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: Political and Fundraising Notes From All Over

It’s just two years till the 2018 Democratic gubernatorial primary, and already candidates are starting to stir. That’s evident both in the new round of campaign finance statements released last week and in the social life of Annapolis. One possible candidate for governor, U.S. Rep. John Delaney (D), had dinner with some state lawmakers at Reynolds Tavern in Annapolis last week – a getting-to-know-you-and-learn-the-issues listening session, and according to an invitation obtained by Center Maryland, he’s looking to have another one on Jan. 27. Similarly, Center Maryland has learned that another potential Democratic contender, U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez, is having a happy hour in Annapolis this Friday with former colleagues from his time as secretary of the state Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, among others. And Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz (D) is having occasional coffees, meals and happy hours with state lawmakers at the same time a top... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: The Permanent Campaign

Anyone who thinks this brand new General Assembly session is about policymaking and not the next election -- and the next one, and the next one, and the one after that -- is smoking something. Gov. Larry Hogan (R) and Democratic leaders have made this plain with the statements they've delivered in the session's opening week. Since his stunning upset 14 months ago, Hogan has never really abandoned campaign mode. And Democrats appear to be devoting all their energies to ensuring that Hogan doesn't win a second term in 2018. If anyone had any doubts, consider what Maryland Democratic Chairman Bruce Poole said at a party luncheon in Annapolis last week, with dozens of lawmakers and party donors present: "What happens in Annapolis is going to define the Maryland Democratic Party for the entire year." He didn’t say "for the next three years," but he could have. At a State House... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: New Numbers Shed Light on Annapolis Lobbying World

Ten lobbying firms earned more than $1 million in Maryland during the past year – and three cleared $3 million, according to new figures released this week by the State Ethics Commission.It’s yet another reminder that contract lobbying in Maryland can be a very lucrative business. Some of the firms have been among the top earners for years. Others are newer – or are benefiting from a beefed-up roster of lobbyists and clients. Perry, White, Ross & Jacobson, a firm that burst on the Annapolis scene just a few years ago, topped the list, earning $3,692,076 from Nov. 1, 2014 to Oct. 31, 2015, commission records showed. The firm includes two former top aides to Senate President Mike Miller (D), as well as former Del. Justin Ross (D). That firm was followed by two powerhouses that have dominated the Annapolis lobbying scene for the past two decades: Rifkin, Weiner, Livingston, Levitan... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: Campaign Kicks Into High Gear as Session Begins

The 90-day General Assembly session, which kicks off on Wednesday, is intense and exhausting for all 188 lawmakers. But for eight state legislators, the stress level this year will be even higher: They’re in the home stretch for the April 26 primaries, just two weeks after session ends, and will be preoccupied with legislative business while their opponents are on the campaign trail full-time. Del. Kathy Szeliga (R) is running for U.S. Senate. State Senate Majority Leader Catherine Pugh (D) is running for mayor of Baltimore. Sen. Jamie Raskin (D) and Dels. Kumar Barve (D), Dereck Davis (D), Ana Sol Guttierez (D), Joseline Pena-Melnyk (D), and David Vogt (R) are competing for congressional seats. What’s their strategy for balancing their official duties with the need to be out campaigning? How do they plan to cope? Center Maryland caught up with five of the eight lawmakers in recent days (the other three did... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: The Biggest Political Mistakes of 2015

Happy New Year! And welcome back! Before we plunge into this important political year – the General Assembly session is just a week away, and the primaries are in less than four months – let’s take one last look back at 2015 and the biggest political mistakes in Maryland. In our estimation, there was one whopper of a mistake – actually a series of mistakes over one protracted, painful period of days, which we’ll detail at the very end of the column. But first, let’s look at some of the mistakes surrounding last year’s General Assembly session, which were inevitable considering there was a new Republican governor squaring off against a Democratic legislature. These included: Gov. Larry Hogan (R) shortchanging several school districts – while boasting of record-setting education funding. School funding has become the third rail of Maryland politics – not something to be messed with. Yet Hogan has. And yet…... Continue reading
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