Friday, January 18, 2013

Ken Ulman: "The Only Ravens Fan" (Friday LINKS)

Only one of the 2014 Gubernatorial candidates is wearing purple today; and that's Ken Ulman.  In an interview with Arthur Hirsch at The Baltimore Sun, Ken told him ""I joke with people, I'm the only Ravens fan running."  More important than sports allegiances or perspectives on whether or not Joe Flacco is an elite quarterback (most stupid conversation ever), this is about being "Baltimore's Candidate."

Maryland political commentators have been keying on this for some time.  While Comptroller Peter Franchot was still in the race, most saw his strategic plan as focusing on making the Takoma Park native a household name in Baltimore County.  When Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake was seen breaking it down at Ken's Biz Markie fundraiser last Spring, people wondered whether Ulman was making inroads with someone who many see as the king-maker for the Baltimore City vote.

But this is more than just window dressing.  Ken is also raising money from the Baltimore market.  His January 2013 fundraising rolls show that while $448,412 (42.26%) of his money came from Howard County, over a quarter came from Baltimore City and Baltimore County.  Ken raised $217,740 (20.52%) from Baltimore County donors and $61,551 (5.8%) from Baltimore City.

Many have already dismissed Ken's surprising pace-keeping as money from those who want to be friends with "the guy who decides what gets done in the wealthiest county", which is a cogent argument, but every check cut outside of Howard is a vote of confidence.  Ken has received donations from every single County 21 of 24 counties in the State.

Every day Ken proves his critics wrong is a day his name recognition problem dwindles.  Is it ultimately surmountable when running against high profile statewide candidates?  Seems tough.

But so were the Broncos.


In that same article, Arthur takes a look at how the County Executive race is shaping up, with quotes from Dennis Lane and myself.  Unlike other local journalists, Arthur was not afraid to use the names of our blogs in his piece, which should be the new normal after years of "local blogger" nonsense.

Against my better judgment, I watched Lance Armstrong's interview with Oprah last night.  Whomever serves as Lance's PR person should be fired.  He was horrible and I'm pretty sure he lied again, including his incredulous statement that he didn't think the fact that he used PED's was a "big deal".  I have no reason to be mad at a stranger who never did anything to me, but I am.  He probably shouldn't even be famous.

Friends in Annapolis - be careful.  I would imagine that any contributions (or promises of contributions) you receive from the NRA could be poison pills for later elections.  Imagine the scene where there is some sort of shooting in Maryland (other than the daily ones in Baltimore that people ignore) and the press opens up your campaign account to see substantial contributions from anti-gun control groups.  Fair or not, it won't look good.

Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold has elected to waive his right to a jury trial and have his fate decided by a fact-finder judge.  This is his right, but in a matter of public corruption, you would like to see things decided by a jury. Even more disappointing is that Leopold had originally confirmed his interest in a jury trial, wasting thousands of dollars in preliminary jury selection, jury questionnaires, and $15 a head payments to prospective jurors for a day off work.  Of local interest is the fact that Howard County's own Judge Dennis Sweeney, corruption jurisprudence extraordinaire, will be deciding the case.

Featured Blog Post of the Day: WB looks at the "gentrification" of Route 1, lamenting the loss of...character once displayed along that strip.  Hey County Council - any thoughts to making a taco truck plaza?  It should would save some of us a bit of driving time.

That's all for today.  Thanks for reading and commenting yesterday.  I'm told that at least one person contacted the Columbia Foundation to set up a fund yesterday, so my "self important gas-bag" equation worked out in my favor.

Have a great Friday doing what you love!

Ravens: 31
Patriots: 28
Bonus Prediction: Jacoby Jones returns a kick for a TD.