Archive: John Wagner

Posted at 6:00 PM ET, 11/12/2009

Democrats don't wait for Ehrlich to enter

Thumbnail image for Ehrlich.jpgFormer governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) has yet to say whether he is running again for governor. But the Democratic campaign against him has apparently already begun.

On Thursday, Maryland Democratic Party Chairwoman Susan W. Turnbull released an "open letter" to the former Republican governor, posing several unflattering questions for him to consider during his deliberations about 2010.

"As you conduct - in your own words - your 'objective analysis,' 'hold focus groups' and 'look at cross-tabs,' I wanted to make sure that you and your pollster ask the right questions on which to base your decision," Turnbull wrote.

Among the questions she gamely suggested: "Do voters know that ... you increased spending by almost 22 percent in your last two years in office?" and "Do voters know that ... you raised state property taxes 57 percent?"

There are several more, but you get the idea.

In response to the letter, former Ehrlich aide Henry Fawell said the Democrats "are redefining the term "paranoid.'"

"I would urge them to take the advice Governor O'Malley's campaign manager gave to fundraisers: Take a deep breath," said Fawell, who now works for Ehrlich's law firm.

Fawell was referring to a memo written this week by Tom Russell, the campaign manager for Gov. Martin O'Malley (D). Russell sought to assure financial backers that the Democratic incumbent is still well-positioned to win Maryland depsite Republican wins last week in Virginia and New Jersey.

The complete text of Turnbull's letter is below:

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Posted at 5:31 PM ET, 11/12/2009

Arundel Mills casino close to winning nod from state

Slots.jpgMembers of a Maryland commission signaled Thursday that they are ready to award a license to operate the state's largest slot-machine gambling casino at Arundel Mills mall, citing the hundreds of millions of dollars a year it is projected to generate for the state.

The 4,750-machine facility, proposed by Cordish Cos., still must win zoning approval from the Anne Arundel County Council, which has been divided over the issue for months, before operations could begin.

A motion to award a license was tabled by the state commission Thursday after several members spoke strongly in favor of it. Commission Chairman Donald C. Fry attributed the delay to the absence of two of the seven members and said a vote would be scheduled soon.

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Posted at 2:49 PM ET, 11/11/2009

O'Malley campaign manager urges "deep breath"

In a memo to top financial backers Wednesday, Gov. Martin O'Malley's campaign manager urged Marylanders "to take a deep breath" and argued that O'Malley remains well-positioned to win re-election next year, despite Democratic losses last week in Virginia and New Jersey.

"When you look at the record and the numbers, I think you'll see how Maryland's political landscape provides Governor O'Malley with a superior advantage over any potential opponent in 2010," wrote Tom Russell, the governor's campaign manager. "There has been plenty of speculation in recent days about who our opponent might be. After a long process of soul searching, 'cross tab' analysis and focus groups, will it be former Governor Ehrlich? Will it be Michael Steele, Larry Hogan, Delegate Pat McDonough or some other name we haven't heard yet? Frankly, it doesn't matter who the Republicans settle on. We'll be prepared for them, and we will beat them."

Russell's reference to Ehrlich's "soul searching" refers to comments by Maryland's former Republican governor in the aftermath of the Republican victories last week. Speculation about a gubernatorial candidacy by Steele, the current chairman of the Republican National Committee, seems to have waned considerably in recent months. Hogan, a former Ehrlich Cabinet official, and McDonough, who represents parts of Baltimore and Harford counties, have both said they will bow out of the race if Ehrlich decides to run.

Russell argues there are several important differences between Maryland and the two states in which Republican gubernatorial candidates prevailed last week -- starting with Maryland being "a more reliably Democratic state."

President Obama carried all three states last year, but his margin of victory in Maryalnd (62 percent to 37 percent) was larger than in both New Jersey (57 percent to 42 percent) and Virginia (53 percent to 46 percent), Russell points out.

"Voters in New Jersey and Virginia were expressing frustration with the pace of change and NOT rejecting President Obama or Democrats," Russell argues.

His letter also previews what are likely to be issues on which O'Malley will campaign next year, including: a freeze on public university tuition during the governor's term; Education Week magazine's ranking of Maryland schools as best in the nation; and a decrease in crime.

The text of the memo is printed in its entirety below:

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Posted at 10:26 AM ET, 11/11/2009

GOP governor hopefuls on display this weekend

When Maryland Republicans convene this weekend, selecting a new chairman to succeed James Pelura will be foremost on the agenda. But the state convention in Bowie also should provide a showcase for the party's 2010 candidates for governor.

Firing up party activists is always an important early step in a gubernatorial bid. An enthusiastic base could be particularly important this cycle for the Republican nominee, who will face a well-funded Democratic incumbent and a steep disadvantage in party registration.

Former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R), who is still mulling a rematch against Gov. Martin O'Malley (D), is scheduled to address the convention on Saturday. Aides say not to expect any major announcements, i.e. whether he has decided to run.

Former Ehrlich Cabinet secretary Larry Hogan, who has said he's running if Ehrlich doesn't, could be the most visible of the hopefuls this weekend. Hogan, Ehrlich's former appointments secretary, has booked a hospitality suite at the convention site, the Bowie Comfort Inn, on both Friday night and Saturday morning.

Del. Robert A. Costa (R-Anne Arundel) is hosting Hogan's "unity suite," where guests also can mingle with Mike Pappas, the Towson lawyer who recently dropped out of the governor's race and endorsed Hogan.

"This is a great opportunity because all the grassroots folks will be there," Hogan said of the GOP convention.

Del. Patrick L. McDonough (R-Baltimore County), who is "testing the waters" for governor, also plans to make a splash at the convention. He will hand out a flier claiming momentum in the race and highlighting his views on illegal immigration.

McDonough tells us he also has bought a "major" ad Thursday in The Washington Times that will demonstrate how serious he is about the governor's contest.

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Posted at 7:00 AM ET, 11/10/2009

O'Malley named Governor of the Year? Kind of.

Thumbnail image for public-official-2009-cover.jpgSince landing on the cover of the November issue of Governing, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) has trumpeted the magazine's praise in his fundraising appeals. He also has played it up on his campaign Web site, and the cover now appears as the profile picture on O'Malley's Facebook page.

In all instances, O'Malley, who is up for re-election next year, says he was named "Governor of the Year" by Governing.

Well, that's kind of true, but not exactly.

"We don't use that title," said Governing Editor Alan Ehrenhalt.

In fact, the magazine named eight "Public Officials of the Year" for 2009, including O'Malley. Of the eight, he was the only governor, which is in keeping with past practice, Ehrenhalt said. The honor tends to alternate between Democrats and Republicans. Last year, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) made the list.

"I suppose by extrapolation ... it's functionally true," Ehrenhalt said of O'Malley's claim.

Ehrenhalt also said that O'Malley is being recognized specifically for his work on measuring government performance. O'Malley has become known nationallly for statistics-driven accountability programs like StateStat.

"It's not necessarily an endorsement of everything he's done his entire time in office," Ehrenahlt said, though he added that, in his view, O'Malley has done a pretty good job overall.

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Health care: How Maryland members voted

Maryland's congressional delegation voted 6 to 2 Saturday night in favor of passage of the landmark health-care reform bill, with only first-term Democrat Frank Kratovil breaking with his party and voting no. In a statement, Kratovil called the bill too...

By John Wagner | November 8, 2009; 07:20 AM ET | Comments (3)

O'Malley to pledge help on unemployment insurance

Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) will promise Thursday night to work with business leaders to find a "more sustainable solution" to a state employment insurance system under which tax rates are tripling next year for many Maryland companies. The pledge is...

By John Wagner | November 5, 2009; 05:00 PM ET | Comments (1)

First Click -- Maryland

Your daily download of Maryland's top political news and analysis Thursday, November 5, 2009: Election Analysis: What's it mean for Maryland? Big Republican wins in Virginia and New Jersey were "relevant" to next year's gubernatorial race in Maryland, says former...

By Aaron C. Davis | November 5, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Poll: O'Malley leads Ehrlich but could be vulnerable

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) holds a 7 percentage point lead over former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) in a hypothetical 2010 rematch, according to a poll released late Wednesday by the nonpartisan Clarus Research Group. The spread --...

By John Wagner | November 4, 2009; 11:38 PM ET | Comments (1)

Hogan to claim support of Pappas in Md. governor's race

Republican gubernatorial hopeful Larry Hogan is preparing to announce an endorsement from fellow GOP candidate Mike Pappas, who is dropping out of the race, according to Hogan's campaign. Pappas, a Towson lawyer who launched a gubernatorial exploratory bid months ago,...

By John Wagner | November 4, 2009; 04:30 PM ET | Comments (1)

Ehrlich buoyed by Virginia, New Jersey results

Former Maryland governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) said Tuesday's Republican victories in Virginia and New Jersey were "a relevant event for us" as he decides whether to seek a rematch next year against Gov. Martin O'Malley (D). Ehrlich, in...

By John Wagner | November 4, 2009; 11:42 AM ET | Comments (0)

First Click -- Maryland

Your daily download of Maryland's top political news and analysis Wednesday, November 4, 2009: Election Roundup: A Democrat won a narrower-than-expected victory for mayor in the state capital. Voters in Rockville, Maryland's second largest city, ousted its mayor and residents...

By Aaron C. Davis | November 4, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Schaefer statue unveiled in Baltimore

William Donald Schaefer can still command an audience. The former Maryland governor and Baltimore mayor was not listed on the program Monday as having a speaking role at the unveiling of his larger-than-life statue at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore....

By John Wagner | November 2, 2009; 03:44 PM ET | Comments (0)

Magazine gives O'Malley a timely nod

Here's something you're certain to hear about next year on the campaign trail: Governing magazine has chosen Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) as one of its "Public Officials of the Year." O'Malley, who graces the cover, is one of...

By John Wagner | October 31, 2009; 03:57 PM ET | Comments (1)

New report details Md. slots campaign money

With the state straining to get its slots program aloft, a new report provides a timely reminder of how much money gaming interests spent trying to influence gambling-related ballot measures last year in Maryland and eight other states. The report,...

By John Wagner | October 28, 2009; 04:46 PM ET | Comments (2)

Cavey out of running for Md. GOP chairman

Chris Cavey, one of two leading contenders for chairman of the Maryland Republican Party, abruptly announced Tuesday that he was withdrawing from the race, citing a need for party unity heading into a challenging election year. The exit of Cavey,...

By John Wagner | October 27, 2009; 09:23 PM ET | Comments (2)

Md. losing lottery director

Buddy W. Roogow, who oversaw the growth of the Maryland Lottery for the past 13 years, will be moving to the District in December. Both Roogow and a District official have confirmed that Roogow has been chosen as the new...

By Gene Fynes | October 27, 2009; 07:03 PM ET | Comments (2)

Anne Arundel, Baltimore leaders still rosy on slots

With the fate of Maryland's two largest proposed slot-machine casinos up in the air, leaders of the host jurisdictions expressed confidence during a radio show Tuesday that plans will move forward. "I still remain cautiously optimistic that there will be...

By John Wagner | October 27, 2009; 02:39 PM ET | Comments (3)

O'Malley: Not looking out for the 'country club set'

Martin O'Malley the populist was back on stage Tuesday morning -- and how. The governor was asked after an unrelated news conference about conditions his administration has attached to its support for a deal between Constellation Energy Group and √Člectricit√©...

By John Wagner | October 27, 2009; 12:23 PM ET | Comments (0)

O'Malley collects close to $1 million in one night

Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) collected about $1 million for his re-election bid at an event Thursday night at the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore, according to campaign aides. About 600 people attended the fundraiser, where tickets ranged from $500 to...

By John Wagner | October 23, 2009; 08:55 AM ET | Comments (0)

Brown's Iraq service acknowledged at White House

Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown (D), an Iraq War veteran, was among those present Thursday as President Obama signed a bill in the East Room of the White House designed to speed up money for veterans health care --...

By John Wagner | October 22, 2009; 09:44 PM ET | Comments (0)

O'Malley: "Fine" either way on Arundel Mills zoning

When given a chance, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley hardly offered a ringing endorsement Wednesday night of a stalled plan to put slot machines at Arundel Mills mall. O'Malley (D), appearing on Maryland Public Television, said the state "will be fine"...

By John Wagner | October 22, 2009; 02:55 PM ET | Comments (4)

Leopold speaks out against bill to prevent Arundel Mills casino

Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold (R) spoke out forcefully Tuesday afternoon against a proposed county zoning bill that would not permit slots at Arundel Mills mall, saying the legislation amounts to a costly "prohibition" on expanded gambling. The...

By John Wagner | October 20, 2009; 02:12 PM ET | Comments (4)

Miller: Ehrlich unlikely to run for governor again

Everyone in Annapolis, it seems, has an opinion about whether former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) will run again next year. Tuesday morning, Senate President Thomas V. Mike MIller Jr. (D-Calvert) offered his. "I don't think he's going to...

By John Wagner | October 20, 2009; 11:20 AM ET | Comments (3)

Superintendents told budget cuts will affect them

With Maryland facing a $2 billion shortfall next year, Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) offered few budgetary assurances to a meeting of the state's public school superintendents Tuesday morning -- and the Senate president was far more blunt in a later...

By John Wagner | October 20, 2009; 10:56 AM ET | Comments (2)

Cordish: Still confident amid Md. slots chaos

David S. Cordish, chairman of the Cordish Cos., expressed renewed confidence Monday that his company will secure needed zoning legislation to proceed with its planned slots casino at Arundel Mills mall, despite fresh evidence of a divided Anne Arundel County...

By John Wagner | October 19, 2009; 12:38 PM ET | Comments (0)

O'Malley goes "overtime" with Maher and other panelists

For those who wanted more from Gov. Martin O'Malley's appearance Friday on "Real Time with Bill Maher," HBO has now posted an online-only "overtime" segment. Click here to watch. During the additional discussion, O'Malley (D) offers a spirited defense of...

By John Wagner | October 19, 2009; 10:41 AM ET | Comments (0)

More Slots Rumblings From Anne Arundel

There's more evidence of movement (in some direction) on the Anne Arundel County slots front: The Maryland Gazette reported on Saturday that county council members are preparing to introduce two slots-related zoning bills as early as Monday. One would allow...

By John Wagner | October 17, 2009; 01:20 PM ET | Comments (0)

Teachers Give Early Nod to O'Malley

Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) won an early endorsement for re-election Friday from the Maryland State Education Association, the state's largest teachers lobby. Meeting in Ocean City for an annual conference, representatives of the 71,000-member organization voted overwhelmingly to support O'Malley...

By John Wagner | October 16, 2009; 03:17 PM ET | Comments (1)

Panel Leaders Detail Death Penalty Concerns

The leaders of a legislative review panel detailed concerns in a letter Friday about death penalty regulations drafted by the O'Malley administration, posing questions about the drugs involved in lethal injections, among other issues. The Post reported this week that...

By John Wagner | October 16, 2009; 11:05 AM ET | Comments (0)

Slots Commission Weighing Deadline for Arundel Mills

The fate of Maryland's largest planned slots casino may soon be settled, as a state commission is considering setting a deadline for resolution of a local zoning dispute that has stalled a developer's plans at Arundel Mills mall, according to...

By John Wagner | October 15, 2009; 01:07 PM ET | Comments (2)

O'Malley To Appear On "Real Time" Friday

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) will spend much of his Friday in the air so that he can appear on the air live that night with Bill Maher. The governor is among the guests booked on the season finale of...

By John Wagner | October 14, 2009; 03:22 PM ET | Comments (1)

O'Malley, Redskins Tackle Debut Radio Ad

The Washington Redskins haven't been too convincing on the football field lately. Perhaps the players will do better pitching health care. That hope is apparently behind a new radio ad featuring Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) and Redskins offensive tackle...

By John Wagner | October 13, 2009; 02:42 PM ET | Comments (0)

Johnson Now On Board For O'Malley Re-Election

Back in early September, when Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) released a list of more than 300 early supporters of his re-election, there was a notable omission: Prince George's County Executive Jack B. Johnson (D). That box has now been checked....

By John Wagner | October 12, 2009; 10:50 AM ET | Comments (4)

First Click -- Maryland

Your Daily Download of Maryland's Top Political News and Analysis Friday, October 9, 2009: Will GOP Winds Blow Across the Potomac?    We begin with some big news from across the river, where a new Washinton Post poll shows Republican Robert...

By John Wagner | October 9, 2009; 06:35 AM ET | Comments (1)

Local Governments: We're Not "Fat and Happy"

County and municipal leaders pledged cooperation today as they appeared before a panel of state lawmakers but also tried to make the case that their budgets are in dire straits, too. "We're in this mess, I guess you would say,...

By John Wagner | October 8, 2009; 03:19 PM ET | Comments (0)

Audrey Scott Vying for Md. GOP Chair

Audrey E. Scott, a member of former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s Cabinet, has emerged as a leading candidate for chairwoman of the Maryland Republican Party. "I love a challenge, and I always rise to the occasion," said Scott, who...

