne Arundel County is dipping into federal American Rescue Plan Act funds to address the school bus driver shortage, Joel McCord reports for WYPR. County Executive Steuart Pittman announced Thursday that he will be providing $5,000 signing and retention bonuses to drivers and $2,000 to aides.

  • The money will be spread out over time but parents and students say there needs to be a solution because students are waiting for school buses, Annie Rose Ramos reports for WJZ.

DEPUTY COMPTROLLER LEAVING: Maryland’s deputy comptroller, Sharonne Bonardi, is leaving at the end of the year to become executive director of the Federation of Tax Administrators. Comptroller Peter Franchot said Thursday he has named Andrew Schaufele, the current director of the Bureau of Revenue Estimates (BRE), to succeed her, effective Jan. 3. Current BRE Chief Economist David Farkas will be the bureau’s interim director. Josh Kurtz reports in Maryland Matters.

OBJECTIONS TO CONTINUED CITY HALL CLOSURE: Baltimore’s City Hall still remains closed even as the rest of the city opens, Rielle Creighton reports for WBFF. Meetings are live streamed but the city can shut down a mic or a screen.

NO MASK MANDATE IN MOCO: Montgomery County will no longer be reinstating an indoor mask mandate next week, as long as the county confirms the data showing the county falls under “moderate” transmission rates, Steve Bohnel reports for Bethesda Beat.

MACO LEADER TAKES ON NATIONAL ROLE: Maryland Association of Counties Executive Director Michael Sanderson has joined the leadership queue for the National Council of County Association Executives, an affiliate of the National Association of Counties (NACo), Victoria Moss reports for Conduit Street, MACO’s blog.

About The Author

Meg Tully

Contributing Editor Meg Tully has been covering Maryland politics for more than five years. She has worked for The Frederick News-Post, where she reported during the General Assembly session in Annapolis. She has also worked for The (Hanover) Evening Sun and interned at Baltimore Magazine. Meg has won awards from the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association for her state and county writing, and a Keystone Press Award for feature writing from the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association. She is a graduate of Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. If you have additional questions or comments contact Meg at:

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