Reporters Notebook: New Yorkers make their mark on Maryland politics
The Big Apple seems intent on sowing its seeds in the Free State.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg endorsed Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) Thursday, while Bob Ehrlich wrapped up former Gotham leader Rudy Giuliani's seal of approval the day before.
But why should New York stop there?
Giuliani's predecessor as New York mayor, David Dinkins, served as a state delegate during the 2008 New York presidential primary pledged to Hillary Clinton, who along with former President Bill Clinton, is close with O'Malley. So mark Dinkins down as a probable O'Malley supporter.
The cantankerous Ed Koch, Dinkins' predecessor as the Big Apple's boss throughout the 1980s, on the other hand, was a Democrat in office but has backed Republicans for office. Let's give in to his iconoclastic side and say he would support Ehrlich.
Then there's former New York State guv Mario Cuomo. While a dyed-in-the-donkey-fur Democrat, Cuomo played outfield in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, while Ehrlich was a linebacker for the Princeton Tigers. Jocks united, anyone?
As the first Roman Catholic to run for president as a major party nominee in 1928, former New York guv Al Smith very likely would side with co-religionist O'Malley.
For obvious reasons, we feel confident Ed O'Malley, former commissioner of public markets in the Big Apple, would go for the incumbent. (Ed O'Malley, by the way, was the father of Walter O'Malley, the Brooklyn Dodgers owner who moved them to Los Angeles after the 1957 season perhaps because Baltimore already had a baseball team.)
We're still undecided, however, on whether O'Malley or Ehrlich would get the coveted Boss Tweed endorsement.
Prehistoric sidekick takes up term limits for candidate
As if Maryland drivers aren't distracted enough by illegally texting and talking on their mobile phones, motorists in Howard County have something else to take their attention off the road a 9 ½-foot dinosaur.
An inflatable T-Rex, to be exact, is popping up on sidewalks in HoCo asking voters to support House of Delegates candidate Ed Priola and his term-limit campaign.
His prehistoric political partner is intended to represent the "dinosaurs that run the halls in Annapolis."
"We needed to capture motorists' attention," he said. "It brings a smile to people's faces."
Priola, a Republican running in District 13, wants to implement a two-term maximum for members of the General Assembly.
A smaller version (about average human height) of the dinosaur first hit the campaign trail in 1994 when Priola made an unsuccessful run for the House while living in Anne Arundel County.
Although we're slightly surprised regulation-happy Howard County doesn't have a zoning ordinance against tall dinosaurs on street corners, we do wonder if they will enact an "If the dino roars, go indoors," campaign.
Leggett talks weather, a run for VP
Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) says his name won't be on the ballot for vice president anytime soon.
While the county has a budget and population larger than the state of Alaska where the GOP's last VP candidate hails from he doesn't meet the most important prerequisite for the position, Leggett said Thursday during a meeting with business leaders.
"I say to people that I could not run for vice president, not because of qualification but because from where I live in Burtonsville, I cannot see Russia," he said.
During that same meeting, Leggett quipped that weather in the county had become unpredictable. Leggett said Montgomery had faced blizzards, extreme heat and even an earthquake this year.
"If I received a call and someone said to me that we've just been invaded by locusts of biblical proportions, I would believe it," Leggett said. "I would only ask, Where did they land first?' But I would not doubt that it had happened."
'Staches of the Senate
In honor of the American Mustache Institute's appeal for nominations for the 2010 Robert Goulet Memorial Mustached American of the Year, TBD.com last week came up with the top 10 mustached members of the House of Delegates.
There's plenty of candidates to choose from Baltimore city and Prince George's County each had three reps make the online news site's list. (Brian McHale, Frank Conaway and Curt Anderson represent Charm City, while Doyle Niemann, Joe Vallario and Marvin Holmes make up the PG contingent.)
But the mustached members of the Senate didn't get the same review of facial hair from TBD. The No. 1 slot almost certainly would go to Brian Frosh. The mustache caucus will lose some of its veteran members next year, with Lowell Stoltzfus' retirement and the electoral defeats of David Harrington, Nat Exum and George Della. Additionally, Jim Robey and E.J. Pipkin shaved their once-impressive 'staches in recent years.
Candidates, beware. Mustaches might lead to misfortune on Election Day.
Bob Ehrlich kicked off his visit to St. Mary's County on Sept. 24 by fielding questions from a class of inquisitive political science students at St. Mary's College.
The former guv talked about his various campaigns, potential gubernatorial plans, the state GOP and negative ads.
And here's a first also perhaps a last: Ehrlich turned down the chance to take free shots at Martin O'Malley.
Several times during the Q&A, Ehrlich's sense of humor was evident.
Before one student could finish his question about the Democratic-led General Assembly possibly drawing the next redistricting map, a smiling Ehrlich interjected.
"Ain't happening!" he declared as an aware classroom giggled. "Stop asking the question."
RLE then began a hypothetical reapportionment scenario with the supposition, "Let's say I'm governor. I like the premise here ..."
Another student from Calvert County asked about the potential economic impact a third reactor at the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant in Lusby could have locally, and again Ehrlich cut the query short.
"Really good!" he blurted out, unable to contain his excitement.
Ehrlich also ribbed professor Susan Grogan for giving a poor grade to a young staffer who is a 2004 St. Mary's alum. The staffer, special projects director Doug Mayer, assured everyone the subpar mark was well-deserved.
A guest lecturer at Towson University for the past 18 years, Ehrlich seemed right at home in the classroom.
"I think I'm probably a frustrated professor in my past life," he cracked.