Monday, January 27, 2014

JUICE: Branson for Ervin's Seat, MoCo Public Financing, LCV Endorses, NARAL 4 Kagan, Van Hollen 4 Leggett, Delaney 4 Gov

Below Maryland Juice provides a round-up of news items of interest to politicos:

Cherri Branson
JUICE #1: CHERRI BRANSON IS THE LIKELY REPLACEMENT FOR VALERIE ERVIN'S MONTGOMERY COUNTY COUNCIL SEAT -  Montgomery County Councilmembers are poised to appoint a replacement for Valerie Ervin's vacant District 5 seat. Knowledgeable sources close to the appointment process believe that Cherri Branson will soon be selected by the 8 voting Councilmembers (Note: Ervin cannot vote for her replacement). Ms. Branson is an attorney who serves as Chief Counsel for Oversight at the U.S. House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee. She formerly served as President of the MoCo African American Democratic Club.

Sources also tell us that Branson is a consensus candidate who emerged after a stalemate between Andrew Kleine and former Delegate Herman Taylor. Citing an anti-choice voting record in Annapolis, reproductive rights advocates apparently succeeded in pushing back against a potential Taylor appointment.

The vote for a Council appointee has not yet been taken (so anything can still happen), but our sources sound pretty clear that we've likely got the scoop!

JUICE #2: MORE SPECULATION ABOUT WHETHER REP. JOHN DELANEY WILL RUN FOR GOVERNOR // PLUS: ANALYSES FROM JOURNALISTS & BLOGGERS - Maryland Juice recently reported that it appears Congressman John Delaney conducted a poll to gauge his chances in a campaign for Governor. But since then, The Washington Post asked Delaney about the matter, and he (sort-of) dispelled the rumors (excerpt below):
WASHINGTON POST: Rep. John K. Delaney (D-Md.) on Saturday addressed rumors that he is considering running for governor of Maryland by issuing a statement that did not categorically rule out the possibility out but said he expects to continue serving in Congress next year.

“Many people I trust and respect have asked me to consider running for governor, and of course I always think about where I may best serve,” Delaney said. “But I love my job, and my expectation is that I will continue to serve in Congress and represent my district....”
Some journalists think Delaney's response is not a definitive statement that he won't enter the Governor's race. Take, for example, the following comment from Matt Bush of WAMU on Twitter:

The Front Line State blog began gaming out how the dominoes may fall if Delaney runs for governor, and they have a bit of wild speculation about the race (excerpt below):
FRONT LINE STATE: Sources are telling Front Line State that a major shakeup in Maryland electoral politics is in the offing. We reported earlier in the week that Representative John Delaney (D) might be jumping into the Governor’s race. Now we are hearing from sources in Annapolis that John Delaney is definitely going after the Democrat nomination for governor and will be announcing the move as early as next week. The new wrinkle to the story is that District 16 Delegate Bill Frick (D) will be running for Congress in MD-6 in place of Delaney....
For now, I would take the Front Line State story with a huge pound of salt, because Delaney running for governor is a big "if," and the theorizing about Frick is likely just speculation. In the meantime, Bruce DePuyt of News Channel 8 provided his take on the state of the race in a Washington Post op-ed this weekend (excerpt below):
BRUCE DEPUYT (VIA WASHINGTON POST): To make history, Anthony G. Brown (D) must buck history. Brown’s campaign for the Democratic nomination for governor of Maryland has significant momentum. He has pulled ahead of his primary rival — Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler — in fundraising. He’s racked up a formidable list of endorsements from big-name politicians and influential organizations. And his political partner for the past eight years, Gov. Martin O’Malley (D), has a vested interest in helping the Prince George’s resident prevail in the Democratic primary in June....

But a cautionary note is needed: No lieutenant governor has ever managed to grab the top spot in Maryland. It happens in other states, of course, but in Maryland, the office has not served as a steppingstone to the governor’s mansion.

Maryland’s primary is still five months off, and a lot will happen. Brown must weather the negative headlines generated by the balky health-insurance exchange Web portal set up in Maryland as part of the Affordable Care Act, which he was assigned to oversee by O’Malley...

