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First Click -- Maryland

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Editor's Note: Sitewide technological problems prevented First Click from posting this morning. We apologize for the delay.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010:

Legislators scramble for campaign cash but promise to reject a pay increase; Dixon looks back; Harris looks forward

A rush before session cuts off fundraising
Thumbnail image for Middleton mug.jpgThumbnail image for Dereck Davis mug.jpgDueling breakfasts this morning for the chairmen of the House and Senate committees with jurisdiction over energy-related legislation are the first of eight scheduled fundraisers today -- and a fraction of the some 41 in the works for Maryland lawmakers before the session starts next week, writes The Post's John Wagner. In the two weeks before last year's session, Maryland lawmakers collectively raised close to $1 million, according to a new Washington Post analysis. "The figure is likely to be higher this year as legislators seek their final contributions before they suspend fundraising until April, by which time the election season will be in full swing," Wagner writes.

Md. lawmakers vow to reject proposed pay raise
Members of Maryland's General Assembly will have to vote in coming weeks on whether to give themselves pay raises after a state commission on Tuesday put them in the politically awkward position of saying they should receive about $2,000 more annually, writes The Post's Aaron Davis. The General Assembly Compensation Committee said that because lawmakers' salaries have remained the same for nearly four years they should be increased to keep pace with inflation. Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr. (D) and House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D), issued a joint statement saying they would reject the proposal. Busch, Miller and state Republican leaders called raises inappropriate as they seek to cut nearly $2 billion in state spending next year.
The Baltimore Sun's take here.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Dixon photo.jpgDixon offers interview on eve of court hearing
"On the eve of a court hearing that might represent her best chance of remaining in office, a reflective Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon said the prospect of stepping down is "not the best feeling" and that she regrets an affair with a developer that she believes led to her legal troubles," writes The Baltimore Sun's Annie Linskey. "Dixon gave a lengthy, if impromptu, interview Monday evening to The Baltimore Sun, making her first extended public remarks about her trial since a jury convicted her last month of embezzling gift cards intended for the needy."

Harris makes Congressional bid official

Andy Haris.jpg
"State Sen. Andrew Harris said Tuesday he will run again for Maryland's 1st District congressional seat, which is considered by political observers to be among the most at-risk seats for Democrats around the country," writes The AP's Brian Witte. "Harris, an obstetric anesthesiologist at Johns Hopkins Hospital, lost by less than 1 percent of the vote in 2008 to Rep. Frank Kratovil, who became the first Democrat to win the district in 18 years."
The Washington Examiner's story here.

Steele's pessimism riles campaign committees

Steele.jpg"Democrats crowed and the National Republican Congressional Committee lashed back after GOP chairman (and former Maryland lieutenant governor) Michael Steele said his party was unlikely to retake the House in 2010 and lacked the support of the American people," writes The Post's Garance Franke-Ruta. "Steele's remarks came in an interview with Fox News Channel talk show host Sean Hannity Monday evening that accompanied the release of his book "Right Now: A 12-Step Program for Defeating the Obama Agenda," and the party chairman reemphasized his surprisingly pessimistic take on the GOP's future during a Tuesday morning "Today" show appearance on NBC. Asked by Hannity if Republicans would retake the House of Representatives in 2010, Steele replied, "Not this year ... We're going to see, I think, nice pick-ups in the House," Steele said. But as for the number of seats that would be won, "I can't give a number yet, because like I said, we're just now beginning to look at the races."

Lt. Gov. says Maryland's ready for "BRAC"

Anthony Brown.jpg"Maryland is on track in its preparations for the thousands of new workers and residents who will come here in the next two years as part of the U.S. military's massive base-consolidation initiative, according to a new state report released Tuesday," writes The Baltimore Business Journal's Gary Haber. "Partnerships between state, federal and local agencies and businesses to deal with scarce water supplies, preserve an estimated 9,000 units of rental housing and train new workers and help school-age children of military families transition to their new schools, are all part of Maryland's preparations for the Base Realignment and Closure plan, according to the progress report by Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown" who is overseeing the effort.

Curry tribute kindles more talk of governor's race

Thumbnail image for Curry campaign.jpg"Chatter has certainly increased in recent weeks about the possibility of former Prince George's County Executive Wayne K. Curry entering the Democratic primary for governor. We have nothing definitive on that. But there is a gathering scheduled Jan. 21 that will definitely raise Curry's profile," The Post's Wagner and Jonathan Mummolo write. "Curry is being feted by an intriguing cast of past and present Maryland politicians at an evening event billed as "A Birthday Celebration & Tribute to a Maryland Legacy Maker." Among the names appearing on the invitation: Former Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan (D); former Anne Arundel County Executive Janet Owens (D); former Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke (D); Sen. C. Anthony Muse (D-Prince George's); and Prince George's County Council member Camille Exum (D). Former Virginia governor Douglas Wilder (D) is also part of the mix."

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By Aaron C. Davis  |  January 6, 2010; 12:45 PM ET
Categories:  Aaron C. Davis , First Click , John Wagner  
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