Category Archives: House of Delegates

Delegate Moon Analyzes the Results and Moving Forward

Today I am pleased to present a guest post from Delegate David Moon (D-20). Del. Moon is a leading progressive voice in the House of Delegates and was a savvy campaigner manager and blogger before he took the plunge and entered the House:

GOVERNORS RACE – The big story is obviously that Larry Hogan won a second term as Governor. I like the guy and wish him well, but no offense, I just couldn’t support him when he’s been vetoing things like paid sick days, renewable energy, ex-felon voting rights and marijuana decriminalization. I will give him credit on criminal justice reform, because I think he’s better than some Democrats on that issue, and his administration actively worked with our side to craft the Justice Reinvestment Act (note: Maryland now leads America in its prison population decline).

DOWNBALLOT RACES – Maryland preserved the status quo in its Congressional Delegation yesterday (2 Democratic US Senators, 7 Democratic US House Members, and 1 GOP US House Member). In contrast, the downballot races witnessed some big shifts, and Hogan’s win did not come with coattails in the state’s numerous competitive County Executive races. Democrats already had the top offices in Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Prince George’s, Montgomery, and Frederick. Last night, we held onto all of those offices, despite the purple tone of Baltimore and Frederick counties. More importantly, Democrats defeated the incumbent County Executives in Howard and Anne Arundel. That means we swept the elections in all of the state’s major population centers, and last year we replaced incumbent Republican Mayors in Annapolis and Frederick with Democrats.

HOGAN’S FUTURE – But I’ve had so many questions about how a 2nd Term Larry Hogan would choose to govern. Believe it or not, I’m actually a fan of the idea of Hogan trying to go national in the Republican Party, because he’s far less crazy than the current leaders in the national GOP. The problem is, that Larry Hogan is now term-limited, so he may not have to face Maryland voters again. Additionally, the current national GOP base incentivizes views that would not be considered moderate to the Democratic electorate in Maryland. Consider, for example, John McCain’s Confederate flag pandering in the South Carolina GOP Presidential Primary (he later apologized). Does an ambitious Hogan need to similarly worry about the GOP base and rightwing donors if he wants a future in the national GOP, or will he govern like the “bipartisan” candidate that appeared in Maryland? I suppose we’ll soon find out, and I assume this relates to what Hogan plans to do next. The calculus might be very different if he decides to run for US Senate vs President.

BUT THOSE VETOS – Either way, Hogan’s pesky vetos have always weighed heavy on me. Even knowing he had to face Maryland voters again, First Term Larry Hogan still vetoed popular policies like increasing renewable energy and guaranteeing paid sick days. It was only because of the veto-proof Democratic majorities in the House & Senate that Hogan’s wishes never became policy in Maryland. Imagine the opposition he would’ve faced this election cycle if we didn’t override his vetos, and policies like renewable energy and sick days then failed because of him.

Notably, Hogan was very publicly trying to defeat enough Democratic Senators yesterday to overrule the legislature on the issues I mentioned above (Google Larry Hogan “Drive for Five”). He was so upset about the Democratic veto overrides that he even opposed incumbent GOP Senator Steve Waugh in this year’s Republican Primary, because Waugh sometimes voted to override Hogan’s vetos. Waugh was then defeated in the primary by a Hogan-backed candidate, who we can now assume will tow the GOP party line on veto overrides (is that what moderate bipartisanship looks like?).

Clearly, Hogan cared about the Democratic policies he vetoed (I care too). But it remains troubling to me that these vetos were not a major focus of debate in yesterday’s election. It is not so mysterious though, when you consider how much of our attention has been drawn toward the Trump administration, and how Trump’s unique brand of crazy makes our governor look moderate, even when vetoing modest renewable energy increases. “Moderate” is obviously and inherently a relative concept.