By John Wagner | October 8, 2009; 01:22 PM ET | Comments (0)

First Click -- Maryland

Your Daily Download of Maryland's Top Political News and Analysis Thursday, October 8, 2009: It Doesn't Get Any Easier From Here    Yesterday morning's Board of Public Works meeting served as Exhibit A for how politically perilous the coming months will...

By John Wagner | October 8, 2009; 06:50 AM ET | Comments (0)

Cecil Slots Site Up For Approval Oct. 21

A state commission is likely to decide in two weeks whether to grant a slots license to a proposed facility in Cecil County, Donald C. Fry, the panel's chairman said Wednesday. The commission formally accepted a revised plan from Penn...

By John Wagner | October 7, 2009; 03:14 PM ET | Comments (1)

More Budget Cuts Next Month, O'Malley Says

Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) is planning to present his latest round of budget cuts -- totaling as much as $290 million -- to the Board of Public Works on Nov. 17, he told reporters this morning. O'Malley provided no details,...

By John Wagner | October 7, 2009; 12:15 PM ET | Comments (1)

First Click -- Maryland

Your Daily Download of Maryland's Top Political News and Analysis Wednesday, October 7, 2009: Happy Birthday, Mr. Perez    All 55 Democrats present in the U.S. Senate voted yesterday to support the nomination of Thomas E. Perez of Montgomery County as...

By John Wagner | October 7, 2009; 06:25 AM ET | Comments (0)

Bill Clinton Helping O'Malley's 2010 Campaign

Former President Bill Clinton, who came to the aid of Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) late in the 2006 governor's race, is helping him get an early start on 2010. Clinton is scheduled to appear at an O'Malley fundraiser Wednesday...

By John Wagner | October 6, 2009; 07:21 PM ET | Comments (1)

Baltimore Slots on Track, Group Consultant Says

A self-imposed September deadline has come and gone, but a leader of a group seeking to put a slots casino in Baltimore says the effort remains on track. In February, the Baltimore City Entertainment Group bid to 500 slot machines...

By John Wagner | October 6, 2009; 02:47 PM ET | Comments (0)

Perez Confirmed by U.S. Senate

The U.S. Senate has approved the nomination of Thomas E. Perez to head the civil rights division of the Department of Justice, ending a long wait for the Montgomery County resident and O'Malley administration Cabinet member. The vote this afternoon...

By John Wagner | October 6, 2009; 02:08 PM ET | Comments (0)

First Click -- Maryland

Your Daily Download of Maryland's Top Political News and Analysis Tuesday, October 6, 2009: Coming Soon to Baltimore: Twin Trials of the Mayor    The latest developments in the legal saga of Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon are big news in Maryland's...

By John Wagner | October 6, 2009; 06:27 AM ET | Comments (1)

'Stay Tuned,' Ehrlich Tells Supporters

Keeping the drama alive over a possible comeback, former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) posted this message on his Facebook page Monday, thanking supporters who turned out in Reisterstown on Saturday for a "family corn roast" that doubled as...

By John Wagner | October 5, 2009; 04:40 PM ET | Comments (0)

Penn National Expands Its Slots Proposal

Penn National Gaming has formally expanded its proposal for a slots parlor in Cecil County to include 1,500 machines, up from the 500 the company initially proposed. Eric Schippers, a Penn National vice president, said the company submitted its revised...

By John Wagner | October 5, 2009; 01:30 PM ET | Comments (0)

First Click -- Maryland

Your Daily Download of Maryland's Top Political News and Analysis Monday, October 5, 2009: What About Bob?    "I think he's running. He just doesn't know it yet."    That was the measure of former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s chief fundraiser,...

By John Wagner | October 5, 2009; 05:49 AM ET | Comments (0)

Number of Homes Near Arundel Slots Site Disputed

The leader of a group fighting slot machines at Arundel Mills Mall said the developer of a proposed casino has dramatically understated the number of homes nearby. In a presentation to a state commission last month, Cordish Cos. said only...

By John Wagner | October 2, 2009; 12:09 PM ET | Comments (0)

O'Malley: Next Year's Opponent 'Beyond My Control'

Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) said he is making no assumptions about who he will face in next year's election. With former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) continuing to weigh a rematch, O'Malley said in an interview that he is...

By John Wagner | October 2, 2009; 11:17 AM ET | Comments (0)

First Click -- Maryland

Your Daily Download of Maryland's Top Political News and Analysis Friday, October 2, 2009: Looming Election Year Renews Voting Issues    As Maryland heads into an election season, a number of voting-related issues are certain to spark new drama, including the...

By John Wagner | October 2, 2009; 06:53 AM ET | Comments (0)

O'Malley Pitches Health Reform for DNC

Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) sought to do his part Thursday morning in helping Democrats push health-care reform through Congress. In a conference call with reporters orchestrated by the Democratic National Committee, O'Malley argued that the cost of the current system...

By John Wagner | October 1, 2009; 11:37 AM ET | Comments (0)

First Click -- Maryland

Your Daily Download of Maryland's Top Political News and Analysis Thursday, October 1, 2009: Our Last Look (For Awhile, at Least) at New Laws    Come Friday, we promise to lead this space with something other than new laws. But after...

By John Wagner | October 1, 2009; 06:04 AM ET | Comments (0)

First Click -- Maryland

Your Daily Download of Maryland's Top Political News and Analysis Wednesday, September 30, 2009: Have We Mentioned New Laws Are Coming?    Besides the texting-while-driving ban and new drunk-driving measures, a law that takes effect Thursday grants statewide authority for jurisdictions...

By John Wagner | September 30, 2009; 06:19 AM ET | Comments (2)

O'Malley, Ravens Promote Physical Fitness

It's not every day that a TV reporter asks the governor, "You work out, don't you?" and it seems entirely appropriate. Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) fielded that question Tuesday while teaming up with some Baltimore Ravens players for a "Keep...

By John Wagner | September 29, 2009; 05:14 PM ET | Comments (1)

O'Malley Prepares to March Some More

O'Malley's March, the governor's semi-retired Celtic rock band, won't be hanging it up for good anytime soon. The band has two concerts planned the night of Nov. 21 at the historic Avalon Theatre in Easton. And Tuesday morning, the Rams...

By John Wagner | September 29, 2009; 12:21 PM ET | Comments (0)

First Click -- Maryland

Your Daily Download of Maryland's Top Political News and Analysis Tuesday, September 29, 2009: There Ought To Be a Law... Continued    The countdown to Thursday's effective date for a slew of new laws continues today, with a joint appearance in...

By John Wagner | September 29, 2009; 06:17 AM ET | Comments (0)

First Click -- Maryland

Your Daily Download of Maryland's Top Political News and Analysis Monday, September 28, 2009: There Ought To Be a Law...    Come Thursday, we strongly recommend you put down your BlackBerry and wait until arriving at your destination before posting comments...

By John Wagner | September 27, 2009; 06:58 PM ET | Comments (0)

Two Former AGs Joining Gansler at Fundrasier

More from the fundraising front: Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler (D) has an event planned next month that underscores his strength among the political and legal establishment heading into an election year. Gansler's "special guests" at an Oct. 15 event...

By John Wagner | September 25, 2009; 02:11 PM ET | Comments (1)

Big Three Engaged In Fall Fundraising

With memories of summer fading and the 2010 legislative session looming, the fall fundraising season in Maryland is getting into full gear. Some evidence of that: Each of "the big three" in Annapolis -- the governor and two presiding officers...

By John Wagner | September 24, 2009; 01:25 PM ET | Comments (0)

Slots Approved For Ocean Downs

Maryland awarded its first license for slot-machine gambling on Wednesday afternoon, giving Ocean Downs racetrack on the Eastern Shore permission to operate up to 800 machines as early as Memorial Day. Marking a milestone in Maryland's long-running battle over legalizing...

By John Wagner | September 23, 2009; 03:30 PM ET | Comments (10)

MarylandReporter.com Set To Debut Soon

There will soon be another set of eyes on Maryland government. Len Lazarick, the former State House bureau chief of the now-defunct Baltimore Examiner, is launching MarylandReporter.com, which promises both original reporting and links to stories by other media, starting...

By John Wagner | September 23, 2009; 01:16 PM ET | Comments (0)

Obama Gets Solid Marks Among Maryland Voters

Although his popularity has slipped nationally, President Obama received solid approval ratings in a new poll of Maryland voters. Fifty-eight percent of Free State voters said they approve of the job the Democratic president is doing, while 31 percent disapproved...

By John Wagner | September 23, 2009; 12:01 AM ET | Comments (0)

Poll: Marylanders United in Budget Worries, Divided on Solution

A large majority of Maryland voters -- 75 percent -- say that the state budget is a "very big problem," according to a new poll, which also examined a potential Ehrlich-O'Malley rematch. But a simple majority can't agree on a...

By Christopher Dean Hopkins | September 22, 2009; 08:10 AM ET | Comments (4)

O'Malley vs. Ehrlich: 2009 Looks a Lot Like 2006

When it comes to gubernatorial politics in Maryland, not a whole lot has changed in the last three years. That, at least, is the conclusion of a new poll that shows Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) beating former governor Robert L....

By Gene Fynes | September 22, 2009; 12:01 AM ET | Comments (4)

O'Malley to Name United Way Executive to Cabinet

Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) on Tuesday will announce his selection of a United Way of America executive as the state's new secretary of Labor, Licensing & Regulation, according to aides. Alex Sanchez has been chosen to succeed Thomas E. Perez,...

By Anne Bartlett | September 21, 2009; 03:00 PM ET | Comments (0)

Pelura Says Groundwork Laid for Md. GOP

In an e-mail to supporters Thursday, outgoing Maryland GOP Chairman James Pelura says his three-year tenure was "an uphill battle in our Democrat-dominated, one-party state." But Pelura, who is stepping down Nov. 14, also takes credit for "laying the groundwork...

By John Wagner | September 17, 2009; 03:23 PM ET | Comments (1)

Ehrlich Knocks Obama, Gets Few Questions

Former Maryland governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) took a few swipes at President Obama before the latter's Thursday morning appearance in College Park, dismissing the event as "simply another day in the health-care road show." But Ehrlich's conference call,...

By John Wagner | September 17, 2009; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (4)

Ehrlich to Offer 'Pre-buttal' to Obama

What to make of this? The Republican National Committee has tapped former Maryland governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) to give a "pre-buttal" Thursday to President Obama's health-care rally in College Park. Ehrlich, who is contemplating a rematch next year...

By John Wagner | September 16, 2009; 02:40 PM ET | Comments (0)

List of Potential Pelura Successors Grows

The list of names circulating as potential successors to James Pelura as chairman of the Maryland Republican Party continued to grow Tuesday. For those keeping score... The most intriguing: Mary Kane, the former secretary of state under former governor Robert...

By John Wagner | September 15, 2009; 08:51 PM ET | Comments (0)

Curry Coy About Plans but Hits O'Malley on Budget

The future of Maryland Republicans has dominated the state's political drama so far this week, with James Pelura resigning as GOP chairman and former cabinet secretary Larry Hogan launching an exploratory bid for governor. But some Democrats lurking off stage...

By John Wagner | September 15, 2009; 10:07 AM ET | Comments (0)

Hogan To Test Waters For Md. Governor

Larry Hogan, a Cabinet secretary under former Maryland governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R), on Tuesday plans to launch an exploratory bid for next year's Republican gubernatorial nomination. Hogan, 53, a real-estate broker who ran a competitive but unsuccessful race...

By John Wagner | September 14, 2009; 01:56 PM ET | Comments (4)

Hey, Isn't That Warren Miller?

Some careful readers of Sunday's Washington Post recognized the guy in the photo on A12, decked out in shorts and a T-shirt, carrying the "Liar Liar Pants on Fire!" sign at Saturday's "Taxpayer March on D.C." It's Warren E. Miller,...

By John Wagner | September 14, 2009; 11:17 AM ET | Comments (27)

Pelura Mum As State GOP Officers Plan Monday Meeting

The top officers of the Maryland Republican Party are planning to convene Monday afternoon, prompting speculation among some GOP insiders that an announcement could follow about embattled Chairman James Pelura's future. Pelura, who did not return phone calls over the...

By John Wagner | September 14, 2009; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

O'Malley: Obama "Hit a Home Run"

Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) sang the praises of President Obama this afternoon during a conference call with reporters that the White House organized as a follow-up to Obama's health-care speech last night. "I think he hit a home run," O'Malley...

By John Wagner | September 10, 2009; 03:09 PM ET | Comments (0)

Former Post Editor Joins Public Affairs Firm

Phyllis Jordan, the former Maryland editor of The Washington Post, has joined The Hatcher Group, a public affairs firm that works with foundations and nonprofit organizations with the goal of advancing social change. The firm, located outside Washington, announced today...

By John Wagner | September 10, 2009; 01:52 PM ET | Comments (0)

O'Malley: DNA Samples Akin to Fingerprints

In Gov. Martin O'Malley's "ideal world," Maryland would take DNA samples as readily from suspected criminals as it now takes fingerprints. "I think we should," O'Malley (D) said following an appearance at the University of Baltimore School of Law. He...

By Anne Bartlett | September 9, 2009; 03:11 PM ET | Comments (0)

O'Malley Says More Budget Cuts Possible

Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) just won approval last month for another round of budget cuts designed to close a $700 million shortfall that emerged early in the state's fiscal year. But still more reductions could soon be on the way,...

By Gene Fynes | September 9, 2009; 02:05 PM ET | Comments (3)

Cigaratte Sales Remain Down in Maryland

A leading health-care advocacy group in Maryland is preparing to tout numbers showing a sustained drop-off in cigarette sales since the state doubled its tobacco tax in January 2008. In Maryland, 201.8 million packs of cigarettes were sold during 2008,...

By John Wagner | September 9, 2009; 10:45 AM ET | Comments (1)

State GOP Granted Installment Plan to Repay Steele

The cash-strapped Maryland Republican Party already had been given a 45-day extension on repaying $75,000 that the State Board of Elections said it owed Michael S. Steele. Today came another concession: The state board agreed to let the GOP pay...

By John Wagner | September 8, 2009; 03:18 PM ET | Comments (1)

O'Malley Announces New Deputy Transportation Secretary

Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) has appointed a former senior manager with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority to serve as deputy secretary for the Department of Transportation. Harold M. Bartlett succeeds Beverley Swaim-Staley, whom O'Malley last week promoted to secretary...

By John Wagner | September 8, 2009; 02:49 PM ET | Comments (0)

Racetrack Continues Fight for Slots License

Maryland's highest court has shelved a legal appeal to allow the possibility of slot machine gambling at Laurel Park racetrack in Anne Arundel County. But the track's operators have not given up the fight. Late last week, lawyers for the...

By John Wagner | September 8, 2009; 11:13 AM ET | Comments (0)

Boden Leaves Brown, Joins Chow

Jerry Boden, the departing deputy chief of staff to Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown (D), this week became the chief of staff to the newly sworn-in Veterans Secretary Edward Chow. Boden's move comes amid some other staff shuffling in Brown's...

By John Wagner | September 4, 2009; 03:17 PM ET | Comments (0)

O'Malley Lists More Than 300 Early Endorsements

In an attempt at an extraordinarily early show of strength Thursday, Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) released the names of more than 300 elected officials who are endorsing his reelection bid next year. The list reads like a who's who of...

By John Wagner | September 3, 2009; 02:41 PM ET | Comments (1)

Enright Steps Down as O'Malley's Chief of Staff

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley announced Wednesday that Michael R. Enright, a boyhood friend and longtime aide, was stepping down as his chief of staff and would take on a new role as senior adviser to the governor. Matthew D. Gallagher,...

By John Wagner | September 2, 2009; 04:51 PM ET | Comments (2)

A Setback for an Ehrlich Patronage Employee

The ice dancer suffered a tough break this week. On Tuesday, Maryland's Court of Special Appeals reversed an administrative law judge's decision that Gregory Maddalone, a patronage employee of former Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R), had been improperly fired shortly...

By John Wagner | September 1, 2009; 11:12 AM ET | Comments (3)

O'Malley to Name Two Cabinet Secretaries

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) will announce two mid-term Cabinet appointments Tuesday, elevating Beverley K. Swaim-Staley to transportation secretary and naming Edward Chow Jr. as veterans affairs secretary. Swaim-Staley has been acting transportation secretary since June, after the departure of...

By John Wagner | August 31, 2009; 03:51 PM ET | Comments (0)

Md. Officials Talk Up Popularity of Tax Amnesty

Given that the subject was tax delinquents, it seemed a tad ironic that Gov. Martin O'Malley's event this morning was the rare one of his that started on time. With a row of small businesses in Dundalk as a backdrop,...

By John Wagner | August 31, 2009; 12:35 PM ET | Comments (1)

The Back Story on the Governor's Horseback Ride

NORTH EAST, Maryland - It's a Blue State, to be sure; and a Democratic administration, through and through. But it's not every day that a donkey's invited to Gov. Martin O'Malley's monthly cabinet meeting. Just 73 miles from Annapolis,...

