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Elections

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Photo Courtesy Kevin Kamenetz for Maryland

Few events in recent MD history were as shocking or disruptive to the political landscape as the death of Kevin Kamenetz last week, from a heart attack. The 60 year old Baltimore County Executive was one of the leading contenders in the crowded field of hopefuls vying for the chance to run against incumbent Governor Larry Hogan in November.

With just a month until early voting starts in the primary, candidates are scrambling to assess the new and uncertain dynamics of the race. Will Valerie Ervin, Kamenetz’s running mate in the primary, choose to run herself, and if so, with whom? Will she run at the top of a newly formed ticket, or will she maintain her position in the Lieutenant Governor slot?

Kamenetz’s death also occasions many questions about the future of Baltimore County. Three Democrats and two Republicans are running in their respective primaries to face-off for the County’s top job in the fall. In the meantime, who will the County Council appoint to serve-out the remainder of Kevin Kamenetz’s term?

Today on Midday, Tom explores these and other questions with Pamela Wood, who covers Baltimore County government and politics for the Baltimore Sun; and Bryan Sears , government reporter for the Daily Record.

AP Photos

Tom's guests today are two longtime politicians, one a Republican, the other a Democrat, who are now working together to try to fix the dysfunction in political Washington.

Former Republican Congresswoman Connie Morella represented Maryland’s 8th Congressional District from 1987 until 2003. President George W. Bush appointed her U.S. ambassador to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a position she held in Paris from 2003 until 2007. She was the first former member of Congress to be named ambassador to the OECD. Ambassador Morella currently serves on American University’s faculty in the Dept of Government and as an Ambassador in Residence at AU’s Women & Politics Institute.

Former Democratic Congressman Tim Roemer represented Indiana’s 3rd Congressional District from 1991 until 2003. From 2002 until 2004, he served on the 9/11 Commission. He was U.S. Ambassador to India during the Obama Administration, from 2009 until 2011. Ambassador Roemer is now a senior counselor at APCO Worldwide, a global consultancy.

Together, they co-chair the Re-Formers Caucus, which includes nearly 200 former governors, cabinet secretaries and members of Congress -- Republicans and Democrats, from all 50 states -- who have banded togethet to work on bi-partisan solutions to the dysfunction in Washington that, they say, threatens American democracy. They join Tom on the line from NPR studios in Washington, DC.

Rachel Baye

When Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz died suddenly Thursday morning, the 60-year-old was competing in a crowded field for the Democratic nomination for Maryland governor. With the primary election just six and a half weeks away, Kamenetz’s death could dramatically alter the dynamics of the race.

 

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz died suddenly Thursday morning of cardiac arrest. He was 60. 

 

Kamenetz’s death sent shockwaves through the county courthouse.

 

 

Baltimore County Executive's Office

We begin the show today with reflections on the life and career of Kevin Kamenetz, a fixture on the Maryland political scene for more than two decades.

Mr. Kamenetz died early Thursday morning from a heart attack.

He began his career in public service as a prosecutor in the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s office. He was first elected to the Baltimore County Council in 1994. He served four terms, before being elected as the County Executive in 2010. He was considered a leading candidate in the crowded field of people running for the Democratic nomination for Governor. He is survived by his wife Jill, and their two teenage sons, Karson and Dylan. Our hearts ache for them. Kevin Kamenetz was 60 years old.

Joining Tom on the line to remember Mr. Kamenetz are Donald Mohler III, who was a close friend of Mr. Kamenetz and served as his chief of staff in the County Executive’s Office, Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger, who served as Baltimore County Executive from 1994 to 2002, and Jim Smith, who preceded Kamenetz as Baltimore County Executive. He currently serves as the Chief of Strategic Alliances in the office of Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh.

Courtesy of their campaigns

Today, we continue our series of Conversations with the Candidates, in the run-up to Maryland's June 26th primary elections.

Maryland’s General Assembly District 41 has had more than its share of upheaval in recent years. Sen. Lisa Gladden represented the district for 14 years before retiring in February 2017 for health reasons. Del. Nathaniel Oaks was appointed to fill her seat, and four months later, he was indicted in federal court on nine counts of fraud and bribery. In November, prosecutors added obstruction of justice charges. Oaks denied the charges, remained in the Senate, and registered to run for re-election in the primary next month. In late March, Oaks changed his mind. He resigned from the legislature, pleaded guilty and attempted to remove his name from the primary ballot. Oaks will be sentenced on July 17. He faces 8-10 years in prison. Additional attempts to remove Oaks’s name from the ballot failed; his name will indeed appear on the ballot next to those of two other candidates.

Those two candidates are Tom’s guests today in Studio A.

Until last week, Jill P. Carter served as the Director of the Office of Civil Rights and Wage Enforcement in Baltimore City. Before that, she served for three terms in the House of Delegates representing the 41st District. Carter is 53 years old. A graduate of Western High School, she was born and raised in the city. She lives in the Hunting Ridge neighborhood of District 41.

