Cecil elects first county executive, who promptly changes party

The Cecil County seal. (Source: Maryland State Archives)

In its first local election since switching to a charter form of government — with a county executive and council — Cecil County residents picked Tari Moore, a Republican who had been a county commissioner, to be its first county executive.

The Moore who takes office, however, won’t exactly be the one voters elected.

The Cecil Times reported this week that Moore, in an apparent effort to prevent a pair of state lawmakers from playing a role in deciding who takes Moore’s soon-to-be-vacated council seat, changed her party to “unaffiliated” this week.

By doing so, her vacated council seat will not have any party affiliation, allowing her to avoid the county’s Republican Central Committee.

The Times reported that the four remaining members of the county council — all Republicans — likely would have been deadlocked deciding between two of the three candidates the committee would have nominated. In that case, Moore would be allowed to choose, but her options would have been limited to those already nominated.

Moore told The Times she made her decision “only after long and careful consideration, and because I believe that the best interests of all Cecil County citizens should outweigh my own personal preferences in this matter.”

Moore went on to say she would further explain her decision when she is sworn in Monday as county executive.

The county Republican Central Committee is run by a political group aligned with Del. Michael D. Smigiel Sr. and state Sen. E.J. Pipkin, both Republicans who represent parts of the Upper Shore. Pipkin is the Senate’s minority leader and Smigiel chairs the House of Delegates’ Tea Party Caucus.

Neither lawmaker could be reached for comment Friday evening.

Eye Opener: Transportation, energy top list for some lawmakers

A few government and politics headlines for Friday:

Eye Opener: Duncan to run for Montgomery County Executive

If Congress can extend federal tax credits for wind turbine development and energy production, one Baltimore city councilman says turbines should be spinning in the city.

Here’s a few other government headlines for Thursday morning:

Eye Opener: Prince George’s lawmakers will try bag tax again

Back from vacation rested and recharged (and a few pounds heavier), here’s Wednesday’s roundup of government-related news in Maryland:

O’Malley: Happy Thanksgiving! Please contribute

Gov. Martin O’Malley took a moment Wednesday to wish his supporters a Happy Thanksgiving — and quietly ask for a couple of dollars.

“We know that you’re busy making last minute preparations for Thanksgiving, but Katie and I wanted to wish you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving,” O’Malley wrote in an email sent by his federal political action committee, the O’Say Can You See PAC.

At the bottom of the email, a red “Contribute” graphic leads to martinomalley.com, where visitors can donate money to the PAC that can be used to campaign for or against a candidate, ballot initiative or legislation. O’Malley set up the federal committee in July, stoking talk about his national office ambitions.

At the time, the PAC was touted as a way to raise money for Maryland’s same-sex marriage and DREAM Act campaigns.

O’Malley also used the email Wednesday to tout a state website that provides volunteer and service information.

“As we celebrate this holiday season, I also wanted to encourage you to get involved in your community and help those less fortunate,” O’Malley wrote. “We are one Maryland and we’re all in this together.”

A nice message for Thanksgiving. But will it foster some campaign giving?

Eye Opener: Alston out, Gansler says

Here’s a few government and politics headlines for Wednesday:

Eye Opener: Lawmakers ready to cash in on gambling expansion

If you can tear yourself away from coverage of the University of Maryland’s move from the Atlantic Coast Conference to the Big 10, here’s a few government and politics headlines for Tuesday:

Eye Opener: O’Malley wants Gansler to review Alston’s eligibility

Here’s some headlines in government and politics for Monday:

 - The Baltimore Sun profiles U.S. Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett, who after 20 years in Congress lost to John Delaney in the 6th Congressional District.

 - The Washington Post reports bingo parlors, like those in Anne Arundel County, fear gambling expansion will be bad for business.

 - The Post also reports that Gov. Martin O’Malley has asked Prince George’s Democrats to withdraw their nomination to replace Del. Tiffany Alston. O’Malley wants Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler to rule on whether Alston can keep her seat in the House of Delegates.

 - The Daily Record and others report on a bipartisan coalition in Maryland, urging federal lawmakers to compromise and prevent sequestration.

Cordish: Pennsylvania casino industry is ‘terrific’

David S. Cordish put on quite the show at his Maryland Live Casino Wednesday — but the show may be even better in Pennsylvania.

While responding to a question about where Maryland stands in the mid-Atlantic casino industry, Cordish said “Pennsylvania has crushed it.”

“They’ve done a terrific job there,” he said. “Do you know how? With stability in the law.”

Cordish complained this summer that Gov. Martin O’Malley and the General Assembly should not expand the state’s casino gambling offerings until the five, slots-only facilities authorized in 2008 were up and running.

He often said Maryland, if it expanded gambling, would become the only state to change its casino regulations before its original plan was fully implemented.

Nevertheless, the legislature passed a bill in an August special session that authorized the licensing of a Prince George’s County casino and legalization of table games, such as blackjack and roulette. Voters approved that plan last week.

Pennsylvania has authorized the licensing of 12 casinos, 11 of which have opened. Cordish, who chairs The Cordish Cos., has bid on the 12th license in a joint venture with Pennsylvania-based Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment Inc.

Stability in the law governing the casino industry encourages investment by developers, Cordish said. O’Malley has said he would like the legislature to leave the casino industry alone for the remainder of his term.

Three more facilities — in Allegany County, Prince George’s County and Baltimore — are set to open between now and 2016, according to their developers. That’s too far away to project how mighty Maryland’s casino industry might become.

“Forecasting is virtually impossible,” he said.

Eye Opener: Gambling panel to choose leader

The new seven-member Maryland State Lottery and Gaming Control Commission will choose its chairman and vice-chairman Thursday.

The commission, which oversees decisions on the lottery and Maryland’s six authorized commercial casinos, replaced the Lottery Commission last month as part of the General Assembly’s gambling expansion bill.

Kirby Fowler (pictured), president of the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore Inc., had served as chairman of the Lottery Commission, and was invited back as a member of the new Lottery and Gaming Control Commission.

John W. Morton III, chairman of the Maryland Stadium Authority, may also be an option. Morton chaired a work group this summer that was tasked with making a recommendation on whether the state should expand gambling.

Here’s a few government and politics headlines for Thursday.