By Aaron C. Davis | August 27, 2009; 11:59 AM ET | Comments (1)

Plans For Baltimore's Celebration Casino Shared With State

A group seeking to bring slot-machine gambling to Baltimore today outlined its vision for Celebration Casino, a major entertainment venue to be built on the site of a demolished chemical distribution plant just south of the football stadium where the...

By John Wagner | August 26, 2009; 06:12 PM ET | Comments (1)

Complete List of Maryland Budget Cuts Now Available

The complete list of budget cuts being presented by Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) to the Board of Public Works this morning is available here. The meeting should be getting started shortly....

By John Wagner | August 26, 2009; 10:03 AM ET | Comments (0)

A Few More Details Available on O'Malley Cuts

Gov. Martin O'Malley's office released some additional details Tuesday afternoon about the budget cuts, including the impact by jurisdiction from proposed local aid reductions. Baltimore City is the biggest loser, facing a cut of $35.2 million. Montgomery and Prince George's...

By John Wagner | August 25, 2009; 04:38 PM ET | Comments (1)

A Five-Year Government Shutdown?

Gov. Martin O'Malley's news conference today outlining a new round of budget cuts was a pretty dour affair. But it did feature one light-hearted moment. In recent weeks, O'Malley (D) has solicited suggested from citizens on how to close the...

By John Wagner | August 25, 2009; 02:15 PM ET | Comments (0)

O'Malley Outlines Next Round of Budget Cuts

A somber Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) has just wrapped up briefings to legislative leaders and the media on budget cuts that will be presented tomorrow to the Board of Public Works. Here are the highlights: * The total reductions are...

By John Wagner | August 25, 2009; 12:04 PM ET | Comments (4)

Md. Employees Face Up to 10 Days Unpaid Leave

Maryland state employees will be forced to take as many as 10 days of unpaid leave as part of a new round of budget cuts that Gov. Martin O'Malley plans to propose this week, aides said. The $470 million in...

By John Wagner | August 24, 2009; 03:15 PM ET | Comments (16)

Lt. Gov. Brown Adds Mayor Ortiz To Reshuffled Staff

Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown (D) is adding some heft to his small staff with the addition of a mayor. Adam Ortiz, mayor of the Prince George's town of Edmonston, will join Brown's office this week as a deputy chief...

By John Wagner | August 17, 2009; 08:34 AM ET | Comments (0)

Politicking at MACo Conference is Low Key

What a difference an election cycle makes. Four years ago, then-Democratic gubernatorial hopefuls Martin O'Malley and Doug Duncan took full advantage of the networking opportunities at the annual summer conferences in Ocean City hosted by the Maryland Municipal League and...

By John Wagner | August 16, 2009; 04:06 PM ET | Comments (0)

Budget Suggestions Shelved Until Friday

Marylanders will have to wait until tomorrow morning to see what suggestions their fellow citizens have for cutting the state budget. Gov. Martin O'Malley's office was scheduled to release some 2,500 suggestions -- filling about 600 pages when printed out...

By John Wagner | August 13, 2009; 01:43 PM ET | Comments (0)

McDonough Expects Ehrlich's Decision in January

Beside talking about his own intentions regarding a gubernatorial run, Del. Patrick L. McDonough (R-Baltimore County) was quite chatty last night regarding those of former Maryland governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R). McDonough said his understanding is that Ehrlich will...

By John Wagner | August 13, 2009; 10:36 AM ET | Comments (1)

McDonough Latest to Look at Md. Governor's Race

Add Del. Patrick L. McDonough (R-Baltimore County) to the list of Republicans looking at the 2010 governor's race with seemingly long odds. "I'm testing the water, so to speak," McDonough said in an interview, explaining that he will spend coming...

By John Wagner | August 12, 2009; 08:23 PM ET | Comments (3)

GOP Legislators Reject Pelura's Push for 'Contract With Maryland'

James Pelura may be staying put as chairman of the Maryland GOP, but the infighting has hardly subsided among the state's Republican leaders. The latest spat centers on Pelura's plans to develop a "Contract with Maryland" heading into the 2010...

By Christopher Dean Hopkins | August 12, 2009; 02:57 PM ET | Comments (0)

Lt. Gov. Brown Shares 'Cybersecurity' Vision for State at MACo

Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown shared his vision this morning for fostering "jobs that could create the 21st century's Silicon Valley of cybersecurity" in Maryland. Brown (D) spoke at the Maryland Association of Counties convention in Ocean City on a...

By Anne Bartlett | August 12, 2009; 12:39 PM ET | Comments (0)

Budget Briefing: O'Malley Plans Another $470 Million in Cuts

A panel from Gov. Martin O'Malley's administration provided some of the more interesting morsels to emerge from this afternoon's legislative budget briefing, which just ended. Among them: * O'Malley (D) is preparing to propose about $470 million in additional cuts...

By Anne Bartlett | August 11, 2009; 03:47 PM ET | Comments (1)

Property Tax Revenue Up for Counties, but State Aid May Be Cut

Maryland lawmakers, who are eyeing aid to counties as a big target for cutting the state budget, will get an extensive look this afternoon at how county coffers are faring. According to state legislative analysts, collection of property taxes in...

By Christopher Dean Hopkins | August 11, 2009; 12:00 PM ET | Comments (2)

O'Malley: Seacrets is Out for This Year's MACo

Consider it the latest casualty of Maryland's budget cuts: Gov. Martin O'Malley's office is announcing today that it is canceling a late-night reception at Seacrets, a sprawling, open-air bar on the main drag in Ocean City, during this week's MACo...

By John Wagner | August 10, 2009; 02:11 PM ET | Comments (1)

O'Malley Chides Anne Arundel Council for Slots Delay

Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) today prodded -- and not so gently -- the Anne Arundel County Council to act on zoning legislation required to allow the largest slot-machine gambling facililty envisioned by the state to operate. "I wish the Anne...

By John Wagner | August 6, 2009; 04:07 PM ET | Comments (7)

Bigger Baltimore Slots Site On Track, Consultant Says

While the fate of some Maryland slots sites remains uncertain, a consultant for the group seeking to operate a parlor in downtown Baltimore says plans are on track for a larger facility than proposed -- and at a slightly different...

By John Wagner | August 6, 2009; 12:04 PM ET | Comments (4)

Solar Panels Coming to O'Malley's Home

Government House in Annapolis will soon be home not only to Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) and his family -- but to a pair of solar panels as well. The state is planning to install the panels next week on...

By John Wagner | August 6, 2009; 11:16 AM ET | Comments (0)

Mikulski to Brief Reporters on Ankle En Route to Hill

Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), who has been recovering from a severely broken ankle, is scheduled to address this reporters at a Baltimore medical center this morning before returning to Capitol Hill to vote on the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor...

By John Wagner | August 6, 2009; 10:38 AM ET | Comments (0)

O'Malley Has 2010 Campaign Manager On Board

No big-name challengers to Martin O'Malley (D) have yet to emerge, but the governor seems to be taking little for granted as he heads toward a 2010 election year in which the sour economy is expected to play a defining...

By John Wagner | August 5, 2009; 02:33 PM ET | Comments (4)

Kendel Ehrlich for Anne Arundel Exec. -- Just the Latest Rumor?

Ever since Kendel Ehrlich's days as first lady, there has been no shortage of speculation about whether she has a future in politics apart from that of her husband, former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R). The last rumor making...

By John Wagner | August 5, 2009; 02:00 PM ET | Comments (2)

State GOP Chairman Says He's Staying Put

Maryland GOP Chairman James Pelura, who largely avoided the media as fellow party leaders considered ousting him last month, surfaced today, sounding feisty and determined to stay the course. "I'm not resigning," Pelura said in an interview. "I'm not going...

By John Wagner | August 4, 2009; 05:14 PM ET | Comments (1)

Legislative Adviser: Cuts Need to Be Deeper

Budget cuts proposed last month by Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) will save the state about $280 million this year. But most of the savings won't help resolve a projected shortfall next year of more than $2 billion, according to a...

By John Wagner | August 3, 2009; 03:53 PM ET | Comments (6)

Maryland Lauded For Stimulus Site

Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) was crowing on Wednesday about a new report that ranks Maryland first in the nation for its Web site tracking spending of federal stimulus dollars. In a report titled "Show Us The Stimulus," the advocacy group...

By John Wagner | July 30, 2009; 06:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

O'Malley Advises Frugality For MACo Conference

The Maryland Association of Counties summer conference in Ocean City next month could be a more sober affair than usual -- at least for Gov. Martin O'Malley's administration. With both the state and Maryland counties facing hundreds of millions in...

By John Wagner | July 29, 2009; 03:30 PM ET | Comments (3)

Pelura Seeks 'Massive Gains' in Legislature

Say what you will about embattled Maryland Republican Party Chairman James Pelura, but he certainly seems to be trying to raise money. A week ago, Pelura acknowledged in a fundraising solicitation that the party is "broke." In another letter that...

By John Wagner | July 28, 2009; 08:46 AM ET | Comments (3)

Extra Zero Put Popham Among Top Lobbyists

Our most loyal readers might remember a post last week that noted that Bryson F. Popham had moved up significantly in the most recent list of top-earning Annapolis lobbyists. Well ... never mind. With reported earnings of $714,633, Popham made...

By John Wagner | July 27, 2009; 01:37 PM ET | Comments (0)

Brown's Colleagues Coming to Maryland

They're not the most recognizable elected officials in America, but they have some potential, and most every state has one. And they're coming to Maryland this week. The National Lieutenant Governors Association is convening Wednesday in Baltimore for its annual...

By John Wagner | July 27, 2009; 09:52 AM ET | Comments (0)

O'Malley Talks Health Care With Labor Leaders

Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) may have a challenging time keeping organized labor happy as he cuts the state budget in coming months. But things seemed pretty chummy today as the governor addressed a national conference on health care at the...

By John Wagner | July 24, 2009; 02:39 PM ET | Comments (0)

Lollar May Turn Attention to Hoyer

Given the slow start of Maryland's race for governor, this development may qualify as drama: Charles Lollar, perhaps the Republican's most charismatic alternative to Bob Ehrlich, might not actually get into the race. The Gazette reported that Lollar is in...

By John Wagner | July 24, 2009; 11:13 AM ET | Comments (2)

Rozner Tops Md. Lobbyist Listings

This year's legislative session produced some reshuffling among the best-paid lobbyists in Annapolis and added some new names to the top of the list. Joel D. Rozner, a perennial top earner with Rifkin, Livingston, Levitan & Silver, claimed the top...

By John Wagner | July 23, 2009; 09:43 AM ET | Comments (1)

Pelura Says Md. Republican Party is 'Broke'

"Our Party is broke, and we need your help." That rather frank admission is included in a new fundraising solicitation sent out this week by James Pelura, the embattled chairman of the Maryland Republican Party. Pelura, who has refused to...

By John Wagner | July 22, 2009; 04:51 PM ET | Comments (12)

State GOP Gets Repayment Extension

The State Board of Elections has granted a 45-day extension to the cash-strapped Maryland Republican Party to pay $77,500 to a campaign account maintained by Michael S. Steele. The extension followed a letter in which Robert B. Ostrom, the state...

By John Wagner | July 21, 2009; 05:16 PM ET | Comments (0)

O'Malley to Propose Nearly $300 Million in Cuts

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) told legislative leaders Monday night that he will propose close to $300 million in budget cuts on Wednesday, the bulk of them targeting state agencies. More furloughs of state workers could follow in future rounds...

By Anne Bartlett | July 20, 2009; 08:51 PM ET | Comments (22)

Laurel Slots Case Dismissed For Now

Maryland's highest court has put the brakes on an effort by Laurel Racing Association to get back in the bidding for a slot-machine license in Anne Arundel County, ruling the legal challenge was premature. In an opinion issued today, the...

By John Wagner | July 20, 2009; 11:23 AM ET | Comments (0)

Pelura Gets "No Confidence" Vote

Leaders of the Maryland Republican Party expressed "no confidence" yesterday in embattled Chairman James Pelura but stopped short of calling for a special convention that would be required to oust him. Pelura, an Anne Arundel County veterinarian, has faced growing...

By John Wagner | July 19, 2009; 01:40 PM ET | Comments (9)

Tazelaar Gets Maryland Dems Job

Travis Tazelaar, a Montgomery County resident who had been serving as acting director of the Maryland Democratic Party, had the "acting" removed from his title today. Party Chairwoman Susan Turnbull announced Tazelaar's permanent appointment this afternoon, saying in a news...

By John Wagner | July 17, 2009; 05:30 PM ET | Comments (0)

Franchot Chats About the Budget, California and His Web Site

Maintaining it is important to "speak candidly" to Marylanders about the state of the state budget, often-chatty Comptroller Peter Franchot (D) held an online chat yesterday. Franchot has posted a full transcript here. We present some highlights: • At least...

By John Wagner | July 17, 2009; 12:55 PM ET | Comments (5)

O'Malley Seeks Private Help With Disasters

Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) today announced the creation of Maryland's "Civic Guard," an initiative to tap private and nonprofit organizations for assistance during a major emergency -- and one that should have minimal cost to the state during tight budget...

By John Wagner | July 16, 2009; 03:27 PM ET | Comments (0)

Franchot Documents Continued Fiscal Woes

Comptroller Peter Franchot (D) this morning offered the latest evidence that Maryland's fiscal challenges are continuing: Revenue collections for June -- the final month of the state's 2009 fiscal year -- were down 12 percent from last June. In a...

By John Wagner | July 16, 2009; 09:46 AM ET | Comments (0)

Md. Politicians Mull Future, Eat Crabs

Gov. O'Malley meets a fan of his band at the Crisfield crab and clam bake on Wednesday. (John Wagner/The Washington Post) Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D)was the biggest head-turner on the grounds of an annual crab and clam bake...

By Matt Mosk | July 15, 2009; 05:01 PM ET | Comments (1)

Delegates Ask State To Probe Kane Company

Four Democratic delegates asked yesterday for an investigation into whether a major office moving company headed by the former chairman of the Maryland Republican Party had violated any state wage laws. The Post reported last week that federal prosecutors have...

By John Wagner | July 14, 2009; 06:00 AM ET | Comments (13)

Schlick Leaving Md for FCC

Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler (D) is losing one of the most visible lawyers in his office to the federal government: Austin Schlick, chief of litigation, has been named general counsel at the Federal Communications Commission. Schlick has argued...

By John Wagner | July 13, 2009; 01:23 PM ET | Comments (0)

O'Malley Invites Donors To Drink Pints With Him

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) is heading into the District later this month to down some Guinness -- and raise money for his 2010 re-election campaign while he's at it. "Join us for pints with Gov. Martin O'Malley at the...

By John Wagner | July 13, 2009; 07:57 AM ET | Comments (6)

O'Malley Offers Kind Words To Pepco, PSC

Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) applauded both Pepco and the state's Public Service Commission today after the utility announced it would grant $39 million in bill credits to its 500,000 Maryland customers as a result of an earlier legal settlement with...

By John Wagner | July 10, 2009; 05:08 PM ET | Comments (7)

State GOP Told To Repay Steele

State elections officials have directed the Maryland Republican Party, which has been struggling to pay off debts, to reimburse $77,500 to a state campaign account maintained by Michael S. Steele, the state's former lieutenant governor and the current chairman of...

By John Wagner | July 10, 2009; 12:26 PM ET | Comments (1)

More Maryland Budget Woes

Less than two weeks into its new fiscal year, Maryland is already facing a $700 million budget shortfall, according to the legislature's chief fiscal analyst. The gap amounts to about 5 percent of the roughly $14 billion general fund that...

By Matt Mosk | July 10, 2009; 10:17 AM ET | Comments (27)

Former GOP Chair's Company Accused of Labor Violations

A major moving company led by former Maryland Republican Party chairman John Kane for years paid its workers less than required by federal contracts while submitting "false and fraudulent documents" indicating the company was in compliance, federal prosecutors have alleged....

By Anne Bartlett | July 10, 2009; 06:00 AM ET | Comments (13)

Top GOP Senators Ask Pelura To Resign

The top two Republicans in the Maryland Senate are calling for the resignation of James Pelura, the state GOP chairman, in the latest sign of party turmoil. "We do not feel that you have positioned the Party to take advantage...

By John Wagner | July 9, 2009; 02:50 PM ET | Comments (1)

GOP Executive Director Fired, Creating Turmoil

The Maryland Republican Party, which has struggled for relevance in recent years, was in a state of upheaval today following the ouster of its executive director, Justin Ready. Ready, who was in charge of the party's day-to-day operations, was asked...

By John Wagner | July 7, 2009; 02:05 PM ET | Comments (1)

Baltimore County Exec Will Not Challenge Franchot

Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith (D) said today that he would not run for Maryland comptroller next year, forgoing what was expected to be a spirited Democratic primary against the incumbent, Peter Franchot (D). Franchot, a former Montgomery County delegate,...

