Tuesday, July 31, 2012

CD6: Rep. Roscoe Bartlett & John Delaney Tied in New Poll // PLUS: Delaney Visits Israel, Reveals Immigration Views & More

As we get closer to the November 6th election day, Maryland 6th Congressional District battle is heating up. News outlets are reporting on new poll results in CD6 which show the race in a dead-heat. The survey was conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner on behalf of two Democratic allies, the House Majority PAC and SEIU.  National Journal reported this morning (excerpt below):

Friday, July 27, 2012

Gov. Martin O'Malley Announces Special Session for Aug. 9 // MoCo Leaders Held Heated Meeting to Debate Gambling

UPDATE: The Baltimore Sun last night reported that casino company MGM is no longer pursuing a tax cut for Maryland slot machines. The company is hoping to build a casino at Prince George's County's National Harbor, but had insisted that Maryland's 67% tax on slot machine revenue be lowered. Maryland lawmakers were then barraged with direct mail and calls from constituents complaining about lowering taxes on casino owners while ordinary residents were facing a tax increase. See an excerpt from The Baltimore Sun report below:
BALTIMORE SUN: The chief executive officer of MGM Resorts International, which wants to open a luxury casino at National Harbor, said Thursday that his company has dropped efforts to win tax breaks from the Maryland General Assembly to build a gambling palace at the Prince George's County site....

In an interview with The Baltimore Sun, Murren conceded the line of attack has resonated. "It has played very well," Murren said. "'Why give tax breaks to billionaire casino guys when you've raised my taxes?'"

SPECIAL GAMBLING SESSION AUGUST 9TH: Earlier this week, Maryland Juice broke news that the state legislators could expect to return to Annapolis for a special legislative session to debate gambling expansion. This morning, several Twitter users confirmed that Gov. Martin O'Malley announced that he would call the legislature back to work on August 9th. See the photo and Tweet from Maryland politico P. Kenneth Burns below:

Thursday, July 26, 2012

WHITE HOUSE 2016: Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley Launches Federal PAC // Make Checks Payable to "O Say Can You See" PAC

Roll Call reports that Gov. Martin O'Malley has launched a new federal PAC. Presumably, the effort is in furtherance of his presumed 2016 White House bid, and will allow him to continue building his national presence (excerpt below):

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

BREAKING: Maryland Democratic Leaders Reach Tentative Gambling Deal // August 8th Proposed for Special Session?

UPDATE: An anonymous legislator has indicated to Maryland Juice that they have been asked to clear the week of August 9-14. Additionally, news outlets are reporting that House Speaker Mike Busch is expecting Gov. O'Malley to call for a special session (see ie: Washington Examiner & Baltimore Sun).

GAMBLING SESSION FORTHCOMING: Maryland Juice is confirming that the State's Democratic leadership appears to have a struck a deal for a special gambling session. Governor Martin O'Malley, House Speaker Mike Busch and Senate President Mike Miller will likely imminently announce that around August 8th they will call Senators and Delegates back to Annapolis to try and place a gambling referendum on the ballot this November. I am receiving cautionary notes that the fragile deal could fall apart, so take these details with a grain of salt. But so far, it looks like things are moving forward. Sources indicate several issues are expected to be addressed in the new gambling push:

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Maryland Democrats File Legal Action to Stop GOP Referendum Against Congressional Districts // Online Signatures Invalid?

UPDATE: Opponents of the Maryland redistricting map note that the five plaintiffs who joined the Maryland Democrats' lawsuit are party activists. The named plaintiffs below range from DNC committee members to Democratic Central Committee members from various Maryland counties.

The Maryland Democratic Party has filed a legal action against the Maryland State Board of Elections alleging that they improperly certified the Republican-backed challenge to the State's new Congressional Districts. We previously reported that the GOP had succeeded in gathering enough petition signatures to subject Maryland's Congressional map to a repeal referendum this November.

