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Quick News Updates – The Blog

Ex-Delegate’s Treasurer Accused of Stealing Campaign Funds

State Prosecutor Emmit C. Davitt announced Tuesday that the former campaign treasurer of the late Del. Joseph J. "Sonny" Minnick (D-Baltimore County) has been indicted for allegedly stealing campaign funds.Ronald Chesek, 59, of Severna Park, was charged in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court with stealing more than $13,000 from The Friends of Joseph J. Minnick campaign account between 2013 and 2017.Minnick represented the Dundalk-based 6th District in the House of Delegates from 1988 to 1990 and again from 1995 to 2015, and died in 2015 at the age of 82, half a year after leaving office. According to Davitt's...

Maryland AG Signs Letter Opposing Narrow Federal Definition of Gender

Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh (D) has joined a coalition calling on the Trump administration to abandon an effort to adopt a federal definition of gender that would exclude transgender and gender-nonconforming people from the protections of federal civil rights laws.Frosh was one of 20 state attorneys general who signed on to a letter sent Monday to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Education to express “deep concern” over the possible change, which would exclude some people from the protections of civil rights laws like Title IX and the nondiscrimination provisions of the...

Quotations from Chairman Paul

State Sen. Paul G. Pinsky (D-Prince George's), a progressive leader in Maryland and incoming chairman of the Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee, has penned a primer for newly-elected progressive lawmakers at the federal, state and local levels.Writing last week in The Nation magazine, Pinsky proclaims that in the wake of Election Day, the U.S. is set to enter a golden era for progressive lawmaking."Has America’s left ever witnessed a more promising moment for electoral politics?" he writes. "Certainly not in my lifetime—and I’ve been around quite a while."Given his long experience as an activist dating back to his...

Maryland Matters on the Air

Maryland Matters' Editor Josh Kurtz will be joining Sheilah Kast for a discussion of congressional redistricting in Maryland on WYPR's "On the Record" Monday at 9:30 a.m. Also interviewed by Kast on the topic are Walter Olson, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute's Robert A. Levy Center for Constitutional Studies and chairman of Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr.'s Redistricting Reform Commission, and state Sen. Richard S. Madaleno Jr. (D-Montgomery).The interview can be heard live at 88.1 on the FM dial or live or later at www.wypr.org.  

Delaney’s Presidential Bid Gets the George Will Treatment

Before the hordes of 2020 Democratic presidential candidates descend on Iowa and New Hampshire, the first out of the gate, Maryland Congressman John K. Delaney, wants people to remember that he's already been to both states. A lot.His candidacy rated an article in The New York Times recently, and he now can boast an admiring profile from conservative columnist George F. Will in The Washington Post. Will's column, headlined "A Democrat who offers what he's lived" in the dead tree edition and "Want to topple Trump? Take John Delaney seriously" online, spoke of Delaney's rags-to-riches story, his reliance on...

Bill Renaming Largo Post Office for Wayne Curry Hits Trump’s Desk

A bill that would rename the post office in Largo after a ground-breaking Prince George’s County executive is headed to President Trump’s desk for signature. The U.S. Senate approved a measure late Thursday that renames the U.S. Postal Service office at 9801 Apollo Drive as the “Wayne K. Curry Post Office Building.” The measure, which passed the House of Representatives over the summer, honors the county’s first African-American executive. Wayne Keith Curry was born in New York and rose to prominence in Maryland as a hard-charging development lawyer. He took office in 1994, following a bruising multi-candidate primary, and served two terms. A man who brimmed with...

2 Consulting Firms Announce Changes

Two companies that are players in the Maryland political world are undergoing some changes.The Hatcher Group, a leading communications and public affairs firm that largely serves nonprofit and progressive clients, has been sold. Beginning in January, the owners will be Amy Buckley and Amy Fahnestock.Buckley is a former principal at Reingold Inc., a public affairs firm in Arlington, Va. Fahnestock has worked, among other places, at Booz Allen Hamilton’s strategic communications practice.The Hatcher Group’s founders – Ed Hatcher and Angie Cannon – will remain with the firm in senior positions for an undetermined period to assist with the transition,...

