Sunday, September 30, 2012

RUMORS // Surprising Candidates Emerge to Replace Retiring MD House Members: Delegates Justin Ross & Liz Bobo

Adam Ortiz
TRIPLE-UPDATE: Another Maryland Juice reader adds a name to the list of possible candidates for Del. Justin Ross' District 12 House seat:
  • Kisha Brown, a staff member of the Attorney Generals office

DOUBLE-UPDATE: A Maryland Juice reader adds one more name to the list of possible candidates for Del. Liz Bobo's District 12 House seat:
Jason Booms, a pollster and former Republican turned Democrat

UPDATE: An anonymous source adds one more name to our list of possible District 22 appointees. Our source is hearing some buzz around the following name :
Adam Ortiz, the former Mayor of Edmonston and a member of P.G. County Exec. Rushern Baker's staff.



DISTRICT 22 HOUSE CANDIDATES: Last week, Delegate Justin Ross stunned Maryland politicos by announcing his mid-term retirement from the Maryland House. The Prince George's County Democrat's departure will now trigger an appointment process to fill his District 22 House seat for the remainder of his term. A knowledgeable source has informed Maryland Juice that several Prince George's Democrats' names are now circulating as possible appointees to replace Justin Ross in the legislature. Maryland Juice found this list a bit surprising at first, but upon second thought it makes sense. See further discussion below:
  • Will Campos, Prince George's County Councilmember (District 2)
  • Alonzo Washington, Will Campos' Chief of Staff
  • David Sloan, Maryland Democratic Party Executive Director
  • Adam Ortiz, former Edmonston Mayor

Note that Will Campos is facing term limits for his County Council seat in 2014. Even more interesting is that Campos currently lives in District 22, but after the 2014 redistricting kicks in, he will be moved to District 47B.


APPOINTMENT PROCESS FOR D22 VACANCY: Because Delegate Ross is not finishing out his full four-year term, there is over a year until voters will next elect a District 22 House member. In such an instance, the Prince George's County Democratic Central Committee will appoint a temporary House member to replace the vacant D22 seat.

Under Article III, Section 13, of the Maryland Constitution, the Governor is responsible for filling the legislative vacancy within 30 days after the vacancy is created (November 9). The Prince George's Democratic Central Committee shall submit a name to the Governor for the vacancy within the same 30 day period. If the Central Committee doesn't act by the deadline, the Governor will appoint a Democrat within 15 days.

Some are asking whether the new legislative districts or the old lines will be in place for the appointment. Sources indicate that the old lines will be likely used (pending confirmation from attorneys). If this is correct, Will Campos would have to move in order to run for re-election, should he be selected to replace Justin Ross.


JUSTIN ROSS RESIGNATION HIGHLIGHTS STAGNANT HOUSE LEADERSHIP DYNAMICS: Ever since Justin Ross announced his sudden resignation from the Maryland House, numerous legislators have privately blasted the stagnant leadership dynamics in the State legislature. The Washington Post's John Wagner made the following observation when announcing Ross' retirement (excerpt below):
WASHINGTON POST: Though Ross attributed his decision to leave mid-term to his family and business situations, some colleagues noted that other leadership opportunities in the House have been limited. That is due in part to several veteran committee chairmen whose continued service in the chamber has limited upward movement among younger delegates....
GRAYING LEGISLATIVE LEADERS CLINGING TO POWER: Indeed, most members of leadership in Maryland's House and Senate have served for decades in the same positions. Occasionally some of the smaller leadership positions have changed hands and legislative leaders have sometimes invented fake leadership positions to placate the rank and file. But the reality is that the top spots have been occupied by the same gang of graying party bosses for many years. Given that not a single top legislative leader has decided to retire, talented Democrats are dropping off like flies, just so that leadership can cling to power for another four years. In fact, both Senate President Mike Miller and House Speaker Mike Busch shored up their re-election prospects in the last round of redistricting. Those line changes caused a lot of groaning among their colleagues.

And now veteran lawmakers who have been loyal to leadership for years are all packing their bags. Meanwhile, younger, ambitious legislators are become increasingly frustrated with the lack of upward mobility in the Maryland Assembly. Just look at the number of legislators who are contemplating leaving to run for another office in 2014. After Justin Ross' resignation, Maryland Juice received a number of private complaints about these dynamics from politicos. The truly disappointing aspect of this problem is that nobody seems to want to do anything about it. Instead everyone seems to be giving up and is content to leave things be. They seem to not see the massive turnover in both the House and Senate that is possible in 2014....


UPDATE ON DISTRICT 12 HOUSE CANDIDATES: A few weeks ago, Maryland Juice wrote about District 12 Delegate Liz Bobo's planned retirement from the Maryland House. Unlike Delegate Ross, Bobo plans to finish out her term until the next election. But already, a number of names are circulating as potential candidates for her seat in 2014. See a quick round-up from the rumor-mill below:
  • Mary Kay Sigaty (Howard County Councilmember)
  • Janet Siddiqui (Howard County Board of Education member)
  • Alan Klein (ran against Sigaty in 2010 in primary; backed by Bobo and lost)
  • Terri Hill (Doctor Ethel Hill's daughter. Ethel is president of HoCo Thurgood Marshall group)
  • Dylan Goldberg (works for HoCo delegate in Annapolis, Young Dem)
  • Lee Richardson (Chair of the Town Center Community association) 
  • Anne De Lacy (HoCo Board of Education candidate)
  • Jahantab Siddiqui (former Mikulski aide, nephew of Janet Siddiqui)
  • Clarence Lam (Doctor, HoCo Community Action Council Chair, HoCo Dem Central Committee member, DNC Delegate, President of HoCo Young Dems, community activist)
  • Jason Booms (pollster and former Republican turned Democrat)

MARYLAND DEMS: Get an Obama + Dream Act + Marriage Equality Lawnsign // 1st Batch Sold Out, 2nd Round Here Soon



FIRST BATCH OF LAWNSIGNS SOLD OUT: A few months ago Maryland Juice (aka David Moon) decided to launch a messaging experiment to encourage Maryland's Obama voters to "vote for" marriage equality (Question 6) and the Dream Act (Question 4) in Maryland. I printed and distributed as many of the lawnsigns above as the FEC would allow as an independent expenditure, but I sold out of these signs soon after the recent Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. Many thanks to the following groups/individuals for helping distribute these signs throughout MoCo, Baltimore and Prince George's counties: Progressive Cheverly, Del. Shane Robinson, Takoma Park Mayor Bruce Williams, Baltimore area LGBT activists, and many others. But in spite of our best efforts, the haters are rapidly distributing a boat-load of the nasty lawnsigns above.

SECOND BATCH OF LAWNSIGNS COMING SOON & ALMOST SOLD OUT: Thankfully, a high school friend of mine (and Bethesda-Chevy Chase area activist) Michael Sriqui is sponsoring another round of lawnsigns as his own independent expenditure. I'm told the signs will be arriving shortly, and already groups and elected officials are reserving these signs by the dozens. If you are interested in finding out how to obtain these signs, email david@marylandjuice.com or fill out the form below. Someone will contact you once the signs have arrived:

VIDEOS: Samuel Jackson & Sarah Silverman on Romney & Voter Fraud // PLUS: O'Malley's Speech to Iowa Dems & More

Below Maryland Juice provides four videos related to the November 6th presidential election (and beyond). The first two film clips come from movie star Samuel Jackson and comedian Sarah Silverman. Both celebrities use humor to mock GOP "voter fraud" propaganda and Mitt Romney's agenda.

Below, we also include a video of Gov. Martin O'Malley's recent speech to Iowa Democrats. Notably, O'Malley is obviously interested in a 2016 White House run, and Senator Tom Harkin's Iowa "Steak Fry" has for decades been an early stop for presidential contenders.