Sen. Brian Frosh's Attorney General Bid Draws Senate Interest from Susan Lee & Others // PLUS: Delegate Candidates Emerge

UPDATE: I've made a few corrections and additions to the article below. First, one of my sources noted that she expected Kyle Lierman to look at the Senate vacancy, not the potential Delegate vacancy we rumored about earlier today. There is a certain logic to this, given that Lierman raised a good chunk of money in 2010 and might see advantages to a potentially smaller field for State Senate. He did, after all, lose his 2010 Delegate race by only 356 votes in a crowded field of 13. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Montgomery County Minorities Begin 2014 Political Organizing // Photos & Quotes: Numerous Elected Officials Seek Change

Karen Britto on Democratic candidate recruitment in 2014 and beyond: "We are stamping out the succession line."

BACKGROUND: Yesterday I had the opportunity to participate in a "People of Color" summit organized by former Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee Chair Karen Britto. This was the second such event Britto organized in recent months, and the gathering drew participation from a large chunk of MoCo's minority elected officials and political activists. As Britto stated in front of the audience of over one-hundred activists and officials, a broad outreach effort is needed for Montgomery County's minority communities. She noted that many are unaware that "the Democratic primary is the only game in Montgomery County. That is practically the whole election." Last March, we printed a press release describing the broad goals of the new electoral coalition (excerpt below):

Friday, July 20, 2012

Details on Sen. Brian Frosh's 2014 Attorney General Campaign // Analysis of Impact on Judiciary Committee & Senate Presidency

Yesterday we reported that State Senator Brian Frosh was plotting a run for Maryland Attorney General in 2014. Frosh, a Democrat, subsequently confirmed by email that he was indeed "exploring a race for AG" and "still reaching out to folks." That news set the pundit-class abuzz, as numerous politicos began pondering the implications of this move. Below we highlight a few notable analyses and comments about Senator Frosh's news.

GUN RIGHTS ADVOCATES WEIGH IN: Among the first to respond to the news was former Aberdeen Mayoral candidate Patrick McGrady, a Tea Partier. McGrady posted his thoughts about Frosh's AG bid on MDShooters.com, a gun-oriented site that describes itself as "Maryland's premiere shooting community." He raised red flags for gun-owners about Brian Frosh, and many responded with their thoughts:

Thursday, July 19, 2012

BREAKING: Senator Brian Frosh Plotting 2014 Run for Attorney General // FORECAST: Senate Vacancy & New Judiciary Chair?

GAMECHANGER: Several very credible sources are reporting that Maryland State Senator Brian Frosh is plotting a bid for Attorney General in 2014. The long-serving Democrat from Montgomery County-based District 16 is actively reaching out to his colleagues for early support in his bid for statewide office. Brian Frosh currently serves as Chair of the Senate's Judicial Proceedings Committee and is recognized as a progressive leader in the Senate. We expect him to receive broad support in a run for Attorney General.

IMPACT: Notably, Maryland Juice is also hearing rumors that Senator Jamie Raskin plans on remaining in the State Senate and is encouraging of Frosh's efforts. Raskin was widely rumored to be weighing a run for Attorney General earlier this year. Frosh's potential entry in the Attorney General field may put the squeeze on other potential MoCo candidates like State's Attorney John McCarthy and Delegate Bill Frick. We previously noted numerous other Democrats who were weighing the 2014 race, but we'll have to see how this development changes the field.

Outside of the impact on the 2014 candidate field, Frosh's entry in the Attorney General race also means there is likely going to be a District 16 State Senate vacancy in the near-future. That obviously also means that the Senate's judiciary committee will need a new Chair. As a result, Frosh's decision will have many ripple impacts that are not yet evident.

Maryland Juice continues to have issues with Frosh's squashing of an effort to expand student representation on the MoCo school board earlier this year. Nevertheless, so far it seems likely that he may be a progressive standard-bearer in the 2014 race. After all, his overall legislative record is pretty responsive to the Democratic primary voting base.

