Josh Kurtz

Josh Kurtz

Josh Kurtz has been writing about Maryland politics since late 1995. Louie Goldstein, William Donald Schaefer and Pete Rawlings were alive, but the Intercounty Connector, as far as anyone could tell, was dead.


But some things never change: Mike Miller is still in charge of the Senate. Gerry Evans and Bruce Bereano are among the top-earning lobbyists in Annapolis. Steny Hoyer is still waiting for Nancy Pelosi to disappear. And Maryland Republicans are still struggling to be relevant.


The media landscape in Maryland has changed a lot, and Kurtz is happy to write weekly for Center Maryland. He's been writing a column for the website since it launched in January 2010.


In his "real" job, Kurtz is editor of Environment & Energy Daily down on Capitol Hill. But he'll always find Maryland politics more fascinating.


Kurtz grew up in New York City and attended public schools there. He has a BA in History from the University of Wisconsin and an MS in Journalism from Columbia University. He's married with two daughters and lives in Takoma Park, Md. He hopes you'll drop him a line, or maybe go out for a meal with him, because he's always hungry -- for political gossip.

Josh Kurtz: Another Elusive Political Prize

Quietly, Maryland’s Rod Rosenstein has become the longest-serving of the nation’s 94 current U.S. attorneys. The quiet part isn’t surprising: That’s Rosenstein’s customary way of doing things. But the longevity is – not because Rosenstein isn’t good at his job, but because of the politics that usually surround the appointments of the country’s top prosecutors. U.S. attorney is a plum political appointment – and ambitious lawyers are always lining up for consideration and beseeching a state’s U.S. senators to float their name to the president. Yet President Obama and Maryland Sens. Barbara Mikulski (D) and Ben Cardin (D) have passed on the opportunity to replace Rosenstein, who was appointed by President George W. Bush and has been in office since July 12, 2005. “He’s been there for a shockingly long time,” said one politically plugged-in Maryland attorney. “That’s a nice opportunity for a Democratic lawyer – we don’t have a ton... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: We Need Something Special

Sometime late this year, barring impossible-to-imagine political developments, two Maryland state senators will be moving on: Sen. Catherine Pugh (D) is almost certain to be elected mayor of Baltimore in November, and Sen. Jamie Raskin (D) is highly likely to go to Congress. And if the Annapolis rumor mill is to be believed, at least two more senators could be departing sometime soon: Sen. Lisa Gladden (D), who is struggling with MS, and Sen. Ulysses Currie (D), who, at the age of 79, is battling a variety of ills. In all cases, if these senators resign, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) will appoint their replacements – after a recommendation from local Democratic central committees. And in each case, there’s a pretty good chance that the senators could be replaced by a member of the House of Delegates. That, of course, would create additional vacancies, necessitating the same process to fill those House... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: A Conversation With Ben Cardin

Poised to become Maryland’s senior senator in the next Congress with the looming retirement of Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D), Sen. Ben Cardin (D) is increasingly confident that he’ll also be serving in the majority come 2017. “Definitely,” he said in a recent interview, ticking off the Democrats’ expanding list of pickup opportunities in the fall. Democrats need to flip four seats -- five if they lose the White House -- to be back in control of the Senate. Many nonpartisan analysts believe there is a good chance of that happening. Donald Trump is only part of the reason why. With 30 years in Congress under his belt, Cardin has proven he can be effective in a variety of roles – and while serving in both the majority and the minority. And regardless of whether the Democrats are running the Senate chamber next year, Cardin may have several appealing options to ponder.... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: What 3 Bills Tell Us About Larry Hogan

Well, of course Gov. Larry Hogan (R) was going to veto the bill creating an oversight board for the state transit system. And the proposal to expedite funding for a new Potomac River crossing in Southern Maryland. And the measure to establish a commission that advises the state Board of Education. These bills are direct challenges to Hogan’s authority, and his vetoes set up yet another series of showdowns with the Democratic legislature. The media will undoubtedly focus on this tension in the months leading up to the 2017 session, when lawmakers consider whether to try to override his vetoes. But in many ways, Hogan’s disposition on three other pieces of legislation in recent weeks was more significant – because it said a lot about Hogan’s strategic thinking. The first was his decision to sign a bill expanding access to contraception and other reproductive health services in Maryland. The second was... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: How We Got Here

If current polling holds through November, the next president of the United States will be detested by roughly two-thirds of the electorate. That is a very frightening notion – and a very sad commentary on the state of American politics. But why shouldn’t voters detest the likely major party presidential nominees? Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are pretty detestable. Of course, there are different degrees of detestability.  Trump, the vulgarian with the orange hue and comical hair, a misogynist, a racist and a narcissist, fanning the flames of fear, with no grasp of policy and a temperament that could literally lead to chaos and apocalypse, is clearly unqualified to be president. That’s why so many Republicans are embarrassed that he’s wound up as their presumptive nominee. Hillary Clinton is surely one of the most qualified White House candidates in recent memory. She’s smart. She’s knowledgeable about the issues. She has... Continue reading
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