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First Click -- Maryland

First Click

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

Tuesday, December 29, 2009:

Owings nears the starting gate, home values plunge and more questions are raised about how Marylanders will vote

Top News:

Owings poised to challenge O'Malley for party nomination
Thumbnail image for Owings.jpgGeorge W. Owings III, a former legislator from Southern Maryland and former state secretary of veterans affairs, appears poised to formally announce next week that he will challenge Gov. Martin O'Malley in the Democratic gubernatorial primary, writes The Post's John Wagner.
The Sun's take is here.
The Gazette was the first to run with the news last week as Owings made a round of media calls asking reporters to save the date.

An 'unprecedented' slide in home assessments
"Nearly all Maryland homeowners due to receive new property assessment notices being mailed today will see a lower assessed value on their houses, reflecting what officials say is the largest decline in the state assessment office's history," reports The Baltimore Sun's Larry Carson. "On average, residential property values dropped 19.7 percent over three years, according to C. John Sullivan, director of the state Department of Assessments and Taxation."

Voting machines gone before they arrive?
"Maryland's new voting system might be kaput long before the September primary election," Alan Brody of The Gazette reported in an overlooked story on Christmas Day. "State Board of Elections members expressed concerns last week over how a merger between the two largest voting machine manufacturers, which is the subject of an ongoing antitrust probe, could have skewed the procurement process."

State continues talks with Magna as deadline passes
Laurel Park.jpg"State officials and Magna Entertainment Corp. are continuing discussions about the future of the Preakness, the Maryland horse-racing event that's the middle leg of the Triple Crown, as part of the company's bankruptcy proceedings," reports The Sun's Laura Smitherman. "Magna is auctioning the Pimlico Race Course and Laurel Park horse tracks as well as the Preakness, and the state has the right to match any bid for the race to ensure it remains in Maryland."

Around the state:

  • The Post's editorial page says calls for tougher sex offender laws are "premature," as many questions remain about the death of 11-year-old Sarah Haley Foxwell.

  • State officials are reviewing the Senate health care bill passed on Christmas Eve to determine what it means for Maryland, The Gazette reports.

  • Weldon.jpg
  • No applicants yet for the Frederick County seat of Del. Richard B. Weldon Jr., notes The Gazette.

  • Minority managers have outperformed the state's larger pension fund managers, according to

  • Marta Mossburg writes that state intervention is not slowing foreclosures.

  • Thumbnail image for Mike Miller mug.jpg
  • And a first-ever video holiday message from Senate President Thomas Mike V. Miller Jr. (D-Calvert). We love the way he works in a reference to "revenue estimates."

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    By Aaron C. Davis  |  December 29, 2009; 6:45 AM ET
    Categories:  Aaron C. Davis , First Click , John Wagner  
    Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Owings poised to challenge O'Malley in primary
    Next: Storm delivers blow to Prince George's budget

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