Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Are Democrats Spinning News About the Maryland Economy?

from The Baltimore Sun

Gov. Martin O'Malley defended his labor department Tuesday morning after a lengthy stop at a Baltimore charter school. The agency is under fire for removing from their website a July jobs report that included a downbeat analysis of the state's recovery and replacing it with a sunnier talking points.

The governor said that a single month's worth of data was shaky ground to draw grim conclusions about the state's economy. "One month does not a trend make," O'Malley said.

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich, a Republican, held a news conference Monday to blast O'Malley for politicizing the agency and Audrey Scott, the chairwoman of the state's GOP, today called on the agency's secretary to resign. The GOP released a stack of emails showing communications staffers scrambling to deal with the "fiasco."

Sanchez has said that the first version of the report, titled "Maryland's Market Stalls During July" was a draft and should have never been posted. It was taken down and replaced with one that contained more positive "approved messaging." The jobs numbers, put out in August, showed that the employers created 1,600 jobs that month, the slowest growth since the Maryland employers started adding jobs in April.

State economists wrote in their original analysis that they were worried about "declining consumer confidence and spending" and "lackluster hiring at the national level." Those factors them to believe that "Maryland's economic recovery faltered" in July. The second version of the report did not include the gloomy analysis.

O'Malley said he was unaware of the flap at the time, but said he agreed in principal with the later version. "What we shouldn’t do is put opinions randomly," he said. "The numbers are what they are and economists will differ on that. Whether those economists are people inside our staff or people in academia or other places."

But, the Department of Labor this month put out new data suggesting the state anaylists' first instincts were correct. The feds revised Maryland's July numbers to show that the state actually lost 1,000 jobs that month. The situation worsened in August, when employers cut 5,700 jobs.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Why Do Maryland's Servicemen Have to Sue for Fair Representation?

from The Baltimore Sun

A member of the Maryland National Guard has filed a federal lawsuit against the State Board of Elections, claiming military personnel and other overseas Marylanders could be denied the opportunity to vote for state offices in the general election unless the court intervenes.

In the lawsuit filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, the anonymous guardsman identified as Officer John Doe says the state did not give overseas voters enough time to obtain and return ballots for statewide offices in the November elections, which include the contest for governor.

Joining as co-plaintiff is the Military Voter Protection Project. Eric Eversole, the Navy judge advocate general who heads the Washington-based organization, says the ballots for federal offices that the Maryland board sent a few days after this month’s primary elections were not valid.

Results of the Sept. 14 primary have not yet been certified; for the seat now held by Democratic Rep. Chris Van Hollen, the ballots includes provisions to mark either of two Republican challengers who are locked in a tight primary contest.

Eversole worked in the voting section of the civil rights division of the Justice Department during the Bush administration, and advised the McCain-Palin campaign on military voting matters. He said the lawsuit was not motivated by partisanship.

Ross Goldstein, deputy director of the elections board, declined to comment directly on the lawsuit. But he said the Justice Department and military authorities signed off on the office’s plan to send out ballots for congressional offices quickly after the primaries.

A 2009 federal law requires that ballots for federal races be available to military and overseas voters at least 45 days before an election.

The Military Voter Protection Project is asking a federal judge to order that ballots be sent by Oct. 8 and to extend the deadline for counting them to Nov. 22.

Elections officials plan to send full absentee ballots to the affected voters by mid-October. The ballots must be returned to the state board by Nov. 12. Primary results are to be certified Monday; challenges are possible.

Maryland holds primary elections only seven weeks before the general election, the briefest interim in the nation. Elections officials had sought a waiver from the federal Military and Overseas Empowerment Act requirement before withdrawing the request.

TWO Republican Candidates? Two, splitting the Republican vote? The People's Republic of Maryland continues to live up to its' Democratic-biased reputation.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Democrats Relying Upon Barbara Mikulski's Coattails

from The Baltimore Sun

Vice President Joe Biden's press office released the following report this morning. Under VP office rules, one reporter is allowed to attend his fundraising events and write up a report that other members of the White House press corps are free to use.

Here is the lowdown:

Vice President Joe Biden spoke at a fundraiser for Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) Thursday morning at the home of Stewart W. Bainum Jr. and Sandra Bainum in Chevy Chase, Md.

Stewart Bainum is the chairman of the board of Choice Hotels International, based in Silver Spring, and the former head of Manor Care, Inc. He is also a former member of the Maryland state House and state Senate. The Bainums are longtime donors to Democratic candidates, committees and causes.

The event was held in the Bainums’ backyard. Roughly 40 people were in attendance, including Mikulski’s fellow Maryland senator, Benjamin Cardin (D). The breakfast buffet menu included eggs, yogurt, fruit, muffins and bagels.

Mikulski is running for her fifth term, considered the favorite in her race against Queen Anne’s County Commissioner Eric Wargotz (R). Biden and Mikulski served together in the Senate for more than two decades.

Biden began his remarks by saying he had done events for a lot of Democrats, and “[t]here’s not a single one I’m more proud to be associated with” than Mikulski.

“If this were like Fantasy Football” for Democrats, Biden asked, “who would be among the first two or three people you would pick?”

Mikulski would be among the first selected in his draft, Biden confirmed, because “I love her gumption. I love her passion.”

“Name me someone you think would be more tenacious and more effective” in Congress, Biden said.

Biden added that Mikulski is known for her “power” and longtime Senate service, but “the thing that everybody underestimates … is how damn smart she is.”

“Barbara’s the only person who ever calls me ‘Biden,’” he said, drawing laughter. “’Biden, come here.’ So much for this malarkey about [how] I lead her around. No one, I won’t let anyone but my sister call me ‘Biden.’”

Biden then turned to politics and Mikulski’s reelection race.

“There’s an awful lot of talk this year about the demise of the Democratic party. Now I know no one is talking about the demise of Barbara,” Biden said, but added that Republicans are “trying to keep Barbara on defense when she should be on offense.”

Biden said, as he has before, that he was bullish about Democrats’ chances of retaining power.

“I guarantee you we’re going to have a majority in the House and a majority in the Senate. I absolutely believe that,” he said.

Biden said Democrats “have a heck of a record, a heck of a positive record to run on,” but he understood that the economy was still a source of anxiety for voters.

“They’re angry, and they’re angry against whoever is in power …” Biden said. “Maybe the best thing to happen to us lately is the tea party wins. Maybe it’ll shake some of our constituency out of their lethargy.”