We will let you know more as the stories unfold!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

SPECIAL ELECTION: Jarrett Smith Wins Takoma Park City Council Seat // BACKDROP: Diversity, Endorsements & More

A COMPETITVE CITY COUNCIL ELECTION IN TAKOMA PARK YESTERDAY: For those of you who pay attention to Montgomery County municipal politics, we now have the results of a new election to present. Voters yesterday cast ballots to fill a vacancy on the six-member Takoma Park City Council. Last Spring, The Gazette's Aaron Kraut reported that Ward 5 Councilmember Reuben Snipper was resigning his seat to move to Italy with his wife:

Monday, July 16, 2012

Rebecca Lord: Rest in Peace // Longtime Silver Spring Activist & Democratic Politico Passed Away on Sunday

CD6: Pundits Smell Trouble for Rep. Roscoe Bartlett // Democrat John Delaney Seen as Likely Victor in Top Congressional Race

It might not surprise some to hear that several pundits are now beginning to proclaim Democrat John Delaney the frontrunner in the race for Maryland's 6th Congressional District (CD6). Indeed, over the last few days, some high profile political oddsmakers are predicting that Tea Party Rep. Roscoe Bartlett's days are numbered. See a few examples below and accept my apologies for the recent interruption of articles at Maryland Juice. I'm currently in the midst of launching a new project, which I hope to tell ya'll about soon. But that can wait -- back to the 6th Congressional District horse race for now:

6TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT RATED "LIKELY DEMOCRATIC" THIS NOVEMBER - UVA Professor Larry Sabato runs the school's Center for Politics, where he often publishes horse-race analyses and other punditry. Last Thursday, the Center's "Crystal Ball" blog changed the rating for CD6 from "leans Democratic" to "likely Democratic." Kyle Kondik, Sabato's U.S. House editor provided the following explanation (excerpt below):

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

BREAKING: Maryland Board of Elections Validates Enough Signatures for Referendum Challenge to Congressional Districts

DOUBLE-UPDATE: MOCO COUNCILMEMBER PHIL ANDREWS & A GOP ACTIVIST RESPOND: Montgomery County Councilmember Phil Andrews (a Democrat) provided the following response to the breaking redistricting news:
PHIL ANDREWS: The apparent success of the referendum drive to put the atrocious congressional district map on the ballot is a victory for the people of Maryland who will have the chance to force the Governor and the General Assembly to redraw a map that should have been dead on arrival.

Rep. Elijah Cummings Comes Out of Closet on Hesitation About Marriage Equality // Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger Still Hiding

PLUS: Rep. Elijah Cummings & Dutch Ruppersberger Reject DOMA Repeal Effort

As we get closer to the November showdown over marriage equality in Maryland, we are finding out more about the character of our members of Congress. We previously knew that six out of eight Democratic congressional nominees now support equality (John Delaney, Donna Edwards, Steny Hoyer, Wendy Rosen, John Sarbanes and Chris Van Hollen). We now know that Rep. Elijah Cummings and Dutch Ruppersberger do not appear to support full civil rights for LGBT families or the repeal of DOMA  - *rolling my eyes*

CD6: Dream Act Activists Host Town Hall with John Delaney // MONDAY: Congressional Candidate Fields Questions from #JSA

Next Monday, a group of student activists and Dream Act advocates are hosting a Town Hall meeting with 6th Congressional District Democratic nominee John Delaney. You are invited to attend this event and find out more about where Mr. Delaney stands on key issues (details below).

