Calling All Friends of Richard J. Cross III

It’s been a momentous few days in Maryland politics:

— Wealthy businessman David Blair formally entered the race for Montgomery County executive on Sunday — becoming the sixth Democrat in the field (along with County Councilmembers Roger Berliner, Marc Elrich and George Leventhal, state House Majority Leader Bill Frick, and former Rockville mayor Rose Krasnow).

Blair changes the dynamic in the wide-open Democratic race for the third time this fall. For months, it appeared that only the three councilmembers would run, but Frick, Krasnow and now Blair have joined the fray in fairly short order. It’s possible other candidates could still get in.

— Gov. Larry Hogan (R) delivered a strong denunciation on Saturday of Roy Moore, the former Alabama Supreme Court chief justice and GOP Senate nominee who was accused by four women of sexually harassing and/or assaulting them four decades ago, when they were teenagers.

Hogan’s statement on Moore further removes the governor from the “Trump wing” of the national Republican Party — just as Maryland Democrats are hoping Trump’s low poll numbers will help them oust Hogan in 2018. But it also offers a contrast to two more conservative Maryland Republicans who are apparently sticking with Moore — Anne Arundel County Councilmember Michael Peruotka, a longtime supporter of Moore’s, and U.S. Rep. Andy Harris, who endorsed him recently.

The Maryland Democratic Party is calling on Peruotka and Harris to reject Moore, but that’s part of a predictable partisan Kabuki dance that always takes place when a political scandal erupts. Tainted figure emerges, operatives in opposing political party demand leaders in tainted figure’s political party denounce, renounce and return political contributions, etc.

We wonder what our friend Richard Cross would think about it.

Richard J. Cross III

As you might have heard, Cross, a former speechwriter and press aide to the late Rep. Helen Bentley (R-Md.) and former Gov. Bob Ehrlich (R), was found dead in his Baltimore apartment on Thursday. He was 51.

With all that’s going on in Maryland politics right now, Cross’ death is among the most significant developments. It’s certainly the most shocking. We’re having a hard time processing it, as so many of his friends are.

A memorial will be held in his honor on Sunday, Dec. 3, at the Lemmon Funeral Home of Dulaney Valley, Inc., 10 West Padonia Rd. in Timonium. There will be a gathering and light refreshments served from 1-3 p.m., with the memorial slated to begin at 3 p.m.

Before then, we’d like to invite friends of Richard’s to submit their thoughts about the man over the next few days. We’d be glad to print a series of them in Maryland Matters.

If you’re interested, please send any comments to [email protected]

We’re too shocked at the moment to compose our own thoughts, but we will in the next few days. Please share your own. Thanks for your consideration and participation!

Josh Kurtz
Co-founder and Editor Josh Kurtz is the leading chronicler of Maryland politics and government. He began covering the State House in 1995 for The Gazette newspapers, and has been writing about state and local politics ever since. He later became an editor at Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, and spent eight years at E&E News, an online subscription-only publisher of news websites covering energy and environmental issues. For seven of those years, he led a staff of 20 reporters at E&E Daily, which covers energy and environmental policy on Capitol Hill and in national politics. For 6 1/2 years he wrote a weekly column on state politics for Center Maryland and has written for several other Maryland publications as well. Kurtz has given speeches and appeared on TV and radio shows about Maryland politics through the years.


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