First Click -- Maryland
Your daily download of Maryland's top political news and analysis
Monday, January 4, 2010:
Welcome to 2010, and Maryland's Year in Politics: It starts next week when lawmakers return to Annapolis to tackle another multibillion-dollar budget shortfall. From there, it only gets more intriguing as Gov. Martin O'Malley and hundreds of other (mostly Democratic) lawmakers seek re-election. Will Democrats lose some of their Maryland supermajority? Will former Republican Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. run? Will the state deal with same-sex marriage and the death penalty? Will Rep. Frank Kratovil (D) hold on to his Eastern Shore seat? Stay tuned. The Post's Maryland politics team will bring you all the developments. This morning, the New Year's Weekend roundup:
Ehrlich or not, surrogates may tag-team governor's race
"Marylanders could still see a marquee rematch for governor this year between two of the state's best-known politicians, Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) and former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R). But another scenario might be just as likely: that O'Malley will get tag-teamed by two of Ehrlich's former Cabinet secretaries, one in the Democratic primary and the other in the general election," writes The Post's John Wagner, sizing up potential challenges by Democrat George W. Owings III, Ehrlich's secretary of veterans affairs, and Republican Larry Hogan, who was Ehrlich's appointments secretary.
Kratovil faces battle; Edwards, a surprise
"Stiff challenges for a pair of congressional incumbents and a re-election run by the state's senior senator will headline a competitive 2010 election season for federal lawmakers from Maryland," writes The Baltimore Sun's Paul West, in a preview of the re-election bids of Democratic Reps. Frank Kratovil and Donna Edwards and Sen. Barbara Mikulski.
A Republican schism in State House
Maryland House Minority Whip Christopher Shank (R-Washington) announced New Year's Eve that he will give up his seat to mount a primary challenge against Sen. Donald Munson (R-Washington) in what promises to be a spirited ideological and generational contest. In a posting on Facebook, Shank, 37, wrote that Munson, 72, has "served this community for more than thirty-five years and I pay honor to that important service ... but it is time for new leadership, it is time for someone who will challenge the status quo that is leading this state in the wrong direction."
Pay raises on 2010 legislative agenda
"In most workplaces, this is no time to be talking about pay raises," writes The Sun's Laura Smitherman, as she heads to the paper's business desk. "But Gov. Martin O'Malley and the General Assembly are expected to debate salary increases for themselves and other top elected officials when the legislative session opens this month."
Smitherman's story included a list of gubernatorial salaries, as compiled by the Council of State Governments:
1. California: $212,179
2. New York: $179,000
3. Illinois $177,500
4. Michigan: $177,000
5. New Jersey: $175,000
6. Virginia: $175,000
7. Pennsylvania: $174,914
8. Delaware: $171,000
9. Washington: $166,891
10. Tennessee: $164,292
11. Maryland, Connecticut, Texas: $150,000
2009 homicide trends certain to spark 2010 debate
Homicides were down sharply in 2009 in Prince George's County and other Maryland suburbs around the District, reports The Post's Allison Klein. Prince George's recorded 100 killings, the county's lowest in nine years, and the number fell from 21 to 13 in Montgomery.
Meanwhile, Baltimore's "increase in 2009 from 234 to 238 victims put it virtually alone among other large cities as homicides continued to fall across the country," writes The Sun's Justin Fenton. "Throughout Maryland, killings fell about 11 percent, fueled almost entirely by sharp declines in the D.C. metro region, according to preliminary Maryland State Police figures provided by the governor's office."
Recounting recent history in Baltimore, Fenton also notes: "Baltimore never came close to former Mayor Martin O'Malley's goal of 175, and three consecutive years of declines to start the decade were an afterthought by 2008, when the total had crept back up to 282 during the second year of [Shelia] Dixon's tenure."
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Aaron C. Davis
January 4, 2010; 6:45 AM ET
Categories: Aaron C. Davis , First Click , John Wagner
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