Biden referenced an oft-cited quote by Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) on “Meet the Press” to make the point that if Republicans win, “They’ll reinstate the exact same agenda.” He also mentioned the House GOP’s unveiling of its legislative agenda Thursday, and said Democrats need to paint “a stark contrast. Ladies and gentlemen, they don’t want to do anything different from what they did before.”

Biden mentioned a recent Gallup poll of the generic ballot that showed Democrats roughly tied with Republicans as evidence that voters were starting to pay attention to the issues and the two parties’ messages.

Turning back to Mikulski, Biden reiterated that attendees should help her win by a wide margin: “We not only need her to win this race, we need her to win more races in this state. … It will matter to the rest of the ticket. … Elect her, reelect her, but don’t do it on the margins -- do it big enough that her coattails are going to have some real impact.”

Biden spoke for just under 21 minutes, and then the pool was escorted out of the backyard.

Ben Pershing
Washington Post

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

DGA to Run Ehrlich Attack Ads

from The Baltimore Sun

The television commercials continue coming -- with the Democratic Governors Association today unveiling an ad attacking Republican Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr.'s record as governor. The outpourings show that the national Dems feel they need to spend money to defend a seat.

The announcement about new ads comes 24 hours after the Republican Governors Association bought time in Maryland to attack Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley. Both Ehrlich and O'Malley have also started airing new, positive commercials in the past several days and appear to be leaving the negative television to the national parties -- at least for now.

DGA political director Raymond Glendening pledged that his organization will "spend the money that needs to be spent" to ensure O'Malley is re-elected. Glendening, whose father Parris was governor immediately before Ehrlich, said the organization has long planned to put funds behind O'Malley and will also invest in about a dozen other close races.

He said that about half of the 37 gubernatorial contests this year are competitive, but the party will also likely put up fights in Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin and Massachusetts among others.

The DGA, headed by Delaware Gov. Jack Markell (O'Malley is the vice chair), raised $22 million as of July. They plan to spend $50 million this cycle, according to a spokeswoman.

The ad will play in Baltimore and DC markets and picks at Ehrlich's record saying that he was beholden to corporate interests when governor. (See the script after the jump.)

The ad says:







Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Upset in the District 34a Democratic Race

from The Dagger

Amid the excitement last Tuesday night concerning the tight Republican sheriff race and the not-so-tight county executive and county council races, nearly lost in the shuffle was the upset underway in the Democratic District 34A delegation race.

Marla Posey-Moss, a high school Spanish teacher and Aberdeen resident – who ran an unspectacular campaign for the same delegation seat in 2006 and finished in the middle of the pack – was surging ahead in the polls and threatening Democratic incumbent Dels. Mary-Dulany James and B. Dan Riley.

In this year’s three-way race for two Democratic nominations, Posey-Moss came almost out of nowhere to finish election night ahead of Riley and within 500 votes of James.

Posey-Moss led Riley by 43 votes on election night – a margin of difference which did not change after the first count of absentee ballots last Thursday. Pending the final canvass of absentee and provisional ballots on Wednesday, Posey-Moss is prepared to take her grass-roots campaign onward to the General Election in November.

“I am looking forward to a favorable outcome. I believe the candidates in my race worked hard to get the voters attention and I took no voter for granted. However, signs don’t win campaigns, people do. My qualifications are evident, I am ready and eager to serve people and assist them in their needs. I tell everyone not to underestimate the power of grass roots campaigning and go into communities where votes are waiting for request. In my favor, however, for every absentee ballot mailed, I sent the voter a campaign brochure,” Posey-Moss said in an interview last week.

God, the State Department of Business and Economic Development, and Everything in Between

“I believe my success is attributable to several factors. First, my support network of God, family, friends, and volunteers were the most important factors that helped me make it this far. Name recognition was strong among my supporters in 2006 and I targeted new voters. Another crucial aspect is that I expressed my being a proud Progressive Democrat in a district that has nearly a 2:1 Democrat to Republican ratio. Additionally, I outreached to all people everywhere I went because I understand how 6 degrees of separation works. The platform is far-reaching and is more so about the people rather than about the party. Furthermore, my experience having worked in legislative affairs while at the State Department of Business and Economic Development and my educational training in economics and public policy and management gives my run the credibility it needs to be a viable candidate. Moreover, I have been visible and accessible in both Harford and Cecil Counties. Lastly, I am simply an honest person with a positive attitude and personality,” Posey-Moss said.

Posey-Moss the Educator, Advocate, and Leader

“Since the very beginning of the campaign, my message continues to promote keeping the populous informed, saving consumers and businesses money, securing health care for women and families and strengthening public safety. The theme of the campaign to Educate, Advocate, and Lead constantly resonated with voters and means that my goal is to educate my constituency, advocate on their behalf and lead them with strong legislative leadership. My network of volunteers as well as myself was aggressive in marketing the campaign. I was consistent in my genuine approach to people regardless if I knew they lived in my district because the reality is, word travels about something good. I simply listened to people when I asked them about their concerns and about the issues that affect their lives. And, it is clear in my campaign literature that I believe in upholding our constitutional and legal rights,” Posey-Moss said.

Sticking to Her Grassroots

“I am very humbled by the outcome because this was not an easy run. I didn’t target either of my Democratic comrades, I just pursued the position. Yet, I am still disappointed about the turnout. Nonetheless, to whom much is given, much is expected. I am not perfect but I will do my best to meet expectations. I am running for service during a time when people are increasingly impatient and they allow fear and ignorance to overcome sound and reasonable judgment. I am grateful to those who voted for me because they clearly took my candidacy seriously and thus, no one should ever be underestimated because one never knows who is quietly being supported,” Posey-Moss said.

Riley Shows Honor in Defeat

Riley spent most of the day last Thursday at the Board of Elections Office, hoping to pick up additional votes and gain ground on Posey-Moss. At the end of the day, however, the margin remained the same after each candidate picked up another 35 votes.

A few more absentee and provisional votes remain to be counted this Wednesday, but they are unlikely to cause any change in the results. Riley recognizes this, but said he owes it to his constituents and supporters to stick with the campaign until the last of the votes have been counted.

“Doubt if there will be any change in the outcome. For my supporters, I will not concede until it is officially over,” Riley said last week.

Riley credits Posey-Moss for rallying her supporters out to the polls on Election Day, something many candidates across the state were unable to do. As a “conservative/blue dog Democrat” Riley said he traditionally fares well in the District 34A General Election, but he fears Posey-Moss will have a difficult time emerging as one of the top two vote-getters among James and Republicans Patrick McGrady and Glen Glass.

