Monday, April 22, 2024 | Baltimore, MD


The Big Enchilada in the Democratic Primary for Governor Is…

In a 10-candidate primary, every inch matters. And every candidate is consequential: Even if they get only 1%, a last-place finisher’s vote total is significant, because it’s coming out of other candidates’ hides. Polls have suggested that there are four leading Democratic candidates for governor – Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot, former Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III, former U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez, and author and former foundation CEO Wes Moore. With 3 1/2 months left until early voting (unless there’s another primary delay), there could still be a breakout candidate or two.

Maryland judge rules new congressional map unconstitutional

A Maryland judge ruled Friday that the state’s new congressional map is unconstitutional, preventing the map from taking effect. Judge Lynne Battaglia issued the ruling after a trial last week in which Republican lawmakers contended that Maryland’s congressional map approved by the General Assembly in December violates the constitution by drawing districts that favor Democrats, who control the legislature. “The limitation of the undue extension of power by any branch of government must be exercised to ensure that the will of the people is heard, no matter under which political placard those governing reside. The 2021 Congressional Plan is unconstitutional, and subverts that will of those governed,” Battaglia wrote.

Read More: WBAL NewsRadio
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Gov. Hogan to send dollars, state troopers to help Baltimore Police target violent crime

The state of Maryland plans to send millions to beef up a Baltimore Police Department warrant task force, pay for additional federal prosecutors to focus on gun crime in the city and send state troopers to take over traffic patrols on Interstate 83, Gov. Larry Hogan announced on Thursday. The governor called violent crime in Baltimore “the No. 1 concern of Marylanders” and said the Maryland State Police will also do more to help other Baltimore Police units, freeing city officers to focus on higher-priority violent crime.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
July primary could mean fewer election judges, polling locations

Maryland’s new primary date has local election officials worried that, compared to prior elections, a larger number of county voters may be unable to cast a ballot at the polling place nearest them. Frederick County Elections Director Barbara Wagner is scheduled to present a draft plan to the county Board of Elections on April 6 to determine where voters from each of the county’s precincts will vote this summer.

Judge Accepts Redrawn Baltimore County Council Map With One Majority Black District

A judge has accepted a remedial Baltimore County Council map with one majority Black council district. U.S. District Court Judge Lydia Kay Griggsby said at a status conference Thursday afternoon that the new map drawn by the Baltimore County Council is better than the one she struck down in February because it gives Black voters a chance to elect their candidate of choice.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
C4 and Bryan Nerhman: Maryland Senate President Bill Ferguson discusses gas tax, crime

Maryland Senate President Bill Ferguson on Thursday spoke with C4 and Bryan Nehman on a number of different topics including the 30-day gas tax holiday and crime. The biggest news in Maryland over the last few weeks has been the 30-day suspension of the gas tax signed into legislation by Gov. Larry Hogan. The average price for a gallon of regular unleaded fuel is $3.797, nearly 50 cents less than the national average of $4.236.

Read More: WBAL
Furor Over Multi-Member Districts Returns as Legislative Redistricting Trial Wraps Up

The ability of legislative district mapmakers to use both single- and multi-member delegate districts is enshrined in the Maryland Constitution. But an attorney for petitioners against the state’s new legislative map argued in the Court of Appeals Thursday that their use conflicts with other constitutional provisions. David K. Bowersox, an attorney in a petition brought by Dels. Brenda J. Thiam (R-Washington) and Wayne A. Hartman (R-Wicomico) and Republican voter and Hampstead resident Patricia Shoemaker, argued that Maryland’s use of both single- and multi-member districts conflicts with the Maryland Declaration of Rights’ guarantee that elections be “free” and equal protection under law.

Legislative Redistricting Trial Opens With GOP Expert Decrying Lack of Compactness

The Maryland Constitution requires that legislative districts be compact and respect natural and political boundaries. Whether the state’s recently passed legislative redistricting plan complies with those requirements was a key question when a trial to overturn the new map kicked off Wednesday. All four petitions filed against the map enacted by lawmakers in January argue that some of the new district lines violate Article III, Section 4 of the Maryland Constitution. That provision stipulates that legislative districts “shall consist of adjoining territory, be compact in form, and of substantially equal population” and respect natural and political boundaries.

Judge to Rule Soon on Whether Redrawn Baltimore County Council Map Complies With Voting Rights Act

U.S. District Court Judge Lydia Kay Griggsby said at a Monday hearing that she would try to rule this week as to whether a new Baltimore County council redistricting proposal complies with the federal Voting Rights Act. Attorneys for challengers to the county council’s map — which includes just one majority Black council district and was adopted by the county council after Griggsby blocked their original proposal —  said the new version still doesn’t comply with the Voting Rights Act.

Baker Poll Finds a Four-Way Battle Among Democrats Running for Governor

Four months out from Maryland’s gubernatorial primaries, a poll conducted for Rushern Baker’s campaign shows a four-way battle among Democrats — with Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot holding onto a solid, but not overwhelming, lead. Franchot was the choice of 23% of Democrats surveyed. Baker, a former two-term Prince George’s County executive making his second bid for governor, was the choice of 15%.

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