Political Notes: TV Debates, New Annapolis Residents and a Super Hero

The Democratic candidates for governor have agreed to four televised debates before the June 26 primary – and the first is happening Monday. According to a schedule provided by the Maryland Democratic Party, the debates will take place: — May 21, from 7-8 p.m., on Maryland Public Television and WBAL-TV in Baltimore. — May 30, on Fox-45 Baltimore and ABC-7 in the Washington, D.C., market. The time has yet to be announced. — June 13, from 8-9:30 p.m., on ABC-2 in Baltimore. — June 17, from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., on NBC-4 in D.C. “This is a dynamic and accomplished field of candidates, and we are proud that Maryland’s energized voters will have an opportunity to hear from all of them,” said Maryland Democratic Party Chairwoman Kathleen Matthews. Monday’s debate, though it won’t air until evening, is being taped in the late morning at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum in Baltimore. WBAL-TV 11 News Today anchor Jason Newton will moderate the debate, and will be joined by panelists Jayne Miller, the lead investigative reporter for WBAL-TV 11 News; Charles Robinson, from Maryland Public Television; and former state Sen. Clarence Mitchell IV (D), known as C-4, who hosts a daily talk show on WBAL NewsRadio 1090.  Going to the dogs While Democrats were setting their TV debate schedule and welcoming former Montgomery County Councilwoman Valerie L. Ervin to the race, Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan (R) and first lady Yumi Hogan visited the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter Thursday, where they adopted two rescued shih tzus, a mother and puppy. Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan and first lady Yumi Hogan with the newest members of their family. State government photo Their granddaughter, Daniella, adopted a puppy; and the other two puppies were adopted by the governor’s press secretary, Shareese Churchill and her husband, General Services Secretary Ellington E. Churchill Jr. and their two daughters, and Shareese Churchill’s parents. The Hogans will be seeking input from friends, family and Marylanders before they name the new arrivals. “The First Lady and I are incredibly excited to be adopting these adorable dogs. It was ‘puppy love’ at first sight, and we are thrilled to bring the newest members of our family home to Government House,” Hogan said in a statement. “Whether you have two legs or four, Maryland is a great place to call home.” One political consultant who is not working the gubernatorial race said the adoption served as a metaphor for Hogan’s care-free attitude over his reelection, especially compared with Democrats’ angst over Ervin’s entry and the unsettled nature of their gubernatorial primary. “You have to play this news [about Ervin] against what the governor’s doing today – and he’s, what, adopted two puppies,” the consultant said. “That’s how serious he’s taking it.” We don’t need another hero Or do we? In a new campaign video, Montgomery County Councilman George L. Leventhal, one of six Democratic candidates for county executive, suggests he could be the man for the job. The 90-second ad casts Leventhal as “Avenger-MoCo,” and casts him in heroic positions in strategic locations around the county, flying and landing on the ground emphatically, literally fighting for his top priorities. “I’m not a super hero,” Leventhal concedes toward the end of the ad. “But if you make me county executive, I’ll fight for you.” The ad, which was made by the same media firm that produced the highly-acclaimed “America” ad for Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2016 White House campaign, ends with a disclaimer assuring viewers that “No pavement was harmed in the making of this film.” William F. Zorzi contributed to this report.

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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