“This consensus is shared by many of my Republican friends, that they now have a very good chance of winning my seat,” Riley added.

Nevertheless, Riley, who has had an on-again, off-again relationship with elected office (won in 1998, lost in 2002, won in 2006, lost in 2010), maintains a philosophic view on the matter.

“There are only two outcomes in an election. You win or your opponent wins. This loss is a tough one, but I will survive. I did the best I could do for my constituents and it was an honor being their delegate,” he said.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

No RINO Backstabbing This Go-Round in Maryland 1

from The Baltimore Sun

Conservative businessman Rob Fisher has endorsed Republican state Sen. Andy Harris in the First District congressional contest.

Fisher, a first-time candidate, ran a largely self-financed outsider campaign against Harris, a 12-year veteran of the Maryland legislature. Harris won by a two-to-one margin.

“Now that the Republican primary is over, we need to unify behind our nominee, Andy Harris,” said Rob Fisher, according to a statement from the Harris campaign.

“Andy has my full support and I will do anything I can to get him elected and to ensure Frank Kratovil joins the ranks of the thousands of unemployed Marylanders his and Nancy Pelosi's policies have created."

Fisher called Harris shortly before 11 o'clock on election night to concede. He was the only other Republican on the primary ballot in the congressional district that takes in the entire Eastern Shore and portions of Anne Arundel, Baltimore and Harford counties.

Freshman Rep. Frank Kratovil, who edged Harris in the 2008 general election, was unopposed in the Democratic primary.

After Harris unseated moderate Republican Rep. Wayne Gilchrest, the defeated incumbent helped Democrat Kratovil get elected. Last week, Gilchrest--who endorsed Fisher over Harris in the primary--was the draw at a fund-raising event for Kratovil and can be expected to endorse him publicly again this fall.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Maryland Political Waters Recede Before the Coming Tsunami

...evidence of a political establishment still in denial because of closed primaries

from The Baltimore Sun

For all the talk of an energized electorate, and even with the new opportunity to vote early, turnout in Tuesday’s primaries was the lowest in for a gubernatorial election year in Maryland going back at least to 1982, the earliest year for which records were available.

Of Maryland’s 3,167,846 eligible voters, 761,413 cast ballots in the primaries, for a turnout of 24.04 percent, according to unofficial counts released Thursday by the State Board of Elections. The numbers do not yet include provisional or absentee ballots, but judging from previous elections, these are unlikely to be enough to push the total over the state’s previous low of 28.64 percent in in 1998.

This year, 2.44 percent of the electorate took advantage of early voting, offered for six days at central locations in each county; 21.6 percent voted on Tuesday, the traditional primary day, when local polling places were open.

In spite of a competitive Democratic primary for state's attorney, Baltimore saw a lower-than-average turnout of 21.49 percent. Baltimore County, venue for a comeptitive race for county executive, had a turnout of 29.45 percent.

Two of Maryland's least populous counties, meanwhile, distinguished themselves in electoral enthusiasm: Garrett County led the state with 39.59 percent turnout, including 35.09 percent on Tuesday. Talbot county led in early voting participation with 6.78 percent.

Statewide turnout in 2006, the last gubernatorial election, was 29.6 percent. That might have been driven in part by a competitive Democratic primary race between Benjamin L. Cardin and Kweisi Mfume for the open Senate seat vacated that year by retiring Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Democrats Seek to Drive Tea Party Wedges Into the RNC

from The Baltimore Sun

Maryland’s Democrats are trying to pick at what they perceive to be a wound among Maryland Republicans: Hard feelings after the primary victory this week of former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. over Sarah Palin-endorsed and tea party-backed challenger Brian Murphy.

This morning the Dems emailed a transcript from a radio appearance during which conservative commentator Blair Lee urged Ehrlich to reach out to Brian Murphy.

"You need to publicly embrace this guy, you need to call him a rising star in the party, you need to borrow his rolodex, and you need to get all of his voters to vote for you," Lee advised.

Ehrlich reponded with a backhanded slight. "Well, Blair, I respect him, but quite frankly we have a lot of rising stars in our party, including people who have won races."

Four years ago Ehrlich had no primary opponent; four years before that, he had a far better showing in the primary -- taking 93 percent of the vote against two unknown candidates.

On Wednesday at a GOP rally in Annapolis, Murphy showed up, but was on the far right of a sea of Republicans – standing nowhere close to Ehrlich and looking mighty uncomfortable. Ehrlich did not mention his foe by name. Instead he made broad comments about the difficulty all candidate face when they put their egos “on the line” an run for office.

Murphy did get a handshake from GOP Party chairwoman Audrey Scott and, when asked what he plans to do for Ehrlich’s campaign, he repeatedly mentioned that he has a “young family.”

Ehrlich was asked why he didn’t give a shout-out to his former opponent. “If I started mentioning one, I’d get in trouble,” he said.

State GOP Gubernatorial Race Results -

Ehrlich/Kane Republican 201680 75.65%

Murphy/Ryman Republican 64908 24.35%

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Reading the Political Tea Leaves

The latest not so innovative narrative coming from the chattering pundits of the so-called "Mainstream Media" is that the country is growing more and more "Islamophobic". Having "connected the dots" in the fashion so prevalent in the liberal newsroom for the artful fabrication of logically consistent and plausible meta-narratives (fully compatible with previous ones concerning racism, sexism and homophobia), the underlying reason for this most recent and rather nasty outbreak of conservative "fearing of the other" must only have its' illegitimate origins in the same pool of latent ethnic and racial animosity white Tea Party activists feel in response to their declining demographic political influence. This pseudo-phrenology-based reasoning also goes far towards explaining why members of the Tea Party are so fearful of and hostile towards immigrants and all non-white ethnic minorities, virtually insisting that the borders be completely sealed off and all illegals deported back to their racially impure and culturally backward homelands, post-haste.

