Wednesday, November 19, 2014

JUICE: Speaker Mike Busch Announces New Maryland House Leadership, Gansler Heads to Firm & Hogan for Public Finance?

Below Maryland Juice provides some post-election updates regarding leadership shuffles in Annapolis and more:

JUICE #1: MEET THE NEW DEMOCRATIC LEADERS IN THE HOUSE OF DELEGATES - Due to retirements and election losses, the House of Delegates was bound to go through a reshuffling of leadership and committee assignments. Speaker Mike Busch just sent out the following press release announcing some of the changes:
ANNAPOLIS, MD – House Speaker Michael E. Busch today announced his first round of leadership appointments following the 2014 general election.   Speaker Busch describes the group collectively as “the right additions to the existing House leadership team to help move us forward into the coming term.”    He adds, “We are fortunate to have such a talented group of individuals to help lead the House.”   Speaker Busch plans to announce additional leadership appointments and committee moves in the coming weeks.

Delegate Maggie McIntosh (Baltimore City, D43) will become Chairman of the Appropriations Committee.   Delegate McIntosh has chaired the Environmental Matters Committee since 2003, but served on the Appropriations Committee early on in her legislative career.  Said Speaker Busch, “Maggie McIntosh is one of the most well respected leaders in Annapolis and I have total confidence in her ability to manage the myriad of subjects that fall within the jurisdiction of the committee, most importantly legislative review and oversight of the State’s annual budget.  She is the right person to take the lead on budget issues as we continue to provide critical services to the citizens of our State and to use our resources to foster a growing economy.”  

Delegate Kumar Barve (Montgomery County, D17) will become the Chairman of the newly designated Environment & Transportation Committee (formerly Environmental Matters).   Moving forward, transportation policy issues will be consolidated within the Committee’s subject matter jurisdiction.   Delegate Barve has served as Majority Leader since 2003 and prior to that served on the House Economic Matters Committee under then-Chairman Busch.  He currently sits on the Ways and Means Committee.   Said Speaker Busch, “Delegate Barve has demonstrated time and time again his command of complex issues and he is a natural choice of someone to guide State environment and transportation policy.”  

Delegate Adrienne Jones (Baltimore County, D10) will remain Speaker Pro Tem and will now oversee State higher education policy as Chairman of the Education and Economic Development Subcommittee in the Appropriations Committee.   Delegate Jones was Busch’s first appointment as a newly elected Speaker in 2003.   Said Speaker Busch, “Delegate Jones is one of the most versatile leaders in the House.  She is a consensus builder and an extremely hard worker.  With job growth and economic development at the forefront of our agenda in the coming term, I can think of no better person to lead on policy and budget issues related to our system of higher education.”   Delegate Jones will also continue to serve as the Chairman of the Capital Budget Subcommittee.

Having served as an instrumental member of the Ways and Means Committee since 2003 and as the Chair of the Education Subcommittee since 2007, Delegate Anne R. Kaiser (Montgomery County, D14) has been appointed as the Majority Leader.  Delegate Kaiser will also maintain her roles on the Ways and Means Committee. “Anne Kaiser has worked tirelessly for the House Democratic Caucus and demonstrated leadership capabilities on crucial legislative priorities,” said Speaker Busch.

Assuming the role of Vice Chairman of the Environment and Transportation Committee will be Delegate Dana Stein (Baltimore County, D11).   Stein was first elected to the House in 2006 and serves on the Environmental Matters Committee.   Said Speaker Busch, “Delegate Stein is a thoughtful legislator whose considerable knowledge and even temperament make him an ideal choice for Vice Chairman.”

Delegate Sally Jameson (Charles County, D28) will become Vice Chairman of the Economic Matters Committee.   Delegate Jameson is a long-time member of the Committee (since 2003) and is known for her work on energy issues.   Said Speaker Busch, “Delegate Jameson brings a business background and a pragmatic approach to the important workforce and economic development issues handled in the Economic Matters Committee.”

Delegate Marvin Holmes (Prince George’s County, D23B) will become Chairman of the Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics.    Delegate Holmes has been a member of the House since 2003 and has served in a number of leadership roles.   “Delegate Holmes is a model public servant and a person of great integrity.   He is the clear choice to Chair this important committee,” said Speaker Busch.

Delegate James Proctor (Prince Georges and Charles Counties, D27A), Vice Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, will remain in that role and also assume the House Chairmanship of the Spending Affordability Committee.     The Committee plays a critical role in the budgeting process as it annually establishes State spending guidelines based on current and projected economic conditions.   Said Speaker Busch, “Delegate Proctor’s commitment to public service and his budgetary experience is unparalleled and I look forward to his continued leadership in this new role.”

# # # 

JUICE #2: ATTORNEY GENERAL DOUG GANSLER TO BECOME PARTNER AT DC LAW FIRM - Doug Gansler will wait out the next four years until the 2018 cycle as a partner at a downtown law firm. He announced the move in a press release yesterday (excerpt below):
Attorney General Doug Gansler Announces Post-Term Plans
Law firm partnership fits with AG’s extensive litigation experience

Baltimore, MD (Nov. 18, 2014) – Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler announced today that he will be joining the law firm, BuckleySandler LLP, when he completes his second term as Maryland Attorney General on January 12, 2015. AG Gansler will step into BuckleySandler as a Partner in its Washington, DC office where he will play a leading role in the firm’s government enforcement and litigation practices. The former President of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) will also assist firm clients in complying with and managing increased regulatory expectations on issues ranging from consumer protection to cybersecurity and privacy. 