J.D. Merrill taught at his alma mater, City College High School from 2013 to 2016. He also served for two years as a special assistant to the chief of staff at City Schools headquarters on North Avenue. Merrill  is 27 years old. He and his wife, Grace O’Malley, live in the Wyndhurst neighborhood of District 41, one street over from where he was born and raised. This is the first time he has run for public office.

marilynmosby.com

Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby’s first three and a half years in office have been marked by contradictions. She successfully prosecuted a number of violent criminals, but came under fire as her cases against six city police officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray fell apart. Mosby, who is running for re-election, says she wouldn’t do anything differently.

ivanbates.com

The former prosecutor turned defense lawyer who wants to become a prosecutor again--the city's top prosecutor--doesn't have much good to say about Marilyn Mosby. Most recently he slammed her use of officers from the now disbanded Gun Trace Task Force trials. Here's Bates outside of the State’s Attorney’s office in March.

Thiru Vignarajah Campaign

Vignarajah’s campaign video sounds like the trailer for a summer blockbuster movie.

“So we have to face facts, Baltimore is not the greatest city in America any more, but it can be," says Vignarajah in his campaign video with a full orchestra behind him.

Today we continue our series of Conversations with the Candidates, in the run up to Maryland’s June 26th primary elections.

Tom’s guest is Del. Pat McDonough. He is a Republican, and he has represented parts of Baltimore and Harford Counties in the Maryland Legislature for the past 15 years. He also represented District 7 as a conservative Democrat for one term, from 1979 until 1983. He has been a member of the Health and Government Operations Committee since 2003. In 2016, he ran for Congress in Maryland’s 2nd Congressional District and was defeated by incumbent Dutch Ruppersberger.

John Lee

Two Democrats running for Baltimore County Executive are promising to build three new high schools, Dulaney, Lansdowne and Towson. But that promise would cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars and it’s not clear where they would find the money.

 

 

John Lee

Earlier this month, County Executive Kevin Kamenetz delivered his final budget message to the County Council. He reflected on his 24 years in office, 16 years on the council, and the last eight years as county executive.

 

“Over the decades, I probably met with every single resident at least once,” Kamenetz said. “Or maybe it just feels that way.”

 

 

Karen Hosler

Over the last year or so, the Prince Georges County school system has been tarred by one scandal after another: grade-fixing to boost graduation rates, secret raises for administrative personnel, alleged abuses in the Head Start program.  

Theresa Mitchell-Dudley, president of the county teachers’ union, blames County Executive Rushern Baker, who wrested power from the elected school board five years ago.

Today, a focus on the primary race for Maryland state legislative seats.

A little later in the show today, Josh Kurtz joins Tom. He is the editor and co-founder of Maryland Matters, a website all about Maryland government and politics.  They’ll size up some of the key races for the State Senate and the House of Delegates that will be on the primary ballot in June.

But first, we focus on one of those key races, as we continue our series of "Conversations with the Candidates."  Tom's guests in Studio A are two lawmakers running for the Senate seat in the 43rd District: the incumbent, Sen. Joan Carter Conway and Del. Mary Washington.

Sen. Conway has served as a member of the state Senate representing this district since 1997. In 2007, she became the first African-American woman to be appointed chair of a Maryland Senate standing committee: the Senate Education, Health & Environmental Affairs Committee of which she has been a member for 21 years. She is a former member of the Baltimore City Council. Sen. Conway is 67. She lives in Hillen with her husband, Tim. They are the parents of a grown son and the grandparents of four.

Del. Washington has represented District 43 in the House of Delegates since 2010. She serves on the Ways & Means Committee; she is the House Chair of the Joint Committee on Homelessness; and she is a member of the Joint Committee on Children, Youth and Families, the Regional Revitalization Task Force, and the Tax Credit Evaluation Committee. Del. Washington is 55. She lives in Ednor Gardens with her partner, Professor Jodi Kelber Kaye, and their two sons. 

We streamed this conversation on the WYPR Facebook page.  To watch that video, click here The candidates took your questions; we gave priority to listeners who live in District 43.

Today, we continue our series of Conversations with the Candidates who will be on the June 26th primary ballot here in Maryland.

Tom's guest is Sen. Richard S. Madaleno, Jr. He is one of nine Democrats running for Governor on the ballot this June. The winner will go up against Republican Gov. Larry Hogan in the general election in November.

Unlike several of his Democratic opponents, Sen. Madaleno is not a political outsider. He has represented Montgomery County in the MD Legislature for more than 15 years -- first in the House of Delegates and, since 2007, in the State Senate. Since 2015, he has been Vice-Chair of the powerful Senate Budget and Taxation Committee. He is the first openly gay person elected to the MD House of Delegates and the State Senate. If elected, he would be the first openly gay governor of any state in America.

His running mate is Luwanda W. Jenkins, a Baltimore native and business executive who served in the administrations of Maryland’s last three Democratic governors -- O’Malley, Glendening & Schaefer. 

