Friday, September 30, 2011

One Year Out: Maryland Dems Hosting Mega-Rally 10/26 in Silver Spring

Are you sick and tired of the craziness? If so, join hundreds of Maryland Democrats for a mega-rally, one year ahead of President Obama's re-election. Organizing for America (OFA), just released the following invitation:

With DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Wednesday, October 26 · 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Location: Montgomery Blair High School
51 University Blvd East, Silver Spring, MD

Join Maryland elected officials, the Maryland Democratic Party, and our special keynote speaker, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz for the Montgomery and Prince George's Counties One Year Out Campaign Rally.

Doors open at 7:00 PM; program starts approx. 7:45 PM

Invited speakers: Gov. Martin O'Malley; Sen. Barbara Mikulski; Sen. Ben Cardin; Rep. Chris Van Hollen; Rep. Elijah Cummings; Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger; Rep. Donna Edwards; and Rep. John Sarbanes

Maryland GOP Divided: Anonymous Democrats Say Colleagues' Romney/Perry Endorsements Reflect Divisions

Earlier this week, Maryland Juice reported on a blip of GOP Presidential activity in Maryland. In the course of the GOP in-fighting, Mitt Romney and Rick Perry both released their lists of Maryland endorsers. We asked several Democratic lawmakers to comment on any meaningful patterns in which Republican lawmakers supported Romney vs. Perry. Their responses point to a trend of Romney endorsers being more moderate than Perry supporters. But some of our sources noted a more interesting dynamic: GOP Delegate Nic Kipke has endorsed Romney over Perry, while attempting a House leadership coup from the right.

We reprint the Maryland Romney/Perry elected officials endorsement lists below, followed by comments from several anonymous Democratic legislators (all from Montgomery). You can see the full GOP endorsement lists with former electeds and party activists in our previous coverage.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Dueling Anonymous Lawmakers on the Trial of Senator Ulysses Currie // Plus, A Quick Summary of the Case

UPDATE: The Gazette has an interesting analysis of whether the Prince George's Delegation will lose influence over these scandals. The experts seem to conclude: "Not really."

The investigation of Senator Ulysses Currie of Prince George's has loomed like a cloud over Annapolis. But now that the criminal trial has begun, Maryland Juice wanted to find out what this case was all about. After poking around, we summarized the case below and asked two anonymous legislators to comment on the severity of the charges: one from a legal perspective, and one from a political perspective.

Shannon Sneed Plans Write-In Campaign for Baltimore City Council District 13

UPDATE: Baltimore Brew covers the Sneed write-in campaign, along with two others -- Conaway in D7 and Van Bavel in D10.

Two weeks ago, Maryland Juice wrote about the 15-vote margin in the Baltimore City Council District 13 race. The battle between incumbent Warren Branch and newcomer Shannon Sneed stretched for days after the election ended. But at last check, Mr. Branch had doubled his margin, thereby ending discussions of a possible recount. Even still, Mr. Branch's surge in the absentee count led Mr. Branch's 2007 opponent Vernon Crider, to launch allegations of impropriety.

B'more blog Baltimore Brew had a write-up of the race, which they called a "David and Goliath" battle. Since then Ms. Sneed conceded the Democratic Primary to Mr. Branch, but she now appears to be weighing a write-in campaign for the General Election.

Sen. Ben Cardin Facing Primary Challenge from Maryland Sen. Anthony Muse

Popular U.S. Senator Ben Cardin is facing a potential Democratic primary challenge from Maryland Senator Anthony Muse of Prince George's County. Is this attempted mutiny quixotic? Mr. Muse, also a minister, is widely known for his strident position opposing marriage equality (though he does support repeal of the death penalty in MD).  

The Washington Post reported on his reasons for forming an exploratory effort for U.S. Senate:

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

BREAKING: National Democrats Are Targeting MD Rep. Roscoe Bartlett

Maryland Juice has been foreshadowing this moment for a few weeks now, but the Baltimore Sun is reporting that national Democrats are turning their attention to GOP Rep. Roscoe Bartlett in the 6th Congressional District:

District 20 Melee: 15 New Candidates for Delegate in 2014 // Plus, Raskin for AG & Mizeur for [INSERT GUESS HERE]

CANDIDATE CORRECTIONS: Reuben Snipper called the idea of his candidacy "very funny" and thanked Maryland Juice "for the laughs." Tim Male also wrote in a denial: "I'm focused on the TP City Council, my day job and two kids."

UPDATE:  A person who claims to have been involved in the verification of the candidates in the list below, has offered up the following updates: "Terrell North for Council, not Delegate. I crossed off Josh Wright when he retired, and I would remove Tim Male who I'm positive is not thinking about running for state office." Yet another reader commented that Del. Hixson might retire and also questioned the source's redistricting notes below. Amazingly, they concluded by noting that I was still missing more candidates!

I sometimes have to remind myself that we are still over 2+ years away from the 2014 primaries. That's because Maryland Juice has already been covering an unusual amount of 2014 races (ie: Governor, Comptroller, Montgomery Executive, MoCo Council 5, etc). But today's politico rumor really outdoes the rest.