It must be gratifying to be so intellectually prescient as to be able to inerrantly psycho-historically analyze and thereby divine an entire opposition electorate's motives and intentions so clearly and perfectly. Such ability makes said opposition electorate's subsequent actions/ reactions so invariably predictable. If they object to your policies, it must be due to their racism. It also makes it ever so easy to dismiss whatever obviously un-substantive arguments they might offer as veritable "works of the ill-informed" unworthy of serious thought and/or discussion. So perhaps it's no wonder that our leading liberal elites have acted so dismissively towards the majority of American electorate's polled responses on issues like health care and environmental regulation over the past two years. After all, once you've come to understand their irrational motives and malevolent intentions, what else can someone with real intellectual integrity do other than follow one's heart and govern with one's own head, despite all the ignorant resistance and opposition encountered to such an educated elite's well thought out and reasoned policies, all virtually guaranteed to produce the ever-elusive common good. As Nancy Pelosi so illuminatingly put it in the heady days following Barrack Obama's 2008 election, "to govern is to choose," and making the right choices was all Democrats had to do from that point forward, achieving universally benificial actual results, notwithstanding.

So how has that worked out for us?Of course, once the Republicans regain control of the House, I'm sure, they will also apply their own uniquely uninsightful and completely self-serving all-explanatory meta-narrative to describe why liberals all behave in the otherwise inexplicably contrary ways THEY do. After all, like their Democratic elite counterparts, the Republican elites attended all the very best educational institutions as well. And if there's one thing that incredibly smart intellectual people all over the world are capable of doing, it's deluding themselves into believing that they are so incredibly intelligent and bright as to understand what motivates others who do not make the same so obviously well reasoned choices they do. It's never anything that a little proper use of "logic" and "an education concerning the facts" couldn't cure.

So if there's one thing we can all look forward to, it's more of the same old politics after November 2010... which will continue in this same vein ad infinitum until we all wise up and stop looking to Washington to provide us with answers and one-size-fits-all solutions to our ever evolving problems and increasingly complex existence. Because NO amount of intelligence and foresight could ever reasonably be expected to deal with them adequately and truly result in the impossible common good unless it universally achieved individual goods for all as well. At best, we can only pray for both the self-reliance and luck necessary to adequately "muddle through" until the next election cycle with the fortitude of will necessary to resist the temptation of throwing any new problems over the fence for the elite intellectuals in Washington to solve for us. For there are going to be new problems, problems which ill-fitting solutions will most assuredly compound.

A little more on the subject from one of my favorite philosophers:
4 - The error of imaginary causes. To begin with dreams: ex post facto, a cause is slipped under a particular sensation (for example, one following a far-off cannon shot)--often a whole little novel in which the dreamer turns up as the protagonist. The sensation endures meanwhile in a kind of resonance: it waits, as it were, until the causal instinct permits it to step into the foreground--now no longer as a chance occurrence, but as "meaning." The cannon shot appears in a causal mode, in an apparent reversal of time. What is really later, the motivation, is experienced first--often with a hundred details which pass like lightning and the shot follows. What has happened? The representations which were produced by a certain state have been misunderstood as its causes.

In fact, we do the same thing when awake. Most of our general feelings--every kind of inhibition, pressure, tension, and explosion in the play and counterplay of our organs, and particularly the state of the nervus sympaticus--excite our causal instinct: we want to have a reason for feeling this way or that--for feeling bad or for feeling good. We are never satisfied merely to state the fact that we feel this way or that: we admit this fact only--become conscious of it only--when we have furnished some kind of motivation. Memory, which swings into action in such cases, unknown to us, brings up earlier states of the same kind, together with the causal interpretations associated with them--not their real causes. The faith, to be sure, that such representations, such accompanying conscious processes are the causes is also brought forth by memory. Thus originates a habitual acceptance of a particular causal interpretation, which, as a matter of fact, inhibits any investigation into the real cause--even precludes it.

5 - The psychological explanation of this. To derive something unknown from something familiar relieves, comforts, and satisfies, besides giving a feeling of power. With the unknown, one is confronted with danger, discomfort, and care; the first instinct is to abolish these painful states. First principle: any explanation is better than none. Since at bottom it is merely a matter of wishing to be rid of oppressive representations, one is not too particular about the means of getting rid of them: the first representation that explains the unknown as familiar feels so good that one "considers it true." The proof of pleasure ("of strength") as a criterion of truth.

The causal instinct is thus conditional upon, and excited by, the feeling of fear. The "why?" shall, if at all possible, not give the cause for its own sake so much as for a particular kind of cause--a cause that is comforting, liberating, and relieving. That it is something already familiar, experienced, and inscribed in the memory, which is posited as a cause, that is the first consequence of this need. That which is new and strange and has not been experienced before, is excluded as a cause. Thus one searches not only for some kind of explanation to serve as a cause, but for a particularly selected and preferred kind of explanation--that which has most quickly and most frequently abolished the feeling of the strange, new, and hitherto unexperienced: the most habitual explanations. Consequence: one kind of positing of causes predominates more and more, is concentrated into a system and finally emerges as dominant, that is, as simply precluding other causes and explanations. The banker immediately thinks of "business," the Christian of "sin," and the girl of her love.

--Nietzsche, "Twilight of the Idols"

Hoyer Places First Termer Frank Kratovil Inside the DNC Firewall

from The Baltimore Sun

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer said Sunday that Democrats “probably” will lose seats in the midterm elections — but not their majority in the House.

Appearing on CNN, Hoyer also identified freshman Rep. Frank Kratovil, an Eastern Shore Democrat, as one of two House members who are “absolutely top priorities for me and for our party.”

Hoyer was responding to a front-page report in The New York Times last Sunday that the House Democrats’ campaign operation would soon be cutting funding to candidates it sees as having little chance of winning and diverting the money to more competitive races.

“If there are candidates that are very substantially behind, and they can't make it, clearly we will have to make some tough judgments,” Hoyer said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“But with all due respect to my good friend [Times congressional correspondent] Carl Hulse, who I think is a terrific reporter, that decision has not been made, as Chris Van Hollen [the Montgomery County Democrat who chairs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee] made it very clear.

“And in fact, [Democratic Rep.] Betsy Markey [of Colorado], who was one of those, Frank Kratovil, one of those mentioned in Carl's article, are absolutely top priorities for me and for our party. Betsy Markey is tied in the polls. Frank Kratovil is slightly ahead. So these candidates are in very good shape, and they are going to win.”

In 2008, with the Obama campaign energizing record turnouts of young and African-American voters— and the popular incumbent, moderate Republican Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest, defeated in the GOP primary — Kratovil defeated conservative state Sen. Andy Harris by fewer than 3,000 votes to become the first Democrat in nearly two decades to win the First Congressional District.

Harris is running again for the seat. Given the narrow margin two years ago, the district's voting history, Republican momentum and the absence of a popular presidential candidate at the top of the Democratic ticket to turn out new supporters, Kratovil is seen as one of the House's most vulnerable incumbents. Among leading analysts, the Cook Political Report rates the race a toss-up; the Rothenberg Political Report sees it leaning Republican.