Town Hall with Congressional Candidate John Delaney
Monday, July 16, 2012 at 7:00 - 9:00 pm

Montgomery College Rockville Campus
Room Number: Technical Center 136

JuiceBlender: Federal Court Kills MoCo & Baltimore Abortion Laws, Police Union Referendum Rejected, More Costco Debate

Below Maryland Juice flags a few stories and updates you may have missed, starting with news coverage of a recent legal battle in the pro-choice vs. anti-abortion debate. Some of these controversies are not yet settled, so we'll let you know how they go (see below):

JUICE #1: FEDERAL COURT OVERTURNS MOCO & BALTIMORE REGULATION OF ANTI-CHOICE CLINICS - In 2010 the Montgomery County Council passed a law intending to prevent anti-abortion centers from providing misleading information to visitors. The law, which was proposed by former Councilmember Duchy Trachtenberg, required the centers to post signs noting that they did not employ staff with medical licenses and to therefore consider seeing a medical professional. Baltimore City around the same time also adopted a similar law. The Washington Post reports that a federal appellate court struck down both the MoCo and B'more laws (excerpt below):

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Maryland Republicans on Verge of Subjecting Congressional Districts to November Voter Repeal Effort // WHAT NOW?


Maryland's Republican activists are on the verge of validating enough signatures to subject the state's new Congressional districts to a repeal referendum. This is a strange twist in the formation of our new political boundaries, as we may see yet another GOP-led referendum on the ballot this November. The Dream Act and marriage equality repeal efforts both earned enough petition signers to make it onto the ballot, and it appears the redistricting challenge may be following close behind.

Friday, July 6, 2012

STATUS UPDATE: 57% of Signatures for Redistricting Challenge Checked: So Far 10.4% Are Invalid // THIS COULD BE CLOSE

UPDATE: At the current stage of reporting, there are 13,318 more petition signatures to validate, and opponents of Maryland's Congressional districts only need 9,036 more valid signatures. That means almost a third of the remaining signatures could be invalid, and the GOP will have succeeded at meeting its goal. What next?

A source has pointed out that Maryland's Board of Elections posted a status updated on the challenge to the State's redistricting plan. Maryland Republicans spent the last few weeks in a frenzied effort to gather enough signatures to subject Governor O'Malley's redistricting plan to a referendum this November.

According to The Bay Net, opponents of the redistricting plan need 55,736 valid signatures, and they turned in 65,722 to meet that goal. That gives them a cushion that allows for 9,986 of their signatures to be invalid (ie: roughly 15.2%). Right now 57% of the signatures submitted (or 37,637 of the 65,722) have been looked over by the Board of Elections, and there are 3,925 invalid signatures. That means their invalid rate is currently 10.4%. This is slightly higher than the 9.1% invalid rate that the opponents earlier in the process, but it is pretty far from their 15.2% cushion.

See the current state of the petition validation below, including a County-by-County breakdown:

Maryland Redistricting Challenge - Signature Validation Status 7/5/2012

FLYER: Building Union Tells Legislators MD Can't Wait for PG Casino at National Harbor // O'Malley Punts Special Session

In late June, Maryland Juice posted video and radio ads from the Building Trades Union calling for a Prince George's County casino. The group is now back with a new flyer calling for the National Harbor casino to proceed quickly (see below). A source indicates that the argument below was emailed to Maryland's legislators yesterday, seemingly in response to a recent announcement from Governor O'Malley that there would be no special gambling session in the immediate future. But The Washington Post's John Wagner last night reported that there might still be a special session later in the summer (excerpt below):
WASHINGTON POST: Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) has decided against calling a special legislative session on expanded gambling for next week but is expected to announce Friday that he will continue to seek consensus on a plan that could be enacted this summer, according to a person close to the deliberations....

We previously reported that members of the House of Delegates had tanked efforts to expand gaming in Maryland. A source indicated that a plan to issue tax cuts for casino owners become a sticking point. But the labor group, called "Building Trades for National Harbor" is arguing that Maryland can't wait until January to discuss a gambling expansion. See their flyer below:

Building Trades Union Flyer Promoting Prince George's, MD Casino

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

VIDEO: Undocumented Students Go Public for MD's Dream Act

One side-effect of President Obama's recent decision to halt the deportation of undocumented youths, is that many students who previously lived double-lives are able to speak out about their plight. Even before Obama's decision, some students boldly stepped forward to defend themselves, such as those in the JSA Movement.