MD HOUSE & SENATE – The good news is that Hogan didn’t succeed in breaking the Democratic supermajorities in the  State House and State Senate. Not even close. In the House of Delegates, not a single Democratic incumbent lost re-election yesterday, so all of our swing district Democrats are coming back. Moreover, we won 6 or 7 State House seats currently held by Republican Delegates, and we only lost 1 seat in the State Senate, where Hogan was targeting his efforts to destroy the Democratic veto-proof majority:

Democrats Gain 6 or 7 State House Seats
D3A (Frederick County) Ken Kerr defeats Bill Folden
D8 (Baltimore County) Harry Bhandari defeats Joe Cluster
D9B (Howard County)  Courtney Watson defeats Bob Flanagan D29B (St Mary’s County)  Brian Crosby defeats Deb Rey
D30A (Anne Arundel County)  Alice Cain wins open seat
D34A (Harford County) Steve Johnson with a 25-vote lead over Glen Glass
D42B (Baltimore County) Michelle Guyton wins open seat

Republicans Net 1 State Senate Seat
D9 (Howard) Democrat Katie Fry Hester defeats Sen. Gail Bates
D38 (Lower Eastern Shore) Republican Mary Beth Carozza defeats Sen. Jim Mathias

D42 (Baltimore Co) Republican Chris West wins open seat

8 FUTURE ISSUE BATTLES IN MARYLAND – It will be very interesting to see how yesterday’s election impacts the politics of the General Assembly. Here are a few issues I’m keeping an eye on:

1) IMMIGRATION – In the last four year term, the State House passed a few bills intended to provide protections to immigrants in Maryland. These bills generally died in the State Senate, perhaps with some concern about the seats Democrats had to defend in conservative territory this year. But House Democrats gained seats, even while passing policies like the “Trust Act,” which were labeled “sanctuary state” bills by the opposition. Hopefully this means immigration gets a fresh look in 2019.

2) MARIJUANA – Likewise marijuana legalization was at a potential fork in the road given Jealous’ support for the reform, and Hogan’s relative silence (but openness to a referendum). For what it’s worth, Michigan voters approved legalization yesterday, while Missouri and Utah of all places, approved medical marijuana.

3) JUDICIAL APPOINTMENTS – There was some discussion during the election about the fact that due to Maryland’s mandatory retirement age for judges, 5 out of 7 members of our state’s highest court would be appointed by our next Governor (Hogan). Notably, during the last term there were serious pushes to increase the retirement age. Perhaps that issue returns once again.

4) TAX CUTS – Given that Hogan ran on cutting taxes (something he hasn’t really delivered on), I assume he’ll try again. We have a temporary budget surplus, but some Democrats will probably want to use it for something else like….

5) SCHOOL FUNDING – The Kirwan Commission recommendations for school funding and innovation will soon be made into policy proposals (eg: Pre-K). These will cost money. What will Hogan do?

6) HIGHWAY WIDENING – This was Hogan’s idea, so if he had lost re-election, these highway widening proposals would’ve been dead. Now they’re not. There will be a fight.

7) MINIMUM WAGE – There’s going to be a “Fight for $15” push in Maryland, and Montgomery County now has a minimum wage indexed to inflation. This debate is unavoidable.

8) REDISTRICTING – Duh.

How does all of this play out with a term-limited Republican Governor serving with an even deeper bench of Democratic lawmakers and County Executives? Hold on to your hats! The next four years are going to be very interesting.

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Your House of Delegates Scorecard

Any House of Delegates district that is crosspressured in the sense of having voted for Clinton in the 2016 presidential and for Hogan in the 2014 gubernatorial made this list. It additionally includes one district that elected a Democratic delegate in 2014 despite leaning Republican in these two contests.

Nevertheless, in many ways, the House of Delegates races are less interesting than the Senate. Republicans correctly perceive their chances of obtaining a veto-sustaining minority as greater in the Senate than the House.

Vulnerable Republican

Del. Robert Flanagan in District 9B is the most vulnerable Republican incumbent in either house of the General Assembly. While Hogan won his district by 16 in 2014, Clinton won it by 19 in 2016. This Howard district is exactly the type that is trending hard towards the Democrats due to its highly educated electorate.

Even worse for Flanagan, his opponent is Courtney Watson. While Watson lost the county executive race to Allen Kittleman in 2014, she is a well-known and experienced candidate. Flanagan will need all the luck he can get to hang on to his seat.