AG Appeals Redistricting Order to the Supreme Court

Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh (D) has appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court a federal court order that Maryland redraw its congressional districts.That order, by a three-judge panel, demands that state leaders fix unconstitutional flaws in the map in time for the 2020 elections.The decision was announced on Nov. 7, the day after the 2018 campaign. It was hailed by the attorney for the plaintiffs – seven 6th District Republicans who brought suit against the state in 2013. They alleged that their First Amendment rights of association were violated when Democrats — including then-Gov. Martin J. O’Malley Jr. and the legislature...

Keeping an Eye on Close Races

A week after Election Day, some races in Maryland are narrowing as election boards continue the process of counting absentee and provisional ballots.In Anne Arundel County’s District 33, Democrat Heather Bagnall was trailing incumbent Republican Del. W. Anthony McConkey by 645 votes at the end of election night.But with absentee and provisional ballots being counted, she is now trailing by 131 votes, according to an update posted on Bagnall’s campaign Facebook page Tuesday night.“I cannot express what it means for this district or for me personally to know how close we are, and that more importantly, we are still...

Sen. Guzzone to Lead Ball’s Transition Team in Howard County

Howard County Executive-elect Calvin Ball (D) announced members of his transition steering committee and additional transition team members Wednesday morning, tapping state Sen. Guy Guzzone (D) to lead the effort.Guzzone is Senate chairman of the Howard County legislative delegation and a former County Council member. Also serving on the transition steering committee:Martha Anne Clark, Owner, Clark’s Elioak Farm Dr. Kathleen Hetherington, President, Howard Community College Dr. Daraius Irani, Vice President, Strategic Partnerships & Applied Research, Towson University Tonya Kennon, President & CEO, Howard County Library System Dr. Darryll Pines, Dean of Aerospace Engineering at the Clark School, University...

Johnny O Taps Leaders of Baltimore County Transition Team

Baltimore County Executive-elect John A. “Johnny O” Olszewski Jr. (D) on Tuesday announced the leaders of his transition team along with the staffers who will helm the day-to-day transition effort.Calvin G. Butler Jr., the CEO of Baltimore Gas and Electric Co., and Rachel Garbow Monroe, president and CEO of The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, will be the transition team co-chairmen.Butler is a longtime BGE executive with a long list of civic good works. He serves on the boards of several prominent Baltimore-area organizations including the Baltimore Community Foundation, University of Maryland Medical Center, Greater Baltimore Committee, and the...

Frosh Files Motion Seeking Removal of Trump’s Acting AG

Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh (D) is challenging President Trump’s appointment of Matthew Whitaker to be acting U.S. attorney general, saying it is unconstitutional and that Trump illegally bypassed Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.In court papers filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Maryland, Frosh seeks an injunction preventing Whitaker from serving as acting attorney general and requests that Rosenstein, a former U.S. attorney for Maryland, be installed in the job instead.The challenge to Whitaker’s appointment is part of an existing federal lawsuit seeking to prevent the Trump administration from gutting provisions of the Affordable Care Act.Frosh’s motion...

Amazon: Close, But No Cigar

The decision has been signaled in national media accounts for the past couple of weeks, but Amazon made it official Tuesday morning: The Internet giant announced that it is splitting its proposed second new headquarters between the Crystal City neighborhood in Arlington, Va., and the Long Island City neighborhood in the New York City borough of Queens.“We are excited to build new headquarters in New York City and Northern Virginia,” Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, said in a statement. “These two locations will allow us to attract world-class talent that will help us to continue inventing for...

