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First Click -- Maryland

First Click

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.

By Aaron C. Davis  |  September 15, 2009; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Aaron C. Davis , First Click  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: How Some Would Save $1 Million in Montgomery
Next: Curry Coy About Plans but Hits O'Malley on Budget


"And ... You Asked For It:"

Gee, it sounds like WaPo begrudges the American people for wanting more information on this scandal. Next time don't do us any favors. We will just go elsewhere for our news.

Posted by: conversefive | September 15, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

OK, Wapo, what I'd like to see you report on is the so called corporate credit cards issued by Montgomery County, paid for by taxpayers. How is it that ex MC college pres. Brian Johnson racked up $58,000 in charges in less than two years? Who has county issued credit cards in MOco? Who authorized their use? WEhat limits on spending are put on these cards? When and who is supposed to audit these cards? Hows are they supposed to be used, for what?

Posted by: VikingRider | September 15, 2009 9:02 PM | Report abuse

So will the Maryland Gang Prosecution Act cover crimes committed by people at ACORN?
Or is this just business as usual?

Posted by: rdskinfan | September 16, 2009 12:29 AM | Report abuse

Wow what a grudging, sniping, snarky post on the ACORN scandal. You actaully think you are doing us a favor by reporting on it or something? Yeah WaPo, you were actually embarassed into reluctantly reporting on something you tried so hard to studiously ignore, it sucks doesn't it?

Jeez, why even bother to pretend anymore? Just change your name to "Obama Administration Public Relations Agency of Record" and be done with it.

Posted by: MaryJessel | September 17, 2009 10:45 AM | Report abuse

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