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First Click, Maryland -- Your turn to play pundit

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Your morning download of Maryland political news

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Monday, August 2, 2010:

The Agenda

WagnerThis morning, we're asking you to do more than read.

Below, you'll find a dozen questions relevant to the future of Maryland politics -- all of which will have answers that shouldn't leave much to quibble over.

We're interested in your thoughts, whether they wind up being right or not. Send your answers to me in an email at Your responses will be stuck in the vault until which time a winner can be declared. At that point, we'll use this space to let the world know how smart you are.

So let's get started...

debate.jpg1) When the current fundraising period closes on Aug. 10, will the ratio of Gov. Martin O'Malley's cash-on-hand to former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s cash-on-hand be closer to 1:1, 2:1 or 3:1?

2) What percentage of the vote will Brian Murphy win in the Republican primary for governor?

3) On what date will a TV ad for a candidate for governor first air in the Washington market?

Thumbnail image for Obama side view.jpg4) On what date will President Obama first come to Maryland to campaign for O'Malley?

5) On what date will Ehrlich reach 50,000 fans on Facebook?

6) Of the four Montgomery County state senators facing primary challenges from sitting or former delegates, how many will lose? How many of the two Prince George's senators facing such challengers will lose? Bonus points: Name the losers.

Thumbnail image for Franchot.jpg7) Will the ratio of Comptroller Peter Franchot's age to that of his GOP opponent in the general election be closer to 1:1, 2:1 or 3:1?

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for gansler-new.jpg8) How much cash-on-hand will the unopposed Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler have as of Aug. 10? Bonus points: How much of that will he spend between now and November?

9) How many times will O'Malley and Ehrlich debate between now and November?

10) During their first debate, assuming there is one, how many times will the candidates say "jobs?" Will the ratio of the word "jobs" to the word "progress" be closer to 1:1, 2:1 or 3:1?

11) Will Ehrlich's share of the general election vote in Baltimore County be closer to the 61 percent he received in 2002 or the 51 percent he received in 2006?

12) After November, how many members will there be in the Republican caucus of the 47-member Maryland Senate? Will it be enough to sustain a filibuster?

-- John Wagner

News You Should Know

November elections a tough test for Van Hollen
Van Hollen.jpg"Republicans are casting the November elections as a referendum on President Obama, but the results could also help shape the fortunes of Rep. Chris Van Hollen, a fast-rising Maryland Democrat facing a tough test," write The Post's Ben Pershing and John Wagner. "After moving through the ranks with bright prospects ahead, Van Hollen has the unenviable task of steering his party through what could be its worst election cycle in 16 years."

Sun examines fiscal stewardship of Ehrlich, O'Malley
The Baltimore Sun sizes up the budget records of Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) and former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) in a piece that Annie Linskey begins this way: "In the first television advertisement of his reelection campaign, Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley invited viewers back to his first year in office. Faced with a deficit left by Republican Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., the spot said, O'Malley was forced to cut spending. Ehrlich, now running to win his job back, remembers the transition differently. He says he handed his successor a billion-dollar surplus -- money Ehrlich says O'Malley then frittered away, before passing a historic tax increase. So who is telling the truth?"

Brown moves to head of the class
Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Anthony Brown.jpg"Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown (D) is now first among seconds," writes The Post's Wagner. "Brown was elected chairman Friday of the National Lieutenant Governors Association during the organization's annual summer meeting in Biloxi, Miss. The NLGA is the professional association for the elected officials who are first in line of succession to the governors in the 50 states and five territorial jurisdictions." In most states, but not all, that's the lieutenant governor.

Evolving demographics in a key Democratic county
"Prince George's residents personify many demographic and socioeconomic trends playing out among African Americans on a national level," write The Post's Carol Morello and Ovetta Wiggins in a story that could have implications for how candidates campaign in the county. "In 2008, about half of the black households in the county made more than $75,000 a year, more than a quarter had four-year college degrees and unmarried women far outnumbered their married counterparts."


Thumbnail image for Busch.jpg"We can have a discussion about how to avoid this."
-- House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel), quoted in a story in The Capital about possible reforms in the wake of revelations that Del. Joseph Bartlett (R-Frederick) paid tens of thousands of state dollars to his girlfriend for rent over the past several years during legislative sessions

"It's the antithesis of what we like to do. Large institutions typically do not work."
-- Former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R), as quoted by The Baltimore Sun, in a story about a Baltimore facility designed to house as many as 230 young offenders awaiting trial as adults that got started under his watch

"I've been at it for three years now."
-- Sen. Andrew P. Harris (R-Baltimore County) on his bid for Congress in Maryland's 1st District, as quoted by The Daily Times


Trust First Click for critical news and analysis you need to navigate Maryland politics. Each Monday and Thursday, First Click brings you The Agenda, a concise, forward-looking analysis of a top development in politics or policy. "News You Should Know" breaks down top stories from across the state. And other features 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 John Wagner  |  August 2, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  First Click , John Wagner  
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Next: Palin endorses little-known Brian Murphy in Md. Republican primary


Mr. Speaker, can we discuss all of the ethics issues troubling the Maryland General Assembly across both sides of the aisle? We could start with Del. Jon Cardin using a Baltimore City Police helicopter and boat to propose to his wife. We could talk about Sen. Currie in Prince George's County taking tens of thousands of dollars in unreported income lobbying for Shopper's Food Warehouse when they had interests before his committee. We could talk about Sen. Exum attempting to stop a police investigation of a local service station that he has financial ties to. We could talk about how many delegates and senators serve on the boards of non-profits and corporations that they then propose the institutions receive legislative bonds? When can we have this talk. And yes, let's talk about the rent problem too. MARYLAND HAS A SERIOUS ETHICS PROBLEM.

Posted by: chesapeaketerp | August 2, 2010 7:57 AM | Report abuse

Seriously John, your journalism ethics allowed you to post that quote by Ehrlich and then imply that he was responsible for a 230 bed facility? One click and we can see that he funded the plan because it was required by DOJ. But the size of the facility was determined by the O'Malley administration. If you have any integrity you will correct the implication. Or you can choose the Andrew Brietbart approach and stand by "the facts".

Posted by: DisappointedDem | August 2, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

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