An anonymous source has leaked a list of fifteen new candidates for District 20 Delegate. All are Democrats who are eyeing the June 2014 Primary, and our source is claiming that each candidate's interest has been verified directly. District 20 currently includes parts of downtown Silver Spring, Takoma Park, and territories north to Springbrook High School. Not all of these folks will end up running, but for now, here is the crazy long D20 candidate list:

Leaked MD Congressional District Plan Generating Pushback from MoCo Donna Edwards Supporters

A leaked map of Maryland's 2012 Congressional Districts made big news this month, as it appeared to show a Democratic preference for priming the 6th District for a takeover. The map revealed that one way to do that involved pushing Rep. Donna Edwards' 4th District almost completely out of Montgomery County. District 20-based PAC Progressive Neighbors issued this email alert today:

Update on Fred Grandy "Creeping Sharia" Tour in MD // VIDEO: Sen. Raskin, Democrats Sound Off

UPDATE: The Chevy Chase Patch has coverage of the MCCRC Creeping Sharia event this weekend. In the article, Maryland Juice's first source outs herself. Also, a new resident has published an op-ed in the Patch complaining about County Executive Ike Leggett's signing of a letter complaining about Fred Grandy.

For a few weeks, Maryland Juice has followed the spectacle of former Congressman Fred Grandy's anti-Sharia law speaking tour. The circus landed in Chevy Chase last weekend, so Montgomery Democrats pushed backed on the propaganda with a counter-event to cut through the fear-mongering. The Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition (MCCRC) hosted the event with former Delegate Saqib Ali. They also took photos and video footage of their event: Is Creeping Shariah’ a Real Threat or a Trumped Up Scare Tactic? We provide some highlights below, but please check out the full archive:

Reflection Time: Maryland Juice would also like to pause and ask:  Are we really debating whether or not there is a risk of Sharia law creeping into America? Indeed, in the midst of -- two wars, a housing market collapse, class warfare waged by billionaires, record unemployment, and a simple crisis of confidence among ordinary Americans -- the Chevy Chase Republican Women's Club chose to book a speaker whose favorite topic is to flag the employment of Muslims in our government.... and *pssst* you should be scared of them!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

MEASURING CONTEST: MD Endorsers for Rick Perry & Mitt Romney // Dems Say: "None of the Above"

Earlier today, we reported on Texas Governor Rick Perry's visit to Baltimore, Maryland, and the attacks he attracted from both the Democratic Party and rival candidate Mitt Romney. Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown led the assault on Perry today, noting Texas' 47th in the nation ranking for median household income: "Texans are working just as hard, but getting less." But Romney had earlier released a web video attacking Perry by comparing him to Governor O'Malley. Democratic officials responded that Romney and Perry are just "the same." Below we highlight the new measuring contest emerging between Perry and Romney.

Indeed, it is great fun watching the GOP Presidential candidates re-play Lord of the Flies, as they savage each other to win the speaking-conch. On September 8th, Mitt Romney released a list of 25 prominent Maryland Republicans, but today Rick Perry responded with an even larger list of 40 Maryland endorsers. Now, this is not an apples-to-apples comparison, but since when has fuzzy logic stopped the Republican Party? See the Romney and Perry MD endorsement lists below.

Note that the Maryland GOP bench has 43 Delegates and 12 Senators. The lists below represent only 14 Delegates and 4 Senators. Perhaps the remaining GOP members are also waiting for someone NOT crazy to run for their nomination? In a future post, we will reveal comments from Montgomery's Democratic lawmakers on these dueling lists:

Maryland Democrats Take On Rick Perry, Romney Piles On // Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown to Highlight "Disastrous Record"

Today, the Maryland Democratic Party is hosting a press call to highlight Texas Governor Rick Perry's "disastrous record." Notably, Gov. Martin O'Malley last week "thanked" Mr. Perry for not being racist and supporting in-state tuition for undocumented residents.

Now, Mr. O'Malley appears to be passing the attack-dog baton to Lt. Governor Anthony Brown, and Perry-rival Mitt Romney is seizing on the moment (thanks for the assist, Mitt). Today, Mr. Romney released a new web video titled, "They Agree," which states, "Governor Perry, Maryland welcomes you. You will fit right in." Maryland Juice has the video below, as well as some more details on this presidential dueling!

Maryland Juice Benchmark: 25,000 Pageviews // Plus, Tea Party vs. Juice Party

Maryland Juice launched with a preview on August 11th, and in seven weeks we hit a benchmark: 25,000 pageviews and growing. These days, a week generates roughly 2,000 or more visits, accounting for 4,500+ pageviews. Sample stats below:

Decent growth in 7 weeks, eh?  Also, follow us on Twitter & like us on Facebook

But only one thing is more gratifying than Marylanders juicing (see the image below):

Monday, September 26, 2011

LAME: Baltimore Sun to Charge for Online Content

Baltimore-based news site Charm City Now alerted Maryland Juice to the lame news that the Baltimore Sun has decided to start charging readers for online access. Granted, they have filed for bankruptcy and the newspaper industry is in serious distress, but is this really the right move? The AP had this story:

The Secret Lives of Delegates // Anonymous MD Legislators on Life in Annapolis

Earlier this month, Maryland Juice reported on rumors that District 14 Delegate Eric Luedtke was weighing a bid for the District 5 seat on the Montgomery County Council. It is worth noting that Mr. Luedtke's activism on County issues may predate his time in the State House. But still, we were intrigued by this potential lateral, given that just last year Delegate Craig Rice jumped from the State House to the County Council.

As a result, we decided to anonymously poll a sample of Mr. Luedtke's legislative colleagues from Montgomery, to see what they had to say about life in Annapolis. In particular, we wanted to see what sort of issues fairly recent Maryland House members face, given that they are unlikely to be chairing committees or serving in leadership.