“I am extremely proud of the great things we’ve been able to accomplish during my eight years as Maryland’s Attorney General,” said Attorney General Gansler. “I will be leaving this office satisfied that our efforts made a positive impact on Maryland and across the country.”

“Joining BuckleySandler gives me the opportunity to practice law with longtime friends at one of the nation’s preeminent litigation and enforcement law firms. I am looking forward to putting those years of litigation experience to work on a regular basis.”

JUICE #3: CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORMERS SEE OPPORTUNITY IN HOGAN WIN - This week Common Cause MD and Progressive MD convened campaign finance reformers for a panel discussion in Silver Spring, MD. Speaking toward the opportunities to tackle the problem of money-in-politics were gubernatorial candidate Heather Mizeur, Congressman John Sarbanes, Montgomery Councilmember Phil Andrews, and Delegate Eric Luedtke. The packed house heard interesting commentary indicating reformers are hopeful that incoming Governor Larry Hogan (who is the first candidate to win a Governor's race with public financing) may embrace their cause:

Sunday, November 16, 2014

POST-HOGAN JUICE: Sen. Pinsky & Dems Decry Comcast Jab, Middle-Class Woes, Change MD, Progressive Caucus & More!

Below Maryland Juice provides a quick round-up of election analyses and discussion of life after Larry Hogan's victory in the gubernatorial race:

JUICE #1: SENATOR PAUL PINSKY & FRESHMEN HOUSE DEMOCRATS DECRY "WACKO" LABEL AND DEFEND EFFORT TO END CORPORATE TAX DODGING - Immediately after Larry Hogan's win in the Governor's race, Maryland Reporter wrote that Comcast lobbyist Sean Looney called incoming Freshmen Democrats "anti-business" and said Democrats who want to end corporate tax-dodging were "far-left wackos." The comments struck a nerve with numerous lawmakers and Looney has since apologized, but not before two response pieces from Democrats were published.

State Senator Paul Pinsky of Prince George's County drafted a strong op-ed in The Baltimore Sun noting that ending corporate tax loopholes through a practice called "combined reporting" is anything but wacky (excerpt below):
PAUL PINSKY (VIA BALTIMORE SUN): At a Chamber of Commerce luncheon talk right after Larry Hogan's victory, Comcast lobbyist Sean Looney derisively dismissed ongoing legislative efforts in Annapolis to pass a corporate tax loophole-plugging reform known as "combined reporting."

"The far left wackos in the Democratic Party think it's a great idea," Mr. Looney told his high-powered business audience. Nearly a majority of Maryland's Senate — apparently the "far left wackos" decried by Mr. Looney — want to stop huge corporations like Comcast from charging their business expenses to their Maryland operations while shifting their profits to subsidiaries or companies incorporated in low- or no-tax states....

It seems this tax scheme is popular among the big boys doing business in our state. Our Maryland comptroller's office reports that many multi-state, multinational companies pay less in corporate tax than you and I pay in personal income tax. This tax avoidance garners these big corporations a major competitive advantage over Maryland's small businesses — and costs our state over $100 million in lost revenue annually.

We must have a good many such wackos in America today. Over half our states with corporate income taxes — 24 states in all — already have combined-reporting laws on the books. And these combined-reporting states include Texas, Utah and a host of other hotbeds of far-left wacko-ism....
Meanwhile, incoming Freshman Delegate Cory McCray of Baltimore organized a sign-on letter from 17 Democratic Delegates-elect (myself included) responding to Comcast's commentary. The response was published at Maryland Reporter (excerpt below):
17 FRESHMEN DELEGATES (VIA MARYLAND REPORTER): It was with a mixture of amusement and frustration that we awoke days after our new election to the General Assembly to read that you, the lobbyist paid by Comcast to work with us, had attempted to publicly insult us and demean our ideas....

We will not use this time to debate the substance of your grievance, which seemed to be that combined reporting is a radical idea, even though numerous states (many with Republican legislatures) have passed similar legislation in recent years. We look forward to discussing the value of combined reporting, as well as any benefit Comcast receives from government programs and services, with you and your client....

Shelly Hettleman, Terri Hill, Clarence Lam, Vanessa Atterbeary, Marc Korman, Andrew Platt, Marice Morales, David Moon, William Smith, Daryl Barnes, Antonio Hayes, Charles Sydnor, Patrick Young, Cory McCray, Brooke Lierman, Diana Fennell, Jimmy Tarlau

JUICE #2: NATIONAL PUNDITS HIGHLIGHT WAGE STAGNATION AS OBSTACLE TO ECONOMIC RECOVERY & DEMOCRATS' ELECTORAL FORTUNES - Soon after Larry Hogan won Maryland's race for Governor, Maryland Juice concluded that the biggest failure of state Democrats' was in missing the populist tide sweeping through the electorate. I then penned a piece calling on Maryland Democrats to prioritize measures to provide economic security for middle and working class residents, instead of joining the GOP and Big Business call for trickle-down (aka voodoo) economic measures like corporate & upper bracket tax cuts.