By John Wagner | July 6, 2009; 05:58 PM ET | Comments (0)

Leopold Pulls Anne Arundel Slots Legislation For Now

Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold (R) today temporarily withdrew zoning legislation needed for operation of the largest slots parlor envisioned by the state, but pledged to reintroduce it within the month. The decision effectively could extend debate well...

By John Wagner | July 6, 2009; 05:14 PM ET | Comments (0)

O'Malley Seems Open to Recognizing Out-of-State Gay Marriages

During a radio show this morning, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) suggested he was open to recognizing gay marriages performed in other states -- something he hasn't said publicly before -- with several caveats. "If a person has those rights...

By John Wagner | July 6, 2009; 11:52 AM ET | Comments (8)

O'Malley's March To Close Out Southern Maryland Swing

Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) is scheduled to travel to Southern Maryland on Friday for the latest in his "Capital for a Day" series. This day, however, will be fuller than most: It is scheduled to end with a performance by...

By John Wagner | June 17, 2009; 09:23 AM ET | Comments (0)

Md. House GOP Leaders Question Governor's Goals

Republican leaders in the House of Delegates are taking aim at Gov. Martin O'Malley's propensity to set goals. A recent story in The Washington Post detailed the latest efforts by O'Malley (D) to push his administration to reduce childhood hunger,...

By John Wagner | June 12, 2009; 09:49 AM ET | Comments (1)

Major Fundraiser On Deck For House Speaker

Maryland House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel), who is seeking re-election next year, has scheduled a major fundraiser tomorrow morning at Camden Yards in Baltimore. In keeping with the baseball theme, Busch is asking for $500 apiece from "All...

By John Wagner | June 11, 2009; 02:08 PM ET | Comments (0)

Md. Business Group: State Support at New Low

A Maryland business group says support from state legislators has reached a low point.

By John Wagner | June 10, 2009; 01:13 PM ET | Comments (2)

Feldman, Lee Re-elected to MoCo Posts

Del. Brian J. Feldman (D-Montgomery) was elected unanimously by his colleagues last night to serve a third year as chairman of the Montgomery County delegation in the Maryland House of Delegates. The delegates, at their annual organization meeting, also elected...

By John Wagner | June 10, 2009; 11:10 AM ET | Comments (0)

Laurel Racing Appeals to Maryland's High Court on Slots

Laurel Racing Association appealed to Maryland's highest court this morning to allow it back into the competition for a slot-machine gambling license despite the company's failure to pay a $28.5 million licensing fee in February. Michael Berman, a lawyer for...

By John Wagner | June 9, 2009; 11:47 AM ET | Comments (0)

O'Malley Headed To Europe for D-Day Anniversary

Gov. Martin O'Malley travels to Europe for D-Day anniversary, state partnership program

By John Wagner | June 4, 2009; 02:07 PM ET | Comments (2)

O'Malley to Tout Anti-Hunger Plans at Dinner Tonight

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley touts his efforts to wipe out childhood hunger.

By John Wagner | June 3, 2009; 09:16 AM ET | Comments (0)

O'Malley Seeking Early Money For 2010 Re-election

Gov. Martin O'Malley raises money for 2010 re-election campaign

By John Wagner | June 2, 2009; 06:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Maryland Wants to Switch from 'South' to 'East'

A profile of Maryland in the Almanac of American Politics begins with this observation: "Just south of the Mason-Dixon line and just north of the line between the Union and the Confederacy, the midpoint of the 13 colonies, Maryland has...

By Anne Bartlett | June 1, 2009; 11:39 AM ET | Comments (7)

Bid To Put Speed Cameras To Vote Fails

Organizers of a petition drive to halt Maryland's new speed camera law before it takes effect this fall said last night that they had failed to gather enough signatures to continue their effort. The group, Maryland for Responsible Enforcement, was...

By John Wagner | June 1, 2009; 06:04 AM ET | Comments (10)

Del. Davis Summoned Before Currie Grand Jury

A fellow state lawmaker from Prince George's County testified this week before a grand jury investigating Sen. Ulysses Currie, the latest public sign that a federal probe is continuing into the Democrat's work for a grocery store chain. Del. Dereck...

By John Wagner | May 28, 2009; 12:26 PM ET | Comments (0)

Friends Try to Draft Md. GOP Candidate on Facebook

As Republicans continue to ponder possible gubernatorial nominees for next year, among the latest names to emerge is John White, an Annapolis-based marketing executive who ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2006. A "Draft John White for Maryland Governor" page has...

By Anne Bartlett | May 22, 2009; 03:51 PM ET | Comments (3)

Former Steele Finance Chairman Barred From State Business

The Maryland Board of Public Works today barred Alan B. Fabian, a once-wealthy Republican fundraiser, from contracting with the state for an indefinite period. Fabian, who served as finance chairman for Michael S. Steele's 2006 U.S. Senate run in Maryland,...

By John Wagner | May 20, 2009; 12:11 PM ET | Comments (1)

O'Malley Signs SWAT, Speed Camera Bills

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) this morning is signing more than 260 bills into law, including measures to require additional reporting for police SWAT teams, force more domestic abusers to forfeit their firearms and authorize speed cameras statewide in school...

By Phyllis Jordan | May 19, 2009; 11:11 AM ET | Comments (9)

O'Malley Announces Plan for Biotech Center

Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) this morning announced the planned opening of the Maryland Biotechnology Center in Montgomery County, intended as a resource for the state's life sciences sector, as he prepared to head for a conference in Atlanta on...

By Phyllis Jordan | May 18, 2009; 11:30 AM ET | Comments (1)

A Gift for O'Malley? Consider the Emerald Isle

When bestowing gifts on Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) last year, acknowledgment of his Irish heritage proved a popular tactic. Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller (D-Calvert) alone gave O'Malley three such gifts, all books, according to an accounting on...

By Anne Bartlett | May 11, 2009; 03:28 PM ET | Comments (0)

Legislators Staying Home This Year

In a continuing effort to curtail state spending, Maryland's two legislative presiding officers have told their members that the state will not pay for most trips to out-of-state conferences and other such travel. "In light of the fiscal situation, travel...

By John Wagner | May 6, 2009; 01:20 PM ET | Comments (0)

GOP Seeks To Halt Speed Camera Bill

The Maryland Republican Party has climbed aboard an effort to petition to referendum the state's recently passed speed camera legislation. The bill, which Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) is expected to sign, would authorize jurisdictions statewide to place speed cameras in...

By John Wagner | May 4, 2009; 02:29 PM ET | Comments (21)

Currie Notes Shoppers Employment In New Ethics Form

On an annual form required to be filed with the State Ethics Commission today, Sen. Ulysses S. Currie (D-Prince George's) disclosed something he neglected to mention in previous years: his employment as a consultant for Shoppers Food and Pharmacy. Currie's...

By John Wagner | April 30, 2009; 01:31 PM ET | Comments (1)

Anti-Gambling Group Opposes Perez Nomination

A national anti-gambling group is expressing opposition to the nomination of Maryland labor secretary Thomas E. Perez to head the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Justice Department. Perez, Gov. Martin O'Malley's secretary of labor, licensing and regulation, played a...

By John Wagner | April 29, 2009; 01:52 PM ET | Comments (2)

Colleagues Rally Around King For Anne Arundel Seat

Del. James J. King (R-Anne Arundel) has received a boost from his House colleagues in a bid to replace the retiring Sen. Janet Greenip (R-Anne Arundel). In a joint letter to members of the Anne Arundel County Republican Central Committee,...

By John Wagner | April 29, 2009; 08:07 AM ET | Comments (0)

Consultant Says 15,000 Slot Machines Still Doable

A newly hired consultant to a state slot-machine location commission expressed optimism today that Maryland would eventually reach its goal of 15,000 machines. The state currently has only four qualified bids to operate five slots sites and requests to use...

By John Wagner | April 28, 2009; 03:10 PM ET | Comments (0)

Rep. Donna Edwards Arrested in Darfur Protest

Maryland Congresswoman Donna Edwards (D-Prince George's) was among five members of Congress arrested on civil disobedience charges this morning outside the Sudanese embassy in Washington as they protested that country's decision to expel 16 aid agencies from Darfur. Other congress...

By Anne Bartlett | April 27, 2009; 12:23 PM ET | Comments (54)

Top Sun Editor Joins Firm of Former O'Malley Aide

A top editor at the Baltmore Sun is joining a public affairs firm headed by the former communications director for Gov. Martin O'Malley (D). Howard Libit, the Sun's assistant managing editor for news, will become the chief operating officer for...

By John Wagner | April 21, 2009; 03:22 PM ET | Comments (1)

Grace O'Malley Standing In As Lieutenant Governor

Another member of Maryland's First Family will be appearing in public tonight with a government-sounding title attached to her name: Lt. Gov. Grace O'Malley. Grace, the daughter of Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) and First Lady Catherine Curran O'Malley, is serving...

By John Wagner | April 20, 2009; 01:01 PM ET | Comments (0)

O'Malley Discusses Death Penalty on Maddow Show

Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) appeared last night on MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show" to talk about Maryland's soon-to-be law that places some of the nation's tightest evidence standards on death penalty cases. O'Malley, who sought a full repeal of the...

By Anne Bartlett | April 9, 2009; 09:24 AM ET | Comments (0)

O'Malley, Legislative Leaders Tout Preakness Purchase Bill

Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) and both presiding officers of the General Assembly expressed support today for late-session legislation designed to help keep the Preakness Stakes in Maryland. The bill would authorize the state to purchase or exercise eminent domain over...

By John Wagner | April 8, 2009; 01:29 PM ET | Comments (4)

Md. Senate Defeats U-Md Funding-Porn Movie Link

An attempt by Sen. Andrew P. Harris (R-Baltimore County) to make capital funding to universities contingent on the development of policies on screening pornography was thwarted this morning. During debate on the state's capital budget, Harris introduced an amendment that...

By Anne Bartlett | April 8, 2009; 11:16 AM ET | Comments (7)

Md. Lawmakers Vote to Require Reports on University Porn Policies

Budget negotiators from the Maryland General Assembly agreed this afternoon to require reports from public universities about their policies on displaying or screening pornographic films. But the provision adopted by lawmakers does not make university funding contingent on the report....

By Anne Bartlett | April 7, 2009; 05:37 PM ET | Comments (2)

O'Malley to Submit Preakness Legislation

Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) is preparing to introduce late-session legislation that would give the state additional legal tools to keep the Preakness Stakes in Maryland, his office confirmed today. The issue has emerged following Magna Entertainment's decision to seek bankruptcy...

By Anne Bartlett | April 7, 2009; 04:49 PM ET | Comments (0)

Senate Douses Hot Movie Fun at UMd

BY JOHN WAGNER AND SUSAN KINZIE WASHINGTON POST STAFF WRITERS Senator Andrew P. Harris, left, and Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr., discuss an amendment that would block funding to the University of Maryland if it screens a pornographic...

By Anne Bartlett | April 2, 2009; 04:52 PM ET | Comments (19)

Schurick, Other Ehrlich Aides, Helping Slots Bid

Paul Schurick, a top aide to former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) who now works at Ehrlich's law firm, has surfaced as an adviser to the Cordish Cos., which is seeking to build a slots parlor at Arundel Mills...

By John Wagner | March 24, 2009; 06:00 PM ET | Comments (2)

Angelos Meets With O'Malley About Preakness

A State House meeting late this afternoon between Baltimore Orioles owner Peter G. Angelos and Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) added to the intrigue over the future of the Preakness Stakes horse race. "I'd like to see the Preakness remain in...

By John Wagner | March 19, 2009; 05:46 PM ET | Comments (2)

Brown Fills In While O'Malley Plays With Band

Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown (D) pinch hit last night for Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) on the monthly live Maryland Public Television call-in program, "Ask the Governor." The reason for the governor's absence? As Brown explained to viewers at the...

By John Wagner | March 19, 2009; 11:50 AM ET | Comments (0)

O'Malley Speaks Out for New Limits to Death Penalty

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) urged a House panel today to pass a Senate bill that tightens standards of evidence in death penalty cases, acknowledging a full repeal of capital punishment remains elusive this year. The Senate bill restricts capital...

By Anne Bartlett | March 17, 2009; 04:25 PM ET | Comments (1)

Porcari's Future Source of State House Buzz

There is growing chatter around the State House that Transportation Secretary John D. Porcari may soon be resigning to take a post in the Obama Administration. Porcari, who is widely regarded as one of Gov. Martin O'Malley's most talented Cabinet...

By John Wagner | March 13, 2009; 03:23 PM ET | Comments (1)

Rosenberg: Pass Senate Death Penalty Bill

The lead House sponsor of a bill to repeal Maryland's death penalty has reversed course and is now urging his colleagues to support a Senate bill that instead tightens evidence rules in capital cases. "I have concluded that the likelihood...

By John Wagner | March 13, 2009; 01:23 PM ET | Comments (3)

Judge Rejects Laurel Slots Appeal

An Anne Arundel County judge today rejected a challenge to Maryland's slot machine-gambling law by Laural Racing Association, whose bid to operate a slots parlor was disqualified last month by a state panel. Circuit Court Judge William C. Mulford II...

By Anne Bartlett | March 11, 2009; 05:53 PM ET | Comments (3)

Md. House Speaker: Layoffs Are Off the Table

House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) said today that state employee layoffs and tax increases are off the table as Maryland leaders scramble to fill another $500 million hole in the state budget. But he and others cautioned that...

By Anne Bartlett | March 11, 2009; 05:23 PM ET | Comments (3)

State GOP Pans New O'Malley's March Release

The Maryland Republican Party took a somewhat predictable swing today at Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) for striking up his band as the state's revenue collections deteriorate. The Post reported today that the governor is releasing the fifth O'Malley's March album...

By John Wagner | March 11, 2009; 12:47 PM ET | Comments (0)

Two "Hard Heads" Put Forward Campaign Finance Bill

A campaign finance bill formally unveiled today required "two hard heads having a meeting of my the minds." That is the description of Sen. Paul G. Pinsky (D-Prince George's), who was referring to his noggin and that of Senate President...

By John Wagner | March 6, 2009; 12:57 PM ET | Comments (0)

Miller To Sponsor Campaign Finance Bill

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller (D-Calvert) will join forces with some progressive groups tomorrow to announce campaign finance reform legislation that includes both an increase in contribution limits and a pilot program for public financing of legislative campaigns. Miller...

By John Wagner | March 5, 2009; 04:53 PM ET | Comments (5)

Ehrlich Ups His Visibility on Web and in Mailing

For those trying to keep tabs on whether former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) plans a political comeback, here are two intriguing developments: a revamped Web site and a new fundraising letter that calls for bringing "common political sense...

By John Wagner | March 5, 2009; 01:31 PM ET | Comments (1)

Death Penalty Debate: Evidence Limits Likely to Pass

The Maryland Senate this morning stopped considering amendments to a death penalty bill, with leaders indicating they plan to pass the legislation as it stood last night. The bill would prohibit death sentences based solely on eyewitness testimony and require...

By Anne Bartlett | March 4, 2009; 10:12 AM ET | Comments (8)

Death Penalty Debate: Repeal Stripped From Bill

The Maryland Senate has dramatically altered Gov. Martin O'Malley's bill to repeal the death penalty, allowing executions to continue as before except in cases where convictions were based solsely on eyewitness testimony.. The amendment, offered by Sen. James Brochin (D-Baltimore...

By Anne Bartlett | March 3, 2009; 04:38 PM ET | Comments (10)

Death Penalty Debate: Referendum Proposal Fails

As the Senate resumed debate late this afternoon, an attempt to let voters decide whether to repeal the death penalty was rejected. Sen. George Della (D-Baltimore) offered an amendment that would have turned Gov. Martin O'Malley's repeal bill into a...

By Anne Bartlett | March 3, 2009; 04:14 PM ET | Comments (1)

Md. Senate Votes to Allow Debate on Death Penalty

The Maryland Senate has approved a pair of procedural votes to allow floor debate of Gov. Martin O'Malley's death penalty repeal bill to begin this afternoon. In a preliminary victory for O'Malley (D), the Senate voted 25-22 to debate the...

By Anne Bartlett | March 3, 2009; 11:02 AM ET | Comments (6)

Md. Death Penalty Debate Starts This Morning

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) raised the specter of a lengthy floor debate today on the death penalty in remarks to the chamber last night. Miller said that debate would begin at 10 a.m. on a motion...

By John Wagner | March 2, 2009; 10:33 PM ET | Comments (1)

Leopold Submits Legislation for Slots Zoning in Anne Arundel

Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold (R) submitted legislation to the County Council today that would allow conditional use zoning for a slot-machine gambling parlor at either Arundel Mills shopping mall or Laurel Park race track. Organizations have submitted...

By Anne Bartlett | March 2, 2009; 01:24 PM ET | Comments (0)

O'Malley Asks For Help On Death Penalty Repeal

"I need your help on a matter of life and death." So begins an email sent yesterday by Gov. Martin O'Malley (D), urging his supporters to help lobby members of the General Assembly on his bill to repeal Maryland's death...

