Capital News Service gathered data from the 2019 legislative session and conducted an analysis to report on some of the most striking takeaways from the General Assembly. In the Senate and House of Delegates, 188 legislators introduced 2,497 bills, which includes 16 joint resolutions. Both chambers passed 866 bills, two of which were joint resolutions.
As expensive ads in favor of Republican incumbent Gov. Larry Hogan went out on Maryland television channels this week, his Democratic challenger, former NAACP President Ben Jealous, has yet to respond with his own TV spots.
One of the safest Democratic strongholds in the state – Montgomery County – is being tested this election season as Republican nominee for governor Larry Hogan Jr. closes in on Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown for what once seemed like his easy elevation to the top job.
Early voting tallies show Montgomery increased turnout by only a 1% compared to the 2010 gubernatorial election, and that is with roughly 60,000 more eligible voters added to the rolls. Montgomery is far below the statewide average of 8.3% and had the third lowest turnout in the state.
“There you go again,” Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown said at least twice to Republican candidate Larry Hogan Jr. in their third and final debate for the governor’s office.
It was true for both men, as they replayed comments from the previous two debates, their TV ads and stump speeches. They repeated facts, figures and fictions, true-life examples and exaggerations.
And here they go again, our commentators assess the debate: This posting contains nine separate commentaries from Len Lazarick, Todd Eberly, Barry Rascovar, Tom Schaller, Blair Lee, Rick Vatz, Brian Griffiths, Blaine Taylor, Melissa Bolling and Charlie Hayward.
State election officials are scheduled to rule Thursday on the first of three campaign finance violation complaints filed in the contentious race for governor, but the two most serious complaints won’t likely be resolved till after the election. Civil penalties could be imposed on Larry Hogan’s Change Maryland organization. Another complaint involving possible collusion between the Brown-Ulman campaign, its chief fundraiser and a political action committee (PAC) supporting Brown is still under investigation.
Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is a rapidly expanding and politically prominent labor union who endorsed more than 80 for state office. Most were incumbent Democrats, and most won. Its sometimes brutal mailers and the union’s presence have permeated recent Maryland election cycles. While the candidates who enjoy an SEIU endorsement consider it a boon for their campaigns, other contenders consider themselves targets, and have derided the SEIU’s tactics as purely nasty.
The Maryland Democratic Party and some of its top elected officials are complaining that a Maryland voter watchdog group is training people in voter suppression.
Election Integrity Maryland, an offshoot of the Texas-based TRUEtheVOTE, has trained up to 200 poll watchers across the state this year to monitor what should be one of Maryland’s most contentious elections in memory.
Forty-six early voting centers will open Oct. 27 in Maryland for the 2012 presidential election, but it is not clear that the convenience is worth the $2.6 million price tag taxpayers are paying for the new benefit.
Overall, voter turnout has not increased, and one national study suggests early voting may have depressed turnout in several states, possibly because election day loses its stimulating effect on non-voters.
UPDATE: In a short order signed by Chief Judge Robert Bell, the Maryland Court of Appeals on Friday morning affirmed the lower court ruling that allows the congressional redistricting to be challenged on the November ballot. Here is a report on yesterday’s hearing.
Last week’s special session and another that seems likely to be called in mid-summer gave us all a taste how a full-time legislature might feel. It feels lousy. The states that make lawmaking full-time don’t really seem more wise or productive, despite higher pay and bigger staffs.