By the end of the debate between the Democratic candidates for governor, I felt that everything that was expected to happen, happened.
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In November 2012, Vinny DeMarco, leader of the Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative began his push to raise the tobacco tax up by another dollar. That year, taxes on other tobacco products were brought in line with cigarettes which saw a tax hike a year before (keeping up?)
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When the clock strikes 12 midnight on Monday, Governor Martin O’Malley will ride off into the sunset as far as legislative sessions. He will still be Governor through January 2015 but he will mostly govern through the Board of Public Works in regards to everyday business. In the interim, he will help his Lt. Governor, Anthony Brown, campaign for his job.
It’s no secret that O’Malley is possibly exploring a presidential run in 2016. Based on the timeline for the last two cycles, he will likely be starting as soon as he leaves office. However, I have to ask will the governor’s record in Maryland play nationally?
Before he claims the nomination, he has to get through the primary which does not look all too promising based on polling that has him not registering on any level. Black Democrats in particular will want to know why O’Malley, while mayor of Baltimore, embraced zero tolerance as a crime fighting strategy and later suggested a return to those days as a way to combat a spike in crime last summer.
His accomplishments are on par with would be challengers – passing same-sex marriage, pushing for higher taxes in general but on the wealthiest in particular, spending more on school construction and holding the line on tuition at state colleges and universities for a period of time. That will not be enough, however.
O’Malley will need to find a way to stand out and prove that he can beat whichever nominee the Republicans will choose. With the national exposure that he embraced – especially as leader of the Democratic Governors Association – by appearing on the Sunday morning talk circuit and on the cable networks, it feels weird saying that.
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While he remains convicted for misconduct, the Court of Special Appeals has cleared former Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold to run for office while he is on probation.
In January 2013, Leopold – a Republican – was convicted of misconduct in office for requiring his security detail and office staff to do personal and campaign tasks. For that conviction, he served 30 days behind bars, worked 400 hours of community service at a local food bank and paid a $75,000 fine. He is also on probation. Leopold, at the time of sentencing, was barred for running for political office.
The second high court struck down the ‘can’t run for office’ provision Wednesday. State Prosecutor Emmet Davitt told The Baltimore Sun he was happy with the ruling overall and he would NOT appeal the provision being struck down.
Davitt is also part of the cast in the Julius Henson probation violation hearing from February. Henson was convicted of leaving the authority line (that line who tells you who paid for an ad or a flier) out of the robo-call heard around Baltimore City and Prince George’s County telling some Black voters to stay home because everything was o.k. (paraphrased.) A call executed on behalf of the campaign of former Republican Governor Bob Ehrlich’s second attempt to beat current Governor Martin O’Malley.
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