By John Wagner | March 1, 2009; 05:13 PM ET | Comments (1)

Ehrlich Says Obama Plan is "Class Warfare"

Former Maryland governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R), whose political future remains a big mystery, surfaced last night on MSNBC's "Hardball" with Chris Matthews.   During the segment, Ehrlich mostly had unkind things to say about President Obama's stimulus plan...

By Phyllis Jordan | February 27, 2009; 10:02 AM ET | Comments (21)

Miller: Death Penalty Could Get Some Floor Debate

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) said this afternoon that he plans to accomodate Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) by allowing at least some consideration by the full Senate of a bill to repeal the death penalty. "I want...

By John Wagner | February 25, 2009; 01:41 PM ET | Comments (0)

State Asks Court To Toss Laurel's Complaint

Lawyers for the state are asking a judge to dismiss a legal effort to reinstate a bid to put slot machines at Laurel Park race track in Anne Arundel County. The track operators submitted a bid this month but failed...

By John Wagner | February 24, 2009; 11:22 AM ET | Comments (1)

Miller Wants Quick Committee Vote on Death Penalty

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) said this afternoon that he would like to see a relatively quick, up-or-down committee vote on a bill to repeal Maryland's death penalty. His pronouncement is the latest move in a procedural...

By John Wagner | February 23, 2009; 02:58 PM ET | Comments (0)

O'Malley: Stimulus Could Erase Layoffs, Restore College Funds

With federal stimulus money on the way, Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) is reconsidering plans for 700 layoffs next year and may restore funding for community colleges that was not included in the budget proposal he presented to lawmakers last month....

By John Wagner | February 19, 2009; 08:45 AM ET | Comments (1)

Miller Makes Procedural Appeal On Death Penalty

Less than two hours before the start of a hearing today on repealing the death penalty, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) made an usual procedural appeal from the rostrum that could affect the course of debate. The...

By John Wagner | February 18, 2009; 11:15 AM ET | Comments (0)

Republicans Talk Stimulus, Plug Tax Bill

Republican leaders of the Maryland General Assembly cautioned this morning against getting hooked on anticipated federal stimulus dollars. Appearing at a morning news conference, House Minority Leader Anthony J. O'Donnell (R-Calvert) and others argued that the state could face larger...

By John Wagner | February 10, 2009; 11:07 AM ET | Comments (1)

Failure to Submit Slots Licensing Fee for Laurel Creates Uncertainty

The Maryland Jockey Club effort to bring slots to Laurel Park racetrack proved chaotic yesterday -- and it is unclear what might happen next. Late last night, Magna Entertainment, the organization's owner, acknowledged it had not submitted a required $28.5...

By Anne Bartlett | February 3, 2009; 09:19 AM ET | Comments (0)

Senate Finance Tops List of Most Courted Committees

The Senate Finance Committee is the most popular dinner date in Annapolis. That's according to a new report by the State Ethics Commission, which details how often various committees and delegations were invited to dinners, receptions and other "special events"...

By John Wagner | January 30, 2009; 03:29 PM ET | Comments (0)

Utilities, Business Groups Spent Most on Lobbying

Utility companies and associations representing retailers, real-estate brokers, bankers and health interests were among the big spenders on lobbyists last year in Annapolis. Pepco Holdings tops a list just released by the State Ethics Commission, having spent $723,330 on lobbying...

By John Wagner | January 30, 2009; 02:08 PM ET | Comments (1)

Lt. Gov. Brown to Focus on Domestic Violence, Military Issues

Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown (D) announced today that his legislative priorities this session will be bills to help victims of domestic violence and military families. With the announcement, Brown, whose cousin was fatally shot last year by an ex-boyfriend...

By John Wagner | January 30, 2009; 10:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Miller Urges Caution On Bills That Cost Money

Given the state's tough budget times, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) is urging restraint when considering legislation this session that costs the state money. In a letter today to Senate committee chairmen and vice-chairmen, Miller noted that...

By John Wagner | January 29, 2009; 05:32 PM ET | Comments (0)

O'Malley Delays $56 Million in Cuts to Local Aid

Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) said this afternoon that he is delaying a proposal to reduce aid to local governments by $56 million until the fate of federal stimulus package becomes clearer. The largest of the contemplated mid-year reductions, $38 million,...

By John Wagner | January 27, 2009; 02:08 PM ET | Comments (0)

O'Malley Talks Leadership With Midshipmen

Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, football coach Dick Vermeil and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia had done it before. Last night was Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley's chance. O'Malley (D) was the featured speaker at the U.S. Naval Academy Forrestal...

By John Wagner | January 27, 2009; 10:59 AM ET | Comments (0)

Currie's Fundraising Slows To a Trickle; Gansler, Smith Step Up

Among other things, the federal investigation of Sen. Ulysses Currie (D-Prince George's) appears to have taken a significant toll on his campaign fundraising. Currie, chairman of the powerful Budget and Taxation Committee and one of the Senate's most prolific fundraisers,...

By John Wagner | January 26, 2009; 08:38 AM ET | Comments (0)

O'Malley: Not a Fan Of His Layoff Plan

Gov. Martin O'Malley bristled this morning at characterizations that he is pushing a plan to lay off hundeds of state workers. The budget proposal O'Malley (D) put forward Wednesday includes about $30 million in savings that he said would be...

By John Wagner | January 23, 2009; 11:03 AM ET | Comments (3)

Miller: Tuition Increase Better Than Layoffs

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) this morning criticized a plan by Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) to lay off 700 state workers, suggesting university tuition increases could offset a portion of the cost savings. O'Malley is scheduled to...

By John Wagner | January 21, 2009; 11:42 AM ET | Comments (3)

A First and More Reasonable Bill Signing

Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) this morning signed into law the first bill emerging from the 2009 session of the General Assembly: a measure to keep the bars in Anne Arundel County open an hour later on Inauguration night. The ceremony...

By John Wagner | January 19, 2009; 10:55 AM ET | Comments (0)

O'Malley Warns Layoffs On The Way

Gov. Martin O'Malley told reporters this morning that an unspecified number of state employee layoffs will be included in the budget for next fiscal year that he submits next week to the General Assembly. O'Malley (D) is grappling with how...

By John Wagner | January 14, 2009; 10:29 AM ET | Comments (15)

Cryor Stepping Down At End of Month

Mike Cryor, a confidant of Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) who has led the Maryland Democratic Party since 2007, announced today that he is stepping down at the end of the month. Cryor's departure is hardly unexpected. He took the job...

By John Wagner | January 8, 2009; 05:11 PM ET | Comments (0)

O'Malley and Franchot Break Bread

Could relations between Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) and Comptroller Peter Franchot (D) be starting to thaw? The pair, who have sparred over slots and several other issues, shared lunch today at the Rams Head Tavern in Annapolis -- a restaurant...

By John Wagner | January 7, 2009; 04:34 PM ET | Comments (0)

Miller: Slots Changes May Be Needed, But Later

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) acknowledged in an interview today that the state might need to overhaul its slot-machine gambling law to entice more bidders into Maryland -- but that it probably doesn't make sense to do...

By John Wagner | January 7, 2009; 11:50 AM ET | Comments (5)

Busch, Others Rush To Raise Money Before Session

In what aides say is a clear indication that he is seeking re-election, House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) is holding a major fundraiser this morning with Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) as his special guest. The event at Oriole...

By John Wagner | January 6, 2009; 06:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Top Brown Staffers Flip Positions

The top two aides to Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown (D) have swapped jobs. Earl Adams Jr., who was Brown's deputy chief of staff, is now his chief of staff. Gerard Boden, who was chief of staff, is now deputy...

By John Wagner | January 5, 2009; 01:20 PM ET | Comments (0)

O'Malley Ready To March Again

The semi-retired Celtic rock band fronted by Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) is about to become a little less retired. An email sent recently to fans of O'Malley's March advertises a March 14 CD release party in Baltimore, meaning new...

By John Wagner | December 30, 2008; 11:07 AM ET | Comments (3)

Busch, Miller Urge Colleagues To Return $604.20

In a gesture of solidarity with soon-to-be-furloughed state employees, the presiding officers of the Maryland General Assembly have asked their members to give up a portion of their pay. Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) announced yesterday that most state employees would...

By John Wagner | December 17, 2008; 01:51 PM ET | Comments (4)

O'Malley Orders Furloughs for State Workers

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) today announced a furlough plan under which state employees will lose the equivalent of two to five days of pay by June, an attempt to generate savings in a worsening budget climate. The announcement came...

By Anne Bartlett | December 16, 2008; 02:25 PM ET | Comments (18)

It's Official: Maryland Goes For Obama

About 150 people looked on yesterday in Annapolis as Maryland's 10 presidential electors cast their votes for Barack Obama (D), with several of them reflecting upon the historic significance of their action. The ceremony was moved from its traditional location...

By John Wagner | December 16, 2008; 09:23 AM ET | Comments (0)

Marylanders Worried About Money But High On Obama

A new poll shows large majorities of Marylanders worried about their financial situations -- yet placing high bets on Barck Obama's presidency. In the poll, by OpinonWorks of Annapolis, 72 percent of Maryland adults said they worry about money as...

By John Wagner | December 11, 2008; 02:39 PM ET | Comments (3)

O'Malley Sends Stimulus Priorities To Md. Delegation

Gov. Martin O'Malley today provided the Maryland congressional delegtation with a wish list for federal stimulus projects, including $100 million in highway resurfacing, $50 million in bridge redecking, $100 million in affordable housing and waste and wastewater investments with a...

By John Wagner | December 10, 2008; 02:22 PM ET | Comments (1)

David Ross Among Marylanders Aiding Transition

Another Marylander, this one with progeny who are up-and-comers in state government circles, is playing a role in the Obama transition. David Ross has been appointed to the Health and Human Services transition team of President-elect Barack Obama. Ross served...

By John Wagner | December 9, 2008; 10:24 AM ET | Comments (2)

O'Malley, Lawmakers Choose Slots Commission

Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) and legislative leaders yesterday named the remaining members of powerful new commission that will determine who will operate Maryland's slot-machine parlors. The seven-member commission, which includes former legislators and several business leaders, will pick the winning...

By Phyllis Jordan | December 9, 2008; 07:01 AM ET | Comments (0)

MoCo Delegate Tapped for Obama Transition Team

Del. Brian J. Feldman (D-Montgomery) is among the latest Maryland politicians to land a role in the Obama transition. Feldman, who worked for 13 years as a tax division lawyer at the U.S. Department of Justice before getting into politics,...

By John Wagner | December 5, 2008; 02:22 PM ET | Comments (1)

Fry Appointed to Lead Md. Slots Commission

Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) today tapped Donald C. Fry, a former state legislator who heads the Baltimore area's largest business association, as chairman of a powerful new commission that will select the operators of Maryland's slot-machine sites. The appointment was...

By Anne Bartlett | December 4, 2008; 04:55 PM ET | Comments (2)

Gansler Advising Justice Team But Plans To Stay Put

Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler has landed a role as an adviser to the transition process for the Obama administration's Justice Department -- but doesn't expect to play a longer-term role for president-elect. Gansler (D), who co-chaired Barack Obama's...

By John Wagner | December 3, 2008; 11:44 AM ET | Comments (2)

Pro-Slots Committee Raised More Than $7 Million

The committee that led Maryland's campaign to legalize slot machines collected more than $2.6 million during the final weeks before the election, with the vast majority of contributions coming from people and companies that could benefit from expanded gambling in...

By Anne Bartlett | November 26, 2008; 02:28 PM ET | Comments (1)

O'Malley Hints at Employee Furloughs

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) last night confirmed his plans to propose another round of mid-year budget cuts next month, suggesting the reductions could total about $200 million. Appearing on Maryland Public Television, O'Malley offered few specifics but strongly hinted...

By Anne Bartlett | November 25, 2008; 09:21 AM ET | Comments (9)

Md. Teachers Push to Preserve Funding

With a session of budget cuts coming in the Maryland General Assembly, the state's leading teachers lobby sought last week to fire a preemptive strike through a blitz of television and Web ads. In messages targeted at lawmakers, the Maryland...

By Anne Bartlett | November 24, 2008; 09:46 AM ET | Comments (13)

Brown's Name "Hotly Circulating" for Veterans Post

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) this morning acknolwedged speculation that Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown (D) is under consideration for a Cabinet post in the Obama administration, saying the former Prince George's delegate has been "a tremendous partner to me...

By Phyllis Jordan | November 22, 2008; 04:28 PM ET | Comments (2)

Glendening's Son Moves Up In Governors' Association

Raymond Glendening, the son of former Maryland governor Parris N. Glendening, has been named national political director of the National Governors Association, an organization that promotes the candidacies of the party's gubernatorial candidates. The younger Glendening, a Maryland resident, has...

By John Wagner | November 21, 2008; 10:52 AM ET | Comments (1)

Steele Helping State Senate GOP Raise Money Tonight

Former Maryland lieutenant governor Michael S. Steele, who recently announced his candidacy for chairman of the Republican National Committee, is headlining a fundraiser in his home state tonight. The event, in Savage, Md., is being hosted by the state Senate's...

By John Wagner | November 17, 2008; 01:36 PM ET | Comments (3)

Md. Lt. Gov. Brown Lands Role In Obama Transition

Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown (D) is the latest O'Malley administration figure to surface in a role on the Obama transition team. Brown, who supported Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) in the Democratic primary, is one of two leaders of...

By John Wagner | November 17, 2008; 10:50 AM ET | Comments (0)

Perez Heavily Involved In Obama Transition

Thomas E. Perez, the O'Malley administration's secretary of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, has been playing a significant role in Barack Obama's presidential transition efforts. Perez is leading one of seven teams that for some months have been quietly overseeing transition...

By John Wagner | November 7, 2008; 03:26 PM ET | Comments (5)

O'Malley: The Governor, The Sandwich

While in Gaithersburg, which is Maryland's "capital for a day," Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) will be greeted with a new sandwich bearing his name. O'Malley, a Montgomery County native, is scheduled to eat lunch at Roy's Place, a mainstay for...

By Anne Bartlett | November 6, 2008; 11:05 AM ET | Comments (0)

Jockey Club Says It's In On Slots

The Maryland Jockey Club, which operates Laurel Race Track in Anne Arundel County, wasted little time this morning in announcing its intentions to bid for a slots license. In a statement, the club, which is owned by Canadian-based Magna Entertainment,...

By John Wagner | November 5, 2008; 10:02 AM ET | Comments (0)

Breast Cancer Survivors, Ringed By Bras, Thank O'Malley

As Annapolis rallies go, this one stood out. Organizers ringed Lawyer's Mall, a familiar site adjacent to the State House for such events, with what they said were 2,600 bras. A sign at this morning's event read: "Don't Leave Women...

By John Wagner | October 29, 2008; 10:45 AM ET | Comments (0)

Anti-Slots Leader Decries Franchot's Tactics

Charles E. Graham, the chairman of Marylanders United To Stop Slots, said today that he is considering stepping down out of frustration with the tactics of Comptroller Peter Franchot (D), the most visible member of the anti-slots group. Graham, the...

By John Wagner | October 28, 2008; 12:31 PM ET | Comments (1)

Busch: People Can Make Up Own Minds On Slots

During the previous administration, House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) was repeatedly demonized or canonized -- depending on one's perspective -- for keeping slot machines out of Maryland. Former governor Robert L. Ehrlich (R) was among his harshest critics....

By John Wagner | October 27, 2008; 12:42 PM ET | Comments (2)

An O'Malley-Ehrlich Rematch?

There have been rumblings that Bob Ehrlich, the only Republican to be elected governor in Maryland in the past four decades, might give it a try again in 2010. That would likely mean taking on the Democrat who ousted him...

By Phyllis Jordan | October 22, 2008; 09:38 AM ET | Comments (30)

Gilchrest Speaks Out at Environmental Tribute

Last night's League of Conservation Voters dinner in Annapolis was a virtual who's who among Maryland Democrats. But a departing Republican stole the show. Rep. Wayne Gilchrest (D-Md.), who was defeated in the GOP primary in the 1st Congressional District...

By John Wagner | October 21, 2008; 10:09 AM ET | Comments (0)

Pro-Slots Pollster: Measure is Favored By Voters

In a memo written last week, a pollster for Maryland's leading pro-slots group says the "slots referendum is poised for a solid victory" on Nov. 4. The memo, prepared for For Maryland For Our Future by Frederick S. Yang, says...

By John Wagner | October 20, 2008; 01:51 PM ET | Comments (11)

Steele as GOP Cabinet Pick?

Former Maryland lieutenant governor Michael S. Steele (R), who gave a prime-time speech at last month's Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn., is being mentioned as a possible Cabinet secretary if Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) wins the presidency. Steele...

By Anne Bartlett | October 20, 2008; 10:19 AM ET | Comments (9)

O'Malley Blames Bush, Talks Up Obama

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) traveled last night to Long Island to witness the final presidential debate between Barack Obama and John McCain at Hofstra University. It sounded as though O'Malley was working on his talking points earlier in the...

