First Click -- Maryland
Your Daily Download of the State's Top Political News and Analysis
Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2009:
State Republicans Hope GOP Upheavel Sends Fundraising North
The resignation of embattled Maryland Republican Party Chairman James Pelura has party faithful hoping the end of a tumultuous tenure brings new life to party fundraising, writes The Post's John Wagner, who broke the story of Pelura's departure on Monday night.
"The Maryland GOP has struggled to stay afloat financially during much of Pelura's tenure. As of mid-January, the last time reports were due, the party had $703.10 in a pair of state accounts," Wagner writes.
"By contrast, the Maryland Democratic Party had more than $755,000 in its two state accounts."
So who will reinvigorate the party?
John White, an Annapolis marketing executive who was runner-up to Pelura in 2006, told The Post he remains interested in serving the party.
Chris Cavey, the state party's first vice chairman, also questioned Pelura's decision this summer to ask for the resignation of the party's former Executive Director Justin Ready. (UPDATE) Another name that's begun circulating: Al Redmer, a former legislator and insurance commissioner under Ehrlich
Ehrlich, Or ....
Hours before the news about Pelura, Larry Hogan, a cabinet secretary under former Maryland governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R), told The Post on Monday that he will formally launch an exploratory bid today for next year's Republican gubernatorial nomination.
"Hogan, 53, who served as appointments secretary under Ehrlich, said he will back out of the race if his former boss seeks a rematch with Gov. Martin O'Malley (D). Ehrlich has indicated he might wait until the end of the year before making a decision about 2010," Wagner writes.
"Hogan's decision is timed to be exactly one year in advance of the Republican primary. By his own admission, Hogan would be "a huge underdog" against O'Malley in a heavily Democratic state. But he is regarded by many Republicans as the most credible alternative to Ehrlich at this point."
Obama to Make Health Care Speech at University of Maryland
In an e-mail to supporters on Monday evening, the Maryland Democratic Party announced President Barack Obama will deliver a speech Thursday on health-insurance reform at the University of Maryland's College Park campus.
Police, Prosecutors Line Up For Gang Hearing
A lengthy list of some of Maryland's most powerful state's attorneys and police chiefs plan to travel to Annapolis this morning to ask lawmakers for better rules to aid them in putting gang members behind bars for longer sentences. The House Judiciary Committee is considering changes to the Maryland Gang Prosecution Act - a law many law enforcement officials say they avoid because the burden on police to prove gang membership is too high.
Among those expected to attend: Baltimore City State's Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy, Montgomery County State's Attorney John McCarthy, Donald DeVore, the state's Secretary for the Department of Juvenile Services and Prince George's Sheriff Michael Jackson.
Freight Plan Not Poetry, But May Help State With Heavy Lifting
Maryland became the first state in the nation Monday to release a Statewide Freight Plan, a document that history will not rank with the Magna Carta or the Constitution, but may give the state an advantage as it competes for federal transportation dollars with states that lack a comprehensive blueprint, writes The Post's Ashley Halsey III.
The plan projects that the volume of freight flowing to and through the state will increase by 75 percent in the next two decades and it prioritizes more than 10 port, highway and rail projects that should be tackled in the years ahead to accommodate that growth.
The document is a comprehensive survey of transportation systems that move freight in Maryland, and it sets goals intended to expand those systems while being mindful of environmental concerns and traffic congestion.
U.S. Census Bureau and Maryland Department of Planning officials will brief lawmakers on Census outreach efforts today in Annapolis.
Montgomery County Council President Phil Andrews on Monday floated the idea axing the county's troubled tuition assistance program for county employees. Andrews called the program "not essential," and given tight budgets and crucial social service needs, "it would be responsible to suspend it next year," saving the county about $1 million, he said.
And ... You Asked For It:
The majority of readers who posted comments Monday on First Click asked for more coverage of last week's ACORN scandal. Well, here's your daily dose:
"The U.S. Senate voted Monday to block the Housing and Urban Development Department from giving grants to ACORN, a community organization under fire in several voter-registration fraud cases," writes the AP's Andrew Taylor. The 83-7 vote would deny housing and community grant funding to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN.
"Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., said that ACORN has received $53 million in taxpayer funds since 1994 and that the group was eligible for a wider set of funding in pending legislation, which funds housing and transportation programs," Taylor writes.
Aaron C. Davis
September 15, 2009; 6:00 AM ET
Categories: Aaron C. Davis , First Click
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