Vulnerable Democrats

While Republican Glen Glass is likely safe in District 34A, any Democrat in Harford County always has to watch their back. Del. Mary Ann Lisanti who also represents 34A is no exception. The district, centered on Havre de Grace, went slightly for Clinton in 2016. The likelihood that Hogan will roll up an even greater margin than the 23 points he won in 2014 is no help to Lisanti. Still, she’s established and voters here clearly are used to splitting tickets.

In east Baltimore County District 8, the Republicans are likely safe and looking to take sole Democrat Del. Eric Bromwell’s seat. But Bromwells have long been a strong candidate in this district and he may be a tad better positioned than Sen. Kathy Klausmeier.

But Johnny Oleszewski’s family also had its own brand in neighboring District 6 before he lost in 2014. Bromwell came in third in 2014. While the best candidate that the Democrats could run, the question remains whether Bromwell can overcome a Hogan margin even more massive than the 36 points from 2014 in a district moving away from the Democrats.

Seeking a second term, Del. Ned Carey already represents Republican territory in District 31A in Anne Arundel. It went for Trump over Clinton by 4 points and for Hogan over Brown by 30 points. I suppose the good news for him is that the Hogan margin was smaller than in Bromwell’s district.

If he won this turf in tough 2014, Carey may be hard to dislodge in a more favorable 2018. Still, Carey won by just 52.6% in 2014, so has only a small cushion. Located just south of Baltimore City, the question is whether a less hellacious political climate can overcome an even larger margin for Hogan.

Likely Democrats (and Vulnerable Republican seat)

In District 30, Speaker Busch is looking to pick up the seat being vacated for his long-time bête noire Herb McMillan. While the Republicans always look to take out Busch, the recent Democratic sweep in Annapolis bodes far better for a Democratic pickup than a surprise defeat of Maryland’s longest serving Speaker.

I doubt Republicans will take out either Del. Michael Jackson in District 27B or pickup any of the three delegate seats in District 32, though Del. Michael Chang is the only incumbent running. Clinton won both districts by at least 12 points. Hogan’s margins will not be high enough to allow Republicans to capitalize on the gov’s success when split-ticket voting is rampant.

Safe Democrats

It seems virtually impossible that the Democrats will lose seats in Districts 3A, 11, ,12 or 42A. Hillary Clinton won all of these districts by more than 17 points. Voters in these districts are happy to split their tickets in the gubernatorial but it won’t be enough to take out the Democratic delegate candidates.

In District 3, Sen. Ron Young is endangered but District 3A excludes the most Republican turf. Dels. Carol Krimm and Karen Young should return to the House.

In District 11, the Republicans are running only one candidate. Incumbents Shelly Hettleman and Dana Stein will be rejoined by Jon Cardin, who ran unsuccessfully for attorney general in 2014.

District 12 contains much territory in Howard with many highly educated voters of the sort that are moving Democratic this year. There is little reason to think that the Republicans will close the substantial gap of several thousand votes from 2014. In any case, their top vote getter from that year is running for Senate. I expect Democratic Dels. Eric Ebersole and Terri Hill to be joined by Jessica Feldmark.

Incumbent Stephen Lafferty did not run for Senate and instead chose to seek reelection in District 42A. While Hogan will carry this district, it is hard to imagine Republicans defeating Lafferty in a district that went for Clinton by 30 points.

Early Voting Stats for These Districts

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House of Delegates Ratings, Part V: The Most Vulnerable Democrat

Continuing our view of the lay of political land in advance of the 2018 state legislative election, 7S turns to vulnerable Democrats in the House of Delegates. We start today with the one sitting Democrat rated as a toss-up.

Delegate Ned Carey is in the unenviable position of holding the most endangered Democratic seat in the House. Located in the Brooklyn Park and Glen Burnie sections of northern Anne Arundel County, District 31A is a single delegate subdistrict that contains the more Democratic territory in very Republican District 31, which should just be renamed Simonaireland. The father holds the Senate seat and his daughter is a delegate from 31B.

