Welcome to the first installment of a new Dagger feature, where we chronicle some of the happenings surrounding Harford’s upcoming November 2010 election.
We’ll be tracking news stories, campaign events, election issues, election controversies, and a dash of heard-on-the-street rumor. We’ll be working to report and confirm as much news as possible ourselves, but we won’t be afraid to pull from the occasional outside source if they’ve got a good item.
The season is just getting underway and the hopefuls are only now coming to light, so the news is pretty sparse at the moment.
—Sen. Barbara Mikulski and Rep. Frank Kratovil were in Harford today (Thursday) to announce $750,000 in federal funds for Harford’s public safety communications technology infrastructure enhancement project. The announcement was made at Harford County’s Emergency Operations Center alongside County Executive David Craig and EOC staff.
The cash will go toward upgrading the communications system used by Harford first responders and will enable them to share videos, images and data. The funds were sponsored by Mikulski and Kratovil in their respective chambers’ version of the 2010 Commerce, Justice and Science appropriations bill. (press release)
—State Sen. Andy Harris made headlines this week when his fellow senators defeated his proposal to cut their pay by 2 percent next year and to put their pensions in a contribution plan such as a 401(k). What made headlines was less the defeat and more the debate around Harris’ proposal, which got a little ugly.
The verbal elbows started flying after Montgomery County Sen. Richard Madaleno confronted Harris about whether he was among those who had returned some of their wages to match furlough days mandated for state workers. Harris replied that he had given up the wages, but said he had donated them to charity rather than hand them back to the state, and offered to produce a canceled check to prove it.
“Are these the first charitable donations you’ve ever made?” Madaleno retorted.
WBAL Radio captured some pretty great audio of the exchange, scroll down and fast forward to a little less than halfway through here.
Harris narrowly lost to Blue Dog Democrat Frank Kratovil for the First District seat in 2008, and is running for that seat again this year. He recently named former GOP gubernatorial candidate Ellen Sauerbrey as his campaign chair.
–Some upcoming fundraisers; details available through respective candidates’ campaign Web sites or Facebook connection:
Stephen Wright for Harford County Executive will hold a fundraiser on Friday, Feb. 19 from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the Wetlands Golf Course Clubhouse in Aberdeen.
Al Redmer Jr., candidate for state senate, will hold a bull and oyster roast on Saturday, Feb. 20 from 7:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. at Martin’s East in Middle River.
Derek Hopkins, Register of Wills hopeful, will hold a happy hour fundraiser on Tuesday, Feb. 23 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Main Street Tower in Bel Air.
District 35A delegate candidate Jason Gallion will hold a fundraiser dinner on March 10 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Level VFC in Havre de Grace.
Sheriff candidate Jeff Gahler will hold a fundraiser, “Cheeseburgers in Jarretsville 2,” on March 27 from 7 p.m. to 12 a.m. at the Jarretsville VFW in Forest Hill.
–Last but not least, former state First Lady Kendel Ehrlich will appear at the Republican Club of Harford County’s February general meeting, scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 24 at 6 p.m. at MaGerk’s Pub in Bel Air. We’re told that her husband will not be in attendance this time out.
We’re giving this new feature our best shot, but we want to hear from you, our readers, about how it can be more useful and informative. More importantly, we want to know about any news, confirmable tips, or nuggets you might hear in your travels. If it’s an opinion about a particular person or issue, that’s what the comments are for, but we welcome any news tips you’ve got!