PAID SICK LEAVES WINS WHERE GOP BEAT DEMOCRATS: There is now a loud clamor of agreement from national pundits and economic analysts that Democrats have got to craft a strong economic populist message and start tackling our historic wealth gap. See a few examples below, starting with a case study from Massachusetts, where Republicans won control of the Governor's mansion -- at the same time that 60% of voters in the state approved a sick leave requirement at the ballot:
DAVE JAMIESON (VIA HUFFINGTON POST):  Massachusetts on Tuesday became the third state in the nation to guarantee paid sick days for workers, with voters decisively approving a sick-leave ballot initiative, 60 percent to 40 percent....

Although more employers voluntarily provide paid sick leave than they used to, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that about 39 percent of the U.S. private-sector workforce has no paid sick time. Workers without it are disproportionately employed in lower-wage jobs, such as food service and retail, where companies tend to keep a tighter grip on payroll hours....

As with raising the minimum wage, Americans in general seem to back the idea of placing a sick-leave requirement upon businesses, making such proposals good fodder for voter referendums. In a recent HuffPost/YouGov poll, 74 percent of respondents said they would support such a mandate, while just 18 percent said they would oppose it. That backing included majorities of Democrats, Republicans and independents....

WAGE STAGNATION HURT DEMOCRATIC ELECTORAL FORTUNES: The Democrats' recent electoral drubbing has pundits pointing to working class economic justice issues as the greatest challenge for the Party in coming years:
DAVID LEONHARDT (VIA NY TIMES): The Democratic Party’s short-term plan to help the middle class just isn’t very clear.... The fact remains that incomes for most Americans aren’t growing very fast and haven’t been for years. Median inflation-adjusted income last year was still $2,100 lower than when President Obama took office in 2009 — and $3,600 lower than when President George W. Bush took office in 2001.... We’re living through the great wage slowdown of the 21st century, and nothing presents a larger threat to the Democrats’ electoral fortunes than that slowdown. The Democratic Party fashions itself as the defender of working families.... But if Democrats can’t deliver rising living standards, many voters aren’t going to remain loyal. They’ll skip voting or give a chance to Republicans who offer an alternative, even a vague alternative....

HILLARY CLINTON NEEDS A REAL RESPONSE TO MIDDLE-CLASS WOES: The place where we're seeing this debate become increasingly relevant is in the upcoming Democratic Primary for the 2016 Presidential Election. Hillary Clinton, who is notoriously close to the party's Wall Street and industry backers, may have to sing a different tune to secure the White House:
ALBERT HUNT (VIA NY TIMES): It won't be sufficient to run on competence, breadth of experience.... [Hillary Clinton] needs an innovative, or even bold approach... to dealing with middle-class economic stagnation and income inequality....

LOW-INCOME VOTERS CHOSE GOP OR DIDN'T VOTE: Indeed, data from the November General Election shows that these bits of advice are not just speculation, they're backed by evidence:
JONATHAN MARTIN (VIA NY TIMES): Sifting through returns showing that lower-income voters either supported Republicans or did not vote, liberals argue that without a more robust message about economic fairness, the party will continue to suffer among working-class voters, particularly in the South and Midwest....

“Too many Democrats are too close to Wall Street,” said Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio. “Too many Democrats support trade agreements that outsource jobs, and too many Democrats are too willing to cut Social Security — and that’s why we lose elections.”

Mr. Brown said he had talked to over 60 Ohio Democratic leaders and activists since they were trounced in every statewide election. “The message I heard from all of them was: The Democratic Party should fight for the little guy,” he said....
Progressives pointed to three Democrats who ran as populists as models for success: Senator Al Franken of Minnesota, Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Senator-elect Gary Peters of Michigan.

Mr. Merkley, who focused on the loss of well-paying jobs, the cost of college tuition and opposition to trade deals that he said sent jobs overseas, won by 19 percentage points. While Democrats nationally lost whites without a college degree by 30 percentage points, Mr. Merkley narrowly carried that bloc....

Many liberals believe that the disconnect between the politics of the party’s grass roots and the message coming from Democratic administrations has left blue-collar voters unenthused. “We do not have to struggle for an agenda that connects with working-class voters,” said Representative Rosa DeLauro, Democrat of Connecticut. “We have an agenda that does that, but it does not get vocalized at the top....”

S&P ANALYSIS SAYS WEALTH GAP IS HURTING ECONOMIC RECOVERY: And while some Democrats continue to insist that economic populism is bad for business, the evidence actually points to the opposite conclusion. Indeed, trickle-down economics has never worked, and that fact has not changed today. In fact, S&P analysts seem to believe that caving to the millionaire & corporate tax cut crowd is hurting America's economic recovery and dragging down state revenues. Where is the courage?
JOSH BOAK (VIA WASHINGTON POST): The widening gap between the wealthiest Americans and everyone else has been matched by a slowdown in state tax revenue, according to a report being released Monday by Standard & Poor’s.

Even as income has accelerated for the affluent, it has barely kept pace with inflation for most other people. That trend can mean a double whammy for states: The wealthy often manage to shield much of their income from taxes. And they tend to spend less of it than others do, thereby limiting sales tax revenue.

As the growth of tax revenue has slowed, states have faced tensions over whether to raise taxes or cut spending to balance their budgets as required by law. “Rising income inequality is not just a social issue,” said Gabriel Petek, the S&P credit analyst who wrote the report. “It presents a very significant set of challenges for the policymakers.”