Today, Educating Maryland Kids released a new video with statements from a number of undocumented students who are stepping forward to urge Marylanders to support the Dream Act this November. The video message comes with a sign-up form for residents to pledge to "vote for" the Dream Act.



Monday, July 2, 2012

Dream Act Updates: Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown Tells His Family Story // Montgomery College Video Defends Dream Act

Last week, Maryland Juice reported that the Board of Trustee's at Montgomery College (MoCo's public college system) endorsed a "Vote For" the Maryland Dream Act this November. Today also released a video explaining their support (Hat tip: MoCo Councilmember Navarro):

Meanwhile, Lt. Governor Anthony Brown today published an op. ed. in The Washington Post. In the lengthy piece, he explains his support for the Dream Act and discusses his own family's immigration history in the United States (excerpt below):
ANTHONY BROWN (Washington Post): Last month, President Obama announced that the United States will no longer deport law-abiding undocumented young people who were brought to this country before the age of 16, have lived here for five consecutive years and are pursuing higher education or military service. Instead, they will be eligible for temporary work permits, helping them to come out of the shadows of our society and participate more fully in our economy....

These are students who have lived in our communities and paid Maryland taxes. Yet the opponents who are bringing this issue to a referendum in November are taking a shortsighted view that ignores all that these hardworking young people can contribute to our state and nation....

My grandmother came to this country and served as a domestic worker, even for a time without proper documentation. She did this so that my father could become the first member of our family to go to college. He repaid that debt of gratitude by becoming a doctor and dedicating himself to serving those most in need in some of the poorest neighborhoods where I grew up....

Read the rest of Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown's piece at The Washington Post.

SMALL WORLD: Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot's Daughter Works for CD6 Candidate John Delaney's Company

An astute Maryland Juice reader just sent us a news tidbit that reminds us of what a small world we live in. It turns out that Comptroller Peter Franchot's daughter has worked for businessman John Delaney at his company CapitalSource since 2008:

Notably, Peter Franchot was an early endorser of John Delaney in his successful bid for the 6th Congressional District Democratic nomination this April.

Marriage Equality Battle: Fox News Baltimore's Anti-LGBT Robocall, Del. Parrott's $74K Bill for Marriage Repeal & More

A few interesting reports surrounding Maryland marriage equality have recently emerged. Below, Maryland Juice discusses a few of the notable developments, including fundraising updates and more details on Fox News Baltimore's campaign against LGBT rights. We begin with a video from members of SEIU's 1199 pledging to defend marriage equality:


UPDATE #2: DETAILS ON FOX NEWS BALTIMORE'S ANTI-LGBT ROBOCALL - Several weeks ago, Maryland Juice wrote about a push-poll that Fox News Baltimore was conducting against Governor O'Malley and marriage equality. WBFF Fox 45 attempted to disguise their hit-piece as an opinion poll, but the call was obviously intending to promote a rightwing agenda. This is consistent with Fox News Baltimore's previous controversy where they placed a petition link on their homepage encouraging readers to help repeal marriage equality.

The Baltimore Sun's David Zurawik recently managed to dig up additional details about the source of their recent robocall, and it appears to be part of a national campaign against marriage equality (excerpt below):
BALTIMORE SUN: In May, I reported on Baltimore-area homes receiving mysterious robocalls voiced by WBFF anchorman Jeff Barnd asking residents a series of questions about Lyme disease, same-sex marriage and the alleged agenda of Gov. Martin O'Malley....

I have since been able to confirm that the name of the company is ccAdvertising, of Centreville, Va. And from its website, the firm appears to be heavily engaged in right-wing politics, including push polling in at least one state against same-sex ballot initiatives like the one Maryland is expected to have in the fall.

The firm's website lists among its clients Grover Norquist's American's for Tax Reform, the Alaska Republican Party and Answers in Genesis....