Carey represents the only Democratic House district carried by both Larry Hogan and Donald Trump. District 31A went for Hogan by a 30 points in 2014. While Hillary Clinton fared far better, she still fell 4 percent short of defeating Trump.

A former school board member and BWI executive endorsed by the Baltimore Sun, Carey had the advantage of facing an inexperienced Republican challenger, Terry DeGraw in 2014. A poor fundraiser, DeGraw spent little on her campaign. Her three general election campaign finance reports show she spent a total of $13,952.74.

In contrast, Carey spent an impressive $84,613.07 to win the seat by 5.3% over DeGraw. Besides loaning his campaign $10,000, Carey received $47,000 in donations from the House Democratic Slate, as well as another $2000 from Sen. Ben Cardin’s PAC and $2500 from former Gov. Martin O’Malley’s O Say Can You See PAC.

The Republican lean of the district combined with his small victory despite outclassing his opponent in fundraising and experience paint a big target on Carey’s back for 2018. The Republicans will have a real shot if they can find a good candidate and fund them well.

The best evidence that Carey will nevertheless not lose easily is that he won in 2014, despite it being a truly hellacious year for Democrats. In an election when long-term Democratic legislators in similar territory went down, Carey managed to win the seat. No doubt he is hoping for a more favorable climate in 2018.

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House of Delegates Ratings, Part IV: Likely GOP Seats

After a long hiatus, 7S is resuming its rating of legislative races for the 2018 election. Previous posts covered Safe Democratic, Safe Republican, and Lean Republican seats.

All four Likely Republican seats are outside shots for the Democrats. But if the anti-Trump whirlwind hits Maryland in 2018 and sweeps away Republicans, here is where it is likely to strike. Democrats need strong candidates here in order to be prepared to take advantage and to put the Republican on defense.

William Folden

Del. Folden won election in 2014 from District 3B, a singleton subdistrict of fiercely contested Frederick County D3. More Republican than 3A, Hogan carried 3B by 28 points in 2014 and Trump beat Clinton by 6 in 2016.

However, Folden’s 56% victory margin lagged far behind the more popular Hogan. While Hogan will undoubtedly carry this area again, the question remains of by how much. Frederick continues to trend Democratic, which doesn’t help Folden either.

Democrats were demoralized and did badly in the 2014 midterm election but the reverse situation could be Folden’s undoing. One can well imagine a scenario in which Trump continues to perform below expectations, weakening Republican support and turnout in contrast to angry Democrats.

Notice that the same swing needed for Clinton to have won the district in 2016 would also ejected Folden in 2014.

Joe Cluster and Christian Miele

Del. Joe Cluster was appointed in 2016 to fill the seat won by his father, John Cluster. Del. Christian Miele was newly elected to the House in 2014. Miele and John Cluster won that election in Baltimore County’s District 8 with the equivalent of around 58% of the vote.

Unusually, they share their three delegate district with a Democrat, Del. Eric Bromwell, who is also the son of a former legislator. Bromwell trailed his Republican seatmates with the equivalent of just 50.1%–about 5% ahead of the third Republican–in an area of Baltimore County that has been seen as moving Republican.

Bromwell’s shaky hold despite his long experience in the House combined with Hogan’s 36 point victory ought to indicate that the Republicans should be fine. But Trump lost the district by 1% to Hillary Clinton in 2016 and notice that the Republicans significantly underperformed compared to Hogan.

While Hogan is on the ballot, Trump is now President. Instead of riding an anti-Democratic wave, Cluster and Miele will have to contend with anti-Trump sentiment. Candidates in both parties always have to run hard here. Though well positioned, Cluster and Miele will likely have to run harder in 2018, as this is the sort of  territory in which Trump’s unpopularity upset the increasing comfort felt by Republicans.

Glen Glass

Like Cluster and Miele, second-term Harford Del. Glen Glass holds one of the rare multimember districts split between the two parties. In 2014, he won with 57%, ahead of the 53% won by newcomer Democratic Del. Mary Ann Lisanti and the 48% gained by his losing Republican ticket mate.

Harford County has been a growing Republican suburb but Democrats have nonetheless managed to retain a foothold in two-member District 34A. Before Lisanti, Mary Dulany James did well in delegate elections despite losing the senatorial election in larger D34 in 2014.

