I was recently discussing the prospective Gubernatorial 2014 race with a friend, who described the Dem primary as being "all about second place." Presuming all of the predicted players throw in their hats, we will have the "back to your corners" stratification of the Maryland Dems that occurs whenever there is not a candidate of unification. Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown and Ken Ulman will find support from Mid-Maryland North. AG Doug Gansler and Comptroller Peter Franchot both came up in Democratic circles of the DC suburbs. As such, the winner of the primary will be whomever can grab the most votes in their "home base" and get second place in as many other counties as possible.
This analysis tends to put Franchot in a very good position to win, even without getting Montgomery County, where it is presumed that Gansler has more name recognition as the former State's Attorney. With a focus on fiscal issues, Franchot could come in second amongst most of the DC Suburb counties (including Howard) and then sweep first place for all of the red counties, including the Eastern Shore. Brown takes Baltimore, Baltimore County, and Anne Arundel, but the second place spot in those jurisdictions will probably determine who wins the nomination between Gansler and Franchot. (Personally, I have not had very good experiences with Doug Gansler and am not so certain the campaign doesn't implode long before November 2014).
Obviously, each campaign has its own "Narrative to Victory", but this one seems to make sense, and tends to incorporate avenues to victory for most of the candidates. The description above is part of the reason why so many pundits say that there are no trains to the State House from Ellicott City, but I would be interested in hearing why that may be wrong.
The Sun does a retrospective on Gregg Bernstein's first year as Baltimore City State's Attorney. Statistically, it seems impossible to say that Bernstein is not an improvement, although the Sun tries its best to do so. It seems like the only avenue in which he failed was promising more than he could deliver. Nonetheless, kudos are appropriate and duly relinquished from this lowly blogger.
Maryland is on track to complete the reforms required under its $250 million Race to the Top grant. I'm not a numbers guy, but I certainly would like to see an analysis of what money this grant displaced and allowed the State/counties to spend on other matters. It seems purposeless to fulfill sometimes onerous grant requirements when the money does not put the State in a better financial position than it would be otherwise. We're hearing the same notes about why additional revenue is necessary, but it would seem that grants of this magnitude would come into play somewhere.
City Councilman Carl Stokes has a populist bomb strapped to his chest and is ready to use it. He is fighting for an initiative that would put a 50% property tax cut on the ballot for referendum, which Mayor SRB has rightfully noted to be disastrous for City finances. Sometimes I think about how a security guard at a federal building needs to go through 50 pages of security clearance material to get their employment and elected officials are merely a ballot away from the bank.
Expect to start seeing purple lights around town as the County looks to support the Ravens' playoff run. I expect Redskins fans to be collecting signatures at your local Giant to put turn the County back to a neutral shade of gray.
Featured Blog Post of the Day: Goes back to WB for going to two political fundraisers in one day. After his "outing" of Courtney Watson in October, I doubt any politicos are saying "with no reporters in the room..." "Report cards" are due January 18, at which time we'll see which of our local leaders has raised the most dough. I think we can expect some surprises and maybe even a dark horse County Executive candidate.
That's all for today. Rather than a silly Facebook quiz, I think your ability to avoid this monster flu that's going around is the best predictive for your ability to survive the zombie apocalypse. Yes, I know that knocks out everyone with a child under 10, but...the little ones slow you down and don't have good aim.
Have a great Tuesday doing what you love!