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: Waiting on Elijah, Jealous Guy and Other Convention Notes

At Passover Seders, Jews traditionally set a place at the table or pour a glass of wine for Elijah,  miracle worker of the 9th century B.C. Sounds a little bit like Maryland Democrats, no? After waiting several months for Congressman Elijah Cummings (D) to decide whether or not he’d run for Senate this year, or try to “save Baltimore” by running for mayor, some Democrats are now saying he’s their first choice to take on Gov. Larry Hogan (R) in 2018. I heard this surprisingly often in Philadelphia last week during the Democratic National Convention, from party stalwarts of all races, ages, creeds and geographical bases, even as three or four other Democrats were taking real steps toward running. But let’s face it: Elijah the lawmaker is probably no likelier to show up at the gubernatorial starting gate than Elijah the prophet is in your dining room. Even serving in the... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: Philadelphia Freedom

PHILADELPHIA – Greetings from Camp Bernie.Yes, yes, Hillary Clinton is now the Democratic nominee for president, and convention planners are understandably milking the historical nature of her candidacy. But you’d never know it from walking the streets, or roaming the Wells Fargo Arena, or hitting the policy, political and social events around town. Each night, the convention hall turns a little more toward Hillary. But this is really Bernie Sanders’ convention – and Bernie Sanders’ year. It’s more than a little reminiscent of the 1976 Republican National Convention, when Gerald Ford won the nomination but Ronald Reagan stole the hearts and minds of the delegates. Every time Reagan’s name was mentioned on the convention floor, the crowd went wild. Most remarkable was the night Ford secured the nomination and then traveled to Reagan’s hotel room – a sitting president begging his vanquished rival for support. It should not be lost on... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: Convention-al Wisdom, Part 2

It was awkward, to say the least, when three potential 2002 candidates for governor – Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Baltimore County Executive Dutch Ruppersberger, and Montgomery County Executive Doug Duncan – bumped into each other early one morning in the fitness room at the Marina del Rey Marriott during the 2000 Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles. “We can run together,” Ruppersberger suggested, in an effort to break the tension. All three were in L.A. to cheer the party’s presidential nominee, Al Gore. But all were also there to bond with Maryland delegates and other political people who had traveled cross-country for the spectacle, and promote their potential statewide bids. Duncan, for example, sponsored a luncheon for the Maryland delegation at a kosher dairy restaurant not far from Beverly Hills, owned by Stephen Spielberg’s mother – who happens to be the mother-in-law of Duncan’s former top aide, Jerry Pasternak. Duncan... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: Convention-al Wisdom

Much is being made of Gov. Larry Hogan’s decision not to support the Republicans’ toxic presumptive presidential nominee, Donald Trump. And make no mistake: it is a big deal any time a high-ranking elected official like Hogan refuses to back his party’s presidential nominee. But the development didn’t necessarily warrant the breathless coverage it initially received. It’s not as if Hogan’s decision is going to affect Trump’s dim prospects in Maryland. And the impact on Hogan’s reelection in 2018 – despite the grumbling in some conservative quarters – is probably minimal. The way Hogan disclosed his plans, though, says a lot about the man. Hogan revealed his decision to eschew Trump in a peevish response to a reporter’s question. The guy has only been in office for 18 months, but I don’t think I’ve used the word “peevish” so often in connection with any other Maryland governor. It has become his... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: Speaker Mike Busch and the Thin Blue Line

You meet Maryland House Speaker Mike Busch (D) for breakfast in Annapolis recently, and he’s wearing a golf shirt from Harry Browne’s, the bar and restaurant on State Circle. Your initial reaction is, “Aha – the ultimate insider advertising the ultimate watering hole of insiders!” But of course, the proprietors of Harry Browne’s are also Busch constituents – the anomaly of the speaker also being the delegate from the capital city. A conversation with Busch outside of the legislative session is a delightful, unhurried stroll through a variety of unexpected topics: His empathy for U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.); his surprise when he finds Republican members of the House of Delegates at odds with Gov. Larry Hogan (R); State House reporters he has admired who have come and gone; the struggling state of the news industry; the city of Philadelphia, where he went to college and is looking forward to... Continue reading
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