Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Saqib Ali vs. Maryland GOP "Crazies" // Plus, an Op-ed Steel Cage Match: Young Dem vs. Old GOP

UPDATE: Montgomery County GOP Chair Mark Uncapher responds to this article in the comments section. Check it out!

Earlier this month, Maryland Juice broke the story about a controversial Republican Women's Club event being held in Chevy Chase. At issue was/is their choice of speaker: former Congressman and local radio personality, Fred Grandy. In our prior coverage, we noted:
Fred Grandy is a former member of the U.S. House from Iowa, but he is better known as 'Gopher' from the television series the Love Boat. He recently gained notoriety after being fired from his most recent gig as a morning radio personality on WMAL. Grandy's increasingly anti-Muslim show was pushed off the air after on-air comments his wife made....
The fight is now blowing up, with the Montgomery County GOP Chair stepping into the fray, multiple protests, and a lot of angry right-wing blog entries.  

Read Maryland Juice's snapshot below -- and -- check out our new blog feature: "Op-Ed Steel Cage Match." Today's competitors? Young DEM vs. Old GOP.

O'Malley's Big Test: West Virginia Governor's Race // Plus, Who is Colm O'Comartun?

Today, I received an email solicitation from someone named "Colm O'Comartun." The message contained a one-word subject line: "tonight."
Don't worry, I am not about to break news about Maryland's next sex scandal.
For those who may be unfamiliar with Mr. O'Comartun, he is currently serving as Executive Director of the Democratic Governor's Association (DGA). O'Comartun was selected by Governor O'Malley, who took over as Chair of the DGA early this year. Today's email message, read (in part):

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

BREAKING: Anne Arundel Councilman Daryl Jones Pleads Guilty to 5 Years of Unfiled Taxes

Here's a quick newsclip on this breaking development. The Baltimore Sun reports:
An Anne Arundel County Councilman pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday to a single count of failing to file a tax return.

Councilman Daryl D. Jones, a Democrat from Severn who is serving his second four-year term on the County Council, entered the plea in Baltimore before U.S. District Court Judge Ellen Hollander.

Assistant U.S Attorney Gregory Bockin said in court that Jones failed to file both his personal and corporate tax returns for five years — from 2002 to 2007. Under a plea agreement, Jones will pay back the loss to the government pegged at $108,369.57.

Bob Barker to Rockville, MD: Proposed Hunt "Cruel, Pointless"

Former Price is Right host Bob Barker waded into Rockville politics this month with an appeal to the city's Mayor and Council. The letter, which was emailed to city officials on August 20th, reads (in part):
Dear Citizens of Rockville, Maryland:

COME ON DOWN and tell your mayor and city council that you can learn to share your great city with the deer! I know that you can do it! But you must do it in writing by September 9. And you must be at the meeting for the decision on Oct. 24. I am begging you to make time to go....

I have unfortunately recently discovered that my deer friends in your city may be killed....
You can read the full letter below.

Maryland Juice PSA: Gaithersburg Election on TUE 11/8/11

Gaithersburg City Manager Angel Jones recently alerted the public to upcoming elections:
It’s an odd numbered year, and that means it is election time in the City of Gaithersburg.  On Tuesday, November 8, 2011 registered voters in Gaithersburg will go to the polls to elect three City Council members.  The terms of office for Council Members Jud Ashman, Cathy Drzyzgula and Ryan Spiegel expire in November. Local municipal elections are typically challenged by voter turnout. 
Incumbent City Councilmembers Jud Ashman, Cathy Drzyzgula and Ryan Spiegel are all running for re-election. But tonight, Ashman and Drzyzgula are kicking off their joint re-election effort (ie: two-person slate campaign) with an event in Gaithersburg. Their colleague, Michael Sesma, sent the following invitation via Facebook:

Monday, August 29, 2011

Tea Party Albatross for Frederick Politicians // Plus, Blaine Young for Recall (or Governor)

UPDATE: A reader emailed us the following message: "I live in Frederick County and just wanted to add that no story on Blaine Young is complete without mention of the Black Book Scandal." They link to a NY Times article headlined: "City Combs Madam’s ’Black Book’ for the Names It Knows." 