We round out our series of videos with the latest web video from the Marylanders for Marriage Equality campaign. The message below features an interview with a Catholic couple who urge Free State voters to support a "vote for" marriage equality (Question 6) this November.

Note: some of the content below is "not safe for work" (aka NSFW). If you have an aversion to swearing, you've been warned!
 
VIDEO #1 - Samuel Jackson: Wake the F**K Up (NSFW)



 
VIDEO #2 - Sarah Silverman: Let My People Vote 2012 (NSFW)



 
VIDEO #3 - Gov. Martin O'Malley's Speech at Sen. Tom Harkin's Steak Fry



VIDEO #4 - Marylanders for Marriage Equality: The Nugent Family Story

Saturday, September 29, 2012

U.S. SENATE BATTLE: Independent Rob Sobhani Targets Moco With Direct Mail // PLUS: Dan Bongino's New Spanish Web Ad

PLUS: BEN CARDIN & DAN BONGINO MAY INVITE ROB SOBHANI TO DEBATE

The battle for U.S. Senate in Maryland is beginning to heat up, but new polls indicate the real fight appears to be for second place. Incumbent Democrat Ben Cardin is way ahead in the polls, but independent Rob Sobhani and Republican challenger Dan Bongino are currently tied for second.

Today Maryland Juice received campaign ads from both Rob Sobhani and Dan Bongino. You can see both ads below, along with an update on whether Rob Sobhani will be invited to debates with his GOP and Democratic competitors.

U.S. SENATE AD #1: ROB SOBHANI TARGETS MOCO WITH DIRECT MAIL - Today Maryland Juice received a postcard from independent U.S. Senate candidate Rob Sobhani. In the new ad, Sobhani argues that "Montgomery County is the key to jump starting Maryland's Economy." This mail campaign comes at the same time that Sobhani is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on television advertising. Read Sobhani's appeal to MoCo voters below:
U.S. Senate Candidate Rob Sobhani's Montgomery County Direct Mail


U.S. SENATE AD #2: GOP CANDIDATE DAN BONGINO RELEASES SPANISH-LANGUAGE VIDEO AD - Yesterday, a Maryland Juice reader forwarded (via Twitter) the following new video ad from Republican candidate Dan Bongino. Notably, the ad is in Spanish and features Bongino's wife (who was born in Colombia). The ad also comes with the following text:
DAN BONGINO: Dan Bongino, candidato a senador de los Estados Unidos para Maryland presentó hoy un video donde aparece su esposa, Paula, una ciudadana Americana nacida en Cali,Colombia.

Dan y su esposa, Paula, forman parte de una nueva generación de republicanos en este ciclo de elecciones que creen apasionadamente que el futuro de los Estados Unidos se encuentra en el espíritu emprendedor y en la dedicación incansable para un futuro mejor.

"Paula es una madre y esposa afectuosa, y una orgullosa Americana", afirma Dan. "El juramento a nuestra bandera en la ceremonia de su ciudadanía fue uno de los días más importantes en nuestras vidas. Estamos construyendo campaña en todas las comunidades diversas de Maryland, para que los ciudadanos se den cuenta que un cambio verdadero y un futuro mejor están a la vuelta de la esquina".

Paula Bongino es una inmigrante de primera generación, que con su constante determinación y su árduo trabajo logró alcanzar el sueño Americano. Es una consultora de diseño de sitios web y propietaria de una pequeña empresa. Paula cria a sus dos hijas, Isabel y Amelia, en Severna Park.



DEBATE UPDATE: SOBHANI CAN ATTEND IF THERE IS PUBLIC INTEREST - NBC News reports that Democrat Ben Cardin and Republican Dan Bongino are willing to invite independent Rob Sobhani to candidate debates, but only "if there is enough public interest." We previously reported that Sobhani felt he should be included after a new poll showed him tied with Bongino. Watch the news clip below:




MORE ON MARYLAND'S U.S. SENATE BATTLE SOON!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Delegate Justin Ross to Resign from Maryland House // Prince George's Democrat to Vacate District 22 Seat on November 9

Sources are buzzing that Delegate Justin Ross is apparently resigning from the Maryland House of Delegates as of November 9th. Ross is a Democrat who represents House District 22 in Prince George's County. A reader forwarded us the following email announcement:
Del. Justin Ross
JUSTIN ROSS: I am writing to tell you that after 10 amazing years representing you in the Maryland House of Delegates that I will be retiring on November 9th to spend more time with my lovely wife, my 4 beautiful children, and to concentrate on giving back to Prince George’s County as a private citizen and as a member of the business community. Words cannot possibly express the gratitude I feel for the opportunities that you have given me. Representing my hometown in the legislature over the past decade has truly been a dream come true. 

Together, we have been part of some important political battles back in Prince George’s County, as well as some truly historic votes in Annapolis. I have had the pleasure of meeting some of the most committed neighborhood activists around, as well as serving with some of the most honorable public servants, Democrats and Republicans. The experience was a true gift, in every sense of the word, so please allow me just a couple of thoughts that I would like to share.

SNEAK PREVIEW: Divisive Direct Mail Propaganda & Lawnsigns From MD Marriage Equality Opponents // SCANNED IMAGES

An anonymous source reveals that the obsessive, anti-LGBT lobby in Maryland is continuing to use divisive, hate-mongering tactics to try and stop marriage equality at the ballot this November. They have formed a new ballot issue committee called Jump the Broom for Marriages, which appears to be run by relatives of Bob Ehrlich's disgraced robocall consultant, Julius Henson (see filing documents at bottom of post). Our source provides the following commentary about this group and their disgraceful new propaganda campaign:
ANONYMOUS SOURCE: See attached files for materials from the press packet being prepared by an anti-marriage equality group - Jump the Broom for Marriages.  They have filed with MD Board of Elections as a Ballot Issue Committee.  Interesting to note that the Treasurer for the Committee is Raymond Henson, who I was told is a relative of Julius Henson (who worked for Ehrlich's 2010 gubernatorial campaign and was responsible for the "stay at home" robocall on election night). 

Attached you will find correspondences and pics of the lawn signs they are offering and pics of the glossy 9" x 4"mailers that are targeted at various demographic groups.  Note that the mailers include some truly perjorative pitches -- one shows scantily clad marchers in a Pride parade, another shows a group of babies who seem confused about their parents' gender.  The others include a pitch to Afr Amer, Latinos; cowboys who love big busty women and young caucasians.

A press packet for the anti-civil rights group is included below (scroll to bottom), but it notes the following goals for Jump the Broom for Marriages (excerpt below):
JUMP THE BROOM FOR MARRIAGES: Jump the Broom for Marriages is a Maryland Ballot Issue Committee formed to run a political campaign to encourage Maryland voters to vote against--and defeat--the same-sex. marriage ballot referendum. The referendum will appear on the Maryland ballot as Question 6 in the 2012 Presidential Election. This referendum is titled "Marriage Equality," but we know that same-sex marriages are counterfeit marriages. You share our belief that this gay and lesbian agenda runs counter to God's intentions....

In order to successfully defeat the same-sex marriage ballot referendum, we need to mobilize voters, particularly the African American community in Maryland. While we believe that a concentrated campaign must be waged statewide to all voters, the final outcome-success or failure -- will be determined in the African American precincts of Baltimore City, and of Prince George's, Baltimore, Howard, Harford, and Charles Counties. Montgomery County, Prince George's County and Baltimore City comprise the largest population centers of liberal Democrats who are most likely to support same-sex marriage, or so called "Marriage Equality." The other twenty-one counties are smaller conservative population centers of Republicans, and they are the least likely to support same-sex marriage....

