Lawmakers ask Congress to lessen food stamp cuts

Standing in a warehouse full of food for needy families, three Democratic lawmakers called Monday for Congress to avoid sharp cuts to food stamps proposed in a $500 billion farm bill. Lawmakers want to pass the massive legislation by the end of the year, but talks between House and Senate negotiators have stalled over how much should be cut from food stamps — a program that helps to feed one in seven Americans. "We're not talking about lavish meals," Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, a Baltimore Democrat, said during an event at the Maryland Food Bank in Halethorpe where he was joined by Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski and Rep. John Sarbanes of Baltimore County. (Balt. Sun)

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Montgomery County Council races attract new blood

Two candidates with experience on the fringes of presidential politics have joined the race for spots on the Montgomery County Council. Gaithersburg Democrat Neda Bolourian has filed to run for the District 2 seat currently held by Council Vice President Craig Rice, while Dickerson Democrat Beth Daly will run for one of the council’s four at-large seats. (Gazette)

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New judges to take seats in district, circuit courts

Frederick County will soon have two more judges sitting in its courtrooms. Gov. Martin O'Malley named two Frederick attorneys to the bench Monday. Danny Brian O’Connor will serve on the Circuit Court for Frederick County, and Earl Wilbur Bartgis Jr. will serve on the District Court for Frederick County. The county's judicial nominating commission recommended both to O’Malley for judgeships. (News-Post)

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Nov. 25 // GOP's Hogan to run for governor

Larry Hogan, chairman of the conservative activist group Change Maryland, says he'll seek the Republican nomination for governor in 2014. In an interview, Hogan said that while he will hold off a formal announcement until January, there's no doubt he will join three other contenders in the June 24 GOP primary. "I really have made up my mind," said Hogan, a former appointments secretary to Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (Balt. Sun)

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With pledge proposals, Gansler and Brown have more to argue about in Md. race

First came a proposal from Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler, asking fellow Democrats in Maryland’s race for governor to sign a pledge designed to discourage outside spending on the contest. Then on Friday, Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown countered with a plan of his own, one that would require him and his rivals to forgo negative ads. Both were ostensibly well-meaning attempts to inject a measure of civility into the campaign. But instead, the pledges have had the opposite effect: They increased the hostility between the two leading candidates in what is becoming an increasingly bitter race. (Wash. Post)

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Brown hosts influential guests in Redskins stadium skybox

As he runs for governor, Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown has hosted politically influential guests — including lobbyists, campaign contributors and union leaders — in the state's skybox at the Redskins' stadium, records show. Brown's guests during the 2012 and 2013 football seasons have included well-connected lobbyists Earl Adams Jr. and Major F. Riddick Jr., pastors from significant Prince George's County churches and the supervisor of a state trooper who issued a report criticizing the behavior of Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler, a rival in the governor's race. (Balt. Sun)

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Md. House Republicans to push income tax cut, withdrawal from Common Core initiative

In the upcoming legislative session, Maryland House Republicans plan to push a 10 percent income tax cut, repeal of the so-called “rain tax” and the state’s withdrawal from the Common Core education initiative. Most of the proposals face long odds when lawmakers return in January, given the party’s minority status in both the House and Senate. But the initiatives are certain to get some attention, both during the 90-day session and in the elections that follow next year. (Wash. Post)

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Maryland GOP holds off on idea of opening primaries to independent voters

The Maryland Republican Party took no action Saturday on the idea of opening its primaries to independent voters but left open the possibility of doing so after next year’s elections. A report on the controversial issue was delivered to party leaders Friday but did not come up for discussion during the general session of the Maryland GOP’s fall convention in Annapolis, the last opportunity to change the rules before the June 2014 primaries. (Wash. Post)

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