You can also read Mr. Young's fascinating 2004 blog post addressing the allegations: "I’m in the so-called 'Black Book'. Now what?" The NYT article, however, may explain his 2002 party-switch:
Ms. Potter's list has already helped end one career, that of Blaine Young, whose name was on a partial list released in 2001. Mr. Young, an alderman at the time and the son of a former mayor, said he had hired the women to dance at parties, not for sex. He decided not to run for re-election after The News-Post published reports on his liaisons.
In an editorial yesterday, the Frederick News Post fired warning shots at their 100%-Republican Board of County Commissioners. In particular, the editorial writers pointed out coverage of recent polls showing that the Tea Party's standing with the public has plummeted:

Gen. Wesley Clark to Maryland Juice: The Truth About Sen. Rosapepe

Last week Maryland Juice went out on a limb and outed State Senator Jim Rosapepe as a candidate for 2014 Maryland Comptroller.

In doing so, Maryland Juice apparently attracted a new reader: former Presidential candidate General Wesley Clark!

Our elegantly titled article, OUTED: Jim Rosapepe for Comptroller // Moustache for Lt. Comptroller, provided some historical context for Rosapepe's 2006 State Senate primary, but we apparently quoted a Daily Kos diary from user Sharon in MD that contained some inaccurate information:
"Jim Rosapepe may be a familiar name to Howard Dean supporters in Maryland as he supported the Dean candidacy in 2004." 
2004 Presidential Candidate and Retired Army General Wesley Clark contacted Maryland Juice to provide this correction:

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Equality Maryland to Mikulski: "1996 Called, They Want Their DOMA Back" // Same for Ruppersberger & Cummings

UPDATE: Minor correction from Sen. Cardin's office about the timing of his support for DOMA-repeal: "FYI, the Gazette had it slightly off. Senator Cardin signed on as a bill cosponsor in May, not July."

Last week, the Washington Blade reported that Equality Maryland and its allies are pushing hard to get Senator Barbara Mikulski on board for repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA):
The senior U.S. senator from Maryland is facing increasing pressure to sign on as a co-sponsor of legislation to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act amid plans to win marriage equality in her state in 2012....

An informed source said the senator would make an announcement regarding her support for the Respect for Marriage Act in September.
DOMA defines marriage as an opposite-sex endeavor and allows states to ignore same-sex marriages granted out-of-state. The 1996 law was approved overwhelmingly by Congress and signed into law by President Clinton. Over a decade later, Obama campaigned against it. But 15 years later, it finally feels like the ground is moving....

Friday, August 26, 2011

BREAKING: Prince George's Officials to Back Derrick Leon Davis for County Council

UPDATE: Today's canvass-rally has been re-scheduled from SAT 8/26 to SAT 9/10. Irene!

Tomorrow, numerous Prince George's elected officials are expected to back Derrick Leon Davis for County Council. Davis is running for the District 6 seat which is currently up for a special election (voting info here).
The dates for the Special Primary Election and the Special General Election are September 20, 2011 and October 18, 2011, respectively. The polls for each election open at 7:00 A.M. and close at 8:00 P.M.
Mr. Davis hails from Mitchellville, Maryland and is a former O'Malley appointee and Chair of the Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund. According to an invitation leaked to Maryland Juice, tomorrow Davis is hosting a morning rally-canvass featuring the following special guests:

PEPCO Robocalls Irene Alert // O'Malley Evacuates Ocean City & Wicomico

UPDATE: Pepco's social networking rep Andre, tweeted this response to our blog post (excerpt): "I’ll start by saying that we’re not trying to build up anxiety.... To summarize it, we just wanted to reiterate to our customers that the storm is nearing our service territory and the impact may result in outages for some customers." This sounds an awful lot like Montgomery County's strategy for preventing flash mobs!

Ahead of Hurricane Irene, Pepco has decided to robocall residents telling them to expect power outages:

I am guessing that means:
a) We'll be facing the same miserable power outages that occur anytime the wind blows in MD,
b) Pepco is responding to what the Washington Post recently described as their "lackadaisical approach to customer communication"
Call me cynical, but I suspect this will not ease residents' pending complaints about what will likely be an inadequate response to Irene-related power outages.