The responses below are amazingly consistent, with a few unique responses. I group the answers by topic, below:

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Benefit for District 18 Democratic Caucus // Event Theme: The Food Safety Act

The District 18 Democratic Caucus is hosting a fundraising event today from 4 pm to 6 pm, and the theme is the landmark Food Safety Act that President Obama signed into law in January. Details on the event are below, but Maryland Juice wants to stoke curiosity with some brief background information. Obama Foodorama, a blog dedicated to White House food-related initiatives, had this overview:
America's food safety system joins the 21st century a decade late, with broad new regulatory powers for FDA...

Saturday, September 24, 2011

District 14 Democratic Central Committee Vacancy // Plus, A Brief History of Central Committees in MD

The Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee (MCDCC) currently has a vacancy for state legislative District 14. We reprint details below, but Maryland Juice thinks this is also a good opportunity to provide a quick background on political party central committees in Maryland.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Del. Tiffany Alston Indicted // Irony: Marriage Equality Opponent Steals To Pay for Wedding?

UPDATE: Del. Alston's marriage-hypocrisy story goes national. Check out this Mother Jones story.

Numerous people have emailed me with the unfortunate breaking news that Maryland Delegate Tiffany Alston has been indicted for theft of campaign funds. This story is amazing for two reasons: 1) Ms. Alston represents Prince George's, where voters just this week elected Derrick Leon Davis to replace scandal-ridden Councilmember Leslie Johnson, and 2) Ms. Alston is ironically charged with stealing campaign funds to pay for her own wedding, after voting down the marriage rights of same-sex couples.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Shocking Case for Marriage Equality in MD // Plus, RIP Don't Ask Don't Tell

Killed by 7 teens who wanted to “go f*ck with some niggers.”
For those who are still opposed to marriage equality, I have one final plea. It comes by a way of a hate crime story from the racial justice news website ColorLines. If this doesn't help you see the light, I fear nothing will. Notably, this man was not killed because he was gay. He was killed because he was black. But as this story demonstrates, marriage equality is all about families. Here goes:
[James] Anderson was violently attacked and then run over by a group of white teens on June 26, 2011. Deryl Dedmon 19, of Brandon, Mississippi is accused of intentionally running over Anderson with his green Ford-250 and is now facing capital murder charges because of evidence that he assaulted and robbed Anderson, according to Hinds County District Attorney

The civil suit accuses the seven white teenagers of deliberately setting out in the early morning hours of June 26 to go to Jackson to “go f*ck with some niggers.”

You Know Your Party Has Been Hijacked By Extremists When....

You know your party has been hijacked by extremists when you're forced to downplay how many people in your party are cheering for Americans to die. That's about where Maryland Republicans are these days....

Tea Party-Aligned Maryland Think Tank Admits Real Goal: Cut Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid

UPDATE: The AARP is now teeing up spots to defend seniors' entitlements from cuts. Like I said, let's bring the GOP's 3-point platform below to Florida!

Maryland Juice earlier this week criticized Tea Party politicians for supporting policies that would hurt their constituents, and we implied that some of them were being phony in their support for eliminating government. Everyone breath a sigh of relief, because the Maryland Public Policy Institute (MPPI) responded by basically saying: a) these policies really do work, and b) Tea Party politicians really do believe this stuff.

Maryland Juice thought it was worth pointing out which policies MPPI is supporting. Below we highlight some of MPPI's suggestions, with some very brief commentary. This is not intended to be an issue review, just a sampler:

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

MoCo Curfew Review // Plus, Ike Leggett Won't Give Up County SUV, While Agencies Beg for Donations

UPDATE: Check out the website of the over 6,000 high school students organizing against the Montgomery County curfew:

WARNING - This is a very long post that discusses three of County Executive Ike Leggett's recent policy decisions: raising money for government programs from private businesses, driving a taxpayer-funded SUV (with free gas and repairs), and my favorite - Montgomery County's curfew.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Think Tank Doubleheader with the Koch Brothers // MPPI vs. Maryland Juice & CATO vs. Marc Elrich

UPDATE: A GOP blogger at Red Maryland has responded to Maryland Juice's "think tank doubleheader." Mr. Newgent makes an observation about "rich Marylanders voting against their economic interests" by supporting Democrats. How's that for class warfare?

Yesterday, the innocently-named Maryland Public Policy Institute (MPPI) published an article responding to Maryland Juice's post about how Red States are the biggest welfare recipients. The piece was apparently developed after conversations with a Red Maryland blogger, so we decided to track down MPPI's mission statement:
The mission of the Maryland Public Policy Institute is to formulate and promote public policies at all levels of government based on principles of free enterprise, limited government, and civil society. 
Surprisingly, the Baltimore County Public Library website has an election resources section that describes MPPI as follows:

9/20 Silver Spring Town Hall with Rep. Donna Edwards // Backdrop: Obama Proposes MD-Style Millionaires Tax

UPDATE: Maryland Reporter has this coverage of the town hall meeting. The article notes there was "applause for tax increases." Meanwhile, the DC City Council just passed a tax increase on upper income brackets. Is sanity on a comeback?

Tonight, Rep. Donna Edwards is speaking at a town hall meeting in downtown Silver Spring, along with Maryland Senators Roger Manno and Jamie Raskin.