Our campaign budget is $2,500,000. We believe that our efforts will result in 250,000 more voters going to the polls to vote against the Question 6 ballot same-sex marriage referendum. Jump the Broom for Marriages is looking for funding for this campaign.

The materials being used by Maryland's civil rights opponents are particularly vile, because they are clearly attempting to stoke racial and religious divisions. Meanwhile, they are almost completely lacking in substance and the postcards instead using the mere sight of people to stoke opposition. All of this is a complete distraction from the unequal legal rights and protections facing families in Maryland. See what I mean below:


EXHIBIT 1: USING PHOTOS OF GAY PRIDE PARADES TO STOKE OPPOSITION -Here is a mailer that attempts to generate opposition to civil rights by simply showing photos of people at a gay pride parade. This non sequitur of a propaganda piece has no purpose other than to try and incite ungrounded negative feelings:



EXHIBIT 2: INVOKING CHILDREN TO STOKE OPPOSITION TO LGBT RIGHTS - It should come as no surprise to see the haters trying to mislead voters by vaguely invoking children. In fact, supporters of marriage equality have been warning that these images would be coming, given that the haters have been using such spurious arguments in other states:



EXHIBITS 3-4: STOKING RACIAL DIVISIONS TO GENERATE OPPOSITION - In another predictable move, civil rights opponents are attempting to divide and conquer various racial and demographic groups. The series of mail pieces below demonstrate an extremely cynical attempt to market bigotry to Maryland voters:

PROPAGANDA FOR AFRICAN AMERICAN VOTERS



Wednesday, September 26, 2012

CD6 VIDEO: New Television Ad from Democrat John Delaney - "Jump Rope"

Democrat John Delaney is out with a new television ad in his race to take GOP Rep. Roscoe Bartlett's seat:


POLL: Marriage Equality & Dream Act Moving Toward Passage // Majority of MD Independents Will "Vote For" Questions 4 & 6

PLUS: VOTERS DIVIDED ON GAMBLING EXPANSION (QUESTION 7)

SUMMARY POLL RESULTS: With a little over a month until this November's Presidential Election, a new poll from Gonzales Research (Hat tip: Maryland Reporter) shows that a majority of voters will "vote for" the Dream Act (Question 4) and marriage equality (Question 6). Meanwhile, voters are divided on whether to expand gambling (Question 7). Here are the summary results from the new Gonzales poll (via Maryland Reporter):
Question 4 – Dream Act
  • Statewide, 58% of Maryland voters say they will vote For Question 4 in the November election, while 34% say they will vote Against Question 4, with 8% undecided.

Question 6 – Same-Sex Marriage
  • Statewide, 51% of voters say they will vote For Question 6, while 43% say they will vote Against Question 6, with 6% undecided.

Question 7 – Expanded Gaming
  • Statewide, 45% of Maryland voters say they will vote For Question 7, while 46% say they will vote Against Question 7, with 9% undecided.

POLL RESULTS: Independent Rob Sobhani Tied With GOP Nominee Dan Bongino in Race for Sen. Ben Cardin's Seat

UPDATE: Rob Sobhani is now using these tied poll results to argue that he should be included in debates between Sen. Ben Cardin and Dan Bongino. It sounds like Bongino doesn't want him to attend, though. The Associated Press reported on the news (via The Washington Post - excerpt below):
ASSOCIATED PRESS: An independent candidate for U.S. Senate in Maryland is renewing his call to be included in debates between Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin and Republican challenger Dan Bongino. In asking to join the two major-party candidates in their debates, independent Rob Sobhani is citing recent poll results that show he is as competitive as Bongino....

POLL RESULTS DEMONSTRATE WEAK REPUBLICAN BRAND IN MARYLAND


BACKGROUND: Independent U.S. Senate candidate Rob Sobhani appears to have doomed Republican Dan Bongino's already struggling campaign for Democrat Ben Cardin's seat. Moreover, the GOP brand in Maryland appears to be extremely weak.

Maryland Reporter today highlighted a new poll from Gonzales Research and Marketing Strategies surveying voter opinion on several contested races in the Free State. We'll soon discuss some of the latest numbers on the heated ballot questions, but for now Maryland Juice finds the poll results on Maryland's U.S. Senate race the most interesting. Incumbent Sen. Ben Cardin's biggest re-election competition comes from GOP nominee Dan Bongino and wealthy independent candidate Rob Sobhani (a former Republican candidate). We previously reported that Sobhani was spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on television advertising throughout Maryland. Gonzales' poll today is the first measure of the impact of that spending, and the results show how weak the Republican brand is in Maryland.

BEN CARDIN WAY AHEAD IN SENATE RACE // TIE FOR 2ND PLACE - First, it shouldn't surprise anyone to see that Sen. Ben Cardin is way ahead of his competition in the U.S. Senate race. Gonzales reported the following results today (excerpt below via Maryland Reporter):

CD1 VIDEO: Sen. Ben Cardin Endorses Democrat John LaFerla's Write-In Campaign Against Tea Party Rep. Andy Harris

Maryland's 1st Congressional District race was recently upended when Democratic nominee Wendy Rosen dropped out of the race this month over voter fraud allegations. Democrats, for what its worth, are rallying behind Dr. John LaFerla -- the runner-up in last April's CD1 Democratic Primary. The Chestertown Spy yesterday reported that Senator Ben Cardin was recently on the campaign trail for Dr. LaFerla. You can read a quick excerpt from their coverage and watch a video of Cardin's endorsement below:
CHESTERTOWN SPY: Cardin wasted no time pouncing on Republican incumbent, Dr. Andy Harris, for rejecting a farm bill that would help the Shore’s drought stricken farmers. He read off seven letters that he said would move the bill towards passage after the November election.

“Let me just spell his name, L-A-F-E-R-L-A,” Cardin said—reminding voters that LaFerla is a write-in candidate. “The Farm Bill passed the Senate with strong bi-partisan support, but we just can’t seem to get it out of the House of Representatives....”



More on the CD1 race soon!

MoCo Council President Roger Berliner and Police Union Attorney Trade Barbs Over "Question B" Debate Invitation

BACKGROUND: Maryland Juice recently wrote about the heated debate between Montgomery County's elected officials and the labor union representing their police force (FOP Lodge 35). At issue is "Question B" on this November's ballot, which asks County voters to decide whether the FOP should have "effects bargaining" rights. A "vote for" Question B would repeal "effects bargaining" for MoCo police, while a "vote against" Question B would maintain "effects bargaining." First the police union tried to persuade the MoCo Democrats to endorse a "vote against" Question B, but after failing they quickly asked for an ethics investigation over County Executive Ike Leggett's lobbying for a "vote for" using taxpayer resources.

FOP CHALLENGES MOCO COUNCIL PRESIDENT ROGER BERLINER TO DEBATE: Now, the police union's newly hired Question B advocate, Lanny Davis, is challenging MoCo Council President Roger Berliner to a debate. The FOP issued a press release calling for a public discussion over Question B, but the invitation was met with a quick rebuke from Berliner's office and then another response from the police. You can read the full exchange of words below:

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

CD6: Maryland Democratic Party Files Ethics Complaint Against Rep. Roscoe Bartlett and Maryland GOP Chair Alex Mooney

Last Friday, I speculated that Maryland's GOP Chair Alex Mooney was creating unnecessary distractions for the campaign of Rep. Roscoe Bartlett. Mooney, as it turns out, was improperly working for Bartlett's U.S. House office while also raising money as a candidate for Bartlett's seat.

