Peter Writes Back To Mike

Got a copy of a letter from Comptroller Peter Franchot today, responding to yesterday’s love note from Senate President Mike Miller.

The tone is intermittently pleasant, nasty, hectoring, and threatening. As before, here’s a series of photos of the whole thing.

My only editorial comment is that after two letters from Franchot and one from Miller, it’s kind of hilariously amusing to read that NOW he “call[s] for an end to this cycle of public correspondence.” What would the rest of us do for entertainment? Not to mention blog traffic.

Anyway, here you go.



EXCLUSIVE: Senator Miller Writes A Letter

Maryland Scramble has been provided with a copy of a blistering letter from Senate President Mike Miller to Comptroller Peter Franchot. And what a letter it is. If ever a letter could leave burn marks on its way to the recipient, this is that letter. 

Miller’s letter is a response to Franchot’s letter to Miller and House Speaker Mike Busch dated December 11, which I found here. The letter, and the first few paragraphs of Miller’s response, is about Franchot’s ongoing battle with Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz over air conditioning in some Baltimore County schools (subtext: word is that both Franchot and Kamenetz are eyeing the 2018 gubernatorial primary with enormous interest).

After a brief response to Franchot on the air conditioning issue, Miller’s letter then turns vastly more hostile (the vitriol between Miller and Franchot is nothing new) and of course entertaining for those of us who are not the target of the Senate President’s wrath. Excerpts don’t do justice to it - it’s like a music album that has to be heard in its entirety to be fully appreciated. Here’s the rest of the letter:

Pass the popcorn, please. The 2016 legislative session is gonna be fun with a capital F. And don’t even get me started on 2018.

BREAKING/EXCLUSIVE: Delaney Endorsements

The Tuesday morning double dose thunderstorm has landed and it’s hitting hard. Tornadoes are possible. Get the kids into the storm cellar. This one’s a biggie:

Multiple sources confirm to Maryland Scramble that Congressman John Delaney will be making endorsements in the four marquee MD races: US Senate, CD4, CD8 and the Baltimore mayoral contest. His endorsements, expected to be announced shortly, will be as follows:

MD Senate: Donna Edwards

CD4: Anthony Brown

CD8: Kathleeen Matthews

Baltimore: Sheila Dixon

In return for the endorsements, which will be backed by financial support (I am unable to determine the extent or nature of the support at this juncture), each candidate has agreed to back Delaney in his 2018 bid for governor, which has been widely anticipated since, well, forever. Or at least 2012, anyway.

This story is still developing. Stay tuned.

Cardin On Trade

Question: why hasn’t Senator Ben Cardin’s support for trade (both fast track authority and the bill itself) come under more scrutiny in Maryland? He has consistently sided with proponents of the deal, offering amendments and voting for the bill in the Senate Finance Committee, and speaking out about his “scars” from the President’s lobbying efforts. Strangely, despite all his votes for the bill, he voted against cloture - allegedly because he was unhappy about amendments not included as part of the bill - but then proceeded to vote for the bill moments later. That’s the opposite of the usual wishy-washy Senate approach, which is to vote for cloture - the crucial vote - and then against the bill, when it no longer matters much. With the fast track bill on its way back to the Senate, pay close attention to Cardin’s words and actions. They may be critical to the ultimate success - or more hopefully, failure - of the President’s trade agenda in the coming days and weeks.

I have to believe that state labor organizations and advocates are paying attention. While Cardin isn’t on the ballot until 2018, he will be 75 years old that year, and will have been in elected office for 52 years, since his election to the House of Delegates at age 23. Still very popular, there has long been speculation - way way before I started this perpetual rumor mill - that Cardin might not run for a third term. He’s not exactly endearing himself to labor recently, a key constituency in any Maryland statewide race. And he has a relatively paltry amount of cash on hand for an incumbent senator (approximately $690,000), which should only increase the speculation.

I know, just what we need - we’re still gearing up 2016, and here I am throwing gasoline on the fire for 2018. But hey, I live to serve. My Father’s Day public service announcement.

NOTE: I’m traveling today so I didn’t have the time to put the links in for this article - rest assured that I found and reviewed them. But if you have any questions about the particular votes or other data I’ve cited, I will put up a revised version in the next several days, and in the meantime feel free to ask me for any particular cites.

Off And Running - For 2018

While we political nerds continue to obsess over the tea leaves of the 2016 campaign, one candidate this week decided to get a jump on his candidacy - for State Senate in District 30, a long-coveted pickup opportunity for Republicans on House Speaker Mike Busch’s home turf. Incumbent John Astle has narrowly won several recent races, including the last two with 51 percent.

 From the Baltimore Sun:

Ron George, a former Anne Arundel County delegate who left the General Assembly to run for governor last year, said Monday that he will run for the state Senate in 2018.

George, a Republican who lost to Larry Hogan in the primary, will seek the District 30 seat held by Democratic Sen. John C. Astle, who has survived several close elections during his 32 years in the legislature.

After serving two terms in the House of Delegates from District  30, George was drawn into another district before deciding to run for governor. He said in his announcement that he is moving back to the district to be closer to his business, a well-known jewelry store on Main Street in Annapolis.

George said his early start — coming three years before the election — should give him an advantage in fund-raising.

“I know the district and its citizens well, but I want to knock on every door and hear from each person,” he said in a news release.

He may want to knock on every door, but how much utility will a contact have three years before the election?

Not to mention, there’s at least one more Republican candidate who might have something to say about who the nominee is in D30.

McMillan expressed surprise at George’s early start

“The last election was less than a year ago. The more I think about it the more I chuckle,” he said. “I think the voters are intelligent enough to realize there are more candidates who will come forward.”

McMillan said that for now he will concentrate on his role as delegate.

“I’m going to focus on doing a good job and the decision on what to do next will take care of itself,” McMillan said.

This is going to be a very competitive race, perhaps more so than any other in the state. But I have to question  aformal entry into any state senate race three and a half years before the general election. Nobody cares right now, and even if they do, there’s a whole election cycle between now and then still to play out. But if nothing else, the GOP has served fair warning that it intends to fight for District 30, to fight hard, and to fight early.