A Town Hall: Taking Back the Budget Debate
Tuesday, September 20th at 7:30 pm
More info at

Silver Spring Civic Center
Ellsworth & Veterans Plaza, Silver Spring, MD
3 blocks from the Silver Spring Metro
Free parking after 6 p.m. at the Wayne Ave garage

The timing of this event is fortuitous, given that President Obama this week released details of his new jobs and deficit-reduction proposals. Among the plans are $1.5 trillion in savings achieved by undoing the worst of George W. Bush's class warfare schemes, along with a new plan for a minimum tax rate to ensure millionaires and billionaires pay the same rate as ordinary Americans (note: they are currently paying less).

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Leaked Map of Maryland's 2012 Congressional Districts // Potential CD6 Candidates

UPDATE: One nameless lawmaker tells Maryland Juice that senior Democratic officials are pissed by the leak of this map. Does that mean it is real?

Maryland Reporter today purports to release what may be a map previewing Maryland's 2012 Congressional District plan. Not surprisingly, the leaked information reveals a primary goal of trying to unseat GOP Rep. Roscoe Bartlett in CD6. Maryland Juice thinks this provides an opportunity for Dems to float a trial balloon, and we are happy to oblige by printing these rumors.

Better yet, the leaked map is a little grainy and unlabeled, so Maryland Juice retouched the image and added a key. But we encourage everyone to check out the original post at MD Reporter. Discussion of the new districts continues below the map:

Maryland Republicans Respond to Criticism of GOP Chair Alex Mooney // Senator Garagiola's Opponent Attacks

10 days ago, Maryland Juice highlighted Maryland Republican Party Chair Alex Mooney's miserable fundraising job in 2011. After promising to bank hundreds of thousands of dollars for GOP candidates, Maryland's biggest marriage equality opponent has the State's GOP struggling to pay the bills and still fund campaigns. We also highlighted a fishy entry in Mr. Mooney's last expense report that describes a payment from the GOP to himself with the simple note "Chairman's Expenses."

Below we publish a spirited response to Maryland Juice's article from Dwight Patel of the Western Maryland Republican Club. Mr. Patel was State Senator Rob Garagiola's General Election opponent in 2010. Mr. Garagiola won the seat for Democrats, beating Mr. Patel 2 to 1 and earning 63.6%  of the vote to Mr. Patel's 36.4%.

But first, Maryland Juice would like to remind readers about the content of the article that prompted Mr. Patel's response. We previously analyzed every entry in Mr. Mooney's most recent expense report to the Federal Elections Commission. One entry in particular stood out as improperly recorded:

Saturday, September 17, 2011

GOP & Tea Party Voices Respond to Montgomery Dems // Fred Grandy For Governor in 2014

Earlier this week, Maryland Juice released a letter from a number of Montgomery County Democrats blasting the County's GOP. Several officials have taken issue with their choice of speaker for a September 24th Chevy Chase Republican Women's Club event: former Congressman Fred Grandy. Other recent events featuring Mr. Grandy have been cancelled in Virginia, presumably because he uses terrorism as an excuse to stoke fear of innocent Muslims living in America (note: he was canned from his WMAL radio show because of this).

Even still, Tea Party and GOP voices are thumbing their noses at the County Democrats' letter. Maryland Juice highlights a few responses below, but we are kicking off the series with the following Twitter message from Red Montgomery blogger Caleb. Perhaps controversy and the resulting exposure are motivating Grandy's speaking tour. If so, he may be taking notes from Sarah Palin's playbook:

Maryland Juice hopes the GOP chooses Grandy. Good luck in 2014!

Friday, September 16, 2011

2012 Electoral College: OMG, Virginia Gets to Decide Obama's Fate? // Plus, A Plan for Maryland

Run for the Hills! Virginia's in charge!
SURPRISE UPDATE: A knowledgeable Democratic operative confirms that Maryland Juice's "early MD primary" strategy below has been recently discussed --- it is an open question (for the future?).

I can see it now. Due to the porous borders between MD, DC and VA, many of us will start seeing a flood of television spots from President Obama and (fingers crossed) Michele Bachmann. But the reality is, for those of us in Maryland and D.C., the advertising will be all nuisance and no fun. Are you scratching your head? Let me clarify.

The ads won't be for you. They will be for the Virginians some of us share a media market with. You see, President Obama's sagging national poll numbers are big news right now. But let's be clear -- Obama's low numbers are not news because they really reveal his re-election chances (yet) -- they are news simply because that's what the media's focusing on. And that signals.... that the 2012 Presidential (Horse) Race is on!

I'm not the only one that is dismissive of early poll numbers. Our neighboring pundit in Virginia, Prof. Larry Sabato, has an early reminder of the true deciders in our 2012 Presidential Election: the Electoral College.  Maryland Juice summarizes his article below.

Mr. Sabato kicks off the real Presidential race with the following insights:
...behind the scenes, strategists for President Obama and his major Republican opponents are already focused like a laser on the Electoral College. 
The emerging general election contest gives every sign of being highly competitive, unlike 2008. Of course, at this point in 1983 and 1995, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, respectively, were in trouble; and in 1991 George H.W. Bush still looked safe. Unexpectedly strong economic growth could make Obama’s reelection path much easier than it currently looks to be. So could the nomination of a damaged candidate by the Republicans. On the other hand, a few more months like the preceding couple, and Obama’s reelection trajectory will resemble Jimmy Carter’s. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Montgomery Shuffle: Del. Eric Luedtke Weighing District 5 County Council Bid

For the past few weeks, Maryland Juice has been following redistricting developments in Montgomery County, as well as the emergence of candidates in the County Executive's race. If you put those two stories together, you start to see two sources of new candidacies: 1) through officeholders vacating their seats for higher office, and 2) through officeholders living in new political boundaries after redistricting.