The Maryland Democratic Party is now filing a U.S. House ethics complaint against both Rep. Roscoe Bartlett and GOP Chair Alex Mooney. See the press statement and complaint below:

PRESS RELEASE

Maryland Democratic Party Files U.S. House Ethics Complaint 
Against Roscoe Bartlett and Alex Mooney

ANNAPOLIS (September 25, 2012) - The Maryland Democratic Party today sent a letter to the Office of Congressional Ethics requesting an investigation into the conduct of U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md) and Alex X. Mooney.

Federal Election Commission Records show that on March 5, 2012, Mr. Mooney filed a Statement of Candidacy for the Republican nomination for U.S. House for the 6th Congressional District in Maryland, the same district represented by Congressman Bartlett.

Mr. Mooney confirmed in the press, in an article appearing on July 2, 2012, that he had, subsequent to becoming a candidate for Rep. Bartlett’s seat, become a part-time employee on Congressman Bartlett’s official staff, with the title of “community outreach director.” 

“Despite dismissing his conduct as a 'clerical error', the fact remains that by running to succeed Rep. Bartlett while being employed by him, Mr. Mooney has violated the House Ethics Rules and, depending on the circumstances, Rep. Bartlett may have improperly used official resources for campaign activity, said Maryland Democratic Party Executive Director David Sloan. "We have asked the Office of Congressional Ethics to conduct an investigation into this serious matter."

###
MDP Letter to the Office of Congressional Ethics regarding Roscoe Bartlett and Alex Mooney


More on the CD6 race soon!

DIRECT MAIL: Two Mail Pieces Arrive on Same Day Urging "Vote Against" Gambling Expansion // READ ONLINE

If you live in Maryland, you are surely noticing the barrage of gambling related advertising hitting the airwaves and mailboxes. Yesterday, Maryland Juice received two direct mail pieces arguing for a "vote against" Question 7 (gambling expansion). See the mailers below:
DIRECT MAIL: Vote No on Question 7 - "Unemployed"

DIRECT MAIL: Vote No on Question 7 - "Loophole"

Monday, September 24, 2012

MoCo Police Union Calls for Investigation of "Misuse of Taxpayer Funds" // FOP Questions Government Lobbying on Referendum

UPDATE: Montgomery County Councilmember George Leventhal forwarded Maryland Juice a memo from county government attorney Marc Hansen. In the document below, Hansen advises members of County Executive Ike Leggett's staff that he believes it is legal for government officials to lobby for one side of a referendum:
MoCo Attorney Advisory Memo on Government Lobbying for Referendum

BACKGROUND: Maryland Juice recently reported on the battle over the Montgomery County Democrats' upcoming sample ballot mailing. The stakes are high this November, with voters being asked to weigh in on numerous contested referenda on the Presidential ballot. Along with the statewide questions regarding marriage equality, the Dream Act, redistricting and gambling, MoCo voters will be asked to decide whether police officers should have "effects" bargaining rights in their labor agreements (Question B). The Fraternal Order of Police, the labor union representing MoCo cops, is now questioning whether government officials can lobby for one side of a referendum using taxpayer resources. The Washington Post recently summarized the battle as follows:

Saturday, September 22, 2012

WATCH: Fred Evans vs. Rebecca Smondrowski - MoCo School Board Debate // PLUS: Blaine Young vs. Frederick Teachers

This November, numerous Maryland voters will elect members of their local school boards. But some of these low-profile races are among the most competitive contests on the ballot. Below Maryland Juice highlights three notable Board of Education battles: Montgomery County, Frederick County & Prince George's County.

BOE BATTLE #1 - VIDEO DEBATE FOR MONTGOMERY COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION (DISTRICT 2): Last April, Montgomery County voters nominated former principal Fred Evans and local politco Rebecca Smondrowski to run for the lone District 2 school board spot this November. Candidates from throughout Montgomery County can vote in this race. Fred Evans has the backing of the teachers union (MCEA), while Rebecca Smondrowski has the backing of The Washington Post and two other unions in Montgomery County: MCGEO and SEIU Local 500. Below you can watch Fred Evans and Rebecca Smondrowski debate on MoCo cable's "Political Pulse" show:

Get Microsoft Silverlight


BOE BATTLE #2 - CANDIDATE WITHDRAWS FROM FREDERICK COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION RACE: This November, Frederick County voters will vote to fill a portion of their Board of Education seats. The race is highlighting numerous ideological battles, as Frederick Tea Party leader Blaine Young is trying to wrest control of the school board. He needs one more vote on the school board to unleash his agenda. Last May, Gazette columnist Joe Volz gave a quick background on Young's attempts to gain control the Frederick County school board:

Friday, September 21, 2012

CD6: Maryland GOP Chair Alex Mooney Improperly Worked for Rep. Roscoe Bartlett // MD Dems Want Tax Dollars Returned

Yesterday, The Washington Post's Ben Pershing revealed that Maryland GOP Chair Alex Mooney may have been violating U.S. House ethics rules while working for Rep. Roscoe Bartlett's office (excerpt below):
WASHINGTON POST: House ethics rules say an aide can’t run to succeed his or her boss and stay on the congressional payroll, but a staffer for Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.) did so for the past four months.... Mooney, who also serves as chairman of the Maryland Republican Party, has been on Bartlett’s staff since June, according to House payroll records....

Thursday, September 20, 2012

2014 GOVERNOR: Former Baltimore Exec Jim Smith Weighing Race? // PLUS: Del. Heather Mizeur's Ballot Question Web Ad

2014 GOVERNOR: Maryland's 2014 gubernatorial race is in full swing already, as several of the candidates are very active on the campaign trail. Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown & Attorney General Doug Gansler will both be appearing at the Greater Silver Spring Democratic Club barbecue this Saturday. Meanwhile, The Kent County News caught Howard County Executive Ken Ulman stumping for votes in Chestertown, Maryland. During remarks at a luncheon, Ulman outlined his views on government reform and Howard County's experiences (excerpt below):
KENT COUNTY NEWS: Kenneth Ulman, Democratic county executive of Howard County, was in Chestertown Friday, promoting a prospective run to succeed Martin O'Malley as governor. Speaking to a luncheon group at the Hotel Imperial, Ulman touted his success at bringing businesses to Howard County, and said he could do the same as governor....

POLL RESULTS: 60% of Likely Maryland Voters Support a "VOTE FOR" the Dream Act (Question 4)

Educating Maryland Kids, a statewide group supporting a "vote for" the Dream Act (Question 4), is now touting new poll results showing 60% of voters support their position. See the press release and polling memo below:

PRESS RELEASE

New Poll Finds Strong Statewide Support for Question 4, 
Maryland DREAM Act with 60% in Favor

The campaign to defend the Maryland DREAM Act, Educating Maryland Kids, today released a new poll that found significant majority support for Question 4, the ballot referendum on the Maryland DREAM Act.

Sixty percent of likely voters statewide polled affirmed their support for the Maryland DREAM Act, which would ensure that all students who graduated from Maryland high schools and whose families pay Maryland taxes can pay in-state tuition at Maryland colleges and universities, regardless of immigration status. Another 14% were undecided, with only 26% opposed to the law. Three-fifths of white voters and three-fourths of African Americans voters support Question 4.

MoCo Democrats Make Referenda Endorsements // See MCDCC Positions on Marriage, Dream Act, Gambling, Redistricting, Etc.