By Anne Bartlett | October 16, 2008; 09:35 AM ET | Comments (9)

Anti-slots Group Has A Few Sizable Donors, Too

A group fighting the November ballot issue to bring slots to Maryland has fewer big-money donors than the group promoting the referendum. But some notable contributors have given significant sums to Marylanders United To Stop Slots, according to a report...

By John Wagner | October 13, 2008; 11:14 AM ET | Comments (0)

GOP: Defeat Early Voting Amendment

Republicans in the General Assembly today announced their opposition to a proposed constitutional amendment on next month's ballot that would authorize early voting up to two weeks before Maryland elections. House Minority Leader Anthony J. O'Donnell (R-Calvert) said the measure...

By Anne Bartlett | October 9, 2008; 03:50 PM ET | Comments (3)

Hutchins Among Keith Olbermann's "Worst Persons"

Former Maryland Police Superintendent Thomas E. Hutchins won national recognition last night -- but not the kind one typically brags about. Hutchins was designated as the runner-up for "Worst Person in the World," a nightly feature on Keith Olbermann's "Countdown"...

By John Wagner | October 9, 2008; 06:19 AM ET | Comments (14)

High Drama At Maryland's Death Penalty Commission

A commission examining capital punishment in Maryland produced some high drama yesterday, as an exonerated death row inmate tangled with the state's attorney from the jurisdiction that sentenced him to death. Baltimore County State's Attorney Scott Schellenberger, a member of...

By John Wagner | October 8, 2008; 11:11 AM ET | Comments (10)

Franchot Asks O'Malley To Call Off The "Attack Dogs"

Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot (D) said today that he was the victim of a "Swift-boat style" attack carried about by pro-slots forces and called on Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) to "call off the attack dogs, stop the negative campaigning and...

By John Wagner | October 7, 2008; 06:14 PM ET | Comments (16)

Franchot: Won't Get In Gutter On Slots

Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot (D), a leading slots opponent, tried to turn the tables on slots supporters in a fundraising solicitation over the weekend. In an email Friday, For Maryland For Our Future, a pro-slots group, announced it was starting...

By John Wagner | October 6, 2008; 11:55 AM ET | Comments (3)

Slots Proponents: About To Go Up On Baltimore TV

A pro-slots group says it is about to air the first television ads related to Maryland's upcoming referendum on expanding gambling. In an email to supporters of its efforts, For Maryland For Our Future said the ads are needed to...

By John Wagner | October 3, 2008; 11:55 AM ET | Comments (1)

Horse Industry Slams Ehrlich

Representatives of Maryland's horse-racing industry yesterday sharply criticized former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. for voicing opposition to the state's slots referendum, suggesting that the Republican was trying to deny a victory to his Democratic successor. Ehrlich, who spent much...

By Phyllis Jordan | September 30, 2008; 09:36 AM ET | Comments (5)

O'Malley Pledges To Look Out For Middle Class

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley is promising to keep the middle-class in mind as his administration makes another round of budget cuts in coming weeks. To cope with a $432 million downward revision in anticipated tax revenue for the current fiscal...

By John Wagner | September 24, 2008; 09:56 AM ET | Comments (10)

O'Malley: No Plans to Shift Teacher Pension Costs

Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) said today that he is still not inclined to shift teacher pension costs to Maryland counties, despite renewed interest in the idea in Annapolis. Last year, as lawmakers held a special session on the state's finances,...

By John Wagner | September 23, 2008; 03:04 PM ET | Comments (1)

Gansler Raising Money For Obama-Biden

Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler (D), an early supporter of the presidential campaign of Barack Obama, is making appearances at two high-level fundraisers for the Democratic ticket today. Gansler is in Boston this afternoon, according to an Maryland for...

By John Wagner | September 22, 2008; 02:01 PM ET | Comments (1)

Steele Playing Obama In Debate Prep

Michael S. Steele, Maryland's former Republican lieutenant governor and failed U.S. Senate candidate, is reportedly playing a prominent role in the presidential race this week: that of Barack Obama (D-Ill.). The Wall Street Journal reports that Steele is playing the...

By John Wagner | September 22, 2008; 10:25 AM ET | Comments (7)

Magazine: Md. has nicest, meanest senators

Maryland is home to one of the nicest and one of the meanest members of the U.S. Senate -- at least according to Washingtonian magazine. In an annual poll of Capitol Hill aides, Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) topped the list...

By Anne Bartlett | September 22, 2008; 07:57 AM ET | Comments (3)

Magna Ups the Ante in Slots Campaign

Magna Entertainment, the owner of two of Maryland's major racetracks, appears poised to contribute as much as $2 million toward the passage of the state's slot-machine referendum proposal, providing an infusion of cash from an industry that has been slow...

By Anne Bartlett | September 17, 2008; 09:32 AM ET | Comments (0)

Malone To Leave O'Malley Administration

Sean R. Malone, a long-time trusted aide to Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D), said today that he will leave the administration in coming weeks to become a partner in a law firm and lobbying shop. Malone, a deputy legislative officer...

By John Wagner | September 15, 2008; 04:45 PM ET | Comments (0)

Franchot Fires Back At Miller

Comptroller Peter Franchot (D) fired back this afternoon at Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert), suggeting he was "impressed by the length" of a letter Miller sent earlier this week -- but not much else. "It was yet...

By John Wagner | September 12, 2008; 02:01 PM ET | Comments (6)

Miller Knocks Franchot As A "Novice"

A feud between two Annapolis politicians with healthy-sized egos escalated this week, with Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) penning a letter to Comptroller Peter Franchot (D) in which Miller offers a scathing review of Franchot's first 20...

By John Wagner | September 12, 2008; 12:36 PM ET | Comments (5)

University System Apologizes On Duncan's Behalf

The University System of Maryland said today that former Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan (D) has apologized for news reports in which he suggested he was forced to back out of a political forum next month at the direction...

By John Wagner | September 11, 2008; 04:51 PM ET | Comments (5)

O'Malley's Approval Rating Rises

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) has seen a rebound in his job approval numbers while support for a key initiative of his, the legalization of slot-machine gambling, has slipped some, according to a new poll. Forty-five percent of likely voters...

By Anne Bartlett | September 9, 2008; 10:42 AM ET | Comments (13)

Md. GOP: Fired Up, Ready to Travel

Maryland delegates are leaving the Republican National Convention fired up, but some acknowledged their greatest value in coming weeks could be providing help in states, including Virginia, where polls suggest a closer race. "Three points in Maryland isn't as important...

By Anne Bartlett | September 5, 2008; 09:36 AM ET | Comments (2)

Huckabee Revs Up Marylanders

The Maryland delegation was treated to a breakfast speech this morning from former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R), who, like most others in the room, appeared to still be on a high from last night's speech by GOP vice presidential...

By Anne Bartlett | September 4, 2008; 12:23 PM ET | Comments (1)

'Drill, Baby, Drill'

ST. PAUL -- Michael S. Steele, Maryland's former lieutenant governor, fired up the Republican convention Wednesday night with a 10-minute speech that touted Sen. John McCain's character and judgment and suggested he would bring about change on issues important to...

By Anne Bartlett | September 4, 2008; 09:47 AM ET | Comments (1)

Md. GOP Trolls for Speaker, Gets a Big Name

Maryland Republicans were without a featured speaker for their breakfast this morning, so delegation leader Don Murphy starting trolling. By 5 a.m., Murphy had arrived at the St. Paul restaurant from which MSNBC's "Morning Joe" is being broadcast this week....

By Anne Bartlett | September 3, 2008; 12:11 PM ET | Comments (2)

Heavy-hitters Speak to Md. Republicans

ST. PAUL -- Even leaders of the Maryland delegation seemed taken aback by the starpower of the speakers at their breakfast meeting this morning. Those who came by to talk to Republicans from the heavily Democratic, relatively small state included...

By Anne Bartlett | September 2, 2008; 12:49 PM ET | Comments (1)

Md. GOP Delegate Once Represented Obama

One Maryland delegate to the Republican National Convention was reminiscing yesterday morning about past ties to the presidential nominee -- of the Democratic party. As a member of the Hawaii legislature in the 1970s, Anne Arundel County Executive John R....

By Anne Bartlett | September 1, 2008; 12:31 PM ET | Comments (0)

Palin Choice Popular in Md. GOP Delegation

ST. PAUL -- The tone at a Maryland delegation breakfast this morning seemed dialed back, in keeping with the spirit of today's GOP convention. But several speakers sang the praises of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R), the recently named running...

By Anne Bartlett | September 1, 2008; 12:20 PM ET | Comments (0)

Md. GOP's Pelura: "We don't need a party"

ST. PAUL -- James Pelura, chairman of the Maryland Republicans, praised his party's decision this afternoon to pare down opening-day activities of its convention in response to Hurricane Gustav. "Republicans are so enthused with our nominee, and really enthused with...

By John Wagner | August 31, 2008; 05:07 PM ET | Comments (1)

Brown Returning To Md. After Cousin Is Shot

Catherine Brown, a teacher at the Beauvoir School of Washington National Cathedral who was fatally shot in her Montgomery Village home over the weekend, is a cousin of Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown (D). The lieutenant governor, who is in...

By John Wagner | August 25, 2008; 11:31 AM ET | Comments (1)

Slots Opponents Question Ballot Language

An anti-slots group says that the wording of a November referendum to authorize 15,000 slot machines in Maryland is too favorable to pro-gambling interests. The language, released today by Secretary of State John P. McDonough, an appointee of Gov. Martin...

By Anne Bartlett | August 18, 2008; 05:22 PM ET | Comments (12)

O'Malley Touts "Fiscal Responsibility"

At first blush, last year's special legislative session in Maryland might seem a curious couple of weeks for Gov. Martin O'Malley(D) to voluntarily revisit. Multiple taxes were increased, and whatever the benefit to the state's finances, it came at a...

By Anne Bartlett | August 4, 2008; 11:21 AM ET | Comments (4)

Anti-Slots Group Asks McDonough To Recuse Himself

A leading anti-slots group is calling on new Secretary of State John P. McDonough to recuse himself from crafting ballot language for a fall referendum on whether Maryland should legalize up to 15,000 slot machines. McDonough has served as a...

By John Wagner | July 31, 2008; 08:45 AM ET | Comments (4)

Obama Allegedly Seen At One Stop In Salisbury

Amid the weekend papers, the following letter to the editor, appearing in the Salisbury Daily Times, grabbed our attention: "I wish someone would enlighten me as to why, at the One Stop Job Market on Route 50 in Salisbury, there...

By John Wagner | July 28, 2008; 10:49 AM ET | Comments (8)

O'Malley Takes In $1 Million For Re-Election, Aide Says

Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) and Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown (D) raised more than $1 million last night at their largest fundraiser since their 2006 election, an aide said. Tickets to the event at Silo Point, a newly renovated historic...

By John Wagner | July 23, 2008; 10:46 AM ET | Comments (0)

O'Malley Welcomes Hearing On "Waste Of Police Resources"

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) said today that he welcomes legislative hearings on state police surveillance of peace activists and death penalty opponents that took place under his Republican predecessor. "I think they want to ask the same questions that...

By John Wagner | July 22, 2008; 02:09 PM ET | Comments (6)

McCain Coming To Maryland -- For Cash

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is scheduled to make a fundraising stop in Maryland tomorrow night. The presumptive Republican presidential nominee is booked at the Centre Club in downtown Baltimore. Tickets start at $1,000 a person. Entrance to a VIP reception,...

By John Wagner | July 21, 2008; 11:41 AM ET | Comments (0)

McDonough To Be Secretary Of State

Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) tomorrow will name John McDonough, a Prince George's lawyer well-connected in Democratic politics, as Maryland's next secretary of state, according to several people familiar with the pick. WIth the scheduled announcement, O'Malley will fill a Cabinet...

By John Wagner | July 15, 2008; 03:41 PM ET | Comments (2)

O'Malley: Opposed To Offshore Drilling But Not Wind Power

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley this morning panned the Bush administration's push for exploration of coastal oil drilling - but said he remains interested in the potential for off-shore wind farms. O'Malley (D) offered few details on the subject, which came...

By Phyllis Jordan | July 15, 2008; 01:06 PM ET | Comments (9)

Anti-Slots Strategists Swear Off Gambling Money

Anti-slots strategists sought today to put to rest talk that they may turn to out-of-state gambling interests to help fund their campaign to defeat slots in Maryland. In a conference call with reporters, Aaron Meisner, chairman of StopSlotsMaryland, said the...

By John Wagner | July 14, 2008; 11:42 AM ET | Comments (0)

Bereano Tops Lobbying List

Bruce C. Bereano, whose lobbying career was derailed only briefly by a 1994 mail fraud conviction, has reclaimed the No. 1 spot on a list of top earners in Annapolis. Bereano reported receiving $806,250 in compensation for lobbying activities between...

By John Wagner | July 12, 2008; 06:40 AM ET | Comments (4)

Maryland Maintains AAA Bond Rating

Despite ongoing fiscal challenges, Maryland has retained its AAA bond rating in advance of a $415 million bond sale next week, State Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp announced yesterday. Maryland is one of only seven states with a AAA rating from...

By Phyllis Jordan | July 11, 2008; 02:38 PM ET | Comments (2)

Former AG to Lead Death Penalty Panel

Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) yesterday tapped a former U.S. attorney general to lead a panel examining Maryland's death penalty, opening another chapter in the state's long-running legal and political drama over the issue. Benjamin R. Civiletti, who served under President...

By Phyllis Jordan | July 10, 2008; 04:30 PM ET | Comments (2)

Sierra Club Rejects Slots

The Maryland chapter of the Sierra Club has voiced its opposition to the state's November referendum on slot-machine gambling, which would authorize up to 15,000 machines at five locations. In a statement, the group said its greatest concern is a...

By Phyllis Jordan | July 10, 2008; 07:39 AM ET | Comments (3)

Penn National Eyeing Md. Slots Site

Penn National Gaming, a major casino operator, has secured an option to purchase a 36-acre tract of land in Cecil County that could serve as a slots venue if Maryland voters approve a November referendum legalizing up to 15,000 gambling...

By John Wagner | July 8, 2008; 11:40 AM ET | Comments (0)

Internal Poll Has Rosy Outlook For Slots Supporters

Slots advocates in Maryland have been buoyed by a new internal poll showing 63 percent of likely voters supporting November's referendum, with 34 percent saying they would vote against it and only 3 percent undecided. The results are summarized in...

By John Wagner | July 2, 2008; 12:14 PM ET | Comments (10)

O'Malley-Angelos Rapprochement?

The frigid relationship between Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) and Baltimore Orioles owner Peter G. Angelos recently thawed long enough for the two men to share a meal in Baltimore's Little Italy. O'Malley and Angelos were brought together for dinner...

By Anne Bartlett | June 30, 2008; 11:48 AM ET | Comments (0)

Ehrlichs' Official Portraits Unveiled

Former Maryland governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) is shown perched casually on the edge of his State House desk, on which three pieces of legislation passed during his tenure are resting. Former first lady Kendel Ehrlich is depicted on...

By Anne Bartlett | June 3, 2008; 08:49 PM ET | Comments (5)

Parties Spar Over Currie

The FBI investigation of Sen. Ulysses Currie has sparked a war of words between leaders of Maryland's political parties, with Republicans saying the Prince George's lawmaker is part of "a culture of corruption" in Annapolis and Democrats defending his integrity....

By John Wagner | June 3, 2008; 08:36 AM ET | Comments (0)

Slots Rhetoric, Pro and Con, Heats Up

Summer has yet to arrive, but the rhetoric over November's referendum on legalizing slots in Maryland is already heating up. Yesterday the ballot issue committee supporting slots put out a press release claiming the ballot issue committee opposing slots "endorses...

By John Wagner | May 28, 2008; 06:15 AM ET | Comments (8)

O'Malley to Israel This Week

Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) is planning to head to Israel tonight on a weeklong trade mission that will include meetings with top government leaders and executives from several emerging industries. His itinerary includes a meeting with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert,...

By Anne Bartlett | May 26, 2008; 08:13 AM ET | Comments (0)

O'Malley Pushes Back on MoCo Funding

The Maryland Board of Public Works signed off on a plan today to provide $46.3 million for school construction in Montgomery County next year, shy of a $55 million goal to which Gov. Martin O'Malley agreed as he was courting...

By Anne Bartlett | May 21, 2008; 04:05 PM ET | Comments (2)

O'Malley: Maryland Overcame Groucho Marx Syndrome

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley cited a scene from a 1935 Marx Brothers film today in making the case that his administration had acted boldly to take responsibility for the state's fiscal challenges. Speaking to a gathering of the Prince George's...

By John Wagner | May 14, 2008; 04:35 PM ET | Comments (0)

Miller: Re-Election Decision Likely On June 4

Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) said today that he would likely make an announcement early next month about whether he will seek re-election in 2010. Miller (D-Calvert), who has presided over his chamber for more than...

By John Wagner | May 13, 2008; 02:09 PM ET | Comments (110)

O'Malley Defends Hilltop Decision

Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) suggested today that an automotive safety inspection station in Prince George's County will receive increased monitoring from the Maryland State Police as he defended his administration's decision to issue a new license to the facility four...