Like Baltimore County’s D8, D34A went for Hogan in 2014 but then narrowly for Clinton in 2016. But this subdistrict is less strongly Republican. Hogan won by 28 and Clinton won by 2. The anti-Democratic winds blowing in 2014 that undermined Del. James’ senate bid won’t be blowing in 2018.

Glass remains the favorite but, like D8, this is one of those districts that candidates from neither party can take for granted. If voters in Maryland’s outer suburbs turn on Republicans in a backlash against Trump, his reelection fight could be much tougher than anticipated, particularly if the Democrats find a good candidate.

 

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The Most Vulnerable Republicans in the House of Delegates

Today, we take a peek at the two most vulnerable Republicans in the House of Delegates. Parts I and II in this series already outlined the safe Democratic and safe Republican seats.

Robert Flanagan

Robert Flanagan is the most vulnerable Republican in the House of Delegates. Representing District 9B in Howard County, Flanagan beat Democrat Tom Coale with 55% of the vote in 2014. Flanagan ran behind Larry Hogan, who beat Anthony Brown in the gubernatorial race by 16 points.

The district shifted back heavily to the Democrats in 2016 as Hillary Clinton defeated Donald Trump by 19%. If a backlash wave against Trump upsets Republican boats in the General Assembly, this is one of the first places that will be hit, as it holds many of the precise sorts of voters who tend to be ticked off by Trump’s antics.

Flanagan has $18,268 in his campaign kitty according to the report he filed in January. In this wealthy county, he is likely going to want to raise a lot more before the campaign. Howard’s trend toward the Democrats stalled in 2014 but Flanagan still goes into the 2018 elections with a big target on his back.

Herb McMillan

Del. Herb McMillan is one of those politicians who has been on the ballot for many years but always has close, and sometimes losing, races. He won the third slot the House from District 30 in 2002 by just 427 votes over his Democratic opponent. McMillan ran for the Senate in 2006 and lost with 47% against Sen. John Astle.

He must have been happy to win a return ticket to the House of Delegates in 2010. But his vote share, the equivalent of 51% in a single-member district, hardly discouraged challengers. Redistricting placed him in District 30B, a subdistrict that he shares with Democratic Speaker Mike Busch.

Undoubtedly, Busch hoped that the voters would send McMillan home from the redrawn district. However, in the same year that Hogan won the seat by 18%, McMillan surprised and came in ahead of Busch with the equivalent of 56% of the vote.

Despite coming off of his best race ever, McMillan remains at risk. Like Flanagan, McMillan represents a seat that Hillary Clinton won convincingly. Though Anne Arundel County split nearly evenly, Clinton won this portion by 15 points.

McMillan is more prepared than Flanagan with a $66,817 in his campaign treasury–good evidence that he is ready to run a tough race for this or the Senate. Even if Hogan does well, there will be no anti-Democratic backlash to aid McMillan this time as a highly controversial Republican sits in the White House.

Either way, Democrats will want to recruit strong candidates here and in Flanagan’s district to bring the fight to them in the hopes of padding their majorities or offsetting losses elsewhere.

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2018 Maryland House of Delegates Ratings, Part I

While we await the Governor’s State of the State Address, 7S announces its first ratings for the 2018 elections to the Maryland House of Delegates. The House has 141 members–three times as many as the Senate. (See Senate Ratings Part I and Part II for ratings for the other body.)

Due to the much greater number of delegates, I focus only on safe Democratic seats today. Turns out that’s a majority of them.

Districts and Method of Election

All legislative districts elect three delegates and one senator. In most, the three delegates run at-large but others are divided into two (A and B) or three (A, B and C) subdistricts for delegate elections. Some, such as D37 on the Eastern Shore, are split in two to comply with protections for minority representation under the Voting Rights.

In other cases, districts are split to provide small counties the chance to elect one delegate. The division of D1 into three parts enables Garrett to elect a delegate and for Allegany to have one subdistrict entirely within its borders.

