Political Notes: O’Malley’s Marches, Katz’s Many Friends

Former Gov. Martin J. O’Malley (D) is lending a hand to Howard County Councilman Calvin B. Ball III (D), who is seeking to oust Howard County Executive Allan H. Kittleman (R) in November. O’Malley is headlining a fundraiser for Ball on April 18 at Kelsey’s Irish Pub in Ellicott City. Ticket prices start at $250 and go up from there. “Since the election of Donald Trump, I have traveled across our country to 21 states in support of over three dozen candidates,” O’Malley wrote in a solicitation to Ball’s fundraiser. “Along the way I have met some truly impressive young leaders. But few, if any, are more inspiring and qualified as Calvin Ball.” Howard County Councilman Calvin B. Ball III Kittleman had a robust fundraising lead over Ball the last time candidates filed their campaign finance reports in mid-January. He reported $826,000 on-hand then compared to Ball’s $246,000. The next round of fundraising reports are due next Tuesday. Kittleman has been popular and his first term has generally been mistake- and controversy-free. But he could still find himself vulnerable if a big national Democratic wave emerges. Not-so-great Scott In addition to tending to the home front, O’Malley, who still harbors presidential ambitions, weighed in on a national political controversy as well on Thursday, attacking embattled Environmental Protection Agency Administrator E. Scott Pruitt in a series of tweets. Pruitt, whose anti-regulatory and pro-industry policies are anathema to environmentalists, is now under scrutiny for his luxury travel, cozy relationship with energy lobbyists, and round-the-clock security, which his recent predecessors did not have. O’Malley’s first tweet: “The oath @epascottpruitt took to be the Administrator of @EPA was itself a lie. He is an unethical and unabashed ideologue who believes in doing away with Environmental Protection.” O’Malley’s second: “As Attorney General of Oklahoma, he actually sued Maryland to try to stop us from cleaning up the waters of the Chesapeake Bay. Eventually, the Supreme Court threw out his claim.” O’Malley’s third: “The best interests of America are not served by less Environmental Protection; they are served by less Scott Pruitt.” The empire strikes back You’ve been in politics for 40 years and you’re running against a guy who is about 40 years your junior. What do you do? Roll out a long list of endorsements from current and former politicians, many of whom are just as seasoned as you are. Montgomery County Councilman Sidney A. Katz, who is facing a vigorous Democratic primary challenge from Ben Shnider, a progressive Rockville activist, this week announced endorsements from 25 local officials, including County Executive Isiah Leggett, Leggett’s predecessor, former county executive Douglas M. Duncan, Katz’s predecessor, former councilman Phil Andrews, and a host of others. “Sidney is a true public servant, and I know that he is the most qualified candidate to represent District 3 on the County Council for the next four years,” Leggett said in a statement. Andrews praised Katz for being the only candidate in the primary to enter the county’s public finance system. “Sidney is a wise steward of our tax dollars and puts the public interest first,” Andrews said. Shnider is running to Katz’s left, and has racked up endorsements from some unions and progressive groups. The list of supporters Katz released this week is awe-inspiring in its scope and historical reach. It highlights his long record and connections. Katz, a former retailer, spent 20 years as a Gaithersburg city councilman and 16 years as the city’s mayor, before being elected to the County Council in District 3, representing Rockville and Gaithersburg, in 2014. The full list, beyond Leggett, Duncan and Andrews: County Councilman Craig Rice, County Councilman Hans Riemer, Gaithersburg Mayor Jud Ashman, Rockville Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton, Gaithersburg City Councilmembers Neil Harris and Michael Sesma, Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy, State Sens. Cheryl Kagan, Nancy King, Susan Lee and Craig Zucker, Dels. Kumar Barve, Jim Gilchrist, Ben Kramer and Aruna Miller, Board of Education members Judy Docca and Michael Durso, former Rockville mayors Susan Hoffmann, Phyllis Marcuccio and Steve VanGrack, former New Carrollton mayor Jordan Harding, former state Sens. Jennie Forehand and Laurence Levitan, former Dels. Hank Heller, Adrienne Mandel and Carol Petzold, and former judge Chung Pak. [email protected]

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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