By Anne Bartlett | May 7, 2008; 02:35 PM ET | Comments (0)

O'Malley Announces Foreclosure Ad Campaign

Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) announced the kickoff of $400,000 advertising blitz today that seeks to make the increased ranks of Maryland homeowners at risk of foreclosure aware of resources that could help them. In coming weeks, radio spots are scheduled...

By Anne Bartlett | May 6, 2008; 04:15 PM ET | Comments (1)

Obama Gets Two More Md. Superdelegates

Sen. Barack Obama picked up two new superdelegates from Maryland, including the chairman of the state Democratic party, on the eve of key presidential primaries in North Carolina and Indiana. "I have been inspired by what he represents," Maryland...

By Anne Bartlett | May 5, 2008; 05:00 PM ET | Comments (18)

Frosh: Veto Phosphate Ban Delay

A senior Maryland senator is urging Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) to veto a bill that would give companies more time to comply with Maryland's upcoming ban on phosphates in dishwasher detergents. In a letter to O'Malley, Sen. Brian E. Frosh...

By Anne Bartlett | April 28, 2008; 10:38 AM ET | Comments (1)

Congressional Election Set for June

Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) said today that Maryland will hold a special election on June 17 to temporarily fill the 4th Congressional District seat is being vacated by Rep. Albert R. Wynn (D-Md.). The announcement came as O'Malley signed emergency...

By Anne Bartlett | April 17, 2008; 04:43 PM ET | Comments (6)

Top Gilchrest Aide Joins Kratovil's Campaign

The top campaign aide to Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest, who was defeated in February's Republican primary for Maryland's 1st Congressional District, has joined the campaign of the Democratic nominee for the seat, Frank Kratovil. Kratovil's camaign announced today that Lynn...

By John Wagner | April 17, 2008; 01:22 PM ET | Comments (2)

O'Malley: Franchot Is "Throwing Stones"

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley unloaded this morning on Comptroller Peter Franchot, saying his fellow Democrat's vocal opposition to November's slots referendum amounts to "throwing stones in a hypocritical way." O'Malley's comments to reporters came in advance of a campaign kickoff...

By John Wagner | April 16, 2008; 01:32 PM ET | Comments (0)

O'Malley Coming To A City Near You

With his band on hiatus, this may be the closest Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) gets to announcing a tour anytime soon. O'Malley today unveiled the 2008 lineup for his administration's "Capital for a Day" series, during which a retinue...

By John Wagner | April 14, 2008; 02:22 PM ET | Comments (0)

The Franchot Provision: House vs. Senate

As they broke for the weekend, budget negotiators from the House and the Senate remained at odds over several weighty issues, including stem cell research grants and a new fund to help clean up the Chesapeake Bay. And then there's...

By Anne Bartlett | March 31, 2008; 10:57 AM ET | Comments (0)

License Restored for Prince George's Station

The Maryland State Police last week restored the license of an automotive inspection station in Prince George's County that was revoked four years ago after authorities had said that it was issuing certificates for safety inspections that it did not...

By Anne Bartlett | March 12, 2008; 09:27 AM ET | Comments (0)

O'Malley's Approval Ratings Still Lagging

Gov. Martin O'Malley's job approval numbers have not recovered from last fall's special on the budget, according to a poll released today by Gonzales Research & Marketing Strategies. The poll found that 37 percent approve of the way O'Malley (D)...

By John Wagner | March 5, 2008; 01:00 AM ET | Comments (9)

Too Sexy for My State House

Some prominent Maryland politicians appear in a pair of rather bizarre YouTube videos, links to which have been widely shared in Annapolis. One opens with footage from a Republican congressional forum that included state Sen. Andrew P. Harris (Baltimore...

By Phyllis Jordan | February 24, 2008; 10:17 AM ET | Comments (4)

McCain Looking To November In Maryland

John McCain arrived in Annapolis this morning, one day before Maryland's presidential primary. But the Arizona senator seemed most interested in talking about the general election in November. "We will compete in the state of Maryland when and if I...

By John Wagner | February 11, 2008; 11:09 AM ET | Comments (0)

O'Malley, Kaine Square Off on "This Week"

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley squared off on national television this morning with Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, with the two Democrats talking up their preferred candidates for president and offering different takes on the role of superdelegates in the nominating...

By John Wagner | February 10, 2008; 10:41 AM ET | Comments (3)

A Wave of Late Endorsements

Maryland politicians are offering a burst of late endorsements of presidential candidates in advance of Tuesday's primaries. House Majority Leader Kumar P. Barve (D-Montgomery) and Montgomery County State's Attorney John McCarthy were among those stepping forward yesterday to announce their...

By John Wagner | February 10, 2008; 07:37 AM ET | Comments (6)

Huckabee Tells Supporters to Ignore 'Beltway Babble'

An enthusiastic crowd of nearly 1,000 people greeted former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee today at the University of Maryland, where the presidential hopeful urged supporters to ignore "Beltway babble" about the Republican race being over and vote for him on...

By washingtonpost.com editors | February 9, 2008; 01:55 PM ET | Comments (38)

Democratic Leaders: Md. Remains Relevant

Maryland Democrats yesterday sought to downplay reports that Sen. Hillary Clinton (D) might cede the state to Sen. Barack Obama (D). "We hope both campaigns are active in the next week," said Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert),...

By Anne Bartlett | February 7, 2008; 11:16 AM ET | Comments (7)

Closing a Loophole on Campaign Money

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) said yesterday that he will push to close a loophole that allowed lawmakers to raise a reported half-million dollars in campaign contributions during November's 21-day special session. Raising money during the legislature's...

By Phyllis Jordan | January 23, 2008; 09:33 AM ET | Comments (1)

O'Malley Brushes Off Slide In Polls

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) yesterday downplayed fresh poll results showing a drop off in his job approval following last fall's special session, in which lawmakers followed his lead in enacting $1.4 billion in tax increases to help fix the...

By John Wagner | January 15, 2008; 11:11 AM ET | Comments (3)

Miller: Grasmick Won't Serve Another Term

Hours before the start of the 2008 session of the Maryland General Assembly, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. predicted that the embattled state schools superintendent would not survive to serve another term. "Nancy Grasmick is not going to...

By Anne Bartlett | January 9, 2008; 09:23 AM ET | Comments (17)

Md. Pols Hit National Campaign Trail

Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) is scheduled this weekend to join a small parade of Maryland politicians stumping in early nominating states for their preferred presidential candidates. Aides said O'Malley plans to canvass Saturday in Portsmouth, N.H., with other supporters of...

By Anne Bartlett | January 3, 2008; 04:06 PM ET | Comments (0)

Capital Punishment at the State Capitol

The campaign to repeal the death penalty in Maryland is bringing a few high-profile visitors to the state: David Kaczynski, brother of Theodore Kaczynski, the Unabomber, has met with a lawmaker to try to persuade him to vote to repeal...

By Phyllis Jordan | December 26, 2007; 12:48 PM ET | Comments (0)

Franchot Touts Bioscience Industry

Comptroller Peter Franchot (D), one of Maryland's most outspoken opponents of legalizing slot-machine gambling, spent a morning last week highlighting an alternate vision for bolstering the state's economy and its tax collections. Franchot played host Thursday at the Maryland Life...

By Anne Bartlett | December 17, 2007; 10:39 AM ET | Comments (3)

Obama Campaign Claims 100 Elected Endorsers

The presidential campaign of Sen. Barack Obama today released the names of 100 elected officials in Maryland who are supporting the Democratic presidential hopeful in the state's Feb. 12 primary. Obama's Maryland campaign is led by Attorney General Doug Gansler...

By John Wagner | December 13, 2007; 11:15 AM ET | Comments (54)

Great Moments at the Board of Public Works

Truth be told, meetings of the Maryland Board of Public Works can be a little dull. The primary task of the three-member panel -- made up of the governor, comptroller and state treasurer -- is to approve state contracts. So...

By John Wagner | December 12, 2007; 09:51 AM ET | Comments (0)

Board Decides to Renew Grasmick's Contract

The state Board of Education agreed today to renew State Superintendent Nancy Grasmick's contract for another four years, despite a request from leading lawmakers and Gov. Martin O'Malley's administration to delay such a step until at least the summer. O'Malley...

By Phyllis Jordan | December 11, 2007; 03:12 PM ET | Comments (0)

Governors Tap O'Malley To Lead Fundraising

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) has been named finance chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, a post that involves raising money for the party's gubernatorial hopefuls across the nation. The appointment was made this week by West Virginia Gov. Joe...

By John Wagner | December 6, 2007; 04:05 PM ET | Comments (2)

Slots Testimony Seen In A New Light

Written testimony submitted to the Maryland General Assembly this month by Penn National Gaming has become a better read in light of the Pennsylvania company's announcement this week that it was pulling out of a deal to buy Rosecroft Raceway,...

By John Wagner | November 30, 2007; 10:33 AM ET | Comments (0)

O'Malley, Olmert Share "A Certain Kinship"

Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) told reporters today that he and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert "share a certain kinship" from their respective tenures as mayor. O'Malley, who served for seven years as mayor of Baltimore, hosted a luncheon yesterday for...

By John Wagner | November 27, 2007; 01:43 PM ET | Comments (1)

O'Malley's Role: Firm Leader or Tax-and-Spend Democrat?

Montgomery County Democrat Brian E. Frosh put it this way: "Will people recognize it as hard choices that had to be made or as government run amok?" The senator was talking about the three-week special session of the General Assembly...

By Phyllis Jordan | November 20, 2007; 09:38 AM ET | Comments (0)

What a Diff'rence a Day Makes

Was it a sign of hope or wry irony? Reporters in the State House were mystified this morning when House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) wandered down the basement hall singing "What a Diff'rence A Day Makes," a classic...

By John Wagner | November 16, 2007; 09:41 AM ET | Comments (0)

Legislative Leaders Upbeat About Session's End

Democratic leaders of the Maryland General Assembly emerged from a meeting this morning with Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) optimistic about the prospects of a bringing their special session to a close by this weekend. "It was very positive," Senate President...

By John Wagner | November 14, 2007; 09:41 AM ET | Comments (0)

Slots Foes Produce a Top 10 List

StopSlotsMaryland, a grass-roots group opposed to Gov. Martin O'Malley's plan to expand gambling, is trying to employ humor as lobbying tactic. Members of the group yesterday were distributing a David Letterman-style "Top Ten Excuses To Approve Slots In Maryland." Among...

By John Wagner | November 13, 2007; 10:39 AM ET | Comments (1)

Health Care Plan Appeals to One Vocal Critic

Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot (D) has finally found something about the legislature's two-week-old special session that he likes. Franchot, a former Montgomery County delegate, sent a letter yesterday to the chairman of the House's health committee offering praise for a...

By Phyllis Jordan | November 11, 2007; 11:50 AM ET | Comments (1)

Senate Panel Amends O'Malley Budget Plan

A Senate budget panel yesterday scaled back Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley's plan to raise taxes for high-income earners and suggested applying the state sales tax to several services that were not in his proposal. The actions by the Senate Budget...

By Anne Bartlett | November 7, 2007; 10:28 AM ET | Comments (0)

Brochin Plans To Join GOP Filibuster

An independent-minded Democratic senator became the first from his party to announce that he will join Republicans in attempting to kill Gov. Martin O'Malley's tax plans through the use of a filibuster. "In my mind, this is bad public policy,"...

By John Wagner | November 6, 2007; 10:04 AM ET | Comments (5)

Franchot Chides O'Malley On Slots

Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot (D) blasted Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) this morning for making his proposals to expand health care access and hold down college tuition contingent on passage of a referendum legalizing slot-machine gambling. "It seems as though everything...

By John Wagner | October 31, 2007; 12:25 PM ET | Comments (0)

Just How Big Is The Shortfall?

A divide emerged yesterday over just how large the potential state budget shortfall is. Aides to Gov. Martin O'Malley continued to refer to next year's budget gap as $1.7 billion during hearings taking place on the special session's second day....

By Anne Bartlett | October 31, 2007; 09:36 AM ET | Comments (0)

Backlash From Health Clubs

A proposal to apply the state sales tax to health club memberships has exercised fitness buffs in Maryland. As the result of a lobbying campaign orchestrated by health clubs, lawmakers are getting a raft of email protesting Gov. Martin O'Malley's...

By Anne Bartlett | October 30, 2007; 05:41 PM ET | Comments (0)

Counties Protest Possible Cuts

A dozen county leaders from across Maryland convened in Annapolis yesterday to warn against the consequences of cutting education funding and other local aid as a solution to the state's projected $1.7 billion budget shortfall. Gov. Martin O'Malley (D)...

By Anne Bartlett | October 26, 2007; 10:01 AM ET | Comments (27)

Gas Tax Increase Not A Popular Idea

Earlier this year, Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) floated the idea of raising the gas tax to help pay for a lengthy list of transportation needs in Maryland. A new poll by The Washington Post may provide some insight as to...

By John Wagner | October 24, 2007; 06:01 AM ET | Comments (16)

Timing of Special Session Questioned

State Comptroller Peter Franchot has already made perfectly clear how he feels about Gov. Martin O'Malley's plan to legalize slot machine gambling. Today he let loose with a broad criticism of O'Malley's plan for a special General Assembly session next...

By Phyllis Jordan | October 23, 2007; 09:48 AM ET | Comments (9)

An Ill-timed Trip to Ireland?

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley's planned trip to Ireland today has become fodder in the battle over the state budget shortfall, with Republicans calling the trip ill-timed. O'Malley (D) is scheduled to depart tonight, two days after calling a special legislative...

By John Wagner | October 17, 2007; 06:25 AM ET | Comments (0)

Special Session Would Be Risky For O'Malley

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D), who has shown an abundance of caution during his first year in office, is now facing the biggest gamble of his governorship: whether to summon the legislature to Annapolis for a special session on his...

By Anne Bartlett | October 8, 2007; 09:59 AM ET | Comments (2)

Franchot, O'Malley Aides Spar Over Taxes

A plan rolled out by Comptroller Peter Franchot (D) to more aggressively collect Maryland taxes was described very differently last week by Franchot and aides to his increasingly frequent sparring partner, Gov. Martin O'Malley (D). Franchot billed the plan, which...

By Phyllis Jordan | October 7, 2007; 11:24 AM ET | Comments (0)

O'Malley, Franchot Donor Fined $119,000

Baltimore movie maker James G. Robinson has agreed to pay $119,000 in fines for excess contributions made to the campaigns of Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) and Comptroller Peter Franchot (D), the Office of the State Prosecutor said today upon anouncing...

By John Wagner | October 5, 2007; 02:43 PM ET | Comments (0)

House GOP Opposes Special Session

What they lack in numbers, House Republicans made up for in humor yesterday. "We asked you to come today so we could give our whole-hearted endorsement to the governor's plan." That was how House Minority Leader Anthony J. O'Donnell (R-Calvert)...

By John Wagner | October 2, 2007; 05:27 AM ET | Comments (4)

O'Malley and Brown Return Money From Movie Producer

The campaign committees of Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) and Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown (D) have returned nearly $100,000 to James G. Robinson, a movie producer who lives in Baltimore, because the contributions greatly exceeded what is allowed by law....

By Anne Bartlett | September 24, 2007; 10:27 AM ET | Comments (0)

O'Malley Budget Tour Moves on to Howard, Sales Tax

Day 2 in Gov. Martin O'Malley's budget tour brought him to a kitchen table in Howard County and a discussion of his plans to increase the state sales tax and gradually reduce the state's property tax. The sales tax rate...

By John Wagner | September 20, 2007; 05:54 AM ET | Comments (0)

O'Malley to Bush: Rescind Insurance Rules for Kids

Maryland's governor is among those speaking out against new federal rules that would make it harder to enroll middle-income children in a popular government-subsidized health insurance program. In a strongly worded letter to President Bush last week, Gov. Martin O'Malley...

By Phyllis Jordan | September 17, 2007; 10:10 AM ET | Comments (15)

O'Malley: Keep Early November Clear

It remains unclear whether Maryland lawmakers will convene this fall for a special session on the state's looming $1.5 bill budget shortfall. But Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) certainly telegraphed his intentions yesterday. "Clear your calendars for early November," he said...

By John Wagner | September 14, 2007; 05:18 AM ET | Comments (0)

O'Malley Gives Wine Industry Its Due

Gov. Martin O'Malley gave credit this morning to a previously unheralded player in Maryland's successful effort to maintain its AAA bond rating: the state's wine industry. Speaking at an event in the State House this morning honoring winners of a...

By John Wagner | September 10, 2007; 12:00 PM ET | Comments (4)

O'Malley To Keynote Pennsylvania Dinner

Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) is about to get a little more political exposure outside Maryland's borders. O'Malley is billed as the keynote speaker tonight at the Pennsylvania Progressive Dinner in Camp Hill, hosted by the Democratic Party in the state...