For District 14 Delegate Eric Luedtke, it appears that both factors are in play: District 5 Councilmember Valerie Ervin appears to be vacating her seat for a County Executive bid, while the Redistricting Commission's proposed map would move his Burtonsville neighborhood from Council District 4 into Council District 5.

Several people are now saying that if Councilmember Ervin does indeed run for Executive, and if the Council ultimately approves the Redistricting Commission's proposed map, Mr. Luedtke would be interested in the position and is currently taking the steps to weigh a candidacy. Maryland Juice could not get confirmation of these allegations, but the sources are very credible.

BREAKING: Warren Branch Doubles 15-Vote Lead in Baltimore District 13 // Former Opponent Calls Lead "Strange, Too Strange"

UPDATE: The Baltimore Sun had this follow-up article today, but they quote the BOE saying the recount trigger is 2% rather than .1% (one tenth of one percent). That is a major difference. Hopefully a reader can explain? Secondly, the comments section to the Sun article, had a fascinating entry from someone purporting to be the former District 13 Councilmember Vernon Crider. Is he alleging impropriety in the voting results? His note, which references his own loss in 2007, reads: 
As a former city councilman for the 13th district, this is "deja vu" all over again. Mr. Branch defeated me in 2007 after abseetee ballots were counted only by 51 votes. It is quite uncanny that this scenario will reappear. Im no longer involved in politics, but it is quite strange that this will reoccur with Mr. Branch. Too strange...

Go Mrs. Sneed! The people of the 13th are pulling for you!!

Posted by: vernon crider
Late last night we reported on news of a potential recount in Baltimore City's District 13 Council race. The 15-vote margin separating incumbent Councilmember Warren Branch from challenger Shannon Sneed led to recount preparations from the campaigns' operatives. Note, for example, that Mr. Branch arrived at the Board of Elections for this morning's absentee canvass with a lawyer in tow. In our prior coverage, we explain some of Maryland's recount laws and procedures, but now we are essentially waiting to see if the 15-vote margin narrows to within .1% of the total vote (ie: currently 4 votes).

A source with a direct line into the ongoing tallies at the Board of Elections reports fresh numbers in the District 13 race for Baltimore City Council. The news is not good for Shannon Sneed.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

BREAKING: 15 Vote Margin May Mean Recount in Baltimore City Council District 13 // NOT BREAKING: Mayoral Race a Yawner

Bal'more Juice, 'Hon!
UPDATE: A Baltimore voter informs us that Early Voting was also conducted on touchscreen machines, meaning most of a "recount" would really only happen with the paper-based absentee and provisional ballots. Additionally, the absentee canvass begins today, and a new source informs us that Mr. Branch has lawyered up! Now, absentee vote totals are coming in. Is this race over?

A Baltimore-based Democratic operative has contacted Maryland Juice with news of a potential recount in the City Council District 13 race. Our source is not an unbiased observer in the process and will hopefully provide updates as candidates start making decisions. Note: the Baltimore City Paper first made mention of this possibility, but we expand upon the news below.

Last Tuesday's Democratic Primary Election canvass left the result of the District 13 race in question, since a razor-thin 15-vote margin separates the first and second place candidates. Incumbent Democratic Councilmember Warren Branch (brother to Delegate Talmadge Branch, a Baltimore City opponent of marriage equality) currently holds the narrow lead over newcomer Shannon Sneed. The totals currently include the Early Voting and Election Day polling location results, but it does not appear that provisional ballots and absentee ballots are included in the current count.

Fillmore's Red Carpet Kickoff Brings Politicos to Silver Spring // Plus, Exclusive Photo Gallery!

Maryland Juice previously wrote about the exciting lineup at Silver Spring, Maryland's new concert hall, The Fillmore. Though our appeal for free tickets to the venue's owners (Live Nation) went into a black hole, we still managed to score tickets to the Grand Opening VIP kickoff last night. Here's a review of the event (and the Fillmore) from Virginia Juice (Maryland Juice's domestic partner/wife, who is also a Virginian. Boo!).

We also intersperse photos of politicians modeling the Fillmore's space for you below. You can see the full Fillmore Party photo gallery at Maryland Juice's Facebook page. Note: Some unusual politicians turned out for this event.

NY9 Special Election Update: Democrats Lost Because of.... Jews, Gays, Candidate Recruitment, Chuck Schumer, Elvis

Earlier this week, we put out an alert to Maryland Democrats to keep former Rep. Anthony Weiner's Congressional seat in Democratic hands. The election was yesterday, and very simply put, we got our hineys handed to us. Democrat David Weprin was unable to pull off a victory, handing this Brooklyn-based Democratic stronghold over to a marginal Republican candidate.

The New York Times had this summary (and spin):
A little-known Republican businessman from Queens, channeling voter discontent with President Obama into an upset, won election to Congress on Tuesday from the heavily Democratic district in New York City last represented by Anthony D. Weiner.

