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: Hogan 2, Democrats 0

A few years back I was interviewing a New Mexico political wise guy for an article about what Bill Richardson, the former governor and cabinet secretary, had been doing since he left office. The analyst sought to compare Richardson, a Democrat, with his successor, Republican Gov. Susana Martinez. “The elevator with Richardson went up to the 50th floor, and when he got off and Martinez got on it went back down to about three,” the wise guy told me. I’ve been recalling that observation as I think about Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) and his predecessor, Democrat Martin O’Malley. O’Malley in eight years presided as Maryland legalized same-sex marriage, outlawed capital punishment, expanded gun control and immigrants’ rights, held the line on college tuition, boosted transportation and infrastructure spending, and adopted cutting-edge clean energy standards, among other initiatives. Hogan, in his time in office, has accomplished far less. And yet, Hogan... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: A Guilty White Liberal Ponders the Maryland Senate Race

You're a guilty white liberal. Who are you supposed to vote for in the April 26 Democratic Senate primary? You've observed and admired Chris Van Hollen for two full decades. He's smart, savvy and strategic. He knows when to pick fights and how to win them.  Van Hollen has policy chops and good political antennae. You have no doubt he'll be a hardworking, conscientious senator, with an ability to work both local, bread and butter issues, and high-profile national and international policy. Mike Miller was a little inelegant when he said Van Hollen was "born" to be in the Senate – but he wasn't far from the truth, either. Through his words and deeds, in a quarter century in three legislative chambers, Van Hollen has proven that he would fit in well in the Senate and be immediately effective. On the other hand, you can’t help but notice that Van Hollen... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: Low Energy, High Stakes

As he prepared for this year’s General Assembly session, a lobbyist for a major energy company tried to find out what the session agenda was going to be for the Maryland Energy Administration. The answer surprised him: There was no MEA agenda.  A hive of activism and policy innovations under former Gov. Martin O’Malley (D), who staked his national reputation in part on the state’s clean energy successes, the MEA under Gov. Larry Hogan (R) is now a shell of its former self – literally and figuratively. The agency’s staff is barely half the size it was under O’Malley, with vacancies galore listed on its website. Its office has been moved from a strategic location on West Street in Annapolis to a corner of the Maryland Department of the Environment office in south Baltimore. The MEA director under O’Malley, Abby Hopper, is now running offshore energy programs for the Obama... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: What’s in a Name?

For the past year we have seen hundreds of reminders that a competitive race in Maryland’s 8th congressional district is different from elections everyplace else. Whether it’s the pedigree of the contenders, their ability to raise and spend money, their prior links to Capitol Hill and national policy debates, and the political sophistication of the electorate, there’s nothing quite like a Democratic primary where candidates are pandering to voters who imagine themselves as the next Deputy Secretary of Something in the Hillary Clinton administration. We add to this list another phenomenon unique to District 8 that we’ve recently detected: The ability of candidates to name drop. You expect a certain amount of name-dropping in any Democratic contest anyplace: President Obama, Martin Luther King, the Kennedys or Clintons maybe. But we realized the practice in the 8th had run amok when one of the candidates at a recent debate named-checked Jan Schakowsky. Huh? That... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: Redemption Song

On a recent Saturday in Fort Washington, Anthony Brown was crammed shoulder-to-shoulder along a rickety table with eight other candidates for Congress. He peered out at a dimly lit auditorium, which was two-thirds empty. This is not where Brown pictured himself a couple of years ago. At that very moment, out in the breezy sunshine, Gov. Larry Hogan (R), accompanied by aides and cabinet secretaries and a security detail, was in the middle of a three-day swing through Southern Maryland, dispensing generous sums of highway funding, vowing to fight the plague of heroin addiction, and meeting with local business leaders and elected officials to hear their concerns. If Brown was aware of Hogan’s activities, he wasn’t letting on. But it was easy to imagine that he’d much rather be in Hogan’s shoes that afternoon, instead of scrapping for the votes of 50 senior citizens with his two most formidable Democratic primary... Continue reading
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