By John Wagner | September 7, 2007; 11:23 AM ET | Comments (3)

The Choice of the Maryland GOP: Ron Paul

A curious thing happened this year at the Maryland Republican Party booth at the State Fair: A GOP presidential straw poll was won by Ron Paul, the idiosyncratic congressman from Texas who is a fierce critic of the Iraq war....

By John Wagner | September 6, 2007; 10:57 AM ET | Comments (0)

O'Malley To Tap Tyler For Insurance Post

Ralph S. Tyler, Gov. Martin O'Malley's chief legal counsel, will be named tomorrow as the state's new insurance commissioner, according to several people familiar with the selection. O'Malley (D) has scheduled a 10 a.m. news conference to announce his pick...

By John Wagner | September 5, 2007; 01:45 PM ET | Comments (1)

O'Malley Donates To Baltimore Council Hopefuls

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley's involvement in the upcoming Baltimore elections has extended beyond his endorsement of candidates for mayor and City Council president. The governor's campaign committee gave money in July to 11 Democratic candidates for City Council, according to...

By John Wagner | September 5, 2007; 06:59 AM ET | Comments (0)

O'Malley Wants Better "Alignment" With Superintendent

The chilly relationship between Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) and State School Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick shows no signs of thawing. Last week, O'Malley said he was caught flat-footed by Grasmick's proposal to allow Maryland high school students who are unable...

By John Wagner | September 4, 2007; 11:31 AM ET | Comments (0)

About the Writers: John Wagner

John Wagner covers Maryland politics and government. He arrived at The Washington Post in July 2004 after working in various capacities for The (Raleigh, N.C.) News & Observer since late 1992. His work in Raleigh included several years covering then-North...

By washingtonpost.com editors | September 1, 2007; 08:57 AM ET | Comments (0)

O'Malley's Children Share The Spotlight

Two of Gov. Martin O'Malley's children played prominent supporting roles yesterday during a string of appearances in the Baltimore region. The governor tapped 16-year-old Grace O'Malley as his "lifeline" during a morning radio appearance in which he faced off against...

By John Wagner | August 31, 2007; 06:17 AM ET | Comments (3)

Maryland In The Black -- For The Moment

With a budget shortfall of nearly $1.5 billion looming next year, this probably doesn't qualify as great news, but Maryland officials welcomed it yesterday nonetheless: The state finished last year $193 million in the black. According to a letter from...

By John Wagner | August 30, 2007; 09:35 AM ET | Comments (17)

You Can Close The Budget Shortfall

Sharpen your pencils and bring your calculators, Montgomery County residents. A state senator and Maryland's budget secretary are scheduled to appear at a forum next month in which participants will get a crack at solving the state's $1.5 billion budget...

By John Wagner | August 28, 2007; 10:34 AM ET | Comments (16)

Conservative Delegate to Fight Spanish-Language Channel

V-me, Maryland Public Television's Spanish-language digital channel, has been on the air for less than a week, but a conservative lawmaker is already working to yank it. Del. Patrick L. McDonough (R-Baltimore County) said he will introduce legislation when the...

By Phyllis Jordan | August 27, 2007; 09:47 AM ET | Comments (31)

Ehrlich To Be On Display At State Fair

Nine months after his re-election defeat, former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. remains the Maryland Republican Party's biggest star. The latest evidence: Ehrlich is booked to appear next week at the state GOP's booth at the Maryland State Fair in...

By John Wagner | August 23, 2007; 05:57 AM ET | Comments (11)

Delayed Cable Debut At Issue

With great fanfare, Maryland Public Television yesterday launched the state's first public all-Spanish-language channel, featuring an array of educational and entertainment programming. But it could be a while before most Comcast subscribers in Montgomery and Prince George's counties are able...

By Anne Bartlett | August 21, 2007; 10:26 AM ET | Comments (0)

"O'Malley's Stroll" Takes Stage In Annapolis

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D), whose musical side career has been on hiatus, stepped back on stage last night. Appearing with two members of his Celtic rock band, O'Malley's March, the governor played a three-song opening set at a concert...

By John Wagner | August 21, 2007; 07:01 AM ET | Comments (13)

A First Date At MACO?

The headlines generated by Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley's speech Saturday to the Maryland Association of Counties were all about transportation funding. But much earlier in his remarks, the governor felt the need to put a rumor to rest. In her...

By John Wagner | August 19, 2007; 10:17 AM ET | Comments (15)

Welcome To Ocean City. Slots Are Not Welcome.

Attendees at this year's convention of the Maryland Association of Counties -- a see and be seen event of state politics -- are being welcomed to Ocean City by dozens of motel and hotel signs proclaiming opposition to slot-machine gambling....

By John Wagner | August 16, 2007; 09:06 AM ET | Comments (13)

Slots Report Irks Franchot

Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot clashed openly yesterday with Gov. Martin O'Malley, a fellow Democrat, criticizing a report on slot machines by a senior O'Malley administration official as propaganda for the nation's gambling industry. Franchot, speaking at a news conference in...

By Phyllis Jordan | August 16, 2007; 08:07 AM ET | Comments (11)

House GOP Announces Budget Proposal

House Republicans put forward a plan today to solve Maryland's fiscal problems without raising taxes, proposing instead to curtail planned spending on education and other programs and to legalize slot-machine gambling. The plan calls for limiting overall growth in state...

By Anne Bartlett | August 15, 2007; 01:39 PM ET | Comments (10)

O'Malley Endorses Dixon To Keep His Old Job

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) returned to his old political stamping grounds this morning to offer his endorsement of Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon (D) to keep his former job for a full term. Dixon, the former City Council president, inherited...

By John Wagner | August 13, 2007; 01:55 PM ET | Comments (0)

O'Malley Demands That Wealthy Pay "Fair Share"

In another apparent effort to prepare Marylanders for looming tax increases, Gov. Martin O'Malley today released a recorded statement to radio stations suggesting corporations and higher-income earners will be among those asked to pay more. "When given a choice between...

By John Wagner | August 9, 2007; 11:35 AM ET | Comments (0)

O'Malley To Organize Clinton Backers Next Week

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley is scheduled to host a statewide organizational meeting next week for the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton, the latest in a string of activities on behalf of his preferred Democratic hopeful. At the planned Tuesday night...

By John Wagner | August 8, 2007; 09:40 AM ET | Comments (0)

O'Malley: Dems Should Be Mindful Of The Center

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley advises national Democrats not to take the political center for granted during this presidential cycle in a piece appearing today on The Washington Post op-ed page. "George W. Bush is handing us Democrats our Hoover moment....

By John Wagner | August 7, 2007; 11:27 AM ET | Comments (17)

Obama Campaign Co-chairmen Announced

U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler (D) were announced today as Maryland co-chairmen of the presidential campaign of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.). Obama also released the names of 28 other elected Democrats from Maryland...

By Anne Bartlett | August 2, 2007; 04:32 PM ET | Comments (7)

Maryland GOP Takes Aim At Progressive Alliance

Senate Republicans in Maryland are attempting to use a poll commissioned by a liberal coalition to undermine possible tax increase proposals from Gov. Martin O'Malley (D). At a press conference last week, members of the Alliance for Tax Fairness argued...

By John Wagner | August 2, 2007; 06:05 AM ET | Comments (19)

O'Malley: Democrats Should Be Party Of Security

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley argued yesterday that Democrats need "to become again the party of security." O'Malley appeared at a conference in Nashville of the Democratic Leadership Council, a centrist group, where he delivered an address focused on homeland security....

By John Wagner | July 31, 2007; 10:28 AM ET | Comments (0)

Another Round Of O'Malley v. Carter

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) and Del. Jill P. Carter (D-Baltimore) have not been on good terms for quite some time -- and this week offered fresh evidence that the relationship is not likely to take a turn for the...

By John Wagner | July 27, 2007; 11:02 AM ET | Comments (14)

Hogan Hands Gavel To Bohanan

Sen. P.J. Hogan (D-Montgomery) acknowledged having "a little bit of a heavy heart" this morning as he called to order a meeting of a panel that may soon be known as "the commission formerly known as the Hogan Commission." The...

By John Wagner | July 23, 2007; 11:08 AM ET | Comments (11)

If Not Governor, Maybe An Entertainment Lawyer

"Martin O'Malley is easy on the eye -- very easy on the eye." Thus begins a wet kiss of an introduction to an interview with Maryland's governor that appears in the August/September issue of Irish America magazine. O'Malley (D), very...

By John Wagner | July 20, 2007; 06:49 AM ET | Comments (0)

Angelos Not Just Your Ordinary High-Income Earner

It was not a random example. Speaking to Democrats in Frederick this week, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) used Baltimore Orioles owner Peter G. Angelos to illustrate why the state's nearly flat income tax is "patently unfair." Angelos, who is...

By John Wagner | July 18, 2007; 08:53 AM ET | Comments (0)

Goines Going To DNC

Maya E. Goines, who became the Maryland Democratic Party's executive director barely four months ago, is leaving to take a position with the Democratic National Committee. Goines took over the post in March, succeeding Derek Walker, who was on the...

By John Wagner | July 16, 2007; 06:25 AM ET | Comments (5)

The Sopranos Enter Maryland's Budget Battle

The Sopranos have gone into retirement, but the recently ended hit HBO series is still lively fodder for Maryland politics. This week, Sen. E.J. Pipkin (R-Queen Anne's) accused the executive director of the Maryland Association of Counties of using a...

By John Wagner | July 13, 2007; 07:15 AM ET | Comments (12)

Brown "Among The Trailblazers," Newsweek Says

Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown (D) is getting a little national attention this week with a mention in Newsweek. Brown is cited in a piece headlined "After the Trailblazers," which runs as a sidebar to a story on Barack...

By John Wagner | July 11, 2007; 08:03 AM ET | Comments (5)

AFSCME Opposes O'Malley Budget Cuts

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley's proposed $153 million in budget reductions received a hostile greeting this morning from Maryland's largest state employees union, which strongly backed the Democrat in last year's election. "Many of them are very bad, and this is...

By John Wagner | July 10, 2007; 01:08 PM ET | Comments (18)

Lawmakers To See "Doomsday Budget"

State aid to education would be frozen. Promised new funding for nursing homes, drug treatment and children with disabilities would not materialize. Money available for stem cell research would be cut back. State funds flowing to the university system would...

By John Wagner | June 27, 2007; 09:55 AM ET | Comments (0)

Busch Lays Groundwork For Tax Increases

House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) said this morning that the Maryland General Assembly would try "to hold local government harmless" when closing a looming $1.5 billion shortfall in the state budget. But, speaking to a convention of the...

By John Wagner | June 26, 2007; 11:07 AM ET | Comments (16)

Governor Saves A Duck Named Martin O'Malley

The cover of last year's edition of the Maryland Bay Game, a summer activity book for youngsters, was adorned with the smiling faces of then-Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R), his wife, Kendel, and their two young sons, Drew and...

By John Wagner | June 25, 2007; 06:00 AM ET | Comments (8)

Universities Bid to Skip Budget Lesson

Boosters of the University System of Maryland are lobbying Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) to soften the blow of a potential $20 million cut that would be enacted next month as part of the state's efforts to come to terms with...

By Phyllis Jordan | June 24, 2007; 09:57 AM ET | Comments (0)

O'Malley Offers Frosh Some Fundraising Help

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) is sponsoring a fundraiser in Baltimore tomorrow night for Sen. Brian E. Frosh (D-Montgomery), one of several hopefuls to succeed Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) if he steps down at the end...

By John Wagner | June 19, 2007; 09:44 AM ET | Comments (30)

Dimmer Light on Democrats' Firings?

Loyalists to former Republican governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. are accusing Democratic lawmakers of applying a double standard to the firing practices of the past and present governors. In recent weeks, Republicans have been circulating a list of a couple...

By Phyllis Jordan | June 11, 2007; 06:16 AM ET | Comments (0)

Motorist Fee Notice Disappears

Notice of proposed motorist fee increases had been removed from the Maryland Motor Vehicle Admininistration Web site as of this morning. Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) nixed the proposed hikes, affecting fees for driver's licenses and nearly three dozen other services...

By John Wagner | June 7, 2007; 09:36 AM ET | Comments (6)

Power Play: New Rates Take Effect Today

With higher electricity rates taking effect today for much of Maryland, Gov. Martin O'Malley and several public interest groups traded suggestions for how to cope with the 50 percent increase for Baltimore Gas & Electric customers. O'Malley said yesterday his...

By Phyllis Jordan | June 1, 2007; 06:15 AM ET | Comments (17)

O'Malley To Name New Police Superintendent

Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) plans to announce Baltimore County Police Chief Terrence B. Sheridan as his pick as the next superintendent of the Maryland State Police, according to several people familiar with the decision. Sheridan, 63, who previously spent 30...

By John Wagner | May 30, 2007; 02:02 PM ET | Comments (0)

Franchot Won't "Stand Idly By" On Slots

Opponents of slot-machine gambling gathered in Annapolis this morning to start preparing for a tough fight ahead and were rallied by Comptroller Peter Franchot (D). Franchot told about two dozen members of the StopSlots coalition that this is one issue...

By John Wagner | May 24, 2007; 11:08 AM ET | Comments (0)

O'Malley To Nominate Cryor as Democratic Chairman

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) will nominate Michael Cryor, a communications consultant based in Baltimore, as the next chairman of the state Democratic party, according to people familiar with the pick. Cryor, 60, would succeed Terry Lierman, who is leaving...

By John Wagner | May 22, 2007; 11:07 AM ET | Comments (3)

Steele Urges GOP to Get Back to Work

Former Maryland lieutenant governor Michael S. Steele sought to rally the Republican troops at a party convention over the weekend, declaring that "the sulking, the moping, the wailing and gnashing of teeth is over." Steele spoke to about 200 party...

By John Wagner | May 21, 2007; 06:45 AM ET | Comments (7)

Franchot Lures a Political Veteran To His Staff

Comptroller Peter Franchot (D) is beefing up his staff with another veteran of Maryland politics. Len Foxwell, who served in the administration of Parris N. Glendening (D) for eight years and was a spokesman for two Democratic gubernatorial candidates, is...

By John Wagner | May 18, 2007; 10:49 AM ET | Comments (3)

The (Maybe) Retiring Miller Raises More Than $150,000

Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., who has said he will retire when his current term ends in 2010, raised more than $150,000 at a fundraiser Monday night at a Baltimore restaurant. The event, which drew Gov. Martin...

By John Wagner | May 17, 2007; 01:00 PM ET | Comments (1)

FOR SALE: Cars once driven by governor's staffers

FOR SALE. MUST GO. PRICED TO MOVE. ALMOST NEW. BUY ME. Those were among the signs adorning a small fleet of cars parked outside the State House this morning in a bit of political theater orchestrated by Gov. Martin O'Malley...

By John Wagner | May 16, 2007; 01:58 PM ET | Comments (11)

It's Official: O'Malley Endorses Clinton

He effusively praised her as a champion for working families and a leader on homeland security who could bring the country together. She praised him -- seemingly at greater length -- for his willingness to tackle tough challenges and give...

By John Wagner | May 9, 2007; 11:15 AM ET | Comments (32)

Maryland First to Have 'Living Wage' Law

Maryland today became the first state in the nation to require government contractors to pay their employees significantly better than the minimum wage, under legislation signed into law by Gov. Martin O'Malley (D). The "living wage" measure, which was passed...

By John Wagner | May 8, 2007; 12:21 PM ET | Comments (77)

Brown Says a Special Session is Likely

Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown (D) told a gathering of real-estate brokers today that he believes a special session of the legislature is likely to be called to address a looming $1.5 billion deficit. Brown's comments, confirmed by his spokeswoman,...

By John Wagner | May 3, 2007; 02:58 PM ET | Comments (4)

Miller Offers Graphic Retirement Scenario

Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., who has presided over his chamber for more than two decades, hedged yesterday when asked whether he still plans to retire in 2010. Miller (D-Calvert) said during a lunch meeting with Washington...

By John Wagner | May 1, 2007; 11:10 AM ET | Comments (0)

Ehrlich, Franchot Trade Letters

Annapolis was abuzz last week over dueling letters written by two longtime nemeses: former Republican governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and current Democratic Comptroller Peter Franchot. Ehrlich, who was defeated barely six months ago by Gov. Martin O'Malley (D), sent...

By Phyllis Jordan | April 30, 2007; 06:35 AM ET | Comments (0)

Mikulski Joins Clinton Team

Sen. Barbara Mikulski will serve as a co-chairwoman of Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign, the Maryland Democrat announced yesterday. "Hillary is the leader who will put this nation back on track, whether it's ending the war in Iraq, providing educational...

By Phyllis Jordan | April 25, 2007; 06:29 AM ET | Comments (0)

O'Malley Prepares for Maryland Tour

With the legislative session and a quick trip to Ireland behind him, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) will be returning to a campaign-like schedule, crisscrossing the state in coming weeks, aides said, to tout recent accomplishments. His "tour," as the...

By John Wagner | April 19, 2007; 06:47 AM ET | Comments (8)

 

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