The Republican, Bob Turner, a retired cable television executive, defeated Assemblyman David I. Weprin, the scion of a prominent Democratic family in Queens, in a nationally watched special election.

With 84 percent of the precincts counted early Wednesday, Mr. Turner was leading Mr. Weprin by 54 percent to 46 percent, according to The Associated Press.

2012 Redistricting: Sen. Rich Madaleno Explains Democrats' CD1 vs. CD6 Dilemma // TOPIC: Roscoe Bartlett vs. Andy Harris

Yesterday, we posted an interview with Maryland Senator Rich Madaleno, where he listed potential dark horse candidates for Governor in 2014 and explained some of the challenges facing the major candidates.

Today, we highlight Mr. Madaleno's illuminating responses on Congressional and State Legislative redistricting in Maryland. Below, he describes the nature of the debate going on within Democratic leadership, and he provides a preview of the impact the new districts may have. Once again, I chopped up the videos into the most interesting questions and responses.

One phrase from Mr. Madaleno might best sum up his view of Maryland's Congressional redistricting debate: "This is a battle between the heart and the mind of the Democratic Party."

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Montgomery Democrats Issue Letter Condemning Local GOP Extremist Speaker

UPDATE: Council President Valerie Ervin is also a signatory to the Montgomery Democrats' letter. Also, the Chevy Chase Patch reports that Democrats have decided to engage the Montgomery GOP in dialogue, as they're now hosting a 9/24 discussion prior to the Fred Grandy event: 
Earlier that day, a panel presentation—"Is 'Creeping Shariah' a Real Threat or a Trumped Up Scare Tactic?"—will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Wisconsin Place Community Center (5311 Friendship Blvd., Chevy Chase).
The speakers invited to this event include Jamie Raskin (Maryland state senator and professor of constitutional law at American University), Corey Saylor (national legislative director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations), civil liberties activist Thomas Nephew and Fred Grandy ("or any designated representative," the invitation says).
Maryland Juice previously broke news of the Chevy Chase Republican Women's Club hosting an event featuring controversial speaker 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....
Today, a number of Democratic officials issued a letter condemning the Montgomery County GOP. Their letter, which appears below, is signed by Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett, Senate Majority Leader Rob Garagiola, House Majority Leader Kumar Barve, and a number of state and county officials:

Insider Gossip: Sen. Madaleno Dishes Dirt on the 2014 Gubernatorial Race // TOPIC: Dark Horse Candidates & Political Demography

Today, Maryland Juice brings you an exclusive interview with Maryland Senator Rich Madaleno on a few bits of political gossip: 2014's gubernatorial dark horse candidates, notes on political demography and more. Rich is an election geek and on top of representing District 18, formerly chaired the Montgomery County Senate delegation.

We previously covered the race from the lens of Maryland's push for marriage equality, but Senator Madaleno highlights a few more potential candidates and points out some of the difficult geographic considerations for the candidates.

His dark horse list includes:
  • Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker
  • Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake
  • Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett
  • Former Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith

Monday, September 12, 2011

ALERT: Maryland Dems Needed for NY Race // Plus, Alarming Poll Results in NY9

I just received the action alert below from the Young Democrats of America. Their Campaign Director, Marshall Spevak, encourages Democrats around the country to make calls from home, as we try to retake Congress from the extreme right.

Tomorrow, voters in New York's 9th Congressional District will head to the polls to elect their next representative. This seat was previously held by Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner (yes, he is the Twitter pic guy, blah blah), and Obama carried the District in 2008 with 55% of the vote. But a recent poll from Democratic group Public Policy Polling (PPP) is causing alarm among Dems:

Obama VP Swap: O'Malley for Biden in 2012 // Plus, O'Malley's Maryland Socialism

Tea Leaves at
UPDATE: An anonymous O'Malley aide, while denying any knowledge of Obama's plans, surprised Maryland Juice with the following comment: "People who work for the Governor actually take all options seriously. This was brought up at a small staff meeting a few weeks back." On second thought, Biden does seem to be unusually de-emphasized in Obama's merchandise store right now. And on 9/15, yet another update for those who enjoy finding meaning in little details: a reader reports that Gov. O'Malley has been tapped to defend Obama's Jobs Act in a White House press call right now: 
"THE WHITE HOUSE - Office of the Press Secretary: Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, Delaware Governor Jack Markell and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter to Hold Conference Call on the Impact of the American Jobs Act."
A few weeks ago, Maryland Juice thought it would be fun to start flagging bits of evidence that may show Governor Martin O'Malley trying to position himself for the 2016 Presidential race. Unexpectedly, we kept noticing mentions of Mr. O'Malley for Vice President.... in 2012

Today's Baltimore Sun, for example, included the following letter:
President Obama rarely allows a photo opportunity to pass without using it to make some political point. So one has to wonder what significance to attach to the prominent place in the House of Representatives gallery Gov. Martin O'Malley was given, seated near the First Lady, during the president's speech to the joint session of Congress Thursday.

Could it be that Mr. O'Malley is being considered as a possible Democratic vice presidential choice after the current inept incumbent is dropped from the ticket?....
Maryland Juice decided to launch an investigation into this rumor. But first, here is a screencap of Gov. O'Malley sitting near First Lady Michelle Obama last week. Does this look suspicious to you?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

2014 Governor: Anthony Brown vs. Doug Gansler on Marriage Equality

Gov. O'Malley speaks at Equality Maryland's 9/7/11 event
Maryland Juice volunteered to photograph and videotape Equality Maryland's marriage campaign kickoff last week. Loads of (mostly MoCo) politicos turned up for the event, which in addition to raising money for the organization, honored Governor O'Malley and the four most visible candidates for 2014's Democratic gubernatorial primary: Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, Atty. Gen. Doug Gansler, Comptroller Peter Franchot and Howard County Exec. Ken Ulman. Unfortunately, Franchot and Ulman were unable to attend.