UPDATE #3: MARRIAGE EQUALITY SUPPORTERS RAISE FAR MORE IN-STATE MONEY THAN ANTI-LGBT GROUP - A source within the Marylanders for Marriage Equality campaign is highlighting the fact that they appear to be raising far more money from actual Marylanders than the anti-LGBT campaigners. Maryland Juice previously noted that almost all of the so-called "Maryland Marriage Alliance" money came from outside of Maryland, while 7 in 10 donors were non-Marylanders. The marriage equality proponents provide a quick update:
MARYLANDERS FOR MARRIAGE EQUALITY: In just one day, we've raised more from Maryland citizens than our opponents did in the last month. We've seen a lot of energy and excitement around this, and could use help pushing this effort far and wide. MD's LGBT Caucus matched donations made this week. Join us to defend equality for all loving, committed families in Maryland. http://bit.ly/keepthemomentum

UPDATE #4: IS MARYLAND DEL. NEIL PARROTT PROFITING FROM ANTI-CIVIL RIGHTS EFFORT? - A couple of Maryland Juice readers pointed us to another story related to the finances of the anti-LGBT rights campaigners. In particular, they note that The Baltimore Sun's Annie Linskey reported that the so-called "Maryland Marriage Alliance" -- which is running the marriage equality repeal effort - is thousands of dollars in debt. Moreover, they owe over $74,000 to MDpetitions.com, the website run by Republican State Legislator Neil Parrott. See an excerpt from The Sun article below:
BALTIMORE SUN: ...The Maryland Marriage Alliance raised a mere $5,000 in the past month -- and owes $88,000 to various vendors. The biggest unpaid bill, $74,000, is to MDPetitions.com, the outfit run by Del. Neil Parrott. The group also owes about $5,000 in legal fees.

Dereck McCoy, the executive director of the Maryland Marriage Alliance, said he expects to clear up the bills shortly....

This article prompted some of our readers to wonder whether Delegate Parrott was profiting from his rightwing advocacy. Indeed, we will be curious to see whether MDpetitions.com spends the funds it raises on its campaigns, or whether those involved will enrich themselves by trying to gut civil rights protections in Maryland.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

CRAZYTALK: Rep. Roscoe Bartlett Compares Supreme Court Obamacare Ruling to Dred Scott Decision Upholding Slavery

PLUS: Tea Party Delegate Mike Smigiel Spouts Birther Nonsense

A few days ago, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld key provisions of President Obama's health care plan, more commonly known as Obamacare. A number of Maryland politicos have issued statements responding to the groundbreaking high court ruling (see a roundup of comments at Maryland Reporter), but Maryland Congressman Roscoe Bartlett's statement may just beat them all. The Tea Party member issued an absolutely ridiculous press statement comparing the Supreme Court's health care ruling to the Dred Scott decision that upheld slavery in America. Slavery?!? WTF. 
REP. ROSCOE BARTLETT: “All that is legal is not moral.  This same Supreme Court at a different time in history and different justices handed down the Dred Scott decision.  I doubt there is a single justice today that would believe the Dred Scott decision was either moral or constitutional.  I believe that future analysts will view this Supreme Court decision in the same light.  We are a constitutional republic and respect the judicial process; however, I believe that Obamacare will be reversed by the people in November who strongly disagree with the Court’s decision regarding the individual mandate.

The Supreme Court decision does not fix Obamacare which threatens to explode our deficit, does nothing to rein in skyrocketing health care costs, and includes new job killing taxes.   I remain committed to working with colleagues from both parties on common sense reforms to  eliminate these disastrous effects while fixing the pre-existing condition problem, retaining coverage for post adolescent children still in school and perhaps most important, a providing meaningful solution to the litigation cases excesses,” said Congressman Roscoe G. Bartlett (MD-6).