Meanwhile, Governor O'Malley is calling for an evacuation of parts of the Eastern Shore:

SPOTTED: Garagiola & Ulman in Washington County // Redistricting Alert

MEGA-UPDATE: Below we discuss Kratovil's miserable fundraising numbers as evidence that the party won't push for CD1 in redistricting. The Baltimore Sun is now saying Kratovil has taken a new job with the Prince George's County State's Attorney! The article confirms Maryland Juice's suspicions: "...attention in Annapolis appears to have shifted to the 6th Congressional District, which is currently held by the state’s other GOP lawmaker, Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett."

Hagerstown's Herald-Mail recently spotted State Senator Rob Garagiola and Howard County Executive Ken Ulman stumping for votes in.... Washington County:
Washington County Democrats on Thursday welcomed two potential Democratic candidates for governor and Congress.

Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, considered to be a possible 2014 gubernatorial candidate, spoke at the annual Washington County Democratic Central Committee picnic.

He was followed by state Sen. Robert J. Garagiola of Montgomery County, the Senate majority leader, who is considering a 2012 bid for the 6th Congressional District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Recession Smackdown - MD Beats VA in Job Growth - Part 2

Comptroller Peter Franchot's ears must have been burning during last July's Board of Public Works meeting. Find out why below!

In Part 1 of our post, Maryland Beats Virginia in Job Growth, we bragged about how Maryland has now surged ahead of Virginia's flacid job growth. In doing so, we discussed aspects of our regional rivalry, ultimately noting the ungentlemanly behavior by Virginia Governor Bob O'Donnell, who recently took the helms of the Republican Governors Association:
Even Virginia Governor O'Donnell got into the regional spittin' match, comparing his recently projected budget surpluses to Maryland's continuing budget woes.
The Maryland Democrats responded with this rebuttal delivered by press release:
McDonnell’s illusionary “surplus” is the result of deferred bills, dismantled programs important to the middle class, budgetary obfuscation and federal stimulus spending.... No wonder Virginia has one of the worst track records on funding education and ranks 44th in job creation in 2011. 
But as the Washington Post reported today, the Dems didn't get the last word:

Sarbanes Surprise: MD Congressman Among Top National Fundraisers

UPDATE: I'm excerpting this theory from "jsmdlawyer" in the comments section of this post:
I suspect it's redistricting, not the prospect of a Senate seat....  As to redistricting, if the rumors are true about a new CD6 being created for a Democrat in Montgomery County ("Senator Garagiola, please pick up the white courtesy phone for a message") and/or a new CD1 to target the odious Andy Harris, it's likely that the partisan balance in CD3 will be at least a bit less favorable for Sarbanes... Interestingly, the Examiner piece has a second list of contributions from individuals only. Sarbanes was the highest ranking Democrat in the entire country, as virtually every one of his contributions was from individuals. That's pretty damn impressive, whatever the motivation.
Maryland Congressman John Sarbanes is pulling in big money. In the first six months of 2011, Sarbanes pulled in a whopping $616,686, giving him $893,035 cash on-hand and zero debt. The Democrat represents the 3rd Congressional District, which includes Annapolis and parts of Baltimore City and the counties of Anne Arundel, Howard and Baltimore:

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

OUTED: Jim Rosapepe for Comptroller // Moustache for Lt. Comptroller

UPDATE: General Wesley Clark corrects Maryland Juice's article below, noting that Rosapepe did not support Howard Dean in 2004. Also, in the comments to this post, Prince George's Councilmember Mel Franklin appears to offer both a correction to this post and an early endorsement of Senator Rosapepe for Comptroller. Here is an excerpt: "Senator Rosapepe was a strong Clark supporter, not a Dean supporter... If the Comptroller position becomes available, Jim is definitely the right person to fill it."

Okay, I'll keep this short and sweet. I'm outing Maryland Senator Jim Rosapepe as a candidate for 2014 Comptroller. Now, I don't normally like to engage in unattributed news (*snicker*), but multiple very credible sources are now confirming that the moustached man from Prince George's has told them directly, that he is indeed running for Comptroller in 2014 -- obvious caveat: if Franchot runs for Governor.