Maryland Juice captured video footage of all the speakers, including Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown and Attorney General Doug Gansler. We provide head-to-head footage of the gubernatorial candidates below, along with a photo gallery and the full roster of videos at the end of this post.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Another GOP Cog Defects: A Border Patrol Agent Speaks Out

Earlier this week, we pointed Maryland Juice readers toward an article written by a former GOP cog. The page-turner of a post is titled "Confessions of a GOP Operative: The Inside Story on Republican Sabotage." The article it discusses was written by a veteran Hill staffer who spent years working for Republicans. One observation from the author that we didn't highlight previously (but do below), is the perfect introduction to the topic of this post:
While Democrats temporized, or even dismissed the fears of the white working class as racist or nativist, Republicans went to work. To be sure, the business wing of the Republican Party consists of the most energetic outsourcers, wage cutters and hirers of sub-minimum wage immigrant labor to be found anywhere on the globe. But the faux-populist wing of the party, knowing the mental compartmentalization that occurs in most low-information voters, played on the fears of that same white working class to focus their anger on scapegoats that do no damage to corporations' bottom lines: instead of raising the minimum wage, let's build a wall on the Southern border (then hire a defense contractor to incompetently manage it). Instead of predatory bankers, it's evil Muslims. Or evil gays. Or evil abortionists.
Yes indeed, this blog is also prone to shouting about nativism. We are, after all, witnessing the exploitation of the recession as a motivator for unprecedented anti-immigrant animus. That's why I thought Monday's "Confessions of a GOP Operative" post would make a nice introduction to today's post. In what may just be a coincidence, yet another GOP cog has seen the light. This time it is a former border patrol agent:
John Randolph is a retired US Border Patrol/ICE Agent. In his twenty six year career, he worked as a US Border Patrol Agent, INS Criminal Investigator, and a DHS Special Agent assigned to the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force.

Maryland GOP Overspends, Can't Save Money // Plus, Meet GOP Chair Alex Mooney

UPDATE: A reader has pointed out that the totals we report below are from the parties' federal filings. The situation is even worse for the GOP when you factor in the Maryland finance reports. As of the January 19, 2011 filings, the Maryland GOP started the year with $430.66 cash-on-hand and $48,796.80 in debt. Compare that to the Democrats' $306,535.09 cash and zero debt.

Maryland's Republican Party, like much of the nation's GOP, has veered sharply to the extreme right. We've highlighted a few examples of this in recent weeks (ie: government privatization efforts in Frederick, Islamophobia in Montgomery, conservative anti-tax propaganda, etc). Much of this change is reflected in the state party's leadership, too. Enter Maryland Republican Party Chair Alex Mooney.

When Mooney campaigned to take control of the Maryland Republicans, he pledged to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to help candidates across the state. Below, we check in how he's doing midway through 2011 and highlight some fishy financial activity on Mr. Mooney's ledger. But first, Maryland Juice will provide a quick profile of Alex Mooney.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Sneak Preview: Montgomery County Executive // 2014's Rumored Candidates!

Gossiping about candidates for office is as much a ritual as eating giant turkey legs at the Renaissance Festival. Since we are so close to the 2014 Democratic Primary (only 1,010 days away), I thought it was about time to roll out a sneak preview of the 2014 race for Montgomery County Executive.

All joking aside, a lot of politicians are currently undergoing serious hand-wringing as they debate whether to run for the County's top spot. In the past, I always appreciated that Maryland Politics Watch's Adam Pagnucco provided a small information-dumping and vetting ground for party operators to find out more about prospective nominees. But now that he is employed in MoCo government, I thought I would take it upon myself to keep the information flow moving. After talking to several area politicos, I've drawn up an informal list of potential Democrats running for Montgomery County Executive in 2014. I lump them into three categories:

(1) signs of life, (2) rumors are circulating, (3) utter speculation

Obama Beating all Republicans in Maryland's Early Money Race

So far, Marylanders have donated a combined $1.4 million in contributions to all of the major presidential candidates. Out of that amount, Obama has received over $1 million from Marylanders -- ie: over double the roughly $390,000 received from Maryland donors by all of the Republican candidates combined. Our state is traditionally a major donor state, along with population-heavy states like California, New York, and Texas and or DC adjacent states like Virginia. Below, you can see a summary of Maryland's presidential giving by candidate, party and zip code. The information is courtesy of the FEC:

2012 Presidential Campaign Finance: Maryland

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

What Happens in Georgia Stays in Maryland: Trading Rep. Bartlett for Rep. Barrow

Republican operatives have a tendency to play victim when they are in the minority. Oftentimes, they feign an interest in good government or compromise (ie: "we need a fair redistricting process"). But when they are in power, we often realize there was never anything meek or defenseless about them.

There is no better example of Republicans' mercilessness than in redistricting. In Democratic states like Maryland, Republicans complain about run-of-the-mill gerrymandering. But in Republican states, the GOP has stooped to lower-and-lower levels, leaving Democrats to essentially fight a systematic extermination program. A prime example emerged from an AP report over the weekend:
Nearly 50 years ago, every congressman from the Deep South was a white Democrat.

