State Roundup: As Mail-In Primary Ballots Come In, Some Elections Boards To Begin Count; Trone-Alsobrooks Debate Shows Little Policy Difference

SOME JURISDICTIONS TO BEGIN PROCESSING MAIL-IN PRIMARY BALLOTS: Mail-in ballots are starting to roll in across the Baltimore region as Maryland’s May 14 primary election draws near, with some jurisdictions preparing to process ballots as soon as today. According to the Maryland State Board of Elections, approximately 558,000 ballots have been sent to voters statewide for a primary with two presumptive presidential nominees at the top. In turn, voters have sent in 17% of those ballots to local election offices with their choices. Hannah Gaskill/The Baltimore Sun.

ALSOBROOKS, TRONE DEBATE TURNS UP LITTLE POLICY DIFFERENCE: As with several joint appearances since last fall, Friday night’s debate between Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks and U.S. Rep. David Trone of Potomac yielded a dearth of differences over policy issues in their race for the Democratic nomination to succeed retiring U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Baltimore). But that didn’t pre-empt the two from again clashing on matters ranging from their resumes to how they are financing their campaigns—along with who is better positioned to defeat the likely Republican nominee, former Gov. Larry Hogan, this fall. Louis Peck/MoCo 360.

  • In the only televised forum in Maryland’s U.S. Senate campaign, Alsobrooks presented herself as a candidate comfortable with her standing and not needing to play catch-up in the weeks remaining before the May 14 primary. Independent polls indicate otherwise, but Alsobrooks says she and Trone are locked in “a statistical tie” in the Democratic nominating contest. Jeff Barker/The Baltimore Sun.
  • Pointing to polls, Trone declared he is the clear Democratic candidate to take on Hogan, a popular former governor. Trone, a U.S. House member representing Western Maryland, pointing to areas in the state where he could have an edge, such as the Eastern Shore. Hannah Gaskill/The Baltimore Sun.
  • Following the debate, Trone swiftly declared victory in a news release. Alsobrooks hailed her “standout performance.” Each claimed momentum heading into the next phase of the contest. Lateshia Beachum/The Washington Post.

ENDORSEMENT GAME INTENSIFIES IN SENATE RACE: Two powerful Black women officeholders from Prince George’s County are backing U.S. Rep. David Trone (D-6th) over their own county executive, Angela Alsobrooks (D), for the U.S. Senate, as is state Sen. Cheryl Kagan. But Alsobrooks has been endorsed by The Washington Post editorial board, which could help move undecided voters, particularly in the state’s largest jurisdiction, Montgomery County. And EMILY’s List, a prominent Democratic fundraising group that is backing Alsobrooks, issued a denunciation of Trone. Josh Kurtz/Maryland Matters.

BPW TO VOTE ON $2.9M IN WRONGFUL CONVICTION: The Maryland Board of Public Works will vote on whether to award $2.9 million in compensation to a Baltimore man who served 31 years in prison before he was exonerated. Gary Washington, 63, was convicted of first-degree murder and use of a handgun in a crime of violence in the 1986 fatal shooting of Faheem Ali and sentenced to life in prison. A judge vacated the convictions in 2018 and the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office dismissed the charges against him in early 2019. Cassidy Jensen/The Baltimore Sun.

OPINION: 1 MILLION VOTERS GET NO SAY IN MOST ELECTIONS: GOP leaders report that the Moore administration actually listens to what they have to say — although they don’t necessarily get their way. Bipartisanship is certainly better than partisan gridlock. But what about the nearly 1 million of us Maryland voters — 994,529 to be precise — who are not registered with either major party and have no say in the duopoly that controls our elections? Len Lazarick of Business Monthly.

HARRIS VOTES AGAINST UKRAINE AID ET AL; RASKIN VOTES AGAINST ISRAEL AID: Military and humanitarian aid could be on its way to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan within weeks after the U.S. House took a series of overwhelmingly bipartisan votes Saturday to approve $95 billion in emergency assistance. Rep. Andy Harris, the lone Republican in the Maryland congressional delegation, voted against all four measures. U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin was the only Democrat in the Maryland delegation who voted against the Israel aid package, but joined with his fellow Free State Democrats in voting for all the rest. Jennifer Shutt/Maryland Matters.

MD STARBUCKS WORKERS VOTE TO UNIONIZE: Workers at the Shipley’s Grant Starbucks cafe in Ellicott City voted to unionize last week, just days ahead of a Supreme Court case involving the company’s challenge of a federal labor injunctionMathew J. Schumer of Capital News Service/

***PART-TIME EDITOR NEEDED: Would you like to help Maryland Reporter put together its daily roundup of news? We need an editor Friday mornings, typically working 6-8 a.m. to compile the roundup for our website and the newsletter. Work in your pajamas. This is ideal for a retired journalist or freelancer. If interested, contact Len Lazarick, and attach a resume. If you’re reading this newsletter, you have a good idea what we do. You obviously need to know something about Maryland media, government and politics. You’ll know a lot more once you start doing it.***

CARROLL NONPROFITS SEEK CANNABIS TAX REVENUE: Nonprofit organizations in Carroll County are advocating for a new county ordinance stipulating how they will use the tax revenue from the sale of adult-use cannabis in Maryland. The Board of Carroll County Commissioners heard from agencies at a public hearing Thursday describing how the tax revenue collected from the Maryland’s Community Reinvestment Repair Fund, could be a financial benefit. Sherry Greenfield/The Carroll County Times.

B’MORE ELECTIONS BOARD UNDER ACTING DIRECTOR: The Baltimore Board of Elections is under the control of an acting director for the May 14 primary while longtime director Armstead Jones is on medical leave. Abigail Goldman has been named acting director on a temporary basis. Emily Opilo/The Baltimore Sun.

THURMONT COMMISSIONER, A SCHOOL BUS DRIVER, CHARGED IN SEX ABUSE: A Frederick County Public Schools bus driver was arrested and charged with sex abuse of a minor on April 19, according to the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office. Robert Lookingbill, 71, of Thurmont, is also a town commissioner in Thurmont. Cody Boteler/The Baltimore Banner.

ARUNDEL EXPANDS AUTHORITY OF HUMAN RELATIONS COMMISSION: Anne Arundel County has expanded the powers of its Human Relations Commission to further address discrimination at the county level, which could expedite the process of getting complaints heard. Royale Bonds/The Baltimore Banner.

ARUNDEL MAN SENTENCED TO 5+ YEARS IN JAN. 6 ATTACK: A far-right extremist group leader from Anne Arundel County was sentenced on Friday to more than five years in prison for repeatedly assaulting police officers with makeshift weapons during a mob’s attack on the U.S. Capitol over three years ago. The Associated Press/The Baltimore Banner.

BUYBACK EVENT YIELDS MORE THAN 100 WORKING FIREARMS: On Saturday, more than 100 working firearms were turned in during a gun buyback event in Montgomery County in which firearms were traded for grocery gift cards. The event was sponsored by the Interfaith Gun Violence Prevention Network, the Montgomery County’s Sheriff’s Office and the State’s Attorney’s office. Ana Golden/WTOP-FM.