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: Pillow Talk

Political dynasties are commonplace – in Maryland and across the country. Don’t let Jeb Bush’s flameout sway you. It’s almost always an advantage in a political race to have a time-tested surname. But common as political dynasties are, what Nick and Marilyn Mosby are attempting to accomplish in Baltimore city has very little precedent. There is something almost Clintonian about it. He, of course, is the first-term councilman who is running for mayor. She is in her second year as state’s attorney. They are a smart, energetic and attractive couple, with two adorable, made-for-campaign-literature daughters. But whatever their talents, records, and political potential, the Mosbys are asking a lot of Baltimore voters: To install an enormous amount of political power – and invest a whole lot of trust – in one small household. Mayor and state’s attorney are, arguably, the most important elected positions in the city. Some Mosby foes have... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: Rights and Wrongs

On the day state Senate Democrats voted to override his veto of legislation restoring voting rights to 44,000 parolees and probationers, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) ordered Bipartisan Crab Soup at Chick n' Ruth's deli in Annapolis. Cornered by reporters in the cramped governor's booth as he ate with Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford (R), Hogan was quick to condemn the vote and suggested that there could be political consequences for the senators who went against his wishes. Some, he predicted,"won't survive the vote." Minutes later, like clockwork, Change Maryland, Hogan's political organization, listed the 29 Democrats who had voted to override the veto, accusing them of "ignoring an overwhelming majority of Marylanders" and suggesting that they be targeted for their votes. In the days that followed, angry Marylanders let these lawmakers know how they felt – sometimes in intemperate, threatening ways. Can we please, please discard the notion, symbolic culinary preferences notwithstanding,... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: The Worst

The escalating battle to replace U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D) in the 8th Congressional District is quickly becoming an embarrassment – a multimillion-dollar circus-like exemplar of everything that’s wrong with Montgomery County politics today. You want candidates with a limitless ability to spend money? Candidates who overestimate their abilities? Candidates who have been stuck in their current positions for too long and are desperately looking for a way out? Candidates who misinterpret a couple of years in low-level positions in a presidential administration as sufficient training to serve as members of Congress? It’s all here. Worst of all, the race is reinforcing the misguided and hard-to-shake perception across the state that the streets in Montgomery County are paved with gold. It will stymie the county’s imperative to be seen as a polyglot jurisdiction with genuine pockets of poverty and myriad needs. It will undoubtedly set back the county’s efforts to... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: The State of the State of Hogan

What does the drinking water crisis in Flint, Mich., have to do with Maryland? It’s an interesting question to ponder as Gov. Larry Hogan (R) prepares to deliver his second State of the State address this week. These annual speeches are some of the best opportunities for Marylanders to get to know their governor and his priorities – which remain hazy at best for most voters. The timing of the Flint crisis is purely coincidental, but it represents something of a cautionary tale where Hogan is concerned. While there is plenty of blame to go around for the grievous contamination of Flint’s water supply, it happened on the watch of a businessman governor, Rick Snyder (R) – who was swept into office promising to scale back taxes and regulations, run government like a business, and do everything in his power to boost business interests in the state. Sound familiar? Hogan is... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: A Change Is Gonna Come

No matter who is elected mayor of Baltimore this year – even if it’s a retread like Sheila Dixon, even with veteran City Council President Jack Young (D) well on the road to reelection – there’s a big change coming to City Hall and the local political discourse. That’s because five of the City Council’s 14 members who are elected by district have already announced their plans to retire, and others could follow – voluntarily or otherwise. It’s likely that when the new Council convenes in December, at least half the members will be newcomers. This is a good thing. A couple of Sundays ago, I got a glimpse of what the political change might look like, as I sat at a table at Teavolve in Harbor East, chatting with four incredibly impressive young Council candidates – and three of the 30-something political officeholders who are mentoring them. It was a... Continue reading
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