Now the U.S. House has just one white Democrat from the five states that comprise the region: Georgia's John Barrow.

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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Business Leaders to Maryland: "Tax Cuts Cure Chlamydia" // Plus, More on MD's Millionaires Tax

UPDATE: Rockville Council candidate Tom Moore sent the following related story from the Onion - "Tea Party Congressman Calls For Tax Breaks To Put Out Raging Wildfire In District."

Can you guess which photo is Ellen Sauerbrey and which is Blanche Devereaux?
I've always been amazed at how knowledgeable people in the DC Metro area are about national affairs -- but it is sometimes a spectacle to see state and local politicians making decisions that would be far less certain votes for many federal-level Democrats.

For years, Democrats and activists at the national level have been pushing to undo the Bush-era tax cuts (ie: giveaways for the super-wealthy). I'm sure you've heard of the disappointment some still have that Obama was not able to deliver on similar progressive tax goals. But amazingly, in Democratic-controlled Maryland, the tax debates contain so much hesitation and fear about the impact on the super-rich.

Former Maryland Republican gubernatorial candidate Ellen Sauerbrey would be proud.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Confessions of a GOP Operative: The Inside Story on Republican Sabotage

I wanted to celebrate Labor Day by providing Maryland Juice readers with a new call to arms for Maryland Democrats, progressives, and anyone who continues to be baffled by the lunacy going on in the Republican Party. Stop being shocked and appalled. Stop assuming they are going to go away - they have more spiderholes to hide in than Saddam. Let's all start doing something. Now.

There is an incredibly well-crafted article that is making the email forwarding rounds right now in Democratic circles. The article in question, published Saturday on, discusses the long history of the GOP using sabotage of the federal government (which I would compare to treason) as their marketing tactic of choice. Many of the points are not new (ie: the deliberate starving of the federal tax base to force governments into anti-labor practices; the constant presence of an outsider group to scapegoat, etc).

Nevertheless, what makes the article fascinating (other than its well-stated arguments) is who wrote it:
Mike Lofgren retired on June 17 after 28 years as a Congressional staffer. He served 16 years as a professional staff member on the Republican side of both the House and Senate Budget Committees.
His article, a parting shot to his former demented masters, is headlined:
Goodbye to All That: Reflections of a GOP Operative Who Left the Cult

Friday, September 2, 2011

More Maryland vs. Virginia News: Labor, LGBT Rights, Immigrants and Jobs

Earlier this month, we posted a 2-part column noting that Maryland is now beating Virginia in job-creation -- and that growth is coming from the private sector (Part 1, Part 2).

Only a few days later, members of the business community ignored that development and testified to the Maryland Senate that the state still needs to do more to beat Virginia. Maryland Reporter wrote:
Jim Dinegar, president and CEO of the Greater Washington Board of Trade, talked about several large corporate headquarters that have left Maryland for Virginia, or chosen Virginia for its DC-area offices.

“Until you match the apple to that apple, and realize how deficient Maryland is in the things that are important to businesses, there are going to be other businesses” choosing Virginia over Maryland, he said.

And it doesn’t matter if Maryland seems to be climbing the ranks to appear more business friendly, either. Dinegar said that as long as Virginia – which has the reputation of being more business friendly, has a lower 6% corporate tax rate, and has fewer discussions about making changes to the tax code – is doing better than Maryland, Maryland will suffer. 

TODAY: Bob Barker on Kojo Nnamdi // Plus, Rockville Deer Story Blowing Up!

On Tuesday, we broke news about former Price is Right host Bob Barker's entry into Rockville, Maryland politics. Now that story is blowing up! Brief recap: Mr. Barker, an ardent animal rights activist, sent the Rockville Mayor and Council a letter protesting a proposed deer hunting ordinance.

Today (FRI 9/2), Bob Barker will appear on Kojo Nnamdi's Politics Hour. The show broadcasts at noon on WAMU 88.5 FM, and I have no doubt that the topic will be Rockville's deer hunting controversy. Kojo's announcement of Barker as a guest came via Facebook through the following teaser:

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Maryland Juice's Montgomery County Redistricting Testimony // Thanks, Red Maryland!

Today, Maryland Juice will submit testimony to the Montgomery County Redistricting Commission. As a reminder to the public, MoCo is holding a public hearing tonight on two competing County Council maps. Both proposals would re-draw the  boundaries of the county's five single member Council districts. One plan comes from the MoCo Republicans, while the other comes from their Democratic counterparts.

We previously analyzed the competing plans in a prior post entitled: Montgomery County Council Redistricting Review. Nevertheless, the basic summary is that the Democratic plan tinkers with the existing boundaries by swapping a few towns and neighborhoods between districts (ie: Poolesville, Kensington, Leisure World, etc). In contrast, the Republican plan is a laughable gerrymander that is the subject of my testimony below.

I am submitting this testimony at the request of GOP Blogger, Red Maryland's Brian Griffiths. In a June 26th post titled, "Redistricting Starts at Home," he put out the following call to action:
If you're not a resident of Anne Arundel County, I encourage you to look into your own local redistricting process and getting involved. This is where the rubber meets the road folks, so if you want to have an impact, this is a great place to start.
 I would also like to thank Red Maryland for providing me with much of the text for my testimony below: