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Friday, February 26, 2010:

The Agenda

The long walk to the starting gate

Me in dots.jpgWhen -- or should we still be writing "if"? -- former Maryland governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) announces he is running again, might it seem a little anticlimactic?

At this point, we fully expect Ehrlich to announce his rematch against Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) on or about March 25 -- Maryland Day, which commemorates the 1634 arrival of settlers in the colony.

That gives us roughly four more weeks to explore the implications -- big and small, and all sizes in between -- of another possible Ehrlich bid.

In a story that first appeared on The Post Web site Thursday morning, we raised the question of what happens to "The Kendel and Bob Show," which Ehrlich hosts weekly with his wife. The response from WBAL radio executives might not be what you'd expect:

Kbob.jpg"Ed Kiernan, general manager of Baltimore's WBAL, said he would like to keep the Ehrlichs on the air as long as possible and has asked some 'terrific lawyers' to look at the station's options for complying with the Federal Communication Commission's equal time rule should Bob decide to run.

The former governor wouldn't necessarily have to come off the air, Kiernan said. An alternative would be offering the same opportunity to Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) and other Ehrlich opponents. Yet another possibility: letting Kendel fly solo on the two-hour show.

'My goal would be to try to keep the show on the air, because they're doing a great job,' Kiernan said."

In coming weeks, we're likely to read -- and frankly, much of it we'll probably write -- far more about Ehrlich's movement toward the starting gate. He's hiring staff! He's looking for office space! He's raising money!

Speaking of raising money, we've yet to see much evidence of that, aside from the "Contribute" button on Ehrlich's Web site. He still seems to be very much in the mode of helping other Republicans whose supporters could later help him.

Among the more noteworthy examples of that: a planned March 9 fundraiser for Sen. Andrew P. Harris (R-Baltimore County), who is running for Congress. Ehrlich is listed on the invitation as one of the hosts of the event, which features an appearance by Eric Cantor. the U.S. House minority whip from Virginia.

Perhaps Ehrlich will strongly hint that night that he is running for governor. In the meantime, we plan to tune in to "The Kendel and Bob Show" on Saturday. You never know what he might say.

-- John Wagner

News You Should Know

State mistakenly releases inmate serving 3 life sentences

"A 26-year-old man who was serving three consecutive life sentences for shooting his ex-girlfriend and her two daughters in 2004 was erroneously released from a downtown Baltimore prison Thursday, setting off a regional manhunt as officials scrambled to explain how he got out," report Justin Fenton and Timothy B. Wheeler of The Baltimore Sun. "Raymond Thomas Taylor, who was sentenced in 2005 to three life terms on three charges of attempted first-degree murder, escaped from the Maryland Correctional Adjustment Center about 2 p.m. when he posed as another inmate who was supposed to be released at that time, officials said."

Supreme Court overturns Maryland on Miranda case
"The court ruled unanimously that Maryland could use an imprisoned child molester's statement -- given voluntarily 2 1/2 years after police first approached him -- to convict him on additional charges that he abused his son," writes The Post's Bob Barnes. Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for gansler.jpg"Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler, supported by the federal government, said there was no allegation in [inmate Michael B. Shatzer's] case that police had badgered him into a confession. He said police should be able to reinitiate attempts to question a suspect once there is a "break in custody" -- in this case, police stopped questioning Shatzer and released him back into the prison's general population."

BPA ban moves forward in Maryland
"The Maryland Senate on Thursday approved a ban on the chemical bisphenol-A in bottles and cups for children younger than 4 years old," reports The Associated Press. "In a 46-0 vote, the Senate passed legislation identical to a bill sponsored by hubbard.jpgDel. James Hubbard (D-Prince George's) that already has cleared the House. The measures were amended so the ban would not apply to toys and teething rings. The measures require the least-toxic alternative to be used instead. Shaun Adamec, a spokesman for Gov. Martin O'Malley, said the governor plans to sign the legislation. Connecticut and Minnesota passed similar laws last year. Last month, federal health agencies announced that recent research shows cause for concern over the chemical's potential effect on children. However, they said more study is needed before any regulatory changes are considered. "

Delegate accused of sending harassing e-mail
donoghue.jpg"State Del. John P. Donoghue has admitted to using another lawmaker's e-mail account to send a harassing message targeting a Hagerstown man," writes Erin Cunningham of The Gazette. On Jan. 21, Donoghue replied to all recipients of an e-mail that a Hagerstown man had sent to a number of state officials. However, Donoghue used Del. Peter A. Hammen's state-issued computer and e-mail account to do so. In the e-mail, Donoghue called the man a 'wife beater' who had unpaid credit card debt and a protective order against him, Cunningham reports. Donoghue explained in a follow-up e-mail that he had he'd mistakenly been logged into Hammen's e-mail account when he sent the message: 'I responded to an email ...from a committee computer mistakenly believing I was responding from my email account and not from Chairman Pete Hammen's e-mail account.' The Maryland General Assembly's Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics has declined to take up a complaint on the issue.

Quotables (same-sex marriage edition)

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for MD-OpeningDay-EmmettBurns.JPG"I am still stunned that he would issue such an amorphous, confusing opinion. It's a bucket of warm spit," said Del. Emmett C. Burns Jr., a Baltimore County Democrat, who earlier this month unsuccessfully attempted to convince a House committee to support a bill to explicitly ban recognition of same-sex marriages from elsewhere. "It confuses everyone and everybody and I think the Attorney General himself is confused. ... His is to enforce the law, not to make the laws."

dwyer-facebook.jpg"Delegate Don Dwyer has been real busy preparing to impeach Attorney General Gansler. Now in committee hearing bills on juvenile justice issues. Stay posted."
-- Del. Donald H Dwyer, Jr. (R-Anne Arundel) writing to his 1,844 Facebook friends on Thursday during a House Judiciary Committee hearing.

"It's an opinion, Everybody's got a right to an opinion. He's got one, I've got one, everybody's got one."
-- House Judiciary Committee Chairman Joseph F. Vallario (D-Prince George's).

claggett.jpg"In my opinion, it couldn't have been worse timing ...You know they say in politics, timing is everything."
-- Del. Galen R. Clagett (D-Frederick) saying the opinion could complicate re-election chances for Democrats in more conservative parts of the state. "It'll be a campaign issue, I think. And for Blue Dog Democrats, it could be tough."


Trust First Click for critical news and analysis you need to navigate Maryland politics. Each weekday, First Click brings you The Agenda, a concise, forward-looking analysis of the day's top development in politics or policy. "News You Should Know" breaks down top stories from across the state. And Look Ahead, Unspun, News Makers, and Week in Review keep you up to speed with power brokers in Annapolis and beyond. Want First Click on the go? Sign up for our free e-mail edition, and get the news delivered to your inbox or mobile device.

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By Aaron C. Davis  |  February 26, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Aaron C. Davis , First Click , John Wagner  
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