From what I can gather, Senator Rosapepe is conducting a whirlwind of meetings with political movers and shakers from around the state. One source noted that Rosapepe's interest in the office shouldn't be surprising, because he's previously flirted with the idea of a bid for Comptroller.

TONIGHT: Homeland Security Hosts DC Area Hearings on Deportation Program - Will MD Officials Speak Out?

UPDATE: Washington Post coverage of the DHS hearings:  "Maria Bolanos told [ICE]... that she was arrested after calling police in Maryland during a fight with her partner.... Now she’s facing deportation because her fingerprints were shared with immigration authorities and she was identified as an illegal immigrant as part of the Secure Communities program....  200 people walked out of the meeting, chanting “end it, don’t amend it.” 

Earlier this week, my friends at the Bill of Rights Defense Committee alerted me to tonight's DC-area Department of Homeland Security public hearing. DHS is gathering input on their controversial "Secure Communities" deportation program (see email alert below). We discuss what the fuss is all about in greater depth below, but first a little bit of political background on the issue.

At issue is DHS's program asking local law enforcement officers to check the immigration status of people they detain. People flagged as present without documentation could be instantly whisked away by immigration officials (note: currently deportation occurs whether or not they are guilty of the crime in question -- they may even be the crime victim!)

Democratic Governors in Illinois, New York, and Massachusetts have ensured their states refused to participate in "Secure Communities." Will Maryland officials follow?

Maryland Beats Virginia in Job Growth - Part 1

Yesterday, the Gazette quietly reported on what some would consider a Bizarro-world scenario: Maryland is now beating Virginia in job growth.

Just a month ago, Maryland’s job creation numbers looked bleak, showing the state with the second-highest percentage job loss in the nation in the previous 12 months.... 
Maryland now is back to seeing job growth in the past 12 months, ranking closer to the middle of the national pack with a 0.1 percent gain. Since January, the state has added a net 13,900 jobs.
Furthermore, all of last month’s net growth was in Maryland’s private sector, as government slashed jobs.
Meanwhile, key regional competitors Virginia and North Carolina lost jobs for the third consecutive month in July and have added only a net 100 and 6,200 positions, respectively, since January.

Observation #1 - Maryland Rules, Virginia Can Shove It (Except Next Year When We Need You!):

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

BREAKING: DC Metro Earthquake - Plus FEMA's Safety Tips

UPDATE: Find out more background information about earthquakes. Also, the Washington Post's John Wagner Tweets: "Maryland State House evacuated following earthquake" (follow Maryland Juice on Twitter). 

Dear readers: My house shook, the walls were vibrating, and a low rumbling sound emerged everywhere around me. There was just an EARTHQUAKE in the DC Metro area. Scary! Surprisingly, one of my friends in New York City also felt it: "Yeah we felt it in NYC too. It must've been really strong in DC."

The U.S. Geological Survey is measuring this event as a 5.9 on the Richter scale, with the epicenter 27 miles East of Charlottsville. Note: the USGS has a cool tool called "Did you feel it?" that allows internet users to add their earthquake experiences to an online database. Input your story online!

According to Wikipedia: "An earthquake that measures 5.0 on the Richter scale has a shaking amplitude 10 times larger than one that measures 4.0" and that an earthquake between 5.0 and 5.9 "can cause major damage to poorly constructed buildings over small regions. At most slight damage to well-designed buildings."

Notably, Wikipedia also says there are about 800 worldwide earthquakes of this magnitude every year. For perspective, twice in the last two days, Colorado witnessed earthquakes between 4.6 and 5.3 on the Richter scale.

See the USGS report on the Virginia earthquake below:

WARNING: Beltway Speed Cameras Begin Ticketing TODAY // Why That Stinks

UPDATE: We just noticed that it appears College Park is (not so ironically) using its speed camera revenues to install surveillance cameras in the city! At least we know our officials are clever -- they can leverage one "big brother" project for another. Will College Park end up like London?

Editor's Note: Former Del. Saqib Ali writes in the comments, "I introduced a bill entitled the 'Speed Camera Fairness Act' a few years ago that would remove the conflict of interest that I considered inherent in Montgomery County Police Department's contract. However, the bill garnered very little traction." I notice that the bill's Senate Sponsor, Mike Lenett, is also no longer in office. Hopefully, that doesn't end the chances for accountability with our speed camera practices.