Stagnant pay for most people has compounded the pressure on states to preserve funding for education, highways and social programs such as Medicaid. The investments in education and infrastructure also have fueled economic growth. Yet they’re at risk without a strong flow of tax revenue....
S&P’s analysis builds on a previous report this year in which it said the widening gap between the wealthiest Americans and everyone else has slowed the U.S. economy’s recovery from the Great Recession. Because consumer spending fuels about 70 percent of the economy, weak pay growth typically slows economic growth....

U.S. VOTERS BACK INFRASTRUCTURE SPENDING AT THE NOVEMBER BALLOT:  Policymakers would be short-sighted to think that Republican wins at the ballot reflect a desire to gut infrastructure spending. In fact, several states (Maryland included) had infrastructure spending measures on the ballot this November, and the message is loud and clear:
FAWN JOHNSON (VIA NATIONAL JOURNAL):  ...both Republican and Democratic lawmakers agree that dedicating money to infrastructure is one of the best ways to boost the economy....

Last week's midterm elections showed that the willingness to set aside money for transportation extends to the voting public. In Hawaii, California, Rhode Island, Texas, Wisconsin, and Maryland, voters approved ballot initiatives to secure funding for water resources, roads, and transit. In Texas, 81 percent of voters approved a measure to dedicate half of the state's oil and gas revenues to a state highway fund, as long as that money isn't going to tolled roads. Maryland and Wisconsin voters approved "lockbox" initiatives to make it harder to take money out of the state's transportation coffers. Rhode Island voters gave a thumbs-up to bond initiatives for infrastructure. California voters, facing one of the most severe droughts on record, gave the OK to more than $7 billion in general obligation bonds to shore up the state's water supply.
"The outcomes of these elections demonstrate that Americans value well-maintained infrastructure and are willing to make the investment," said American Society of Civil Engineers President Robert Stevens.

U.S. SENATE DEMOCRATS RESPOND TO ELECTION LOSSES BY GIVING ELIZABETH WARREN A LEADERSHIP SPOT: At the national level, U.S. Senate Democratic leaders have responded to these challenges by giving economic populists a larger say in the Democratic Caucus. They recently elevated liberal Senator Elizabeth Warren to a leadership post. Will Maryland Democrats follow suit?
AMANDA TERKEL & RYAN GRIMM (VIA HUFFINGTON POST):  Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) gained a leadership position in the Senate Democratic caucus Thursday, giving the prominent progressive senator a key role in shaping the party's policy priorities.

Warren's new role, which was created specifically for her, will be strategic policy adviser to the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, helping to craft the party's policy positions and priorities. She will also serve as a liaison to progressive groups to ensure they have a voice in leadership meetings and discussions, according to a source familiar with the role....

JUICE #3: CHANGE MARYLAND? // PROGRESSIVE MARYLAND & ACTIVISTS LAUNCH CAMPAIGN TO PRIORITIZE ECONOMIC JUSTICE ISSUES - It seems clear that Maryland progressives are getting fired up after the Democrats' recent electoral losses. The message moving forward is obviously that its time for the Party to start focusing on poor and working class Marylanders. Maryland Juice recently received the following event invitation from Progressive Maryland announcing a new campaign to move this message forward (details below and at
LARRY STAFFORD (VIA PROGRESSIVE MARYLAND): Yesterday I came on board as the Deputy Director for Progressive Maryland. After years of progressive activism that has included work with Project Vote, the New Organizing Institute, and with Heather Mizeur's campaign for Governor, I'm looking to bring my skills and experiences to build on the successes of this great organization. With last Tuesday's results in mind, Progressive Maryland is issuing a call to action for all progressives in the state to begin organizing and mobilizing for this upcoming legislative session. On November 18th at 7pm, we will be hosting an event to kick-off our upcoming organizing efforts.
It has become clear. The status quo in Maryland politics is no longer acceptable. Many of our elected leaders have become disconnected from the voters that they have been elected to serve. Maryland's political leadership has found its opportunities to be progressive on important social issues, but has failed to speak to the economic plight facing poor and working families in Maryland.

Conservatives win when we are not boldly and clearly articulating our message of economic justice and fairness. They repeat dishonest messages that are designed to arouse the frustrations of the neglected communities of our State. They speak boldly of the problems that face poor and working families, but offer no real solutions that will create good paying jobs that uplift our communities....

When: November 18th at 7pm
Where:  4371 Parliament Pl Lanham, MD

JUICE #4: A PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS IN MARYLAND - As pundits continue to ponder Maryland's recent election results, one thing is clear: the Democratic Caucus is now much more progressive. Barry Rascovar recently discussed the developments at Maryland Reporter (excerpt below):
BARRY RASCOVAR (VIA MARYLAND REPORTER): Hardly noticed in the Nov. 4 election that saw Anthony Brown wiped out in an embarrassing avalanche of rejection was the obliteration of the Democratic Party’s moderate-conservative wing in Annapolis. Gone is Southern Maryland Sen. Roy Dyson. Gone is half-century veteran Baltimore County Sen. Norman Stone (retirement). Gone is a Howard County fixture, Sen. Jim Robey (retirement).