Hoyer, a Southern Maryland Democrat, has known the Kratovil family for years. He has risen to the No. 2 seat in the House in part by campaigning aggressively for fellow Democrats; on Sunday, he said he had appeared with 20 candidates in 11 states over the last two and a half weeks.

“State of the Union” host Candy Crowley asked Hoyer about predictions that Democrats might lose as many as 60 seats, and the majority, in November.

“We are going to lose seats, probably,” he acknowledged. “I’m not going to speculate on a number, Candy. But we are going to hold the House.

“And what is going to happen is, people are going to compare not the perfect, but the alternatives. As Joe Biden likes to say, they are not going to compare us with the almighty, they're going to compare us with the alternative, an alternative that wants to go back to the exact same Bush policies, according to Mr. Sessions, their campaign chairman, which led to high deficits, the worst job performance of any administration since Herbert Hoover, and extraordinary reduction in wealth of our country, and the stock market tanked.”

Hoyer also spoke of the Democrats’ “Make it in America” agenda, and the prospects of a compromise with Republicans on allowing Bush-era tax cuts to expire. The complete transcript follows.


CROWLEY: Joining me now is the Democratic majority leader in the House of Representatives, Steny Hoyer.

Congressman, thanks so much for being here.

HOYER: Candy, always good to be with you. Thank you.

CROWLEY: I want to start off with what I think is going to occupy your fall, and that is these Bush tax cuts, which are set to expire in January.

The Democratic position and the administration's position has been we want to keep them for the middle class, and any household making $250,000 or above, we're going to repeal them.

So what you have here now is the argument, no, bad time; there's not enough jobs out there; you can't create jobs by essentially raising taxes, even if you want to call these rich people.

I want to introduce into this argument something that Peter Orszag wrote. Now, he, of course, is the former director of the Office of Management and Budget for the president. And he's talking about the idea of this huge deficit versus the huge jobs deficit.

"In the face of the duelling deficits, the best approach is a compromise, extend the tax cuts for two years and then end them altogether."

And by extending the tax cuts, he means for the rich; permanent ones for the middle class. How about that?

HOYER: Well, Candy, first of all, we need to realize what is going to happen was put in place by the Republicans in '01 and '03, to meet their budget numbers. They had these taxes go up for all Americans. The president has said; we have said we absolutely, in this troubled economic time, are not going to allow families to have a tax increase, period.

Now, families, as you say, we referred to as the $250,000 and under people, which is 98 percent of America. And we don't believe that their taxes ought to go up.

CROWLEY: But what about a compromise here?

HOYER: Well, compromise has been very tough to get, as you know, Candy.

CROWLEY: But are you open to it?

HOYER: Sure, we'll...

CROWLEY: Do you think the Democratic...

HOYER: We'll talk about compromise, but we don't believe -- I don't agree with Mr. Orszag or others who believe that a tax cut on the richest Americans are going to have any affect on the economy.

CROWLEY: OK, then what about...


HOYER: ... we gave 98 percent of America, as you know, tax cuts in the Recovery Act.

CROWLEY: So a lot of people make the argument, look, this isn't going to create jobs if we allow these tax cuts to expire for the rich. Then why not get behind a payroll holiday?

HOYER: Well, of course we did on the FICA tax, as you know, passed legislation that it's in place that gave small businesses, if they hire people who are unemployed, a tax holiday, as you point out.

And not only did we give that, but we gave $1,000 bonus if those people are on the payroll a year from now.

So we have done things of that nature. We've done a number of things in the House of Representatives to spur job creation, job growth. Unfortunately, we've had trouble getting them through the Senate.

One of the bills that we absolutely want to get done this coming four weeks is to provide for dollars for small business to get loans to expand their businesses.

CROWLEY: To ease the credit?

HOYER: We've passed that twice, and it's still sitting in the Senate. We hope that they'll pass it.

CROWLEY: When it comes to this -- these tax cuts for the wealthy, do -- you're a smart guy. It seems to me one of two things is going to happen here. Either you take this off the table, because your own Democrats are out there going, oh, no, don't want to do this. You've got more than a handful of Democrats in the House saying this is not a good idea.

So you either need to take it off the table and deal with it after the election or come to a compromise. What's going to happen?

HOYER: Candy, one -- well, what's going to happen is, A, we're going to see what the Senate can do. As you know, the House is -- we've got over 400 bills pending in the Senate that have passed, 70 percent of them with 50 Republicans, so non-controversial; they're just sitting in the Senate.

So one of the things we're going to do -- and I've talked to Senator Reid about this -- we're going to see what the Senate is going to do. Then the House will make its determination...


CROWLEY: Because the art of the doable, and you might go along.

HOYER: Sure.

CROWLEY: And you know the Senate's going to come up with a compromise because that's the only way...


CROWLEY: ... they get anything done.

HOYER: But, again, our policy is, we are not going to allow the Republican policy of increasing taxes by having these taxes expire.

HOYER: Which was Republican policy, we are not going to allow that to happen for the middle income Americans, working Americans.

CROWLEY: You have spent your break in 11 states, 20 candidates. We are now looking at some fairly well-respected political pundits saying Democrats might lose as many as 60 seats. What's the problem out there?

HOYER: Well, I think those pundits are wrong. Number one, we are going to hold the House. We're going to win...

CROWLEY: But you are going to lose seats?

HOYER: We are going to lose seats, probably. I think that's undoubtedly, historically...

CROWLEY: Twenty-four, 34?

HOYER: I am not going to speculate on a number, Candy. But we are going to hold the House. As I say, I have been to -- as you said, I have been with 20 candidates, 11 states over the last two-and-half weeks. Our candidates are feeling good.

And what is going to happen is, people are going to compare not the perfect, but the alternatives. As Joe Biden likes to say, they are not going to compare us with the almighty, they're going to compare us with the alternative, an alternative that wants to go back to the exact same Bush policies, according to Mr. Sessions, their campaign chairman, which led to high deficits, the worst job performance of any administration since Herbert Hoover, and extraordinary reduction in wealth of our country, and the stock market tanked.

CROWLEY: But can you stave off disaster for Democrats...

HOYER: Absolutely.

CROWLEY: ... when you have Democrats who don't particularly want to talk about health care reform, and those who voted against it are -- actually have ads out there for it, who don't much want to talk about the stimulus program and how much it costs?

