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First Click -- Maryland

First Click

Your daily download of Maryland's top political news and analysis

Wednesday, November 4, 2009:

Election Roundup:
A Democrat won a narrower-than-expected victory for mayor in the state capital. Voters in Rockville, Maryland's second largest city, ousted its mayor and residents of a Prince George's city elected the first African American to a city council that was recently expanded to encourage minority representation, according to The Post' election results, collected by John Wagner. Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) also made headlines telling CNN's Wolf Blitzer that the "race in New York's 23rd congressional district is evidence that the Republican Party is 'at war with themselves.'" O'Malley's comments looked prescient hours later when a Democrat won the race.

Annapolis: Joshua J. Cohen (D), an Anne Arundel County councilman, narrowly defeated David H. Cordle Sr. (R) for mayor, with independent candidate Chris Fox running a distant third. The Capital reported early this morning that the margin of victory amounts to 235 votes and Cordle said he would wait until absentee ballots are counted before conceding defeat.

Rockville-Hoffman.jpgRockville: Mayor Susan R. Hoffmann was denied a second term by fellow City Councilwoman Phyllis R. Marcuccio. Hoffmann, first elected in 2007, and Marcuccio had found themselves on the opposite side of many issues.

Greenbelt: Emmett V. Jordan, an African American, was among the seven candidates elected to the newly expanded council. All five white incumbents were also successful, according to unofficial returns. There has been no minority representation on the council since the north Prince George's city was formed 71 years ago. It had been 16 years since an African American sought office.

Frederick: Republican Randy McClement, the owner of a popular deli, was elected mayor of the city of Frederick. McClement defeated Democrat Jason Judd in a tight race, WTOP reports. Three of the city's incumbent aldermen were also voted out of office.

Gaithersburg: Mayor Sidney A. Katz easily won another four-year term against Richard Koch, a real estate developer making his first bid for elected office. Two incumbent council members, Henry F. Marraffa Jr. and Michael A. Sesma, were also reelected to at-large seats, turning back a challenge by Tom Rowse.

Bowie: Mayor G. Frederick Robinson easily won another two-year term over Samuel R. Graham, president of the Bowie Boys and Girls Club. Two incumbents seeking reelection to at-large seats on the council, Dennis Brady and Geraldine Valentino-Smith, also had easy wins. In a race for the District 2 seat, first-term incumbent Diane M. Polangin defeated challenger Piero V. Mellits.

Takoma Park: Mayor Bruce Williams turned back a challenge from Roger Schlegel to win a second term in one of the state's most liberal jurisdictions. In City Council elections, Ward 4 incumbent Terry Seamens defeated write-in candidate Eric Mendoza, and neighborhood organization leader Frederick Schultz prevailed.

College Park: Andrew Fellows, a former City Council member, was elected mayor in a city that has not had a contested race in 20 years. All four council districts, which are represented by two members each, had contested elections.

In other news:

Montgomery lawmaker dies
Jean B. Cryor, a three-term state delegate and member of Montgomery County's planning board died Tuesday. She was 70. Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett announced Cryor's death in a statement. Cryor was the lone Republican in Montgomery County's delegation for years before she lost her seat in 2006.
Before entering politics, she was a former editor and publisher at The Gazette.

Union, advocates to propose alternative to closing mental health center
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees along with a coalition of groups supporting the Upper Shore Community Mental Health Center say they will announce a plan Wednesday morning that could keep the center open. Gov. O'Malley and the state's Board of Public Works voted in August to close the 200+ bed facility to cut costs. The board is scheduled to revisit the closure Wednesday. The center is the largest employer in Kent County and proponents of keeping it open have argued there's no similar facility to handle the patients on the Eastern Shore.

Maryland will use stimulus money to watch doctor's hand-washing
"State officials said Tuesday they're creating teams of staff members at hospitals around the state to secretly monitor their colleagues' hand-washing habits as part of a first-of-its-kind program," reports the AP's Brian Witte. "The monitors will contribute to a systemwide report on hand-washing, using $100,000 in federal stimulus money."

State seeking overhaul of child support guidelines
Maryland officials are proposing what would be the first increase in 20 years in the recommended amount for child support payments, reports The Post's Donna St. George. Department of Human Resources officials will push the plan in the upcoming legislative session.

Flurry of late activity in Prince George's
Laws to install speed cameras near schools, limit pawnshop sales and give some property owners a tax break were approved Tuesday by the Prince George's County Council as it heads toward the end of its legislative session, reports The Post's Jonathan Mummolo.

State seeing more revenue from cruise ship business
"The number of passengers on cruise ships embarking from Baltimore has broken a record set in 2004, and it's still growing," writes Scott Dance in the Baltimore Business Journal. "Sixty cruises have sailed from Baltimore so far this year, the same number as was seen in the record 2004 year. Twenty-one more trips are scheduled in 2009, and a total of 92 are slated for 2010. Cruising is expected to have a $152 million economic impact on the region this year."

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By Aaron C. Davis  |  November 4, 2009; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Aaron C. Davis , First Click , John Wagner  
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Next: Ehrlich buoyed by Virginia, New Jersey results

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