Also out of luck, conservative Western Maryland Del. Kevin Kelly, moderate Western Maryland Del. John Donoghue, conservative Baltimore County Dels. Mike Weir, Jimmy Malone (retirement), Steve DeBoy (retirement) and Sonny Minnick (retirement), moderate-conservative Del. Emmett Burns of Baltimore County (retirement), Eastern Shore Committee Chairman Del. Norm Conway, Cecil County Del. David Randolph, Southern Maryland Dels. John Bohanan and Johnny Wood (retirement), Harford County Del. Mary-Dulany James, and Frederick County Del. Galen Clagett (retirement).

The Democratic Party’s fulcrum in the State House now is dangerously weighted to the strident left. The party’s center-right legislators have shrunk to a handful.

It’s tough even coming up with who you’d place in that category in the House of Delegates once you get beyond House Speaker Mike Busch.  You can count less than 10 moderates still left in the Senate, including President Mike Miller — Charles County’s Mac Middleton, Frederick’s Ron Young, Anne Arundel’s John Astle and Ed DeGrange, Ocean City’s Jim Mathias, Baltimore County’s Jim Brochin and Kathy Klausmeier....
Rascovar calls this development "dangerous," but that seems like centrist spin. Believe it or not, many progressives (myself included) are outcome-oriented individuals and prioritize moving good policy over partisan politics. And while the GOP believes tax cuts will help ordinary Marylanders, progressives believe there are other was to help the middle-class. But the key commonality is that (if you take the GOP at their word), both the far right and far left are trying to help ordinary Marylanders. That may not be true of powered and institutional interests, and it presents an interesting opportunity to get things done in the future. Unfortunately, much of the pundit class is posing this question to liberal Democrats, but I think it is just as fair to pose this question to incoming GOP Governor Larry Hogan. Is he willing to play ball?

JUICE #5: MARYLAND JUICE & RED MARYLAND'S BRIAN GRIFFITHS DISCUSS THE NOVEMBER ELECTIONS AND LIFE AFTER LARRY HOGAN: Maryland Juice (aka David Moon) recently appeared on WNAV radio with our frenemy Brian Griffiths at Red Maryland. We talked about the recent election results and what the future of Maryland politics might look like with a Republican Governor. You can listen to the three-part radio interview below:

Saturday, November 8, 2014

JUICE - A Way Forward for MD Democrats: Brian Frosh vs. Anthony Brown and Lessons from Connecticut & Minnesota

A WAY FORWARD FOR MARYLAND DEMOCRATS: Politicos have been chattering about Anthony Brown's loss this week, and everyone seems to have their own theory about how this happened. Was it a a reaction to partisan gridlock in Congress? Was it a canned campaign by the Democratic nominee? Was it a revolt against taxes? Was Maryland just part of the national anti-Obama wave? We'll never know for sure, but there are clear lessons for the future looking at examples both from outside and inside Maryland. Indeed, it seems clear that neither Democrats nor Republicans can take for granted the message from the electorate. To be sure, my side missed the populist tide sweeping through the electorate, but Republicans would be equally foolish to see this as a mandate for conservatism or austerity measures. Below, I make the case for Democrats embracing economic populism (as a contrast to an anti-tax agenda) in the coming years. After all, many of the Assembly Democrats who are closer to Hogan than Brown on tax policy lost this year anyway.

IT'S STILL ABOUT THE MIDDLE & WORKING CLASS: I previously wrote that my key takeaway from Maryland Democrats' disastrous election night was that the state party needed to step up its game on economic populism -- especially in a way that counters the GOP's trickle-down economic talking points (eg: the idea that tax cuts for millionaires and corporations will magically create jobs and wealth for ordinary Marylanders). But Larry Hogan's simple anti-tax message clearly had appeal with Maryland voters, because our Democratic Party simply didn't even try to present a progressive or populist vision on economic issues. And when we did, it wasn't really responsive to anyone except the wealthy and industry interests (who are often one and the same). For example, in the last few years Maryland Democrats tried to disarm the Hogan-style message by passing an estate tax cut on inheritances up to $5.9 million and reducing the state's millionaire's tax. I don't begrudge Maryland Democrats for trying to play the anti-tax game, but I think the ineffectiveness of the strategy in fending off Hogan warrants discussion (without even getting into the policy and revenue merits of these cuts).

In an era of a much-talked-about, historic wealth gap, how many ordinary Marylanders will actually benefit from these measures? Are those who declined to vote really in the dark about growing income and wealth inequality, or did they simply think Democrats weren't planning on doing anything different than in the past? The question is not, are you better off today than you were four years ago -- it is, will you be better off four years in the future than you are today if we are in charge. If you have children at the pre-K age, you might've been able to answer yes to this question -- but if you don't....

To be sure, trying to jump on Larry Hogan's broad anti-tax bandwagon didn't work this year. But I think this had less to do with taxes per se, and more to do with a failure by the party to passionately address the policy sins we all know exist that have led to the spiraling gap between the rich and the poor (both in Maryland and nationally). As Roy Meyers, a professor of political science at UMBC, noted in Maryland Reporter (excerpt below):
ROY MEYERS (UMBC PROFESSOR): "...repeatedly promising 'no new taxes' in this campaign was insufficient protection from the narrative Republicans, and Hogan in particular, have been building over recent years. Much of that narrative was false or misleading, yet many voters bought it. Though Maryland is still one of the richest and most productive states in the nation, the Republicans convinced many that the economy was worse than most other states’. Though even after the tax increases of recent years, when Maryland still has below-average tax rates per individual incomes, many voters came to believe that the tax burden promoted flight of high-income taxpayers (there’s no convincing proof of this)."
Indeed, many Maryland politicos (Democrats included) over the last few years have become cheerleaders for the idea that we're losing millionaires (we're not) and that we're losing residents to Virginia (we're not). In fact, The Washington Business Journal recently reported that effective corporate tax rates are often lower in Maryland than Virginia. So rather than fight trickle-down economics in Maryland, we've largely embraced it as a policy solution for unquantifiable problems like "poor business reputation" or millionaires maybe/potentially/hypothetically leaving the state (some day).