UPDATE: Maryland Juice has received a copy of a chart showing how the final recommendations of the MCDCC differ from the votes of the precinct officials and from the votes of the Democrats' "Ballot Question Advisory Committee." The MCDCC ignored the committee recommendations on three issues: 1) gambling, 2) redistricting, and 3) police bargaining rights. See below:
MCDCC Votes vs. Ballot Question Advisory Committee Recommendations


BACKGROUND: The Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee (MCDCC) made recommendations for its sample ballot mailing last night. Numerous attendees report that the convening of precinct officials was sometimes quite contentious. We previously noted that based on early recommendations on the ballot questions, the MCDCC might adopt positions against gambling and the redistricting plan and also support a measure reducing police bargaining rights. You can see the results of the votes below. These recommendations will now be featured on the MCDCC's sample ballot mailing to MoCo Democrats.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

EVENTS: Maryland Juice Goes Public Friday in Silver Spring // PLUS: Democratic Candidate Trainings & Panels with Politicos

UPDATE: I almost forgot to mention, the Greater Silver Spring Democratic Club's annual barbecue is this Saturday, September 22 from  2:30 pm to 5:30 pm. Lt. Gov Anthony  Brown and Attorney General Doug Gansler will be speaking at the event: Indian Spring Terrace Recreation Center - 9717 Lawndale Drive, Silver Spring, MD, 20901.

Here is a random assembly of events that may be of interest to Maryland Juice readers -- starting with a fireside chat with Maryland Juice this Friday in Silver Spring:

Join Maryland Juice this FRI at Silver Spring's Kefa Cafe
#1: FRIDAY 9/21 // MARYLAND JUICE GOES PUBLIC - This Friday, Just Up the Pike blogger Dan Reed is hosting a discussion titled, "Unusual Suspects: Seeking Inclusive Civic Engagement in Silver Spring." Maryland Juice (aka David Moon) is speaking at this event, and I encourage you to come take part in the debate. Just Up the Pike printed the following invitation:
JUST UP THE PIKE: Back in July, I wrote a post on the challenges of engaging often underrepresented groups, like young people and immigrants, in local affairs. We can get them involved with the right issue, like last year's curfew debate, but as Takoma Park City Councilmember Seth Grimes points out, many folks just don't have the the time, the money or the wherewithal to participate in a citizens' advisory board or a public hearing.

How can we do better? I'm joining up with Amy Kincaid, the curator of Space 7:10 at Kefa Café in downtown Silver Spring, to talk it out. Next Friday from 6:30 to 8:30pm, we're hosting a community roundtable called "Unusual Suspects: Seeking Inclusive Civic Engagement in Silver Spring."

It's an intimate discussion; as those who've been to Space 7:10 know, it's the size of a large kitchen cabinet. Nonetheless, we've invited some local community leaders and activists, like Abigail Burman from Stand Up to the MoCo Curfew and David Moon from Maryland Juice to talk about their successes and how we can make a more inclusive decision-making process.

Come out and enjoy Kefa's awesome coffee and treats. We look forward to seeing you there! For more information, visit Space 7:10's website or email me at justupthepike at gmail dot com.
"Unusual Suspects: Seeking Inclusive Civic Engagement in Silver Spring"
Friday, September 21
6:30 to 8:30pm
Space 7:10 at Kefa Café
963 Bonifant Street (at Georgia Avenue)
Downtown Silver Spring


Maryland Teachers, MoCo Police & County Executive Ike Leggett Lobby MoCo Democrats to Endorse Referenda for Sample Ballot

BACKGROUND: Yesterday Maryland Juice reported that Montgomery County Democrats were set to vote on which ballot questions to endorse for their Presidential Election sample ballot mailing. That vote is taking place tonight, and Democratic precinct officials are now being lobbied by numerous politicos to support various positions on the referenda. We noted that Governor Martin O'Malley was emailing MoCo precinct officials regarding four of the questions (gambling, redistricting, marriage equality and the Dream Act), and that County Executive Ike Leggett's staff have been pushing for an elimination of certain police bargaining rights.

MoCo's Facebook account pushes Question B
LT. GOV. MICHAEL STEELE, TEACHERS & OTHERS LOBBY FOR MOCO DEMS' SAMPLE BALLOT - It turns out that lots of lobbying is going on behind the scenes. You can see a few more examples below, including advocacy from the teachers union and more PR efforts by Ike Leggett's team on police union rights (Question B). The MoCo County Executive, for what its worth, is pulling out all the stops and directing the various County agencies to hit their email lists, Facebook pages and other outlets with information regarding the police referendum. See a few exhibits below.

We also provide a rebuttal to Leggett's messaging on Question B from the Fraternal Order of Police. Notably, The Washington Post's Victor Zapana reported that the FOP has hired a new advocacy team that includes a prominent Democratic attorney and former GOP Lt. Gov. Michael Steele (excerpt below):
WASHINGTON POST: The Montgomery County police union on Monday hired Lanny Davis, a former special counsel to President Clinton, and Michael Steele, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee, as consultants for a referendum campaign on collective bargaining rights....

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

SAMPLE BALLOT WAR: Gov. Martin O'Malley & MoCo Executive Ike Leggett Lobby Democratic Precinct Chairs on Referenda

UPDATE: Two readers have pointed out an error in the article below. I incorrectly speculated that MoCo's Democratic precinct officials were limited in what recommendations they could make. But it turns out that the precinct officials can take whatever positions they want when they vote on the various referenda Wednesday night. After they vote, the Central Committee members will not be able to overturn the recommendations of these precinct officials. The MCDCC would, however, have the option of neutralizing any recommendations by deciding to instead take no position on the issue. See our two readers' comments below:
READER #1: The precinct org can take ANY position they want. It is only MCDCC that is bound (to either agree or take no position) by the precinct org (three step process).
READER #2: I may be wrong, but as I understand the process, it is the Central Committee that cannot overturn a recommendation of the precinct officials (but can move to a no position).  Tomorrow night the precinct officials can reach a different conclusion on Question B than the Ballot Question Advisory Committee (BQAC) did (7-6-1, I think).  The Central Committee's final decision will stem from the precinct officials' vote, not from the BQAC's.
BACKGROUND: Maryland Juice recently reported that a battle was brewing over the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee's (MCDCC) upcoming sample ballot mailing. The MoCo Dems typically send a sample ballot with recommendations to the nearly 250,000 registered Democrats in their county. But as we noted earlier, party leaders are split on which of the referenda to support in their mailing. In Montgomery County, there appears to be Democratic unity behind supporting marriage equality and the Dream Act -- but other measures like redistricting and gambling are proving divisive.


CD6: John Delaney's New Radio Ad Talks Bi-Partisanship // Rep. Roscoe Bartlett's Democratic Opponent Claims Independence

Maryland's 6th Congressional District candidate John Delaney is out with a new radio ad in his race against Rep. Roscoe Bartlett. In the 60-second spot, which appeared on Delaney's YouTube channel, the Democratic challenger claims he will "work across party lines" to get things done. The new ad also states "John Delaney will be independent. In the Democratic Primary, he took on the candidate backed by the political machine and Delaney won." See the ad below:



Maryland Juice hopes that engaging in bipartisanship and standing up for core Democratic values are not mutually exclusive.

MOCO POLICY WAR: County Council Divided on Protections for Janitors // Chambers of Commerce & Rival Unions Weigh In

UPDATE: Montgomery County Council passes the displaced workers bill in a divided 5-4 vote. See the vote split below.
  • Voting FOR: Valerie Ervin, Marc Elrich, Nancy Navarro, Hans Riemer & Craig Rice. 
  • Voting AGAINST: Nancy Floreen, George Leventhal, Phil Andrews & Roger Berliner.

MOCO COUNCIL DEBATES WORKER PROTECTIONS FOR JANITORS - Today, the Montgomery County Council is scheduled to vote on legislation that would grant janitors and other low-wage service workers temporary protections in the event that their employer suddenly terminates their contract. Indeed, it is a common story to hear about janitors and other service workers whose lives are upended after their contracts are suddenly terminated. The proposed MoCo bill would simply provide a 90-day transitional period for the displaced janitors and service workers to stay employed while seeking new employment or transitioning to unemployment.