WARNING TO AREA DRIVERS: Starting today, Maryland will begin photo enforcement on the Beltway. Fox 5 reported yesterday (the last day warning tickets were being issued):
We found one of the mobile, car-mounted cameras on the outer loop near New Hampshire Avenue flashing away on this last day drivers are getting just warnings - not the 40 dollar fine.
The new beltway speed cameras are only in construction zones. One is where a bridge deck rebuilding project has started over the Northwest Branch of the Anacostia River. The second beltway construction zone is a five mile repaving project on the inner loop through Prince George's county.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Make Way for Silver Spring's Fillmore Concert Hall

After years of anticipation -- and controversy -- Silver Spring (and the suburbs) will finally have a serious music venue.  On Thursday, September 15th, Live Nation will open the long-anticipated Fillmore concert hall in downtown Silver Spring, across from the AFI Theatre. Their opening lineup is quite impressive.

I must admit a few things. First, I am a frequent concertgoer at the 9:30 Club and have never really held fond feelings for either Live Nation or its Ticketmaster subsidiary. For that reason, I've been sympathetic to fears that the Walmart of live music might put our homegrown venues out of business. That being said, I was never quite comfortable with 9:30 Club owner, Seth Hurwitz's attempts to sue the Fillmore out of existence.

2014 Comptroller: Frederick Del. Clagett Forms Exploratory Committee // Plus, Mike Miller on Dogs?

The Frederick News Post is reporting that retiring State Delegate Galen Clagett is one step closer to a run for Maryland Comptroller. Clagett previously stated he was considering a run for Comptroller or Frederick County Executive (should the position be created). Today we discover Clagett has formed an exploratory committee for Comptroller:
"Clagett said an exploratory committee was formed about two weeks ago to get a feel for his chances of election."
What happened roughly two weeks ago? Del. Kumar Barve announced he was "all in" for the Comptroller's race (assuming Peter Franchot vacates the seat). Clagett appears to be not quite as convinced as Barve, given that the News Post clarified:

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Kumar Dominoes: Rockville Official Retires, Seeks TBA Future Office?

UPDATE: Rockville City Council candidate Tom Moore provides some updated information:
"I read with interest your posting about John Britton's possible political plans, and wanted to point you to some slightly better information: This newer Patch posting notes that there are now four candidates qualified for the ballot (rats!), the addition being Virginia Onley. Also, current councilmember Mark Pierzchala is running for real and is almost certainly going to get on the ballot."
The Gazette today reported that Rockville City Councilmember John Britton announced his retirement from office:
"John Britton, 56, will end a decade-long history of involvement in city activism and a four-year stint on the council."
The article also noted that Britton was contemplating a future run for public office:
“Just nothing in the short-term,” he said.

Periodic Welfare Queen Reminder: Red States Need Socialism

Every once and again, statisticians produce reports showing which states provide the federal government with the most money, and which are the biggest recipients of federal welfare.

I decided that since the extremists are showing us how serious they are about running this country into the ground with their fears of socialism, they needed a polite reminder that they are the...

.................................................. EVER.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

CASA in Action Announces Baltimore City Endorsements

Latino advocacy organization CASA in Action has announced the following endorsement recommendations in the upcoming Baltimore City primary election. Contrary to any mailings you may have received, Primary Election Day is Tuesday, September 13, 2011. Voting hours are from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm (voting information here).

The organization describes itself as follows:
CASA in Action facilitates greater electoral and campaign engagement by Latinos and immigrants in Maryland by focusing uncompromisingly on providing political education to Latinos and getting them to the polls.
Baltimore elects 14 councilmembers, each representing a single member district for a four-year term. The President of the Council, along with the Mayor, are elected at-large. The current Council is 100% Democratic. Note: According to the most recent census data, a little over 4% of Baltimore City residents identify as Hispanic or Latino.

Below, CASA has issued no endorsement recommendation in Districts 7, 9, 10, 11, and 13. A recommendation is pending in District 2. The remaining endorsees are incumbents, except for one. In District 12 CASA recommends community activist Odette Ramos over Carl Stokes. Stokes had decided to run for re-election after flirting with a Mayoral bid.