Is it enough to say, yes, but the Republicans got us into this mess? I mean, that's not much of a bumper sticker.

HOYER: Well, you have -- the American public is smart, and they pursued a vote in 1992 that elected a president. He put in place a program, they were somewhat skeptical, as you recall. But they became very enthusiastic when they saw how well that economic program worked, opposed by every Republican.

Then the -- in 2000, a new administration came in, said their policies were going to work. In fact, they failed and gave the worst economy in 75 years. So people are going to compare the failed Bush policies, which the Republicans say they want to return to. That's a quote, not a supposition.

CROWLEY: But you agree it's a bit -- right now you could say we are on a path, we're moving forward, it's going to get better, but it's kind of a weak hand to go into November with?

HOYER: Well, I think in fact that things have gotten better. We have had four quarters of economic growth. The stock market, Dow, S&P, Nasdaq, up now over 60 percent. Things are getting better, 2 million, 3 million, 4 million jobs have been created under the Recovery Act.

So, yes, we are not where we want to be. We want to get those 8 million jobs back that were lost under the Bush administration, so we can get people back to work. And we are going to continue to focus on policies, which is what the president said in Cleveland when he gave his speech about investing in infrastructure and creating jobs.

The other thing, Candy, I want to mention, is we have an agenda, not just for the balance of this year, but an agenda for the coming years, and that's the "Make It in America" agenda.

People are concerned and fearful they're not going to be able to make it in America. And one of the things they believe is we need to make things in America. We need to manufacture things in America so people have the availability of good-paying jobs with good benefits.

So our "Make It in America" agenda is going to be one of the hallmarks as we move forward. And frankly when you look at the Clinton administration's creation of 21 million new jobs in the private sector as opposed to George Bush's 1 million, you see that there is a real contrast.

CROWLEY: And just quickly, on a matter of strategy. We know that there has been much made of the fact that eventually your money does run out and you have got to save who you can and toss some others overboard. When are you going to begin to toss some of your weaker Democratic candidates overboard in terms of money?

HOYER: We don't think we have weak Democratic candidates right now.


HOYER: Candy, I'm not done. You didn't expect an answer to that. Clearly we will look at, and if there are candidates that are very substantially behind, and they can't make it, clearly we will have to make some tough judgments.

But with all due respect to my good friend Carl Hulse, who I think is a terrific reporter, that decision has not been made, as Chris Van Hollen made it very clear. And in fact, Betsy Markey, who was one of those, Frank Kratovil, one of those mentioned in Carl's article, are absolutely top priorities for me and for our party. Betsy Markey is tied in the polls. Frank Kratovil is slightly ahead. So these candidates are in very good shape, and they are going to win.

CROWLEY: Thank you so much.

HOYER: Thank you, Candy.

CROWLEY: Democratic leader Steny Hoyer, we appreciate your time.

HOYER: Appreciate it.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Early Primary Voting in Maryland Ends, Remainder must VOTE Next Tuesday, September 14

from The Baltimore Sun

Maryland's first experience with early voting is now over, and it yielded a fairly small turnout.-- just about 77,000 voters out of a possible 3.2 million.

The many voters who didn't weigh in early on the primary election can do so on Tuesday. The State Elections Board published final figures this morning, and they show that yesterday, the final day of the weeklong early voting period, was by far the busiest with more than 18,000 casting ballots.

If the primary election draws its usual 30 percent voter turnout, early voting will account for about 8 percent of the ballots cast. Early voting researchers, including Paul Gronke at Reed College, say that seems low. States with established early voting systems typically see no less than 20 percent of ballots cast that way -- though primary election data is fairly unstudied.

Maryland election officials say the turnout was about what they expected. As we reported this morning in The Sun, early voting coincided with Labor Day weekend, the start of school and Rosh Hashana. High-profile early voters, including Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley and Republican former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., publicized the system's debut.

One plus of the small turnout, says state elections administrator Linda Lamone, is that it gave polling judges a chance to hone their skills before what they expect to be the far busier early voting period that will precede the Nov. 2 general election.

More early voting stats after the jump.

Total number of early voters: 77,288

Biggest day: Thursday, with 18,081

Smallest day:Saturday, with 8,891

Early Democrats: 54,770 (about 2.8 percent of registered Dems)

Early Republicans: 21656 (about 2.4 percent of registered GOPers)

Talbot and Kent counties showed best turnout: nearly 7 percent voting early

Prince George's County wins by sheer numbers: 14,551

Washington County had lowest percentage early voting turnout: barely 1 percent

* Numbers provided by Board of Elections. Numbers do not include provisional or absentee ballots. Results will be counted the day of the primary election.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Democrat's Out Early-Voting Republicans in Maryland Primaries, Thus Far

Just over 33,000 Marylanders had taken advantage of the state's new early voting rules in the first three days of early voting, according to data on the Maryland Board of Elections website.

That means roughly one percent of the state’s 3.1 million registered voters had gone to the polls from Friday to Monday. Early polling places will be open two more days. Primary elections don’t usually draw large numbers of voters – four years ago 29 percent of registered Maryland voters participated. (See photo below of an early voting center at Northpoint Library courtesy of Sun reporter Julie Bykowicz.)

Statewide, the two busiest counties so far are Prince George’s with 5,800 voting and Baltimore County where 5,780 voted. Overall larger percentages of eligible Democrats are voting early than Republicans – but not by much -- 1.21 percent of Dems have voted verses one percent of GOP voters. These figures do not include absentee ballots.

GOP leaning Kent and Garrett counties stood out as the two areas with the largest percentage of registered voters taking advantage of the new rules. That’s a bit surprising given Republicans in the General Assembly vehemently opposed the early voting program when it was first suggested in 2005.

In Baltimore city's waterfront 46th district, Senate challenger Bill Ferguson has not yet marshaled his promised troops to take on Sen. George Della. The young candidate touted a sophisticated early voting plan to beat the incumbent, however as of Monday a mere 428 had cast ballots.

(UPDATE: Ferguson says via text message that turnout is "slightly lower than expected" but says his supporters are going to the polls by a four to one margin. There is no real way of verifying this that I can think of.)

Instead, most of the early voting in Baltimore is occurring in Northeast’s 43rd District, where 963 (or 1.7 percent) have voted in the contest between incumbent Sen. Joan Carter Conway and challenger Hector Torres.