NOTE: Any workers (ie: bad employees) could still be fired for cause, and the provisions of the law are only temporary. This policy is the law in numerous bastions of "socialism" like D.C., New York, and Los Angeles. In fact, in 2010 the Obama administration created similar temporary protections for federal contractors.


Monday, September 17, 2012

Maryland Democratic Party Endorses John LaFerla in CD1 // Dem Doctor Wages Write-In Race Against Tea Party Doctor

The Maryland Democratic Party announced today (via press release, below) that they are endorsing Dr. John LaFerla to take on Rep. Andy Harris in the 1st Congressional District. Dr. LaFerla is waging a write-in battle against the Tea Party Republican after Wendy Rosen's epic fail. See the statement below:

PRESS RELEASE

Maryland Democratic Party Endorses 
Dr. John LaFerla in CD1 Race

ANNAPOLIS (September 17, 2012) - Maryland Democratic Party Chair Yvette Lewis issued the following statement today following votes by the local county Central Committees in the First Congressional District and the Party Executive Committee:

“I am extremely proud to announce that the Maryland Democratic Party has endorsed the candidacy of Dr. John LaFerla in the First Congressional District. Dr. LaFerla has resounding grassroots support and the full confidence of the Party’s Executive Committee and Democratic leaders.

“Democrats cannot stand on the sidelines in this election, and John will fight for the Democratic values we believe in. John understands we must create jobs, expand opportunity and grow an economy for the middle class by investing in manufacturing, innovation and education.

“Andy Harris relentlessly pursues an extreme far right agenda that puts special interests above Maryland working families. Harris consistently votes against women, students, seniors and the environment. Andy Harris is wrong for Maryland. John LaFerla and Democrats are right for Maryland and we are prepared to work hard to win."

###

Del. Heather Mizeur Joins 2014 Gubernatorial Candidates on the Trail // PLUS: Former Baltimore Exec Jim Smith is Back

Del. Heather Mizeur
Maryland Delegate Heather Mizeur, a Montgomery County Democrat, surprised many politicos by announcing last August that she was weighing a run for Governor in 2014. She appears to be moving forward with that interest based on recent news accounts. A pair of recent Baltimore Sun articles indicate that Mizeur appears to be actively campaigning for Maryland's top spot in the 2014 Democratic Primary. First, Sun reporter Annie Linskey reported on a star-studded fundraiser for Maryland marriage equality in New York last week. Apparently, George W. Bush's daughter Barbara Bush dropped by the fundraiser for Question 6, but more interesting are the article's comments about Heather Mizeur (excerpt below):
BALTIMORE SUN: ...The event was a fundraiser for Maryland's same-sex marriage campaign. The idea for it was hatched at a dinner a few months back with Gov. Martin O'Malley, actor Josh Charles and Brian Ellner, who ran the New York pro-same-sex marriage battle....

And, just as I was filing my story, word went out that Barbara Bush -- the former first daughter -- had stopped by. She didn't want to be interviewed and didn't want her photo taken. But she did proclaim to love Baltimore, where her sister Jenna taught for a bit....

Later a few women asked me to take pictures while they posed with Mizeur, saying they wanted an early shot with the country's "first gay governor...." 

MIZEUR CAMPAIGNING ALONGSIDE 2014 GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATES: Consistent with the news account above, Maryland Juice has been hearing reports that Del. Mizeur has talked openly of running for Governor among LGBT activists and within fundraising circles for weeks now. But a clearer sign that she's really going for it, is that Mizeur is on the campaign trail speaking alongside the previously known 2014 candidates (Anthony Brown, Doug Gansler, Ken Ulman and Peter Franchot). See the latest report from The Baltimore Sun, covering a Western Maryland Democratic Summit yesterday:
BALTIMORE SUN: Western Maryland Democrats may get a preview of the 2014 gubernatorial race Saturday as the likely contenders for the party's nomination converge on the Rocky Gap resort in Allegany County....

Lt. Gov.  Anthony Brown, Attorney General Doug Gansler, Comptroller Peter Franchot, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman and Montgomery County Del. Heather Mizeur -- all of whom have signaled an interest in a State House run -- will each get  a chance to impress Democrats from one of the most heavily Republican parts of the state....

former B'more Exec Jim Smith
THE RETURN OF JIM SMITH? - Notably, The Baltimore Sun article above also mentions that former Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith is back on the scene (excerpt below):
BALTIMORE SUN: Also on the program is former Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith, who continues to sit on a campaign war chest of more than $500,000 though he hasn't been on the ballot since 2006.... 

Smith previously contemplated running for Comptroller in 2010, but dropped out even after raising nearly $1 million. What's he up to now?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

CANDID COMMENTS: Gov. Martin O'Malley Calls Micro-Targeting a "Bullshit" Strategy & Critiques HBO's "The Wire"

Maryland Juice recently caught two interviews with Gov. Martin O'Malley that are worth reading. A few days ago, Maryland's governor (who also chairs the Democratic Governors Association) provided candid comments to the BuzzFeed website and Governing magazine. See a few choice excerpts below, including O'Malley's belief that trying to micro-target independents this year is a futile strategy. Instead, he argues that the Democrats need to fire up the base of younger, more liberal voters, along with people of color. Indeed, O'Malley's stated belief in tonal campaigning (noted below) is something that Maryland Juice agrees with, particularly during the current demographic shifts we are witnessing:
BUZZFEED: O'Malley, a top Obama ally who chairs the the Democratic Governors Association and is often named as a possible presidential contender in 2016, discounted the idea that whoever wins the presidential election will be the candidate who focuses most closely on independent voters. And he suggested that the Democratic National Convention marked a decision to run a campaign centered on core Democratic voters — traditionally, younger, more liberal, African-American and Hispanic.

"Sometimes in campaigns you can drive yourself crazy with the micro-targeting and the pollsters and the tea leaves and the pixie dust trying to twist yourself into triple back-flips to appeal to the three percent that are the undecideds that live in suburbs and have lawns that are less than 20 feet long and all that bullshit," O'Malley said in an interview at BuzzFeed's Manhattan office Thursday. "Just tell the base why you're doing what you're doing and why you're better than the other guy."

O'Malley made the case that undecided voters are simply too diverse to be effectively targeted by a candidate or campaign....

O'Malley dismisses comparisons to The Wire's Thomas Carcetti
In an interview in Governing magazine, O'Malley also addressed comparisons between his own political career and that of Thomas Carcetti, Baltimore's mayor in HBO's hit show "The Wire" (excerpt below):
MARTIN O'MALLEY: (Laughs) I'm not that guy. I mean, there are aspects of that character -- how can I say this? David Simon and I both came from Montgomery County, Md. David came to Baltimore and saw nothing but suffering and hopelessness, and made a lot of money on it. I moved from Montgomery County to Baltimore and saw the tremendous opportunity to heal and save lives. I haven't made a lot of money, but the people of Baltimore achieved the biggest reduction in part 1* crime over the last 10 years of any of the major cities in America.

David Simon has a very, very cynical view of what we're capable of accomplishing as a free people in the face of challenges like the level of drug addiction and violent crime that we had allowed ourselves to sink into in Baltimore. But I've seen the goodness in the people of Baltimore, and that's the power I've chosen to tap into.

I'm glad that I have outlived "The Wire." More importantly, I'm glad Baltimore has outlived "The Wire."

Check out the full interviews with Gov. Martin O'Malley at BuzzFeed & Governing.

