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Government & Politics

Political notes: Fundraising hasn’t stopped, Maggie McIntosh’s new gig, plus House GOP leaders and new Senate subcommittees

Gov. Larry Hogan (R) presented retiring House Appropriations Chair Maggie McIntosh (D-Baltimore City) with a governor’s citation to honor her 30-year career in the House of Delegates last April. File photo by Danielle E. Gaines.

As if we needed reminding in the week leading up to the Wednesday start of the General Assembly session, state elected officials are prevented from raising money during the 90-day confab. That’s why lawmakers held some 60 fundraisers between Jan. 2 and Wednesday morning, before the ban went into effect at noon.

But here’s an anomaly: Gov.-elect Wes Moore (D), Lt. Gov.-elect Aruna Miller (D) and Comptroller-elect Brooke Lierman (D) don’t take office until next week, meaning they can keep on fundraising until the minute they take the oath of office. And they are.

Moore sent out a fundraising solicitation via text on Tuesday, reminding supporters that he and Miller are taking office next week. “We can’t wait!”

But the message also came with a plea that “we have less than one week left to refuel our movement before we enter a fundraising freeze.” Moore went on to say that the campaign has a “crucial” goal of raising $30,000 before the fundraising ban takes effect, and urged supporters to help him and Miller “beat the freeze.”

Between Moore’s campaign account, Miller’s campaign committee and a joint fundraising account, the Moore-Miller team had a $2.7 million war chest as of Nov. 15. They’ll be sworn in next Wednesday.

Lierman, who had $188,032 in her campaign account as of mid-November, also sent out fundraising solicitations this week.

“Even when there isn’t an impending election, campaigns still operate, and we still have day-to-day work and staffers to pay,” she wrote in one email. “I had a tough election and you and I gave it our all — I need to make sure that we can keep our systems in place over the coming months. That’s why I need your help before the deadline.”

Lierman takes office on Monday.

We expect that both political leaders will continue to see a windfall of campaign cash as they prepare to assume their powerful offices. All state and county elected officials and candidates are due to submit their latest campaign finance reports, covering fundraising and spending activities from Nov. 16 to Jan. 11, to the State Board of Elections next Thursday.

Those reports will cover the mad pre-session scramble for campaign cash by state legislators. But due to the timetable for submitting campaign finance reports, we won’t learn about last-minute, pre-inaugural fundraising by Moore, Miller and Lierman until mid-January of 2024.

Winning the Maggie McIntosh sweepstakes

Former House Appropriations Chair Maggie McIntosh (D-Baltimore City), whose 30-year legislative career came to an end this week, has landed a gig with Cornerstone Government Affairs, where she will be a senior consultant.

McIntosh has been one of the most powerful lawmakers in Annapolis for several years, helming Appropriations and chairing the old Environmental Matters Committee and serving as majority leader before that. McIntosh, who has run her own political consulting shop for years, began her political career as a top aide and strategist to former U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.).

In a news release, Cornerstone, which has offices in Washington, D.C., and about a dozen state capitals, said McIntosh will help build the firm’s presence and advise clients throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, including in Maryland, Delaware and D.C. She is not able to formally lobby her ex-colleagues until next year.

Cornerstone also announced that Christopher Dews joined the firm last month after serving as the senior policy advocate at the Job Opportunities Task Force for three years. In his role at JOTF, Dews advocated for policy and budgetary proposals designed to advance low-income workers to higher-wage jobs in Maryland. Prior to his time at JOTF, Dews worked as a training coordinator at the Civic Works Center for Sustainable Careers, where he recruited and managed unemployed, under-employed and at-risk Baltimore City residents for workforce development.

Cornerstone’s Annapolis-based Mid-Atlantic team includes three other ex-state lawmakers, former Del. John Bohanan  and former Sens. P.J. Hogan and Mac Middleton.

“Maggie’s 30 years of service to the Maryland House of Delegates speaks for itself,” Cornerstone President and Managing Director Geoff Gonella said. “Her valued insights, in addition to Christopher’s expertise in workforce development, will make great additions to an already strong Mid-Atlantic team.”

House GOP builds out leadership team

House Minority Leader Jason Buckel (R-Allegany) and Minority Whip Jesse Pippy (R-Frederick) announced several appointments Thursday to the GOP leadership team.

Del. April Rose (R-Carroll) will continue in the role of assistant minority leader and Del. Jay Jacobs (R-Upper Shore) remains caucus chair. Del. Jeff Ghrist (R-Upper Shore) was reappointed minority parliamentarian.

Del. Mike Griffith (R-Harford) will be chair of the Caucus Steering Committee, which helps develop the legislative agenda for the 39-member GOP caucus.

Buckel and Pippy also designated ranking members for each of the standing House committees: Ghrist on Appropriations, Jacobs on Environment & Transportation, Del. Steve Arentz (R-Upper Shore) on Economic Matters, Del. Matt Morgan (R-St. Mary’s) for Health & Government Operations, Del. Rachel Muñoz (R-Anne Arundel) for Judiciary, and Del. Wayne Hartman (R-Lower Shore) on Ways & Means.

“Each member of our team is a strong leader in their own right,” Buckel said. “This is a dynamic mix of veteran and new legislators who will be instrumental in advancing our principles in Annapolis.”

E x 6

It might take a while for some Annapolis old timers to get used to the new name — and modified mission — for one of the state Senate panels: The Committee on Education, Health and Environmental Affairs (EHE or EHEA, depending on personal preference) has now become the Committee on Education, Energy and the Environment — to be henceforth known as EEE, or triple E, or E cubed.

But if that isn’t confusing enough, the committee is  to create three new subcommittees, and possibly a workgroup or two, whereas EHE didn’t utilize subcommittees often, the new chair, Sen. Brian Feldman (D-Montgomery), told his colleagues Thursday.

“I think it’s very likely likely we’re going to create, using the committee’s name, an energy subcommittee, an education subcommittee, and an environmental subcommittee, to go through certain bills,” he said.

For the record, EEE will tackle bills related to the environment, agriculture, natural resources, education, elections, ethics, business occupations, housing and community development, state and local government, and utilities. That’s quite a robust portfolio.

Health bills now go to the Finance Committee.