But where I believe Democrats have faltered is on prioritizing relief for the middle-class and working class. During the gubernatorial race, there was always a lingering choice about whether to try and mobilize the base, or whether to try and convert voters on the other side. In many ways, these choices were mutually exclusive. Karl Rove famously chose the former tactic (to great success) in multiple elections. But in some states, it appears that the populist message was the winning one -- and it's not always a partisan message. Larry Hogan ran a populist campaign running against taxes. But in other states, the populist campaign manifested as sick leave and economic justice.

A LESSON FROM OTHER BLUE STATES: CONNECTICUT & MINNESOTA - Many politicos have been looking at Maryland in the same light as elections across the nation, where Republicans won tight races. But a better apples-to-apples comparison would be comparing Maryland to Connecticut (another traditionally Blue state with a tight Governor's race). Luke Brinker at just did exactly that, and I think he's got some good points (excerpt below):
LUKE BRINKER (VIA SALON.COM): Amid this week’s disastrous Democratic drubbing, Connecticut emerged as one of the few bright spots for Democrats. Facing a formidable challenge from wealthy investor Tom Foley, whom he defeated by less than one percentage point in 2010, Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy secured another term, fending off Foley 51 to 48 percent....

But Malloy also boasted something many Democrats who lost Tuesday night did not — an actual track record of economic populist accomplishments. Malloy could point to specific policies he’d signed into law — most notably, mandatory paid sick leave and the nation’s first-ever state-level minimum wage increase to $10.10 an hour — that benefited Connecticut families but would be jeopardized if Foley, who opposed those policies, won the governorship....

A late-stage Malloy ad — aired as public polling indicated a tied race — put the issues at the very top. “On Tuesday, you future is on the ballot,” the ad’s narrator began. “What kind of state will Connecticut be? Tom Foley’s made his plans clear. No paid sick days for workers. No to raising the minimum wage....”

Lindsay Farrell, Connecticut director of the Working Families Party, told Salon that the issues resonated with a broad swath of voters.... But, Farrell noted, Malloy signed both paid sick leave and the minimum wage increase into law despite encountering opposition among more moderate Democrats in the state legislature, particularly on the former.... “Things that give people economic security and tackle economic inequality in this country are popular with voters,” [Farrell] added.

Results elsewhere bear this out. Bloomberg Politics’ Dave Weigel observes that while Democratic Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia barely survived after running a “radical centrist” campaign about the importance of slashing the national debt, Minnesota Democratic Sen. Al Franken cruised to a 10-point victory over his GOP opponent after a remarkably economic populist campaign. Earlier this year, most commentators — including this one — would have told you that of the two senators, Warner was almost certain to win by a larger margin....
And so the push for paid sick leave in Maryland begins (again)....

A LESSON FROM WITHIN MARYLAND: BRIAN FROSH VS. ANTHONY BROWN - Indeed, it would be foolish of Maryland Democrats and Republicans to extrapolate lessons for the future only from this year's Governor's race. After all, my suspicion is that Hogan's win is more of a mandate for populism than it is for conservatism. Within Maryland results, comparing the vote totals of Anthony Brown and Democratic nominee for Attorney General Brian Frosh is very instructive. After all, the Frosh race makes it hard to see the rejection of Anthony Brown as a rejection of Democrats (or liberal political ideology more broadly). I think Frosh's race and multiple other races in the state suggest that the message, tactics, and tone of the Brown campaign were more decisive than party label or liberal vs. conservative.

Indeed, Brian Frosh is a clear liberal politician from Montgomery County (representing much-maligned Bethesda, no less). He's also been the target of true hatred and ire from the NRA and gun owners, many of whom blame him for shepherding Maryland's tough new gun regulations through the State Senate. As a Senator, Frosh has also not been afraid to raise taxes, and voted for bills like transgender nondiscrimination that the rightwing base has revolted against. Frosh also opposed the estate tax cut and tax cuts for Lockheed Martin. He's not exactly a Larry Hogan clone, and would be the perfect foil if we were indeed witnessing a wave of anger toward Democrats. But Frosh won big, and that counters the narrative that voters were looking to blindly oust Democrats or liberals. Indeed, in a realignment cycle like we saw this year, several underfunded Republicans defeated better-known, better resourced candidates.

PROGRESSIVE SENATOR FROSH WON WHERE BROWN LOST: Looking at the voting totals below, you can see that progressive lawmaker Brian Frosh beat his Republican opponent by almost a quarter-of-a-million votes, and he did so by winning in places that Anthony Brown failed to carry: Baltimore County, Charles County and Howard County. Frosh even nearly tied his Republican opponent in Kent County.