VIDEOS: Out-of-State Casinos Launch War Over Gambling Expansion in Maryland // WATCH QUESTION 7 TV ADS

Maryland Juice has been following the heated debate over whether to expand gambling and add table games to Free State casinos. Indeed, this November Maryland voters will be asked to decide on the fate of gambling expansion through "Question 7" (a vote "FOR" would expand gambling, while a vote "AGAINST" would limit gambling to the currently approved slot machine sites). In an editorial piece, The Washington Post recently noted that the media war over the issue has already begun -- to the tune of millions of dollars in advertising by non-Maryland casino interests (excerpt below):
WASHINGTON POST: A pitched TV ad war is underway in Maryland, pitting one out-of-state ­gaming-industry behemoth against another. At last count, the two firms had spent $15 million in the fight to influence voters, who will cast ballots in November on an expansion of gambling in Maryland that would authorize a sixth casino and add table games such as poker at all venues....

The main combatants — though the ads don’t name them — are Las Vegas-based MGM Resorts International and Pennsylvania-based Penn National Gaming. If voters approve the expansion, MGM has the inside track to build what could be an $800 million casino at National Harbor in Prince George’s County; unsurprisingly, it is behind the pro-expansion ads. Penn National is worried that the new casino would sap profits at its own marquee property 90 minutes away, Hollywood Casino in Charles Town, W.Va.; it has paid for the ads against expansion....

Copies of many of these advertisements are available online (Hat tip: Maryland's rightwing Monoblogue). I've included a few examples below, so that you can see what the propaganda looks like surrounding Question 7. The ads below are being promoted by the campaign websites for the casino operators (VoteForSeven.com and FactsOn7.com):

PRO-GAMBLING AD #1 URGING VOTE "FOR" QUESTION 7:


 

PRO-GAMBLING AD #2 URGING VOTE "FOR" QUESTION 7:





 
ANTI-GAMBLING AD #1 URGING VOTE "AGAINST" QUESTION 7:
 
   
 

CD6 ANALYSIS: Rep. Roscoe Bartlett Lacking Appeal in Montgomery County // Will Delaney Capitalize on GOP Gaffes?

MARYLAND JUICE'S ASSESSMENT OF THE CURRENT STATE OF THE CD6 RACE

BACKGROUND: Maryland's 6th Congressional District race is one the nation's most competitive contests for the November 6 elections. Indeed, Maryland Juice has been tracking this slugfest ever since Maryland Democrats redistricted Rep. Roscoe Bartlett's seat to become a majority Democratic U.S. House district. Note: check out our CD6 article archive. The formerly Western-Maryland anchored district now includes a majority of voters who supported President Barack Obama in 2008 -- including many voters in strongly Democratic Montgomery County and the city of Frederick.

MARYLAND JUICE'S QUICK ANALYSIS OF THE CURRENT CD6 RACE: For Rep. Roscoe Bartlett to hold onto his seat, his campaign would need to make a number of things happen. First, they would have to appeal to some percentage of the new Democratic majority in CD6. Second, they would have to hope that either overall turnout was low in the Democratic areas of the new district or that enthusiasm for John Delaney remained low. Lastly, they would have to hope for high turnout among GOP base voters in CD6. Here's our take on how these factors are currently playing out:

Rep. Roscoe Bartlett's Recent Attack Ad Against John Delaney
WILL NEGATIVE ADS REDUCE SUPPORT FOR DELANEY? - Here's the problem for Roscoe Bartlett: This is a presidential election cycle, which means that turnout will be higher than in off-year cycles (like during the Tea Party wave of 2010). Pinning your re-election hopes on low turnout in a presidential year is no way to win an election. Both the GOP and Democratic bases have additional reasons to be active in Maryland this year, but frankly there are more Democratic than Republican voters in CD6. So barring unusually low turnout in Montgomery County, Bartlett will have to count on finding artificial ways to suppress Delaney's share of the Democratic vote.

This is clearly where the Bartlett campaign's recent attacks on Delaney's environmental record come into play. The Maryland GOP has been sending mail pieces to Democratic voters trying to paint Delaney as a callous member of the 1%. Meanwhile, Bartlett is on TV with similar attack ads against Delaney. Clearly, the Bartlett campaign is trying to raise Delaney's negatives and suppress his support among Democrats.

One unusual feature to this strategy, however, is that Roscoe Bartlett himself does not appear to stand by the negative ads or even know what his campaign operatives and allies are saying. The Gazette recently covered this bizarre disconnect (excerpt below):
GAZETTE: At a recent town hall meeting, a man confronted Bartlett with what he perceived to be a negative campaign on the congressman’s part....

When the man handed Bartlett a campaign flier he’d received in the mail that labeled Delaney a “loan shark,” Bartlett shrugged it off. “That wasn’t me; that was the campaign,” he said, handing back the flier and shaking his head.

In a more recent exchange, Bartlett’s opponent called out the congressman for quoting a 2006 opinion piece in Forbes magazine, entitled “Loan Shark,” for Delaney’s business practice of lending money to small businesses....

“Oddly enough, the veteran Republican actually defended Delaney against accusations that he ripped off small businesses in favor of making bigger profits in the financial loaning industry. ‘I have no idea how he could be called a loan shark,’ said Bartlett....”


CAN ROSCOE BARTLETT SELL HIMSELF AS AN INDEPENDENT VOICE? - While trying to reduce support for Delaney, Bartlett is also trying to re-brand himself as an independent voice in Congress. His campaign is now attempting to make Bartlett more palatable to moderate, independent and Democratic voters  in the new CD6. The New York Times recently profiled a number of embattled House Republicans who are now claiming the mantle of bi-partisanship. Maryland's Roscoe Bartlett, of course, is included in the NYT mix (excerpt below):
NEW YORK TIMES:  In campaign advertisements, some lawmakers who once dug in against Democrats now promote the wonders of bipartisanship. And legislatively, Republicans in tough races are seeking to soften their edges by moderating their votes, tossing their teacups and otherwise projecting a conciliatory image to voters.

The Republican quest for bipartisanship — at least nominally — is not hard to explain. A New York Times/CBS News poll conducted last week and released this weekend showed that 44 percent of Americans see Republicans at fault for gridlock in Washington, compared with 29 percent who blame President Obama and the Democrats....

On election night in 2010, as Tea Party conservatives were being swept into office, Representative Roscoe G. Bartlett of Maryland, a 10-term Republican, declared: “The Tea Party came to where I was. I’ve always been there.”

But then came Maryland’s redistricting and an influx of Democratic voters to Mr. Bartlett’s once-reliable Republican corner of the state. Now much of his advertising emphasizes his support for higher education, including contributions to college funds out of his own pocket.

“Roscoe has never been afraid to buck his own party,” a radio ad intones. “Roscoe Bartlett, an independent voice for Maryland....”

BARTLETT'S GAFFES ARE DISTRACTING VOTERS FROM HIS MESSAGE: The reality, in Maryland Juice's honest opinion, is that it is hard to implement campaign messaging strategy when your candidate veers off course. In Maryland's CD6, Rep. Roscoe Bartlett has been veering wildly off course. Much media attention has been drawn to his recent comments comparing student loans to the Holocaust. The Frederick News-Post, for example, today published an editorial blasting Bartlett's Holocaust comments. But they also took the opportunity to dredge out past examples of Bartlett's gaffes (excerpt below):
FREDERICK NEWS-POST: U.S. Roscoe Bartlett faced a firestorm of attention in the past couple of weeks for his unfortunate invocation of the Holocaust to illustrate how ignoring the Constitution could result in serious ramifications.... Cue the sharp intake of breath, then the apology, then a call to resign....
As longtime 6th District constituents already know, the congressman has flubbed publicly before. Bartlett had been in office for only three months in 1993 when he referred to Asian-American names on a list of scholarship recipients, saying they didn't "represent the normal American." Naturally, a firestorm ensued after the story was first published in The Washington Post.