Sen. Madaleno also took your questions, emails and tweets.  Like all of Midday's Conversations with the Candidates, this program was streamed live on the WYPR FB page. Check out the video here.

sarbanes.house.gov

    

Wednesday means politics on Maryland Morning, and we begin today with Rep. John Sarbanes, live in Studio A.  Congressman Sarbanes, who lives with his family in Towson, is a Democrat who has represented Maryland’s 3rd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2007. He sailed through last month’s primary election, winning 87% of the Democratic vote. His far-flung district includes parts of Baltimore County and Baltimore City but also narrow slices of Howard, Montgomery and Anne Arundel counties, including Annapolis. It’s been called one of the most gerrymandered congressional districts in the country, and it heavily favors Democrats.

The 53-year-old incumbent will face businessman, lawyer and physician Mark Plaster, who won the Republican primary last week. The 3rd District includes a very diverse set of constituents within its serpentine boundaries. Congressman Sarbanes has a wide pallet of policy interests. He is a national voice on campaign finance reform. His recent initiatives have addressed everything from the opioid abuse crisis to climate change, solar energy, and environmental education.

Dixon’s comeback try falls short

Apr 27, 2016

Despite her loss, former Mayor Sheila Dixon was feeling the love at her election night party. Her concession speech was interrupted several times by supporters shouting that they love her, and Dixon sent that message right back to them. 

Chris Van Hollen’s victory party last night took on a festive glow long before positive results were more than just exit polls and wishful thinking. It might well be called a moment of affirmation after a bruising campaign. 

Pugh secures Democratic nod for mayor

Apr 27, 2016

State Senator Catherine Pugh claimed victory last night in a tightly contested Democratic mayoral primary that became tighter as the evening went on, then focused on unity and moving forward in her victory speech. 

Edwards goes down swinging

Apr 27, 2016

Congresswoman Donna Edwards fell short yesterday in her quest to become only the second black woman ever elected to the U.S. Senate. But she didn’t bow out of the race for the Democratic nomination before delivering a fiery speech that pointed out some uncomfortable truths to her fellow Maryland Democrats. 

donkeyhotey.com

Maryland's 2016 primary election is now history.  State Senator Catherine Pugh is a big step closer to her dream of becoming Charm City’s next Mayor, and Chris Van Hollen and Kathy Szeliga will go head-to-head to replace Barbara Mikulski in the U.S. Senate. Results are also in for a host of other city and state-wide races that were decided yesterday.  

What would a talk show be without a little post-primary prognostication?  We welcome back to the broadcast Jayne Miller, an award-winning investigative reporter for WBAL television, who has covered Charm City politics and a whole lot more for many years.

Complete coverage of yesterday’s primary continues today on WYPR on Midday with Sheilah Kast, and with reports from the WYPR news team this afternoon during All Things Considered   

Primary choices

Apr 26, 2016

Primary day in Maryland started with some fireworks when nearly fifteen hundred people showed up at Sandi’s Learning Center on Ellamont Avenue to work for mayoral candidate Catherine Pugh. They said they were promised paying jobs, but it all went south when campaign staffers said they didn’t need anyone else. 

Five delegate-rich states on the East Coast will vote Tuesday: Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Rhode Island and Connecticut. Call it the "Acela Primary" for the train that runs through those states.

There's a lot at stake. Here are four things we're watching:

For Pugh, it's a race to primary day

Apr 25, 2016

With the primary election looming on Tuesday, this weekend was the start of a sprint to the finish line for state Senator Catherine Pugh in her bid to be the Democratic nominee for mayor.

“Welcome back.”

That’s what Theresa Jones said to Sheila Dixon, when she came across the former Mayor at the Unity Rally and March at Penn and North Sunday.

    

News Director Joel McCord and WYPR's Karen Hosler talk about the Donna Edwards--Chris Van Hollen race to be the Democratic nominee to replace retiring Barbara Mikulski; what a recent poll suggests and the prospects for the General Election in November.

A non-grudge grudge match in the 13th

Apr 25, 2016

  Councilman Warren Branch barely held on to his seat representing the 13th district on the Baltimore City Council in 2011.  He won the Democratic primary that year by 43 votes. Shannon Sneed, who would later mount a write-in campaign in the general election, came that close to defeating the incumbent. And she’s back.

Tony Glover, who came in a distant third in the Democratic primary five years ago, is also running again, as is Ronald Owens-Bey, who ran as a Libertarian in 2011.

Record numbers turned out for primary early voting last week and now the campaigns shift to getting their voters to the polls on primary day.

Mayor’s Race: Where is Freddie Gray?

Apr 25, 2016

Baltimore is marking the death one year ago of Freddie Gray at the same time it’s choosing a mayor. But Gray, his death while in police custody and the riots that followed have not been center stage in the campaign.

    

Maryland’s primary election is less than week away. And while the presidential front runners were busy with Tuesday’s New York primary, Republican John Kasich delivered his relentlessly positive message to a sympathetic audience in Annapolis. WYPR’s Karen Hosler was there and joins Morning Edition host Nathan Sterner.

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