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First Click -- Maryland

First Click

Your Daily Download of Maryland's Top Political News and Analysis

Friday, October 9, 2009:

Will GOP Winds Blow Across the Potomac?
   We begin with some big news from across the river, where a new Washinton Post poll shows Republican Robert F. McDonnell has taken a commanding lead of Democrat R. Creigh Deeds in the Virginia governor's race, which will be decided next month.
   McDonnell is up 53 to 44 percent among likely voters in a race that is being watched closely around the country, including in Maryland -- where it has been cited by former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) as one of the factors he will weigh before deciding whether to seek a rematch next year against Gov. Martin O'Malley.
   How prominently a McDonnell victory would factor into Ehrlich's thinking is impossible to know, given there has been little evidence thus far that the rising Republican tide nationally is bolstering the fortunes of GOP satewide candidates in Maryland (in races where there are any).
   Ehrlich has also pointed to this year's New Jersey governor's race as a barometer, and recent polls there have been getting better for the previously beleaguered Democrat incumbent, Jon Corzine.
   The Swing State Project recaps those polls, including two recent ones that show Corzine up -- barely -- over his GOP challenger. That race now appears to be a dead heat.

Off and Running
   Former Ehrlich Cabinet secretary Audrey Scott has emerged as a leading candidate for state GOP chair, as reported here yesterday.
   "I love a challenge, and I always rise to the occasion," said Scott, who served as planning secretary under Ehrlich and is a former Republican member of the Prince George's County Council.
   Meanwhile, Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith (D), who took a pass on the state Comptroller's race, is now looking at running for state Senate, according to Baltimore Sun gossip maven Laura Vozella.
   She reports that Smith is selling his 6BR, 3½ BA home and moving to the Senate district now represented by Republican Andrew P. Harris. Harris is seeking the Republican nomination in the 1st Congressional District.

That's the Ticket
   Amid all the doom and gloom about the state's revenue outlook, there is one bright spot: the lottery.
   The Gazette's Sean R. Sedam reports that lottery receipts are one of just three revenue streams performing above expectations this fiscal year, along with death taxes and court fees.
   Meanwhile, the Gazette's Alan Brody explores the wisdom of tapping Maryland's rainy-day fund to weather the upcoming budget shortfalls, a topic recently examined in the pages of The Post.

2 is Less Than 3 But More Than 0
   Following a protest by Prince George's hospital system workers over the county's decision to withhold $3 million from the system, a county spokesman said Thursday that it will be getting a payment later this month -- of $2 million, reports The Post's Jonathan Mummolo.
   "It would be outrageous for someone to suggest that the Johnson administration is in any way turning its back on the hospital system," said John Erzen, a spokesman for County Executive Jack B. Johnson (D). "The Johnson administration has provided more resources to the hospital system than all the previous administrations combined."

Briefly:

  • The Associated Press previews a visit from Obama administration officials and Gov. Martin O'Malley to Dodge Park Elementary School in Prince George's County to promote swine flu vaccine.

  • The Sun's Laura Smitherman explores what health-care reform means for Martin O'Malley and other governors.

  • The Gazette serves up an interview with freshly-confirmed head of the Justice Department's civil rights division, Tom Perez of Montgomery County.
  • Facebook users can become a fan of Maryland Politics by clicking here. Have a good weekend.

    By John Wagner  |  October 9, 2009; 6:35 AM ET
    Categories:  First Click , John Wagner  
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    Next: Swine Flu Close to Home for Rep. Van Hollen

    Comments

    "Death taxes"? Really? I don't know that I expect better of the Gazette, but I certainly do of the Post.

    Posted by: jongrantham | October 9, 2009 10:22 AM | Report abuse

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