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First Click, Maryland -- McDonnell says he'll attend fundraiser for Ehrlich

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Monday, May 3, 2010:

The Agenda
Aaron.jpgFollowing a week of heavy campaigning, the next few days may feel like a lull in Maryland's governor's race.

Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) is going back to his "official" duties, continuing his "Jobs Across Maryland" tour on Monday. And on Tuesday, he is scheduled to sign the state's package of new laws to tighten restrictions on sex offenders - one of the only areas in which Democrats and Republicans found agreement during the legislative session.

Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. (R) still has not begun releasing a week-ahead schedule, so it's hard to say how often he'll be in the public eye. But at Saturday night's White House Correspondents' Dinner, Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) said he plans to travel to Maryland "soon" to attend a fundraiser for Ehrlich. He would only say it is scheduled within the next two weeks, and it was unclear if it will be open to the media. At last count, Ehrlich had very little money in the bank, while O'Malley had nearly $6 million.

-- Aaron C. Davis

News You Should Know

Ehrlich delivers spirited address to state GOP

ehrlich-boardwalk.jpg"Former Maryland governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) urged party activists Saturday to help Republicans "become relevant power players in Annapolis" during an appearance at the state GOP convention in Ocean City," writes The Post's John Wagner. "As he has on the campaign trail, Ehrlich argued that Maryland's business climate has soured under O'Malley because of higher sales and corporate tax rates and overzealous regulators. ... Ehrlich also continued to mock [Gov. Martin] O'Malley for calling it a victory for the Washington region when Northrop Grumman recently decided to relocate its corporate headquarters to Virginia instead of Maryland.

O'Malley off to unconventional start in re-election bid
o'malley-kickoff.jpg"To say that Gov. Martin O'Malley last week began his campaign on a different page from former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) would be an understatement," writes The Post's Aaron C. Davis. "Ehrlich, in the first weeks of their rematch, has pledged to fix "the mess in Annapolis" and repeal the O'Malley-era one-cent sales tax increase. But O'Malley's opening speeches seemed geared as much for a national audience as the one in Maryland. ... Political strategists and observers said that it appeared he was betting, at least early on, that speaking in generalities about his accomplishments and claiming success in navigating the recession would best resonate with voters."

Johnson's final budget raises concerns for ratings agency
Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Jack B. Johnson.jpg"While touting his proposed budget this year, Prince George's County Executive Jack B. Johnson has said that the county is faring pretty well financially and that it is maintaining a relatively flat spending plan compared with last year ... But an independent Wall Street ratings company and others say a tactic the county has used to avoid more drastic cuts could hurt its standing in the long run and hand Johnson's successor large budget holes," writes The Post's Jonathan Mummolo. "In recent years, the county has increasingly relied on millions of dollars from the independent Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission to help balance its operating budget. Much of those millions represents "one-time" money used to fund ongoing expenses ... The accounting practice was spotlighted recently because of a state bill awaiting the signature of Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) that would give residents a break on taxes paid to the commission ... An analyst at Fitch Ratings said that the county's reliance on the commission's money is not "prudent" budget planning and that if the practice continues, the county's bond rating -- a signifier of creditworthiness -- could be lowered."

Lawyer in Md. suit says political favors 'not unlawful'
Maybe Daniel Karp had seen too many episodes of "The Wire." In a recent court filing in defense of a Prince George's County lawmaker, Karp proffers that asking for campaign contributions in exchange for votes is politics as usual. An everyday occurrence," writes The Post's Ovetta Wiggins. "A politician's request for campaign fund raising assistance or donations in exchange for a political favor or vote is similarly not unlawful or independently wrongful," he wrote on behalf of County Council member Tony Knotts (D-Temple Hills). Knotts is a defendant in a lawsuit over a lease for county office space that alleges Knotts shook down the offices' developer. In the end, the county never considered the lease. "Unfortunately, it is something that occurs daily in the political arena," Karp's brief says. "What? That's absolutely wrong. ... That's the definition of bribery," said University of Maryland Law School professor Abraham Dash.

Quotables

Amedori.jpg"It just seems the media is so gung-ho on this Bob-Martin slugfest that we weren't getting any credence."
--Carmen M. Amedori, announcing on Friday that after teaming up with Brian Murphy, a long-shot Republican candidate for Maryland governor, she was dropping off the ticket after less than two weeks. A former state legislator from Carroll County, Amedori said she quickly concluded that Murphy, a Montgomery County businessman, lacks the name recognition to compete against former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) and Gov. Martin O'Malley (D).

The motion is "not an admission and it is not an apology. It is to address the specific allegations that have been raised. We don't admit that they have occurred. ... I have no reason to believe anything occurred."
--Daniel Karp, an attorney for Prince George's County Councilman Tony Knotts (D-Temple Hills) attempting to explain his how taking campaign contributions in exchange for votes is politics as usual.

"When the Yankees won the World Series last year, did the New York Times present it as a win for the American League?"
--Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr., mocking O'Malley for calling it a victory for the Washington region when Northrop Grumman recently decided to relocate its corporate headquarters to Virginia and not Maryland."

"If you go all the way back to his [2004] speech at the Democratic National Convention, he uses what we call grand eloquence ... I think he continues to use this because in a profoundly Democratic state such as Maryland, there is no audience that says, 'Get specific.' "
--Richard E. Vatz, a conservative professor of political rhetoric at Towson University commenting on O'Malley's first week of soaring language on the campaign trail.

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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  |  May 3, 2010; 7:45 AM ET
Categories:  Aaron C. Davis , First Click  
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Comments

Onced again, Smilin Jack Johnson finds a way to cover his rearend while leaving the county potentially in much worse shape for whoever takes over his job. I mean why would you want to gut the MNCPPC, one of the few local institutions in PG and Moco that provide so many wonderful programs and services, in addition to protecting the environment.

Posted by: VikingRider | May 3, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

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