Brian Frosh Democrat Jeffrey Pritzker Republican
Allegany 5707 12056
Anne Arundel 71548 91789
Baltimore City 108198 17471
Baltimore 132912 108605
Calvert 11330 18009
Caroline 2708 5491
Carroll 16927 40940
Cecil 8065 16127
Charles 26045 17579
Dorchester 3979 5355
Frederick 30799 41319
Garrett 1823 6194
Harford 30289 52859
Howard 54534 41781
Kent 3394 3537
Montgomery 163238 72205
Prince George's 178809 24346
Queen Anne's 5836 11670
St. Mary's 10283 18779
Somerset 2292 3452
Talbot 5496 8045
Washington 11584 23005
Wicomico 9604 13904
Worcester 6430 11031
Totals 901,830 665,549

PROGRESSIVE SENATOR FROSH OUTPOLLED BROWN IN EVERY MARYLAND COUNTY: Even more interesting is that Brian Frosh got more votes than Anthony Brown in every single county in Maryland, netting over 115,000 more votes for Frosh than Brown. Looking at the results below is a depressing vision of what could've been:

Brian Frosh Democrat Anthony Brown Democrat
Allegany 5707 4539
Anne Arundel 71548 55918
Baltimore City 108198 102219
Baltimore 132912 100121
Calvert 11330 9355
Caroline 2708 1900
Carroll 16927 10181
Cecil 8065 5396
Charles 26045 23936
Dorchester 3979 3067
Frederick 30799 27041
Garrett 1823 1588
Harford 30289 19404
Howard 54534 48019
Kent 3394 2568
Montgomery 163238 151593
Prince George's 178809 177993
Queen Anne's 5836 3715
St. Mary's 10283 8030
Somerset 2292 1979
Talbot 5496 4285
Washington 11584 9480
Wicomico 9604 8572
Worcester 6430 5427
Totals 901,830 786,326

OTHER COUNTER-INTUITIVE TEA LEAVES FROM MARYLAND ELECTIONS: Before you start extrapolating that there was something special about Brian Frosh (not that he isn't special), I would point out that rabid anti-tax, pro-business deregulation Republican Blaine Young lost his bid for Frederick County Executive this year to Democrat Jan Gardner -- even as Republicans swept 5 of the 7 County Council seats, and Brown lost big in the county. Moreover, Democrat John Delaney won re-election not just through Montgomery County -- he carried the Frederick portion of his district too. Rep. Elijah Cummings carried the Baltimore and Howard County portions of his district; Rep. John Sarbanes won the Baltimore and Howard County portions of his district, and nearly tied in Anne Arundel; Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger won in the Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Harford, and Howard County portions of his district; and so on....

On the other hand, you could listen to the advice of Comcast's Maryland lobbyist Sean Looney, who apparently wants to preserve corporate tax loopholes, thinks the Assembly's incoming freshman are anti-business and a "headache," and believes some of Maryland's Democratic incumbents are "wackos." Stay classy!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

AFTERMATH - So Larry Hogan's Our Governor: What Happened Down-Ballot, What's Next & What About the Purple Line?

Below Maryland Juice provides a few thoughts on last night's wild (and disappointing) election returns:

JUICE #1: WHAT HAPPENED IN MARYLAND'S DOWN-BALLOT RACES? - I have to admit, I wasn't quite expecting Larry Hogan to have a shot at winning the Governor's race (known unforced errors notwithstanding). However, I fully expected that several races down-ballot would be hotly contested in the General Election. After all, Maryland's rapidly growing Democratic electorate is geographically concentrated with some tentacles into counties like Howard & Frederick that are adjacent to Blue hotspots. When political demographics shift, wave years for political parties (like we saw this year, in 2010, and during the Newt Gingrich years) can often eliminate incumbent lawmakers who sit in districts that have become home to the opposing party. This year in Maryland was (unfortunately) no different.
The short summary is this: In the House of Delegates, Democrats are facing a net loss of 7 seats, and in the Senate, Republicans will gain 2 seats. Democrats will still hold a solid majority in both chambers. Blogger David Lublin over at The Seventh State framed the consequences accurately: "The Democrats who lost in the General Assembly are almost all moderate or conservative Democrats.... The Democrats will be more liberal and the Republicans more conservative." Heading into the 2015 legislative session, Democrats will hold 91 seats in the House of Delegates, while Republicans will hold 50. But of the 91 Democratic lawmakers, 26% will represent Montgomery County, 25% will represent Prince George's County, and roughly 18% will represent Baltimore City. That means nearly 69% of the Democratic House Caucus will come from the "Big 3" jurisdictions.

