Hagerstown City Council criticizes Bruchey’s comment, praises response

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July 13 // ‘We failed’: Officials explain error that could have affected 72,000 Maryland voters

Maryland lawmakers grilled leaders of the Motor Vehicle Administration and the State Board of Elections on Thursday over what the officials said was as “an inadvertent programming error” that potentially affected nearly 72,000 residents who attempted to register to vote in the June 26 primary. Christine Nizer, head of the MVA, described an error-riddled process that began with a programming mistake made by a contract employee in April 2017 and culminated with officials’ announcement on the eve of the election that as many as 80,000 voters — nearly quadruple the amount estimated days before — were affected by the error and would have to file provisional ballots. (Wash. Post)

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U.S. Senate unanimously passes resolution honoring Capital Gazette victims

The U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution on Thursday honoring the five victims of the deadly attack at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis. From the Senate floor, Maryland Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen spoke of the victims and the Capital Gazette’s impact on its readers. Van Hollen said the Capital Gazette is “your quintessential, small-town newspaper.” He said it and other local papers around the country “represent the lifeblood of our communities.” All 100 senators signed on to the resolution as co-sponsors. Copies of the resolution will be sent to the families of the victims as well as Rick Hutzell, the editor of the paper. (Balt. Sun)

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Margaret Hoover and John Avlon on their Post-Partisan Marriage

Margaret Hoover, a conservative, and John Avlon, an independent, are television pundits who are married to each other. Quite happily, if a recent visit to their Gramercy Park apartment is any measure. Their telegenic union may be a lesson in overcoming the orthodoxies that divide us. Ms. Hoover, a former Fox News contributor who once scuffled with Bill O’Reilly when he got her name wrong (“I’m sorry, there’s a lot of blondes in this operation, I can’t keep you straight,” he told her), is a great-granddaughter of Herbert Hoover, the man who until recently held the double distinction of being the only civilian to serve as president, and also of being ranked by some political scientists among the top 10 of the worst presidents. (President Trump now shares that twofer.) (NYT)

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Republican Governors Association launches weekslong attack ad campaign against Ben Jealous

The Republican Governors Association on Thursday began a weekslong campaign of negative television advertisements against Maryland Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous. The ads call Jealous, the former president of the NAACP, a “big spender” and warn viewers that he will raise their taxes if elected. “Ben Jealous is just another big spender who wants to hike taxes and take Maryland backwards,” RGA spokesman Jon Thompson said in a statement. “Jealous would raise taxes, force Maryland families to pay more, and hurt the state — just to pay for his big spending schemes.” (Balt. Sun)

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Prosecutors ask judge to sentence former Maryland Sen. Nathaniel Oaks to 5 years in prison

Federal prosecutors are asking a judge to sentence former state Sen. Nathaniel T. Oaks to five years in prison for taking money from an undercover FBI informant and agreeing to help him defraud a federal housing agency. Prosecutors requested five years of imprisonment and three years of supervised release. That’s less than the eight to 10 years recommended by sentencing guidelines. Oaks’ lawyers had asked for an 18-month prison sentence and submitted letters to the court from supporters, including five former state legislators. Oaks’ public defenders said the 71-year-old Oaks diligently served his constituents for decades and is now in poor health. (Balt. Sun)

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Recount underway in Baltimore County executive primary race

Baltimore County election officials began the task Thursday of recounting more than 87,000 paper ballots in the Democratic primary for county executive — a contest Johnny Olszewski Jr. won by just nine votes. The extensive recount was requested by second-place finisher Jim Brochin, who has said that with a margin so small — less than 0.1 percent — he felt it was necessary to request that the ballots be recounted. The overall count moved more quickly than expected after the first day, as officials recounted 40 percent of the results. Still, it could be days before a winner in the June 26 primary will be determined. So far, the candidate tallies remained largely unchanged. (Balt. Sun)

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Maryland mayor criticized for calling London's Muslim mayor a 'terrorist'

The mayor of Hagerstown, Md., apologized Wednesday for his Facebook comments that upset many residents by referring to London’s mayor as a “terrorist.” Sadiq Khan is the first Muslim elected mayor of the city of London. He approved protesters’ request to fly a provocative balloon over the city — a massive blimp shaped like President Trump wearing a diaper — to mark the president’s visit to Europe. Robert Bruchey II, a car salesman who has been mayor of Hagerstown on and off since 1997, doesn’t hold back his opinions on Facebook. A vocal supporter of Trump, he often criticizes the targets of the president’s insults, such as his May 6 post about “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd. (Wash. Post)

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