Political Geography

Each of the two major parties dominates large swaths of the State, resulting in a large number of safe districts. Let’s start with the Democrats, who by my estimation start of with 74 safe seats–three more than required for a majority.

All of these districts were won by Anthony Brown in 2014 and Hillary Clinton in 2016. Democrats have no worries about any seats in Baltimore City (Districts 40-41, 43, 44A, 45-6), Charles (28), Montgomery (14-20, 39), and Prince George’s (21-6, 27A, 47). These four jurisdictions alone get the Democrats to 65 seats.

Democrats are also sure to carry D37A, the sole African-American majority district on the Eastern Shore. For similar reasons, Democrats are a lock in D10 and D44B in Baltimore County. Along with D13, a liberal swath of Howard Country, that gives the them another six seats to get them up to 74.

Note that many of the current occupants of these may run for other offices or retire. In Montgomery, Dels. Luedtke, Platt, Carr, Waldstreicher, Kramer and Barkley may run for county office. Dels. Frick and Kelly have also expressed interest in running for other offices should the opportunity arise. There is also speculation that Dels. Gutierrez and Hixson may retire.

As in the Senate, the question is not whether Democrats will win a majority but if they can retain their ability to override vetoes should Governor Hogan win reelection.

Part II will look at safe Republican seats..

 

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More Evidence Trump Tactics at Heart of Maryland GOP as Vogt Fires Fraudster Aide

As 7S reported previously, Trumpian tactics of flat out lies followed by more flat out lies are evident at the heart of the Maryland Republican Party. More scandal related to this approach to politics emerged yesterday:

A legislative aide to a Frederick County lawmaker was fired after he was revealed Wednesday in a New York Times article to be the mastermind behind a fake political news website.

Cameron Harris, an aide to Delegate David E. Vogt III, R-District 4, previously ran the website ChristianTimesNewspaper.com, according to the Times.

The website published fabricated articles about things like thousands of ballots pre-marked to vote for Hillary Clinton in an Ohio warehouse, complete with photos stolen from other sources.

I guess the ChristianTimesNewspaper lied about the character of a woman and voter fraud in Jesus’s name. Harris also worked for Change Annapolis, an organization aligned with Gov. Hogan’s Change Maryland.

Del. Vogt’s initial reaction to the scandal’s revelation seems appropriate at first glance. He fired Harris and declared that he could not support such “dishonesty.” How we handle mistakes says much about our leaders and this was a good response.

At the same time, Harris’s statement that he did most of his work at a local Starbucks and Vogt did not know stretches credulity. Harris was not only Vogt’s chief aide, he lived in Vogt’s home until November 2016. While Harris managed Vogt’s failed congressional campaign, he created another defunct trickster website called delaneyforgovernor2018.com.

Harris issued a classic non-apology apology. This man who willfully misled people under the guise of religiosity wrote:

I apologize to those disappointed by my actions, and my wish is that I will be allowed to contribute my informed experience to a larger dialogue about how Americans approach the media, tough issues, and the manner in which we, collectively, will inform our decisions going forward.

Rather than taking real responsibility and saying it was wrong, Harris shifts the problem to “those disappointed.” If he really wants to “contribute,” he could start by owning his mistake and acknowledging that he is the problem, not the solution.

Such a statement makes it even harder to accept the claim by Harris, a serial liar, that Vogt knew nothing about Harris’s activities. It means that Vogt had no inkling that someone who he saw at work and lived in his house was undertaking dishonest activity that resembles that done on behalf of his own campaign and is a central thread of his character and work.

For now, I’ll give this ex-marine the benefit of the doubt. It doesn’t look ideal–and appearances matter in politics–but that’s not the same as it happened. And Vogt’s response, at least once the information went public, was the right one.

Just don’t ask me to give much credence to Vogt’s claims in future on national security or other issues. Not only did Del. Vogt support Trump, a man who seems ready to align our foreign policy with the authoritarian leader of a declining mid-rate power opposed to the U.S., but he failed in assessing character–or the total lack of it–in his own office.