JUICE #3: REP. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN ENDORSES IKE LEGGETT FOR MONTGOMERY COUNTY EXECUTIVE - Maryland Juice received the following email blast from the re-election campaign of MoCo Executive Ike Leggett announcing an endorsement from Rep. Chris Van Hollen (excerpt below):
CHRIS VAN HOLLEN: I proudly endorse Ike Leggett for reelection as Montgomery County Executive. As we move into the future, Montgomery County continues to need a visionary and principled leader who can deliver results. Our County Executive, Ike Leggett, has demonstrated that, time and again, he is that leader.

During the recent recession, Ike guided our County with a firm and balanced hand. He showed that he was not afraid to make the hard choices that would lead our County out of the recession, build a stronger economic foundation, maintain the highest financial reserves in our history, and preserve our AAA bond rating. Today, the County has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation, has strong job growth, remains committed to a top-rated school system, and has embraced a vision for a global economy for the future....

Working hand-in-hand with State legislators last year, Ike’s leadership was instrumental in bringing home an unprecedented amount of State funding for County transportation projects. And even during the most challenging fiscal years, Ike was resolute in his commitment to Montgomery County Public Schools, funding nearly 100 percent of its budget requests....

JUICE #4: MOCO COUNCILMEMBER PHIL ANDREWS INTRODUCES PUBLIC FINANCING BILL FOR COUNTY CAMPAIGNS - The Washington Post's Bill Turque reported this week that Montgomery County Councilmember Phil Andrews (also a candidate for County Executive) introduced legislation to establish a public financing system for MoCo elections (excerpt below):
WASHINGTON POST: ... Andrews (D-Rockville-Gaithersburg), a candidate in the June Democratic primary for county executive, said he sees public financing as an essential counter­weight to the influence of special-interest money in Montgomery elections, primarily from real estate developers and public employee unions....

Andrews’s plan is completely voluntary. Candidates who want to raise money in the traditional manner could do so without penalty. Those opting into the public system would have to raise an initial amount of “seed money” to qualify: $40,000 for a county executive candidate, $20,000 for an at-large council candidate, $10,000 for a district council seat. The maximum individual donation would be $150. No PAC money or corporate donations would be allowed.... Small donations would be matched at a higher rate — as high as a 6-to-1 ratio in some cases — to encourage many modest individual donations.

“I think we absolutely need to do this,” said council member Marc Elrich (D-At Large).... Council member Roger Berliner (D-Potomac-Bethesda) said he wants to know more about the details but believes the county needs to take advantage of the opportunity the General Assembly has provided....

JUICE #5: DOUG GANSLER ENDORSES MARIJUANA DECRIMINALIZATION // FLOOR VOTE NEEDED: ALL THREE GUBERNATORIAL CAMPAIGNS SUPPORT ZIRKIN-MIZEUR-SMIGIEL BILL - All three Democratic gubernatorial candidates now support reform of Maryland's marijuana laws. Delegate Heather Mizeur favors taxing and regulating pot similar to alcohol, while Lt. Governor Anthony Brown recently endorsed removing the 90-day jail penalty attached to marijuana possession. Over the weekend, Maryland Juice finally pinned down the positions of Attorney General Doug Gansler and his runningmate Del. Jolene Ivey:

ACT NOW: URGE YOUR MARYLAND LAWMAKERS TO SUPPORT MARIJUANA REFORM - Momentum is surging to roll back the expensive and failed War on Drugs in Maryland, and now all of the Democratic candidates for Governor and Attorney General have endorsed either decriminalization or legalization of pot. There are two simple actions you can take right now to help capitalize on this political opportunity:
1. TELL YOUR DELEGATES TO URGE A FLOOR VOTE FOR MARIJUANA DECRIMINALIZATION - State Senator Bobby Zirkin and Delegates Heather Mizeur & Mike Smigiel have introduced a marijuana decriminalization bill this session. The measure passed the State Senate last year, but it is stuck in the House of Delegates. Many politicos believe the bill would pass in the House if it was released for a floor vote. Please contact your members in the Maryland House of Delegates and urge them to call for a floor vote for marijuana decriminalization legislation:

2. URGE STATE LEGISLATORS TO CO-SPONSOR LEGISLATION TO TAX & REGULATE MARIJUANA LIKE ALCOHOL - Removing jail penalties associated with simple marijuana possession (aka decriminalization) is just the first step toward creating public interest drug reform in Maryland. But we should all be aware that this a compromise position on the road to moving Maryland to tax and regulate marijuana like it does with alcohol. The legalization movement is quickly picking up steam in Maryland, as legislation to achieve this has been introduced by State Senator Jamie Raskin and Delegate Curt Anderson. The effort has support from powerful Democratic lawmakers including Senate President Mike Miller, House Ways & Means committee Chair Sheila Hixson, House Environmental Matters committee Chair Maggie McIntosh and more. Please urge your state legislators to co-sponsor the "tax and regulate" legislation:

UPDATE: Below you can read a letter Delegate Heather Mizeur sent to her colleagues urging them to get behind the effort to remove jail time as a penalty for pot possession this year:

JUICE #6: MARYLAND LEAGUE OF CONSERVATION VOTERS MAKES ENDORSEMENTS IN D6, D13, D26, D27C & D46 - Maryland Juice received the following press release from the League of Conservation Voters announcing the following endorsements in open seat and contested races (excerpt below, "bold" emphasis added):

Maryland League of Conservation Voters Announces Key Endorsements for New Green Maryland Senators and Delegates

Candidates Are the Clear Choice for the Environment
(Annapolis, MD) Today the Maryland League of Conservation Voters (Maryland LCV) released its next round of endorsed candidates for General Assembly 2014 state primary elections. The organization said the 3 Senate seats and 2 delegate seats are priority races for the organization and present exciting opportunities to put candidates with much stronger environmental records in all of these seats.

“These candidates will increase the conservation majority in the General Assembly,” said Karla Raettig, Executive Director of Maryland LCV. “Marylanders care about our air, land and water and vote for candidates who lead on the environment. These candidates are, without a doubt, the best choice for the environment in the Maryland General Assembly.”

Raettig went on to say:
  • Maryland LCV endorses Johnny Olszewski for District 6 Senate.  He holds a 88% lifetime score and Senator Stone is retiring with a 66% score.  He’s a champion for clean energy and we’re excited to endorse his move to the Senate.”
  • Maryland LCV endorses Guy Guzzone for his bid to the District 13 Senate which is also open.  Delegate Guzzone holds a 93% lifetime score while the predecessor, Senator Robey held a 70%.  He’s a big champion on environmental budget issues.”
  • Maryland LCV endorses Veronica Turner for her bid against Anthony Muse in District 26.  Delegate Turner holds a 92% lifetime score while Senator Muse has a 62% lifetime score.  We’re looking forward to helping her move to the Senate chamber.”
  • Maryland LCV endorses Sue Kullen for delegate in district 27C in Calvert County.  It’s an open seat and with her previous environmental lifetime score of 88%, we’re elated to endorse her to re-enter the Maryland General Assembly.”
  • Maryland LCV endorses Brooke Lierman for delegate in district 46 in Baltimore City.  She will replace retiring Delegate McHale with a lifetime score of 75%.  While this will be her first bid to the Maryland General Assembly, she is strongly prioritizing the environment and we’re proud to endorse her.”

JUICE #7: NARAL ENDORSES CHERYL KAGAN FOR DISTRICT 17 STATE SENATE - Maryland Juice received the following press release from D17 Senate candidate Cheryl Kagan announcing an endorsement from NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland (excerpt below):

Cheryl Kagan Announces Senate Endorsement by NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland on 
41st Anniversary of Roe v. Wade

Today, former Delegate Cheryl Kagan announced that she has been endorsed by NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland PAC for State Senate, District 17.

"On behalf of the members of the NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland PAC, I am pleased to announce our organization's endorsement of your candidacy," said Wendy Royalty, NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland PAC Chair. "Your leadership as a member of the House of Delegates and your ongoing commitment to women's reproductive choice and to women's health and safety made this an easy decision for our board."

Cheryl has worked on reproductive rights and privacy issues for almost 30 years on the state and federal levels, both as a staffer for NARAL Pro-Choice America and as a leader on reproductive choice while serving in the House of Delegates....


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