In the State Senate, Democrats will hold 33 seats, with the Republicans holding 14. 24% of the Democrats will be from Montgomery County, 24% will represent Prince George's, and 15% will represent Baltimore City. In the upper chamber, 63% of Democrats will represent the "Big 3" jurisdictions.
Below I've noted some of the noteworthy down-ballot election results from around the state. Though it was a bad night for Democrats, some of the races below are Democratic pick-ups:

  • D6 (-1 DEM OPEN SEAT): Johnny Ray Salling (GOP) beats Johnny Olszewski Jr (DEM)
  • D29 (-1 DEM): Steve Waugh (GOP) beats incumbent Roy Dyson (DEM)
  • D34 (GOP HOLD OPEN SEAT): Bob Cassilly (GOP) beats Mary-Dulany James (DEM)

  • D1B (-1 DEM): Jason Buckel (GOP) beats incumbent Kevin Kelly (DEM)
  • D2B (-1 DEM): Brett Wilson (GOP) beats incumbent John Donoghue (DEM)
  • D3A (+1 DEM IN 2 OPEN SEATS): Carol Krimm & Karen Young (ALL DEM) beat Paul Smith & Victoria Wilkins (ALL GOP)
  • D6 (-3 DEM): Bob Long, Robin Grammer & Ric Metzgar (ALL GOP) beat incumbent Mike Weir & 2 Democrats
  • D29A (-1 DEM IN OPEN SEAT): Matt Morgan (GOP) beats Daniel Slade (DEM)
  • D29B (-1 DEM): Deb Ray (GOP) beats incumbent John Bohanan (DEM)
  • D31A (+1 DEM): Ned Carey (DEM) beats Terry Lynn DeGraw (GOP)
  • D34B (-1 DEM IN OPEN SEAT): Susan McComas (GOP) beats Cassandra Beverly (DEM)
  • D35A (LOSS ACCOUNTED FOR IN D34B): Kevin Bailey Hornberger (GOP) beats incumbent David Rudolph (DEM)
  • D38B (-1 DEM): Carl Anderton Jr (GOP) beats incumbent Norm Conway (DEM)
  • D34A (NO CHANGE): Incumbent Glen Glass (GOP) & Mary Ann Lisanti (DEM) win
NOTE ON DEFEATED DEMS: Del. Norm Conway is House Appropriations Chair; Del. David Rudolph is House Economic Matters Vice-Chair; Sen. Roy Dyson is Senate Education, Health & Environmental Vice-Chair. We can expect some shifting of positions due to these losses.

CONGRESS (ALL INCUMBENTS WIN RE-ELECTION): Though every member of Congress in Maryland is headed to re-election, the CD6 race between Rep. John Delaney and Dan Bongino was an interesting one. Here are the final numbers (not including absentee and provisional ballots):
  • John Delaney 89,318
  • Dan Bongino 87,152


  • Incumbent Kevin Kamenetz (DEM) beats George Harman (GOP)
  • County Council will be 3 GOP to 4 DEM

  • Jan Gardner (DEM) beats Blaine Young (GOP)
  • County Council will be 5 GOP to 2 DEM

  • Sen. Allan Kittleman (GOP) beats Courtney Watson (DEM)
  • County Council will be 1 GOP to 4 DEM

  • MD Question 1 - "Transportation Fund Lock Box" was Approved
  • MD Question 2 - Authorization for County Executive Special Elections was Approved
  • MoCo Question A - Residency Requirement for District Councilmembers was Approved
  • PG Question J - Longer Term Limits for County Officials was Rejected

JUICE #2: WHAT HAPPENS NEXT: 2018 ELECTION TEA LEAVES - Last night Maryland Juice was watching election coverage on News Channel 8. Doug Gansler's running-mate, Jolene Ivey, was on-air talking about the election returns, and it sure sounds like Gansler might run again in 2018. Gansler has also since appeared in post-election coverage criticizing the Brown campaign (see eg: WBAL). The other candidate in the Democratic Gubernatorial Primary, Heather Mizeur closed out the General Election with a Baltimore Sun op-ed stating, "our time will come at some future election." Let's also not forget that Congressman John Delaney was polling the Governor's race (with his name included) during the primary. The Baltimore Sun included Ken Ulman in a list of election winners & losers (listed as a winner), with the following statement: "You may have dodged a bullet by avoiding the trap of being Maryland's lieutenant governor, historically a one-way ticket to nowhere.... See you in four years." Lastly, The Sun's list also mentioned Comptroller Peter Franchot, who also flirted with a gubernatorial bid this cycle: "In an awful year for Democrats, Comptroller Peter Franchot actually increased his margin of victory from 2010. He ran strong where Democrats did well, and he ran strong where they didn't." Last night's election results were utterly disappointing, but I guess we'll at least have something to talk about for four years.

JUICE #3: MOVING FORWARD & THE FUTURE OF THE PURPLE LINE - I don't want to spend too much time talking about the Governor's race, but I posted my very brief thoughts on Facebook earlier this evening:

As noted above, I am indeed thinking about how to adjust to the reality of a Hogan administration. Of primary concern are two issues that should not be seen as partisan: 1) funding for severely overcrowded schools in Montgomery County, and 2) funding for transit projects that are near-ready to break ground, like the Purple Line. The transit-focused blog Greater Greater Washington today discussed the impact of a Hogan administration on the Purple Line and included some of my thoughts (excerpt below):
GREATER GREATER WASHINGTON: Business groups supported Hogan because of his message of tax cuts. They also have strongly favored the Purple Line. Will they tell Hogan that it's important to them? David Moon, an organizer who once ran the Purple Line Now campaign and was just elected to the House of Delegates from the Silver Spring/Takoma Park area, said, "You're not going to be able to [win Hogan over] from a regional DC-suburban perspective, or a liberal transit versus roads perspective," or the environment (he ran against a stormwater fee calling it a "rain tax"). But if businesses are willing to stand up for infrastructure that will generate economic growth, he said, that is more compelling....
The interesting piece has generated a decent amount of commentary and debate (see here).

That's all I got for now....