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New House of Delegates Leadership

After many years of leadership, and ruling her committee with an iron hand, Del. Sheila Hixson has stepped down as Chair of the Ways and Committee. Del. Anne Kaiser (D-14, Montgomery) is the new chair, and Del. Bill Frick (D-16, Montgomery) replaces Kaiser as the new majority leader.

All are excellent decisions. It’s gracious of Del. Hixson, after her lengthy and effective leadership as chair, to step down at this time and allow new leadership to emerge in a chamber that has seen mostly the same people at the helm for many years.

Del. Kaiser is an obvious choice to grow into her shoes. She has steadily moved up the leadership rungs in the House, and with good reason. The incoming chair combines smarts with savvy strategy with the latter being even more important than the former in an inherently political process. She also knows how to be a team player to get work done in a large legislative body.

Similarly, Del. Frick is a fine selection as majority leader. Another of the bright lights in the Montgomery delegation, Frick has pushed for new ideas, such as liquor decontrol, that are needed to move the County and the State forward. This appointment suggests that Frick is back on track after his abortive run for attorney general.

Finally, all of this reflects well on Speaker Busch. It’s not easy to facilitate transitions of this sort, especially when the outgoing chair is long-time trusted member of your leadership team. Kudos to the Speaker for these good decisions. Now, if he would just replace Judiciary Chair Joe Vallario, who has stood in the way of progress on too many issues, the House would really feel a fresh breeze.

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House Overrides Governor on Marriott/Hotel Accommodations

The Maryland House joined the Senate by promptly voting to override the Governor’s veto of Rich Madaleno’s bill that requires the same tax rate levied on hotel rooms sold by third-party hotel bookers as by the hotels themselves. This bill is a major step toward keeping Marriott in Maryland and Montgomery County.

As explained in previous posts, Hogan vetoed the bill out of fear of looking like he was supporting a tax increase. Bizarrely, this meant that the Governor favored forcing business located in Maryland who bring business and employment to the State to pay more taxes than out-of-state hotel bookers. The latter pocketed the savings and did not pass it on to consumers.

Here is the roll-call vote. All Democrats voted to override except Del. Eric Bromwell (D-Baltimore County) and Del. Ned Carey (D-Anne Arundel).

Marriott House

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Override Wednesday

felonvotingrightsRoll-Call Board. Photo by Del. Maricé Morales

Restoration of Ex-Felon Voting Rights

Earlier today, the House of Delegates overrode Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto of Cory McCray’s bill to restore ex-felon voting rights by a vote of 85 to 56–the exact number of votes needed to achieve the 60% needed to override a gubernatorial veto.

Based on my quick scan of the board, six Democrats voted with the Governor: Del. Eric Bromwell (D-8, Baltimore County), Del. Ned Carey (D-31A, Anne Arundel), Del. Mark Chang (D-32, Anne Arundel), Del. Ted Sophocleus (D-32, Anne Arundel), Del. Mary Ann Lisanti (D-34A, Harford), and Del. C.T. Wilson (D-28, Charles). Wilson was the only member of the Legislative Black Caucus to oppose overriding the Governor’s veto.

One Republican, Del. Glen Glass (R-34A, Harford), voted with the Democrats.

Anne Arundel Capital Spending

The House also comfortably overrode the Governor’s petty veto of capital spending supported by Speaker Michael Busch for the Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts in Anne Arundel County by 92-49. Here is the Baltimore Sun‘s report on how the members of the Anne Arundel delegation voted:

House Speaker Mike Busch and Dels. Pam Beidle, Ben Barnes, Herb McMillan, Ned Carey, Barbara Frush and Joseline Pena-Melnyk voted in favor of the override.

Dels. Nic Kipke, Tony McConkey, Ted Sophocleus, Seth Howard, Meagan Simonaire, Mark Chang, Sid Saab and Michael Malone voted against.

Republican Del. Herb McMillan (R-30A), who represents the same district as Speaker Busch, supported the override. Democratic Dels. Mark Chang (D-32) and Ted Sophocleus (D-32) voted to uphold the Governor’s veto.

UPDATE: I am told that Dels. Chang and Sophocleus changed their votes verbally after the recorded vote on this bill. As a result, no Anne Arundel Democrats voted against the Speaker in the final official vote count.

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