CASA in Action's Endorsement Recommendations:

Friday, August 19, 2011

Flash Mob Copycats: Nice Work MoCo

Is Montgomery County unknowingly invoking a Willie Horton strategy to push a youth curfew?  

County leaders have taken to using the now-famous Germantown flash mob video to persuade a skeptical public to submit to fines and parenting classes for adults whose children are caught outside at night. See, for example, the article below in the Gaithersburg Patch:

This strategy is problematic (and just plain silly) for a number of reasons:

Word of the Day: Nativism

Maryland Juice's GOP correspondent, Mr. Chairy, has been itching to bring back his favorite old segment: "word of the day." So, we decided to give him a guest column this week. Here goes!

Court Deals Blow to GOP Dream Act Opponents in Montgomery College Case

Yesterday, Montgomery College officials alerted the public to an August 16 Circuit Court decision dismissing a lawsuit brought by the conservative group Judicial Watch. The organization sued the college's Board of Trustees last January, "for unlawfully giving illegal aliens in-state tuition benefits." At issue was Montgomery College's practice of granting in-county tuition rates to graduates of county high schools, regardless of their immigration status.

When it is not fighting affordable higher education, Judicial Watch releases lists like their annual "Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians." Last year's winners included President Obama and Senator Barbara Boxer, along with Representatives Nancy Pelosi and Barney Frank.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Spotlight on Little-Known Bethesda Group "X-PPAC"

Apologies in advance for posting this. In doing some research for Maryland Juice, I came across the following Bethesda-based political action committee, Extraterrestrial Phenomena Political Action Committee (X-PPAC):

2014 Gubernatorial Race // All Democrats for Marriage Equality

Yesterday, Chevy Chase Mayor David Lublin sent me a Facebook invitation to an upcoming Equality Maryland fundraiser. After reading through the event details, I decided to create a standardized test question for our readers. Here goes!

DIRECTIONS: Look at the image below and answer the question that follows.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Coming Soon: (Medical) Marijuana in Maryland

The Washington Times has this story on marijuana in Maryland:
A Maryland commission will take its first step Wednesday toward developing a plan to legalize medical marijuana in the state...

Medical marijuana has received increasing bipartisan support in Maryland's Democrat-controlled General Assembly, with legislators even floating a proposal this year to set up a state-run production and distribution system.
For numerous reasons (ie: overcrimimalization, race disparities, ineffectiveness of the drug war), I'm disappointed to see the Obama administration backing off on drug reform. That's why it is encouraging to see Maryland moving forward on this.

Montgomery Liberals Protest Chevy Chase Women's Republican Club

Last week, we reported on the controversial choice of speaker for an upcoming Chevy Chase Women's Republican Club meeting. The GOP group invited former Congressman and WMAL radio personality, Fred Grandy, to speak at their next meeting. As we noted earlier, Grandy was forced off the air and has had recent speaking invitations revoked over complaints about his show becoming increasingly anti-muslim.

The Chevy Chase Patch now reports that former Delegate Saqib Ali is calling on the GOP group to cancel the event:

Presidential Foreshadowing: Martin O'Malley 2016?

File this one in the "my spider-sense is going off" category -- but I just received the email below and started scratching my head. Governor Martin O'Malley often sends me newsletters and emails touting jobs programs, education, environmental projects, transportation funding and other state and domestic matters.

That's why I found it strange to see the Governor highlighting Somalian hunger and quoting the Talmud. Given that someone else contacted me within seconds of receiving this email, I'm not the only one. Is this an effort to build some foreign policy aura (read: a clear sign of O'Malley's interest in a 2016 White House bid)?

Montgomery County Council Redistricting Review

The Gazette's Erin Cunningham reports on the new competing Democratic and Republican redistricting maps for the Montgomery County Council:
Montgomery Republicans have crafted a proposal to redraw the county’s electoral districts to give them a better chance of being represented on the County Council.
A proposal from Republican Henry J. Kahwaty, expands County Council District 2, which would be shaped like a horseshoe, hugging the northern borders of the county. In doing so, the district would include 39,085 Republicans — about 30 percent of registered voters. The district currently has 35,968 Republicans, or 27 percent of voters.
First, here are the current district boundaries:

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Inside Baseball: Foreshadowing Maryland Redistricting

UPDATE: In the comments, an attendee notes that "at the event there was definitely mention of a possible Congressional run for Sen. Garagiola..." We're not crazy after all!