BACKGROUND: Maryland's 6th Congressional District Rep. Roscoe Bartlett is in the toughest race of his multi-decade career. After this year's redistricting, CD6 became significantly more Democratic, and now John Delaney -- a deep-pocketed multimillionaire with lots of rich donor friends -- has won the Democratic nomination. Bartlett's district now includes a very large contingent of voters from the Dems' stronghold in Montgomery County, so you would think he would try to moderate some of the crazy in the Maryland GOP. Not so -- Roscoe Bartlett appears determined to double-down on the Tea Party's talking points. Beyond Bartlett's ridiculous statement about Obamacare, he has also issued recent statements attacking immigrants and adopted the evangelical rightwing position on marriage equality.

Maryland Juice has repeatedly highlighted the long-term problems the State's GOP seems to be creating for itself. All of this crazytalk coming from Republican elected officials will make it impossible for them to ever win more than a small percentage of the state's offices. See another example below.

BONUS CRAZYTALK: DEL. MIKE SMIGIEL SPOUTS BIRTHER NONSENSE - After President Obama announced that his administration would stop pursuing the deportation of young undocumented residents, Maryland Delegate Mike Smigiel revealed just how much of an idiot he is. Following a long-line of debunked "birther" stupidity from conspiracy theorists, Smigiel attacked Obama's citizenship status by suggesting he is not a citizen:

This is getting really old.

JuiceBlender: Del. Kaiser to Replace Feldman as MoCo Chair, Ruppersberger Exits House Committee, Glenn Ivey News & More

Here's a random blend of political tidbits from recent news, mostly involving Maryland politicos entering or leaving various positions of interest.

JUICE #1: DEL. ANNE KAISER TO SUCCEED BRIAN FELDMAN AS MOCO HOUSE DELEGATION CHAIR - In the last week or so, a few Maryland politicos mentioned that Delegate Brian Feldman (District 15) had stepped down as the Chair of the Montgomery County delegation. Most sources indicated that Delegate Anne Kaiser (District 14) would be ascending as the MoCo House delegation Chair. The Washington Post's Victor Zapana confirmed these rumors in coverage of Feldman's departure (excerpt below):
WASHINGTON POST: Del. Brian J. Feldman (D-Montgomery) will step down as chair of the Montgomery County delegation of the House of Delegates, a key county leadership post in the state legislature, he said in an interview Wednesday.

Feldman, who has served as chair for five years, said he will relinquish the position after a successor is elected July 17. Del. Anne R. Kaiser (D-Montgomery), a top leader in the House of Delegates, is the likely candidate to win, according to two state officials and a county official who were granted anonymity to speak freely about the election....
Notably, Delegate Feldman had been toying with running for Comptroller or State Senate in 2014. Both plans seem to be contingent upon the 2014 plans of those currently holding those positions (ie: Comptroller Peter Franchot and State Senator Rob Garagiola, respectively).

Click Image to Read Button
JUICE #2: REP. DUTCH RUPPERSBERGER STEPS DOWN FROM ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE - Meanwhile, on the Congressional level, Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger has apparently stepped down from his position on the House of Representative's Armed Services Committee. Its probably just as well, because it seemed that Maryland's Democrat saw his post as more of a cheerleading role than an oversight role, as often happens with members of Congress who have military bases in their districts. The Baltimore Sun's John Fritze reported on the development (excerpt below):
BALTIMORE SUN: Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, the Baltimore County Democrat who represents two of Maryland's largest military installations, is stepping down from the House Armed Services Committee effective immediately, his office confirmed Tuesday.

Ruppersberger, who was named to the committee last year, is making way for Rep. Ron Barber, an Arizona Democrat sworn in last week to replace Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Giffords resigned in January to focus on her recovery from a gunshot wound last year....

