Josh Kurtz: More Political Potpourri

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Anthony Brown’s financial solicitations in the 4th congressional district have been constant and beseeching.

Still, it was surprising that the former lieutenant governor’s campaign sent one out on Wednesday – Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year for Jews. While Brown isn’t Jewish, and neither is most of the Dist. 4 electorate, many candidates tend to forego the tin cup shaking on major religious holidays, regardless of their own faith.

If you want to be a stickler, Yom Kippur officially ended at sunset Wednesday – 7:04 p.m. in Washington, D.C., according to the website And Brown’s email hit our in-box at 7:02 p.m. Still…

But for even greater chutzpah, there was Del. Dereck Davis’ fundraising solicitation that also went out Wednesday evening – after sundown. Davis, one of several Democrats battling Brown for the nomination in the 4th district race, tried to capitalize on Pope Francis’ visit to the U.S. to raise money.

“I want to take this time to welcome the First Latin American Pope to set foot on American soil,” Davis’ email began. “To have welcomed Pope Francis I, first in our own County, and our own State was an added bonus.

“What brings me the most pride is that this Pope has brought with him a message so close to our own: a commitment to social and economic justice is the way to creating real, broad prosperity.”

Davis went on to extoll the pope’s commitment to tolerance and inclusiveness and the fact that he regularly quotes Martin Luther King.

Then, unmistakably, the email contained a link to a donation page: “Help us spread Pope Francis’ message of hope and dignity by contributing today.”



It’s good to be the secretary of Labor sometimes.

Tom Perez, the U.S. secretary of Labor and a possible candidate for governor in 2018, has been tapped to be the keynote speaker at the Maryland State Education Association’s fall convention in Ocean City next month.

Talk about a win-win situation: It’s billed as an official appearance, so the state’s largest teachers union doesn’t have to offer equal time to other potential gubernatorial candidates. And Perez gets to mix and mingle with hundreds of politically active Maryland teachers while still doing his day job.

Just as significant, MSEA doesn’t have to extend an invitation to any of the candidates running for the U.S. Senate or House seats in 2016.

While any number of federal candidates would welcome an endorsement from the teachers, don’t expect it to happen next year. While other unions are taking sides in the Senate and congressional races in Maryland, there is little incentive for the teachers to do so.

For starters, the Democrats are almost certain to nominate union-friendly candidates for the open Senate race and in the two open-seat House races. And, with so many state lawmakers running for the House, why would the union want to offend them by issuing endorsements in mid-February, right in the middle of the General Assembly session?

With so many battles to fight in the state and at the national level, expect the teachers to save their money and manpower by working to elect a Democratic president and flipping the U.S. Senate next year and not playing in primaries where there’s little to distinguish the Democratic contenders.  

Josh Kurtz is editor of Environment & Energy Daily, a Capitol Hill publication. He can be reached at . Follow him on Twitter -- @joshkurtznews

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Josh Kurtz has been writing about Maryland politics since late 1995. Louie Goldstein, William Donald Schaefer and Pete Rawlings were alive, but the Intercounty Connector, as far as anyone could tell, was dead.

But some things never change: Mike Miller is still in charge of the Senate. Gerry Evans and Bruce Bereano are among the top-earning lobbyists in Annapolis. Steny Hoyer is still waiting for Nancy Pelosi to disappear. And Maryland Republicans are still struggling to be relevant.

The media landscape in Maryland has changed a lot, and Kurtz is happy to write weekly for Center Maryland. He's been writing a column for the website since it launched in January 2010.

In his "real" job, Kurtz is editor of Environment & Energy Daily down on Capitol Hill. But he'll always find Maryland politics more fascinating.

Kurtz grew up in New York City and attended public schools there. He has a BA in History from the University of Wisconsin and an MS in Journalism from Columbia University. He's married with two daughters and lives in Takoma Park, Md. He hopes you'll drop him a line, or maybe go out for a meal with him, because he's always hungry -- for political gossip.