Torres, a former Baltimore City Fire Department spokesman, hasn’t raised much money but is trying to ride the year’s anti- politician theme by accusing Conway of being bought by Annapolis special interests. The district had high turnout four years ago; with 34.43 percent of eligible voters cast ballots in that district. That percentage beat the state average and made the 43rd the second most vote happy district in the city.

Oddly, Northwest Baltimore’s 41st legislative district, where there are no contested races for the General Assembly, so far has the second highest voter turnout with 923 taking part. Del. Sandy Rosenberg hypothesized that the top of the ticket State's Attorney match-up between incumbent Patricia Jessamy and challenger Gregg Bernstein could be driving the higher turnout there. Also, he noted, two of the city’s five early voting centers are located in the district.

Another reason could be that residents there just really like to vote – in 2006 the district had the highest participation figures in the city.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

With Early Voting, the Voter Fraud Begins

from Fox News

PRINCE GEORGE'S CO. - The Maryland primary is still a week away but there are already allegations of election fraud coming out of Prince George’s County.

Candidates often hand out sample ballots to guide voters when they go to the polls. For instance, this year, there’s a pamphlet of Governor Martin O’Malley and leading Prince George’s County office-holders along with the names of the candidates they’ve endorsed.

Angela Alsobrooks is one of those candidates. She’s running for State’s Attorney in Prince George’s County but says she knew something was wrong as soon as a fake sample ballot arrived at her parent’s house.

"It lists me as running for two offices,” Alsobrooks says. “It has me listed as a candidate for State's Attorney as well as a candidate for Clerk of Court."

Alsobrooks says the fake ballot looks very similar so voters need to look at the details to determine which one is the fake. She points to the name of the campaign committee on the fake ballot.

“It lists ‘Citizens for Change.’ There’s no such entity registered in the State of Maryland,” say Alsobrooks.

She says the fake ballot gives a phony treasurer and mailing address. It also claims State Senator C. Anthony Muse endorsed the candidates listed inside. But once you flip it open, the fake ballot tells you to vote for his opponent.

"It is a felony,” Muse says. “It is a federal offense violation of campaign law to have a campaign committee that doesn't exist."

Senator Muse says he blames three of the candidates listed on the fake ballot; his democratic opponent Albert Chatmon, House of Delegate candidate Kriselda Valderrama and County Council candidate Jerry Mathis. He says he saw their supporters handing out the fake ballots during early voting in Oxon Hill.

"I went to the three candidates who are the ones carrying it and I said to them, ‘These are fraudulent. You can't carry this.’ Having potential lawmakers say to me, 'I don't care if we're breaking the law.’ That was basically what the response was until police went out and made these candidates put down these ballots."

FOX 5 called all three candidates Sunday and left messages asking for comment. FOX 5 had not received a response as of air time Sunday.

“This is frankly one of the types of things that made me decide to leave politics to start with," says current Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Glenn Ivey.

Ivey says even though Alsobrooks wrote a letter to the Maryland Attorney General and the state’s U.S. Attorney demanding an investigation, the criminal investigation will take much longer than the election.

As a result, Ivey says there is really only one way to punish those responsible. "Make sure you find out who is doing this and punish them when you go to the ballot.”

Beginning Friday, September 3, Maryland residents can call the Attorney's General's voter hotline at 1-866-298-8245 or file a complaint via e-mail at voting@oag.state.md.us

Monday, September 6, 2010

Political Longshot Eric Wargotz Takes Aim @ Barbara Mikulski w/Clever Campaign Commercial

Early Primary Voting a Dry-Run for the Maryland General Election

from The Baltimore Sun

With the start Friday of early voting, Baltimore Sun colleague Julie Bykowicz reports, for the first time in state history all Maryland voters will be able to cast their ballots ahead of the Sept. 14 primary elections.

Candidates across the state are viewing this round of early voting as something of a dry run for the weeklong voting period that will precede the general election in November. Only registered Democrats and Republicans can participate in the primaries.

The new system has cast office-seekers in the role of de facto educators, explaining the process to voters. Many also include early voting information in their campaign literature and have begun mentioning it in automated phone calls to voters. Many, including the governor and his chief competitor, hope to lead by example by casting their own votes early.

“It's kind of crept up on us,” Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley said at an early voting rally this week in Annapolis with legislative leaders and the legislative black caucus. “It is still new to people as I encounter them on the street. Let's hope for a big turnout.”

The incumbent faces only token opposition in the Democratic gubernatorial primary; his two challengers have little name recognition or money. But aides have said early voting in the primary will provide a valuable preview of how the process will unfold in November.

In the Republican gubernatorial primary, former Gov. Robert L.Ehrlich Jr. must face down Montgomery County businessman Brian Murphy, who is far less widely known but drew national attention when former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin announced her support for him this summer.

“It’s hard to figure out what early voting means in the Republican primary, given that this is the first time,” Murphy said this week. “We’re aware of it, but it’s a nonfactor.”

Murphy and others — Republicans and Democrats alike — predicted that only a tiny fraction of registered voters would cast their ballots early in the primary election. In Maryland’s 2006 gubernatorial primary, about 855,000 people voted, less than 30 percent of those who were eligible.

Voter registration has ticked up slightly since then, but primary elections tend to bring out only the most committed voters, political analysts say. Most predict that early voters in the primaries will be people who would have cast absentee ballots otherwise. States with long-established early voting typically see about 20 percent of votes cast before election day.

Ross Goldstein, deputy state elections director at the Maryland Board of Elections, said the state is ready.

There are 46 early voting centers across the state, compared to about 1,900 polling places on Election Day, he said. Each will be monitored by Democratic and Republican elections judges, just as on primary election day. Neither party has reported problems staffing the centers.

All early voting centers are open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday through Thursday, with the exception of Sunday, when they are closed. Registered voters may cast ballots at any center in their home county.

Populous places have several early voting sites — there are five in Baltimore — while more rural areas such as Washington County have just one.

“I don’t anticpate that large of a turnout for early voting, at least this county,” said Del. Christopher B. Shank, a Republican in a tight primary election angainst an incumbent Republican senator in the area. “But smart campaigns have to be prepared and get their message out early, not just on Sept. 14. You’ve got to balance the importance of that day against the people who might vote early.”

One way that candidates appear to be striking that balance is by encouraging early voting. Many are leading by example: O’Malley, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown and Democratic House Speaker Michael E. Busch of Anne Arundel County plan to vote Friday.

Baltimore State’s Attorney Patricia Jessamy said she plans to vote Friday in the Democratic primary so that she can see for herself how the process works.