JUICE #3: O'MALLEY APPOINTS GLENN IVEY CHAIR OF MD LEGAL SERVICES CORPORATION - Gov. Martin O'Malley has appointed Glenn Ivey the new Chair of Maryland's Legal Services Corporation (MLSC). Notably, Mr. Ivey was the former Prince George's County State's Attorney and mounted an exploratory effort for the 4th Congressional District race earlier this year. See the brief announcement from Glenn Ivey's lawfirm, Venable:
VENABLE: Venable partner, and former Prince George’s County State’s Attorney, Glenn Ivey was appointed Chairman of the Maryland Legal Services Corporation’s (MLSC) Board of Directors. Retired Venable Partner and Past Chair Ben Civiletti was the founding Chairman of the MLSC.

Established by the Maryland General Assembly in 1982, the Maryland Legal Services Corporation raises funds and makes grants to nonprofit organizations for the provision of civil legal assistance to low-income persons in Maryland. The MLSC is governed by a nine-person Board of Directors appointed by the Governor of Maryland and confirmed by the Maryland Senate.

JUICE #4: O'MALLEY ELEVATES INTERIM APPOINTEE AS SECRETARY OF HIGHER EDUCATION - Governor O'Malley recently named Dr. Danette Howard Maryland’s Secretary of Higher Education. The Anne Arundel County resident has been serving in the role as an interim stand-in for almost a year now, so this simply makes permanent the status quo. The Governor's blog provided some details (excerpt below):
GOVERNOR O'MALLEY: ...“We are pleased that Danette has chosen to continue her outstanding work in our Administration,” said Governor O’Malley. “Her dedication to creating innovative programs and years of expertise in higher education are essential to helping more Marylanders attend and complete college. We believe that under her leadership, we can build on the progress we’ve made to eliminate barriers to completion and help students obtain the skills and education they need to compete and win in the New Economy.”

“I am grateful to be given the opportunity to continue to serve the people of Maryland as Secretary of Higher Education,” said Dr. Howard. “I am looking forward to helping the Administration move toward its higher education attainment goal.”

The O’Malley-Brown Administration has set an aggressive goal that at least 55 percent of adult Marylanders will hold at least one post-secondary degree or credential by 2025....

Notably, the high profile roles of Transportation Secretary and Labor Secretary are currently unfilled with permanent appointees. Maryland Juice is awaiting news of who the potential replacements might be!

Maryland GOP Meets Deadline to Submit Signatures to Repeal Congressional Districts // Next Step: Validating Signatures

DOUBLE-UPDATE: See the latest numbers in a new post.

UPDATE: The Baltimore Sun's Annie Linskey reports that the petitioners have turned in 7,294 more signatures than the 55,736 required. Note that the first batch of anti-marriage equality petitions had a 6% invalid rate, and the first batch of redistricting petitions had a 9% invalid rate. This may be a nail-biter when they start validating these signatures!

A knowledgeable Maryland Juice reader informs us that last night, Republican activists and officials met the deadline to submit signatures to subject the State's new Congressional Districts to a referendum. As of now, there is no guarantee that the GOP has succeeded, as the Board of Elections still needs to validate the signatures. Our source indicates it is possible that the petitioners may have submitted fewer than 10% more signatures than needed. The actual number submitted is fairly important, given that historically, a percentage of signatures submitted to qualify referenda will have defects (ie: not a registered voter, or not enough information provided to validate the voter).

Our source provided the following photo from the Board of Elections last night. Maryland GOP Chair Alex Mooney is in the pink striped shirt, and Delegate Neil Parrott is in the bright red polo shirt at center:

PHOTO CREDIT: Stephanie Cooper, Redistricting State Coordinator of MDPetition.com

The Associated Press reported last night (excerpt below):
ASSOCIATED PRESS: Opponents of Maryland’s congressional redistricting map hope they have submitted enough signatures to put the map on the ballot to give voters a chance to reject it, but it’s unclear if they have succeeded....

Delegate Neil Parrot, R-Washington, said in a statement late Saturday that he is optimistic about the result, but opponents are going to wait until Monday to talk about how many signatures they have handed in, out of respect for severe storms that hit Maryland on Friday night....

We'll provide an update on the status of the signature validation effort when we next hear from the GOP.