Brochin Shakes the Tin Cup to Retire Campaign Debt

The election is over, but the fundraising fever has not abated.We've seen several invitations for political fundraisers taking place over the next several weeks -- and of course, there will be dozens in the first week of January leading up to the start of the General Assembly session and its three-month ban on fundraising activity for state elected officials. One invitation that caught our eye was for outgoing state Sen. James Brochin (D-Baltimore County), who is trying to retire a substantial campaign debt after his unsuccessful bid for county executive.The email invitation, with the subject line "Let's help the...

Hester Declares Victory, Bates Concedes in District 9

A Carroll County senator has conceded a close race in District 9.Sen. Gail H. Bates (R) posted to Facebook around 12:30 p.m. Friday that she had called to congratulate Sen.-elect Katie Fry Hester, a Democrat.Hester, an engineer who advises companies on corporate sustainability and international development, was leading Bates by about 150 votes on election night. During the absentee ballot canvas, her lead increased to 531 votes, Hester’s campaign said.She issued a press release in the early morning hours of Friday declaring victory.“Tonight, after eighteen months of campaigning, and meeting voters at their homes and at events throughout Howard...

GOP Chairman Reflects on 2018 Wins, Losses

While he would have preferred to win a few more down-ballot races, Maryland Republican Chairman Dirk Haire said Thursday it was still very significant that the state reelected a Republican governor for only the second time in history.With the second-highest approval rating of any governor in the U.S., Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. easily secured victory and racked up the necessary crossover votes from Democrats to earn reelection.But down-ballot Republicans faced a tougher electorate, particularly in suburban areas, Haire said in a memo with initial observations on the election outcome.Haire said based on his review of initial data, it...

Elrich Transition Team Lists ‘Priority Outcomes’ for Montgomery County

Most incoming county executives announce their transition teams and quickly announce who they have chosen to lead it.Montgomery County Executive-elect Marc B. Elrich (D) on Thursday put out a list of "priority outcomes" and announced that his transition team will have a series of listening sessions around the county before he takes office on Dec. 3.In a news release, the transition team said it would "focus on developing 'first drafts' of strategic plans to guide the administration in focusing on seven Priority Outcomes reflecting the goals that championed during his campaign. Marc believes the best policies are both...

The Progressive Funk?

Was Benjamin T. Jealous' (D) loss in the gubernatorial election part of a bigger nationwide trend that saw boldly-labeled progressive candidates losing in several key races around the country?Josh Kraushaar, a political columnist with National Journal, suggests that might be the case.In a tweet this week, Kraushaar notes that eight lefty Democratic candidates lost competitive general elections, and that a ninth seems poised to be declared the loser, bringing their score to 0-9 in such contests.Besides Jealous, they are: David Garcia, in the Arizona gubernatorial election; Andrew Gillum, in the Florida gubernatorial election; Stacey Abrams, in the Georgia gubernatorial...

Fresh Off Big Win, Franchot Still Shaking the Tin Cup

Just hours after his massive win Tuesday -- the largest raw vote for a statewide candidate in a midterm election in many, many decades, if not ever -- and not content, evidently, with the fact that he outraised his challenger by a google-to-one, state Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot (D) is hitting the fundraising circuit Thursday night.Franchot will be at an event at Bad Alfred's Distillery in Chestertown, hosted by former Speaker of the House R. Clayton Mitchell Jr. (D). Ticket prices start at $250.In a note to supporters, Franchot calls Mitchell "one of the Eastern Shore's most beloved sons,"...

Pittman Taps 2 to Lead Transition Team

Democrat Steuart Pittman, the Anne Arundel County executive-elect, announced Wednesday that former county executive Janet Owens (D) and outgoing County Councilman Chris Trumbauer (D) will head his transition team.“My campaign was built on putting communities first and building an open, transparent county government that our residents can be proud of,” Pittman said in a statement. “Janet and Chris both embody that sentiment perfectly, and their records of service in the county will be invaluable. I look forward to working with them to help my Administration hit the ground running when I take office on December 3.”Owens was Anne Arundel’s...