“As we go out to community, we’re telling people that they can vote early, and they seem surprised,” said Jessamy, who faces the well-financed and police-backed Gregg Bernstein in her toughest primary in years. “Our message to people is: vote early, vote on the 14th, but don’t vote late.”

Bernstein has no plan to vote early but has been trumpeting the process in his robust social media campaign.

Early voting has posed a bit of an awkward situation for Ehrlich, who led the charge against it while he was governor.

Ehrlich composed a YouTube message in which he attempts to reconcile his opposition to early voting with his desire for you to vote early for him.

In the video, released Friday, Ehrlich says he saw early voting as a “solution in search of a problem.” Still, he says his campaign hopes to take “full advantage” of what is now state law.

His position has not gone unnoticed by his primary challenger or his likely general election opponent.

“Ehrlich's change of heart on early voting [is] nothing more than an opportunistic about-face by a career politician,” Murphy said in a release Tuesday, some of his strongest criticism to date of Ehrlich.

O'Malley's campaign spokesman said in a message to supporters Tuesday that early voting was a “no-brainer for public officials on both sides of the aisle, but if Bob Ehrlich had had his way early voting would never have been possible.”

The Maryland General Assembly approved early voting in 2005, Ehrlich vetoed it that May and then the legislature overrode his veto the next year.

It didn’t matter. The state’s highest court ruled in 2006 that the state consitution is clear: Voting day is a specific day, meaning the question of whether to change how the elction works needed to be put directly to voters. Marylanders voted overwhelmingly in 2008 to approve it, and the legislature set up the process.

Ex-RNCC Treasurer Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

from the Maryland Daily Record

WASHINGTON — The former treasurer of the National Republican Congressional Committee has pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $840,000 from a variety of political committees, including more than $670,000 from the NRCC itself.

Christopher J. Ward of Bethesda, who has been under investigation for some time, entered the guilty plea Friday in federal court in Washington.

Ward was treasurer of the NRCC from 2003 to 2007, and in court papers he admitted that he transferred money from an account used to operate an annual fundraising dinner with then-President George W. Bush into his personal account.

Prosecutors and Ward’s lawyer have agreed to recommend a sentence of three years in prison, though the judge can impose a term of up to 10 years.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Early Primary Voting in Harford County Begins Today!

from the Harford County Dagger

Bel Air native Kimmie Meissner will cast the first vote in Harford County’s Early Voting, which begins Friday September 3, 2010.

This will be the first time Maryland voters can vote prior to Election Day without applying for an absentee ballot. In Harford County, the meeting room of the Bel Air Branch of the Harford County Public Library will host the early voting center.

Voters may cast their ballot from Friday, September 3 to 9, except Sunday, September 5. Early voting hours are 10:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m.

The Harford County Board of Elections invited American figure skater, Kimmie Meissner, to be the first to vote during early voting in recognition of her achievements as a world ambassador of good will and as a role model for America’s youth. Ms. Meissner will be casting her vote at the early voting site in the Bel Air Library, located at 100 Pennsylvania Avenue, which is the street renamed as “Kimmie Way” by the Town of Bel Air in recognition of the Bel Air Olympic champion in 2006.

For further information about early voting, contact the Harford County Board of Elections at 410-638-3565 or ask@harfordvotes.info.

---Early Primary Voting is a being attempted statewide throughout Maryland beginning today.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Powerful Maryland State Politician Indicted

from The Baltimore Sun

A federal grand jury in Maryland has charged the chairman of the Senate’s powerful budget panel and two former supermarket executives with bribery, extortion and other criminal offenses in an 18-count indictment, Baltimore Sun colleague Annie Linskey reports.

In announcing the charges Wednesday, prosecutors said Sen. Ulysses Currie, a Democrat, misused his influence for personal gain while helping Shoppers Food Warehouse expand in Maryland.

“Government officials cross a bright line when they accept payments in return for using the authority of their office, whether they take cash in envelopes or checks labeled as consulting payments,” U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said in a statement.

“When businesses can obtain valuable government benefits by putting a senator on the payroll, it diminishes public confidence and disadvantages companies that refuse to go along with the pay-to-play approach.”

Senate President Thomas V. “Mike” Miller, a close ally, said in a statement that Currie has agreed to relinquish his post as the chairman of Budget and Taxation Committee, which oversees the state’s $32 billion annual spending plan. Sen. Edward J. Kasemeyer, the vice-chairman, will lead the committee, Miller said.

Currie’s attorney, Dale Kelberman, put out a statement saying Currie would plead not guilty to the charges.

A 15-year veteran of the Senate, Currie filed for reelection in January and faces no opposition in the primary or general election.

The federal investigation became public when agents searched Currie's District Heights home in May 2008. The federal agents at that time alleged that Currie was paid $200,000 by Shoppers Food Warehouse over five years and did not disclose it on required ethics forms.

While receiving the payments, Currie supported legislation that would help the company, including a bill in 2005 that allowed the chain to transfer liquor licenses between locations, according to federal agents. He also pushed for state financial incentives that would help a Shoppers store at Mondawmin Mall in Baltimore.

Currie has been beset by other problems; he replaced his longtime campaign treasurer this month after filing an August 10 financial disclosure that showed $187,000 had been drained from the account with no explanation for how it was spent.

State Prosecutors have also been investigating Currie’s campaign spending since he raised eyebrows by using his campaign account to pay Baltimore law firm Miles & Stockbridge for helping fend off the federal probe. Campaign funds are only supposed to be used for investigations that relate to campaign spending; and are not permitted to be used on investigations into the public duties of elected officials, according to the Attorney General’s office.

Currie’s fundraising has been lackluster, though it appears some in his party are rallying around him. He filed his most recent report days early, and it showed $5,534 contributions; including a check from for $2,595.92 from the Democratic Attorneys General Association and one for $2,438.43 from Democratic Comptroller Peter Franchot.

Travis Berry, with the DAGA said Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler requested the funds to help pay for a sample ballot that supports all candidates in the district. Franchot’s political director, Andrew Friedson, also said the comptroller’s check was for that ballot. The three other delegates in Currie’s district are Dereck Davis, Aisha Braveboy and Melony Griffith, all of whom are Democrats seeking reelection.

Currie’s previous report showed he raised a mere $1,050 in the from January to August from four donors.

Currie was first elected to the General Assembly 24 years ago as a delegate representing Prince George's, and then ran successfully for the Senate in 1994.