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: Speaking of the Hogan Effect (And Other Tidbits)

So Del. Kathy Szeliga (R) is running for U.S. Senate with the full backing of Congressman Andy Harris’ political machine and the support of three of the state’s five Republican county executives. And Harford County Executive Barry Glassman (R) is also actively pondering the race. Here is yet another example of how Gov. Larry Hogan’s upset victory last year is transforming Maryland. Szeliga or Glassman would be the underdog against either of the two Democratic members of Congress currently running for Senate – or against Congressman Elijah Cummings (D), if he runs and winds up as the Democratic nominee. But would Republicans of this caliber be seeking the job – even without having to sacrifice their current seats in 2016 – if Hogan hadn’t paved the way in 2014? It will be hard for any Republican to replicate Hogan’s performance next year. The presidential election year electorate – in Maryland and... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: Keeping It Clean

When Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh (D) announced last week that he was joining an effort by 17 other states to defend the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, he became the third attorney general in the country to break with his governor on litigation involving President Obama’s signature climate policy. Gov. Larry Hogan (R) has signaled his opposition to Frosh’s move – though not, necessarily, to the new federal policy, which assigns each state a specific goal for dramatically reducing power plant emissions. The state is almost certain to comply with the EPA rule – and Maryland’s task should be easier than many other states’, thanks in part to clean energy policies that were enacted before Hogan took office. The legal disagreement is something else. Frosh is the state’s lawyer – and the AG’s office is the Hogan administration’s law firm, so to speak. But by tradition and by law,... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: That’s Rich

At Anthony Brown’s election night party a year ago, state Sen. Rich Madaleno (D) found himself surrounded by a group of reporters, attempting to explain what he saw as the flaws in Gov.-elect Larry Hogan’s (R) desire to eliminate the so-called Rain Tax. When Madaleno turned around, he noticed that he was the only elected official left in the bummed-out room. In a way, it was a prelude to everything that has come since. With Hogan riding high in the polls – a circumstance fueled partially by his commitment to cutting taxes, fees and tolls (regardless of the consequences to state government) – Madaleno has become a one-man truth squad. No one in the legislature has so consistently questioned the governor’s policies and the arguments behind them – especially on fiscal matters, where Madaleno, vice chairman of the Budget & Taxation Committee, has a particular expertise. Madaleno says he’s not just... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: 2016 Begets 2018

When Pat Murray, the new executive director of the Maryland Democratic Party, spoke to the District 14 Democratic Club in Olney last month, he asked the 40 assembled party activists how many had gone to Virginia for the Obama campaign in 2008 or 2012 – or had phoned voters in that state. Every hand in the room shot up. “Congratulations,” Murray said. “You made history” by helping elect the nation’s first African-American president. But in doing so, the veteran strategist went on, the Democrats may have inadvertently hurt their party at home. Murray aims to change that. With Maryland Democrats still reeling from Gov. Larry Hogan’s (R) upset victory last November, Murray wants to use the 2016 election as a party-building exercise for 2018. That would represent a change from recent history. And it’s a reminder that presidential election years – often ignored or dismissed by Maryland political insiders, who consider... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: Hogan Rides High in a Democratic Poll, Too

As if there was any doubt that Gov. Larry Hogan (R) is popular these days, a Democratic poll confirms it. On the heels of news about Goucher College andWashington Post polls, both of which showed Hogan with numbers that any politician would envy, the new poll, conducted for a prominent Maryland Democrat and obtained by Center Maryland, contains plenty of additional good news for the governor. But the survey also offers insights and delves into issues that the other polls didn’t. For one thing, the survey contains some more potentially bad news for Democrats, who are struggling to regain their footing after Hogan’s surprise victory last November. Not only are Hogan’s numbers sky-high; Baltimore city voters seem especially gloomy. That’s significant because the city is one of three reliable Democratic jurisdictions in the state, and voters who are unhappy may not turn out in the numbers that Democrats need to rebuild in 2016... Continue reading
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