Maybe this is too "inside baseball," but I couldn't help chuckling at the email blast I just received (see excerpt below). The Young Dems of Maryland (YDM) held their annual fundraiser this past weekend at Delegate Bill Frick's home in Montgomery County. As the organizers indicated, notable guests included likely gubernatorial candidates Attorney General Doug Gansler, Comptroller Peter Franchot, and Lt. Governor Anthony Brown. We will likely be seeing much more of these three in coming months.

YDM, however, also noted the attendance of State Senator Rob Garagiola. Why is this noteworthy? Well, for one, it appears he cut the largest check of all the sponsors. State Senators are not in the business of bankrolling party events years in advance of their re-election -- unless they are seeking higher office.

What makes this email amusing though, is that the second biggest check of the night came from U.S. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer. As we will explain in a future article, these two men are currently in a delicate duel over Maryland's Congressional redistricting plan. Sorry to be so cryptic, but if you're not already following this story, I don't want to give all the details away. Stay tuned!

Comptroller's Race Making News

Del. Kumar Barve's early confirmation of his entry into the Comptroller's race has kicked off the next round of Comptroller 2014 coverage. Our take on the race is here, but here's what others are saying.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Only 1,034 Days Until the Maryland Comptroller's Race

The usually frumpy ambiance around the Office of the Maryland Comptroller seems to be getting a re-boot, as numerous lawmakers express interest in the race -- only 1,034 days in advance of the Democratic Primary.

In an earlier post, we explained a few reasons why this race might be generating such interest. Here, we discuss a few other figures from around Maryland who are rumored to be weighing a run for Comptroller.

Breaking: Delegate Kumar Barve is "All In" for Comptroller

Last month, Washington Post writer John Wagner, posted this interview with Delegate Kumar Barve, indicating his interest in the Maryland Comptroller's race:
“If it’s an open position, I’d definitely be interested,” Barve said. “You’re in a position to really work on issues like efficiency in government.”
That article was published on June 17, 2011. It is nearly one month later, so we decided to check in with Delegate Barve on the status of his decision-making. His response: if incumbent Comptroller Peter Franchot vacates his position, Mr. Barve is "all in" for the race.

I'm honestly a little surprised to see the Comptroller's race drawing serious candidates so quickly, but there are a couple of factors at play:

Friday, August 12, 2011

Obama in Surprisingly Good Shape?

A politically connected observer sent me some interesting new polling numbers showing that concern over Obama's re-election chances might be misplaced. A new Clarus poll roundup has Obama ahead in North Carolina and Colorado, beating all Republican challengers.

Maybe the Republican extremism will work about as well nationally, as it will in Maryland.

  • Obama over Romney +5
  • Obama over Perry +8
  • Obama over Bachmann +10
  • Obama over Cain +13
  • Obama over Palin +13

  • Obama over Romney +7
  • Obama over Bachmann +12
  • Obama over Perry +13
  • Obama over Cain +16
  • Obama over Palin +16

Chevy Chase GOP to Host Anti-Muslim Speaker, "Gopher" from Love Boat tv series?

UPDATE: Former Delegate Saqib Ali has launched a Facebook group to protest the Chevy Chase event.

I received the following email this morning, which I will re-print in full (anonymously), below. Essentially, the allegation is that the Chevy Chase Women's Republican Club is hosting a meeting with disgraced radio host and former Congressman Fred Grandy, and purportedly using anti-Islamic rhetoric. I can find no evidence of the anti-Islamic rhetoric, but I did find out more about the event in question.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The MD GOP has leadership?

UPDATE: Maryland Reporter elaborates on our coverage of the Maryland House GOP leadership battle.