Then, during a 2002 announcement of expansion plans for Fort Detrick's PX and commissary, Bartlett questioned continued funding for cleaning up a polluted site on post.

IF A TREE FALLS IN THE WOODS // WILL THE DELANEY CAMPAIGN CAPITALIZE? - One great unknown in the CD6 race, is whether John Delaney will start airing advertisements highlighting Bartlett's record and gaffes. After all, it is currently unclear what percentage of CD6 voters have even heard about Bartlett's holocaust comments. My suspicion would be that a relatively small percentage of CD6 voters happened to be reading The Baltimore Sun, Frederick News-Post, Washington Post or Huffington Post at the time that Bartlett made the Holocaust comments. That means that unforced errors from the Bartlett campaign ought to present John Delaney with a "use it or lose it" choice to make about his advertising buys. After all, how many Montgomery Democrats will believe any attempts by the Bartlett campaign to moderate his image after hearing his comments about students loans and the Holocaust?

Yesterday, for example, a CD6 economic development blogger wrote a post titled "Why I Oppose Re-Election of Roscoe Bartlett," and they highlighted his long history of rightwing positions on issues. The blogger, at a site called "Thoughts about K4D" showed a scatterplot comparing Roscoe Bartlett to other members of Congress, and how based on his bill sponsorships, he is among the most rightwing Republicans in the U.S. House (see the graph below, noting that I've circled Bartlett's position):


The CD6 blogger also highlighted Bartlett's votes on a range of issues:
  • Voted YES on banning federal health coverage that includes abortion. (May 2011)
  • Voted NO on expanding research to more embryonic stem cell lines. (Jan 2007)
  • Voted NO on allowing human embryonic stem cell research. (May 2005)
  • Voted YES on terminating the Home Affordable mortgage Program. (Mar 2011)
  • Voted NO on $192B additional anti-recession stimulus spending. (Jul 2009)
  • Voted NO on modifying bankruptcy rules to avoid mortgage foreclosures. (Mar 2009)
  • Voted NO on additional $825 billion for economic recovery package. (Jan 2009)
  • Voted NO on monitoring TARP funds to ensure more mortgage relief. (Jan 2009)
  • Voted NO on $15B bailout for GM and Chrysler. (Dec 2008)
  • Voted NO on $60B stimulus package for jobs, infrastructure, & energy. (Sep 2008)
  • Voted NO on prohibiting job discrimination based on sexual orientation. (Nov 2007)
  • Rated 7% by the ACLU, indicating an anti-civil rights voting record. (Dec 2002)
  • Rated 0% by the HRC, indicating an anti-gay-rights stance. (Dec 2006)
  • Rated 25% by the NAACP, indicating an anti-affirmative-action stance. (Dec 2006)
  • Voted NO on letting shareholders vote on executive compensation. (Jul 2009)
  • Voted YES on prohibiting needle exchange & medical marijuana in DC. (Oct 1999)
  • Voted YES on subjecting federal employees to random drug tests. (Sep 1998)
  • Voted YES on barring EPA from regulating greenhouse gases. (Apr 2011)
  • Voted NO on $2 billion more for Cash for Clunkers program. (Jul 2009)
  • Voted YES on deauthorizing "critical habitat" for endangered species. (Sep 2005)
  • Voted YES on speeding up approval of forest thinning projects. (Nov 2003)
  • Rated 30% by the LCV, indicating anti-environment votes. (Dec 2003)
  • Voted NO on supporting democratic institutions in Pakistan. (Jun 2009)
  • Voted YES on prohibiting product misuse lawsuits on gun manufacturers. (Oct 2005)
  • Voted YES on prohibiting suing gunmakers & sellers for gun misuse. (Apr 2003)
  • Voted YES on decreasing gun waiting period from 3 days to 1. (Jun 1999)
  • Voted YES on the Ryan Budget: Medicare choice, tax & spending cuts. (Apr 2011)
  • Abolish federal Medicare entitlement; leave it to states. (Dec 2000)
  • Limit anti-trust lawsuits on health plans and insurers. (Mar 2002)
  • Rated 22% by APHA, indicating a anti-public health voting record. (Dec 2003)
  • Redefine "birthright citizenship" to exclude illegal aliens. (Jan 2011)
  • Declare English as the official language of the US. (Feb 2007)
  • Declared English the official language of the US. (Jan 1999)
  • Rated 0% by the AU, indicating opposition to church-state separation. (Dec 2006)

FINAL THOUGHT: Many of the aforementioned details would surely alarm the numerous Democratic voters in the new CD6. But the question remains, will Democrat John Delaney go on the offensive or will he try to quietly ride into the sunset?

Friday, September 14, 2012

REMATCH?: Former Rep. Wayne Gilchrest Weighs Challenge to Rep. Andy Harris // LaFerla Still Wants to Replace Wendy Rosen

former CD1 Rep. Wayne Gilchrest
DOUBLE-UPDATE: The Baltimore Sun is reporting that 1st Congressional District Democrats have voted to back John LaFerla to challenge GOP Rep. Andy Harris this November (excerpt below):
BALTIMORE SUN: LaFerla said the 12 Democratic central committees in the 1st District, which includes the Eastern Shore and parts of Baltimore, Harford, Carroll and Cecil counties, had voted to support him....

UPDATE: A Twitter user has informed us that Gilchrest is now denying the rumors and claiming he is not going to wage a write-in campaign. Others, however, raise the possibility that this means Gilchrest may switch sides and seek the CD1 Democratic nomination in 2014.

Former Congressman Wayne Gilchrest is reportedly interested in challenging incumbent Rep. Andy Harris in a re-match in this November's Presidential Election. Harris defeated Gilchrest in the 2008 Republican Primary in Maryland's 1st Congressional District. But Gilchrest is apparently thinking of capitalizing on the fact that Democrats are forced to wage a write-in campaign after last week's epic fail. Maryland Juice recently discussed the collapse of Rosen's campaign, after it was discovered that she had been voting in two states. The discovery led to swift condemnation from the Maryland Democrats.

As we noted, Rosen has now dropped out of the Congressional race, but Democrats are unable to replace her on the ballot. Instead, they've indicated they are going to wage a write-in campaign against Tea Party incumbent Rep. Andy Harris. Delmarva Now reports that former CD1 Congressman Wayne Gilchrest is interested in the race, but it is unclear if he is thinking of trying to get the Democratic Party's backing or going it alone. The Democrats, for what it's worth, are in a really tough position right now, because write-in campaigns are rarely successful (DC Mayor Tony Williams being a notable exception). Moreover, the last round of redistricting also made the district more Republican. Read this excerpt from the Delmarva Now report:

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Jesse Jackson Urges Marylanders to Support Marriage Equality // Civil Rights Leader & Reverend Urges Vote FOR Question 6

PLUS: GET READY FOR MISLEADING ADS FROM CIVIL RIGHTS OPPONENTS

Reverend Jesse Jackson
JESSE JACKSON ENDORSES MARYLAND MARRIAGE EQUALITY: The Huffington Post today reported that the Reverend Jesse Jackson is urging Maryland voters to vote for Question 6 this November. In a radio interview during last week's Democratic National Convention, Jackson called marriage equality "basic civil rights" (excerpt below):
HUFFINGTON POST: The Rev. Jackson Jackson is urging Maryland voters to vote in favor of a ballot measure this fall that would give marriage equality to gays and lesbians in the state....

“The culture has had to expand,” Jackson said.... "You know, you have a right not to agree with interracial marriage but no one should be denied rights under the law....”

“If you don’t believe in it, don’t engage in it. But don’t deny other people their basic civil rights.”