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Best Week, Worst Week: Md. companies get wave of venture capital money; Hogan takes on GOP senator

best-worst-041418A strong report released this week for Maryland’s venture capital market meant good news for Maryland companies, while a sitting Maryland GOP senator found out he probably won’t be getting a birthday card from the governor any time soon.

Daily Record business writer Tim Curtis reported Wednesday that Maryland companies drew $405 million in venture capital funding in the first quarter of this year, continuing last year’s strong performance.

Analysts called the quarter “historic” as Maryland recorded its best start to the year since 2000, already having beaten yearly totals for five of the past nine years. It also marks the first time since 2007-2008 that Maryland has had five or more straight quarters of more than $100 million raised.

Just as encouraging has been the fact that these quarters were buoyed by megadeals of more than $100 million and by investments in early-stage companies. Those successes could help lead to more investments in the state down the line, analysts predict.

Meanwhile, fresh off the end of the 2018 General Assembly, Sen. Steven Waugh this week apparently gained one more opponent in his re-election bid: Gov. Larry Hogan.

Government affairs writer Bryan P. Sears reported Thursday that Hogan said he will endorse Waugh’s primary opponent, calling him “no better than any other Democrat we want to replace.”

The rift between the governor and the southern Maryland Republican came to the surface over a disagreement over a veto vote, but observers say the feud runs deeper. Hogan chastised Waugh for consistently working with Democratic Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller on issues the governor feels are counterproductive to the administration and against the people of his district.

Waugh said he was “baffled” about Hogan’s statements and “confused why the governor is picking this fight,” pointing to Hogan’s repeated willingness to work with Democrats and how the governor has talked about the bipartisan effort exhibited by the 2018 General Assembly session.

The dispute may be about Hogan’s irritation over private criticisms leveled by Waugh in Annapolis and in his district. The complaints mostly relate to a lack of coordination and fundraising assistance for much of the 14 members of the Republican caucus, sources said.

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