Red Maryland has an amusing, navel-gazing post about the exciting race for the Maryland House of Delegates GOP leadership slots. Not. Honestly, I hate to be completely dismissive, but will there be any impact from a leadership change? The last time the Maryland GOP leadership made any bold moves was when Sen. Kittleman came out in favor of marriage equality. The party's seeming decision to further align itself with fringe elements bodes well for their continuing irrelevance in our state. Take notice though, the Maryland Tea Party chief wants to take the helms of the House GOP:
"Smigiel, chair of the Tea Party caucus, wants a fiscally conservative leadership team 'willing to fight for the conservative principles they expound.'"
Bring it on.

Del. Ariana Kelly Speaks Out with SlutWalk / Take That DSK!

A few people have drawn my eye to this Washington Post story. Delegate Ariana Kelly recently spoke out against sexual violence by telling her own story and encouraging others to join her in a "SlutWalk" this Saturday. Del. Kelly is a freshman representative, who recently took over for retiring Delegate Bill Bronrott, after winning a slot for one of the three District 16 seats in last September's Democratic Primary. Kudos to Kelly for using the pulpit of public office -- especially since the Dominique Strauss-Kahn affair has shown once again how quick we are to blame or doubt the victim (still!!!).
"Kelly plans to tell that story Saturday when she speaks at the SlutWalk D.C. rally downtown. It will be the Washington debut of the provocatively named, fast-growing movement against blaming victims for sexual violence. Organizers said more than 6,000 people have signed up on Facebook to attend."
SlutWalk D.C. begins Saturday at 11 a.m. in Lafayette Park and ends with a rally starting at 1 p.m. at the National Sylvan Theatre near the Washington Monument.

This Saturday: Young Democrats Blue State Bash (Bethesda)

3rd Annual Blue State Bash | Saturday, August 13, 2011 | 3:00 pm - Home of Delegate Bill Frick

*Note:  Please park in the parking lot for Merrimac Park, at the end of Winston Drive.*

Breaking: Rep. Chris Van Hollen Appointed to Deficit Super Committee

Politico reports that Maryland's own Rep. Chris Van Hollen has been appointed as one of the 12 members of the new deficit "super committee." Van Hollen joins Representatives Xavier Becerra (D-CA), Dave Camp (R-MI), Jim Clyburn (D-SC), Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), Fred Upton (R-MI), along with Senators  Max Baucus (D-MT), John Kerry (D-MA), Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Patty Murray (D-WA), Rob Portman (R-OH) and Pat Toomey (R-PA).
Van Hollen and Clyburn had both served as Pelosi appointees on Vice President Joe Biden’s deficit working group earlier this year, and Becerra served on the Simpson-Bowles deficit commission....

Clyburn and Becerra are among the most liberal members of the House Democratic Caucus — and Van Hollen’s not far behind — raising the prospect that Pelosi could take heat for naming a contingent that might be harder to persuade to sign off on a centrist compromise.

All three will have to balance any interest in making a deal against their own ambitions for power. Clyburn is the third-ranking House Democrat, Becerra is fifth, and Van Hollen is considered a potential future candidate for an elected leadership post.

However, like the committee members named before them, each of Pelosi’s picks is a veteran legislator. Van Hollen, first elected in 2002, is the most junior among them — and he played a central role in the debt-limit negotiations that averted a default and created the super committee.
Hmm. If Van Hollen is a potential candidate for an elected leadership post, does that mean he is perhaps giving up on his pursuit of a United States Senate seat -- or would this merely strengthen his hand?

Blog Preview: Redistricting, leadership battles and an early look at 2014.

As Maryland Juice prepares to launch, I thought I'd give a quick preview on the initial content we want to highlight. I've begun reaching out to elected officials and Maryland politicos for the inside scoop on what's not being covered, and there's a lot of juicy content out there! So here we go....

On the Radar:
  • State legislative and local redistricting: [Bartlett vs. Harris] vs. [Kratovil vs. Democratic Party]
  • An early snapshot of the 2014 races: Governor, Attorney General, Comptroller, County Executive and more!
  • Jockeying for leadership positions: What's happening to Senate President Mike Miller and House Speaker Mike Busch?
  • Random thoughts: Will the DC suburbs displace Baltimore as the anchor of political power in Maryland, curfew politics, and more.
If there are other topics you think we should be poking around on, please reply in the comments, or email

Tuesday, August 9, 2011