Obama and Lierman wade into the midterms

Michelle Obama is jumping into the 2018 campaigns with a voter registration initiative that will be strictly nonpartisan — exciting and frustrating top Democrats who'd like the popular former first lady to actively campaign for candidates. The initiative, scheduled to be launched Thursday, is the result of months of quiet conversations and planning full of false starts and uncertainty about whether to go forward. (Politico)

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Del. Kathleen Dumais named to be House majority leader in next General Assembly

District 15 Del. Kathleen Dumais of Rockville, renominated last month for a fifth four-year term in the Maryland House of Delegates, late Wednesday was named the next majority leader by House Speaker Michael Busch. Busch’s appointment presumes the House—which currently has a 91-50 Democratic majority—remains in control of that party following this November’s election. A continued Democratic advantage in that chamber is considered a virtual certainty. (Bethesda)

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Following Maryland revelation, bills would ban election vendors from foreign control

Maryland lawmakers have introduced two U.S. House bills seeking to better safeguard election systems following the disclosure that a state election software vendor had ties to a Russian investor. A measure by Democratic Rep. John Delaney and Republican Rep. Andy Harris would mandate that vendors associated with federal elections be owned and controlled by U.S. companies. (Balt. Sun)

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Blair petitions for recount in Democratic primary for county executive

Potomac businessman David Blair has requested a partial recount in the Democratic Montgomery County executive contest that he narrowly lost to County Council member Marc Elrich. The decision will begin the next chapter in a post-primary saga that has already spanned several weeks, as election officials have been tallying final ballots and double-checking results in the tight race. (Bethesda)

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U.S. House again votes to restrict federal enforcement of Chesapeake Bay cleanup

For the second time in a year, the U.S. House of Representatives has voted to restrict the federal government from penalizing states for missing pollution-reduction goals — such as those guiding cleanup of the Chesapeake Bay. The measure was again pushed by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican who says the Environmental Protection Agency has been “hijacking states’ water quality strategies.” Maryland’s congressional delegation voted 7-0 against the amendment, with Rep. Steny Hoyer not voting. (Balt. Sun)

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Hogan tells Great Mills students he would reject an NRA endorsement

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan on Thursday told a group of students from Great Mills High School, where a 16-year- old girl was killed earlier this year, that he would support toughening a law that holds parents responsible when their children gain access to their guns. The Republican governor, who is seeking a second term and faces a challenge from Democrat Ben Jealous, also told the teenagers that he would reject an election endorsement from the National Rifle Association if the organization offered one. (Wash. Post)

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Trump tweets praise for pro-ICE resolution that Maryland Democrats call ‘sham’ and ‘political stunt’

A Republican-sponsored House of Representatives resolution in support of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency was criticized as a “sham” and a “distraction” by Democratic House members from Maryland. The measure — lauded by President Donald Trump in a tweet on Thursday morning — expresses support for “the officers and personnel who carry out the important mission of the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement .” It was approved 244-35 on Wednesday. (Balt. Sun)

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Howard executive blasts Jealous for using Ellicott City flood in 'partisan fundraising ploy'

Republican Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman stepped into gubernatorial politics this week, criticizing Democratic candidate Ben Jealous for his mention of the destructive May 27 Ellicott City flood in a fundraising email. “Is it hot where you are? Did the Ellicott City floods (for the second consecutive year, mind you) affect your home, or your loved ones?” the Jealous email soliciting campaign donations read. “Are you worried that they’re doing nothing — nothing — just down the street in D.C. to address our obvious environmental crisis? I know I am. But I also know that we don’t have to wait for Washington — we can do this state by state, city by city.” (Ho. Co. Times)

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