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: The Franchot Follies

Listen to a liberal critic talk about the Democratic state comptroller and his relationship with the Republican governor: “I’m all for bipartisan compromise. I’m just not in favor of bipartisan capitulation, and active support for a Republican…who’s taken the state in the wrong direction.” The critic went on to suggest that the comptroller’s name ought to be attached to the governor’s administration, “because the governor has used [the comptroller] and his vote on the Board of Public Works to implement a lot of his agenda.” Separately, the critic said, “Don’t be fooled by a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Our Democratic comptroller is a Democrat in name only, a Republican masquerading as a Democrat.” And, for good measure, the critic complained that the comptroller and the governor are “joined at the hip.” Harsh words about Comptroller Peter Franchot (D) and his bromance with Gov. Larry Hogan (R), but if you’re a progressive... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: Questions for Baltimore Voters

What are the qualities the voters of Baltimore should be looking for in their next mayor? Here are a few: The on-the-job experience and street cred of Sheila Dixon. The business background and legislative chops of Catherine Pugh. The youth and energy – and photogenic family – of Nick Mosby. The liberal passion – and can’t-be-bought independence that wealth brings – of David Warnock. The problem-solving abilities and historical perspective of Elizabeth Embry. The long record of public service of Carl Stokes. Unfortunately, none of these candidates possesses all of these qualities. So at a time when the voters are looking for – and the city so clearly needs – a superhero, they are instead offered a choice of flawed or untested supplicants, each saying roughly the same things about Baltimore’s flaws and needs, but without surefire prescriptions to cure the city’s ills. Talk about a crapshoot – and a... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: Montgomery County’s Alcohol Problem

In Baltimore, leaders are trying to keep the city off the precipice, and are praying the trials of the police officers indicted in the Freddie Gray killing don’t result in more crippling unrest. In Prince George’s County, leaders are trying to lure the FBI headquarters to one of two sites and are working day and night to improve the long-lagging public schools and business climate. And in Montgomery County, where the streets are no longer paved with gold, where the rapidly changing population faces myriad challenges that are inadequately acknowledged or documented, leaders are preoccupied with…liquor. Only in Montgomery County would the sale and distribution of alcohol become the hottest political fight of the season. But only in Montgomery County does the local government possess a monopoly stranglehold on the wholesale market for booze – and on retail sales of hard liquor. The fight over whether – and how – to... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: Grand Slam

Just days after delivering a State of the Union address that lasted 64 minutes, President Clinton traveled to Annapolis in February 1997 to talk some more. He used a joint session of the Maryland General Assembly as the backdrop to further promote his agenda for building a 21st century economy. But he was careful to talk about Maryland, too – paying tribute to the state’s history and to many of the elected officials who were in attendance. Standing at the rostrum in the House of Delegates chamber, Clinton noted that the state House had served as a breeding ground for Maryland’s congressional delegation. It was a perceptive observation: At the time, five members of the delegation were state House veterans – then-Sen. Paul Sarbanes (D) and four of the eight U.S. House members. “It’s obviously a good training program here,” Clinton said to laughter and applause. It was a typical masterful Clinton... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: The Natural

Even with a dozen beauty queens present, there may not have been a better-looking person marching in the Silver Spring Thanksgiving parade Saturday than Will Jawando, one of seven Democrats looking to succeed U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D) next year. And even with an endless succession of officeholders and office seekers waving to the crowds, there may not have been a smoother pol on hand than Jawando, either. From humble beginnings in Silver Spring to work on Capitol Hill to service in the Obama administration, Jawando, who is 32, with a wife with her own D.C. political and policy chops and three adorable young daughters, has just about the perfect pedigree for an aspiring young politician. He even has a white mother from Kansas and an African father. Figuring out Jawando’s place in the high-profile, expensive 8th District primary, however, is no easy task with five months to go. The... Continue reading
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