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: A First for Chris Van Hollen

As he plows ahead with his campaign for the Democratic Senate nomination against Rep. Donna Edwards, Rep. Chris Van Hollen finds himself in unchartered territory: For the first time in a competitive race, he’s the favorite of the party establishment. That certainly wasn’t the case in 2002, when Van Hollen, then a state senator, competed in an epic Democratic congressional primary against then-Del. Mark Shriver (D). While the Democratic intelligentsia and party activists were more or less divided, and both candidates were lining up endorsements from fellow elected officials, the national establishment tilted heavily toward Shriver. Uncle Ted Kennedy had something to do with that, procuring donations and labor endorsements for Shriver and keeping national environmental groups neutral even though they naturally gravitated toward Van Hollen. Rep. Steny Hoyer, then as now one of the most powerful Democrats in Congress, made his preference for Shriver clear, though he stopped short of... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: Campaigning for Congress From a Barstool in Annapolis

On the night before the Maryland Municipal League convention last month, House Economic Matters Chairman Dereck Davis (D), a candidate for Congress, was having dinner in Ocean City with uber-lobbyist Bruce Bereano and a couple of other Annapolis insiders. The town was crawling with municipal officials, many of whom could be helpful to Davis as he campaigns for Congress in a nine-way Democratic primary. Prince George’s County, where the 4th congressional district is based, has 27 municipalities – most of any Maryland county. But, for that meal, anyway, Davis chose to be with Annapolis friends and not campaigning. Last Wednesday, Davis was on the Eastern Shore again, hanging out with scores of political insiders in Bereano’s circus tent – it is now, fittingly, literally that big – at the Tawes crab feast. If there were District 4 voters in that cavernous space, you could count ‘em on one hand. It’s a... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: Money Tells Stories

Former state Sen. Rob Garagiola (D) lost his 2012 congressional race in spectacular fashion. Although he is only 42 years old, his political career may be over. But there are consolations – in Garagiola’s case, 927,415 of them. That’s the amount of money Garagiola earned (along with 17 cents) as a lobbyist with the firm of Alexander & Cleaver between Nov. 1 of last year and this April 30 – the period covering the 2015 General Assembly session. Welcome to the Big Time, Rob. Surely a career in the House of Representatives, deep in the minority and with Capitol Hill more toxic than ever, couldn’t be this rewarding. Garagiola’s roster of clients for the session takes up three full pages on the Maryland State Ethics Commission’s list of registered lobbyists. They run from Albenoga Bioenergy Development to the YMCA of Central Maryland, and include the Association of Maryland Docking Pilots, Discovery... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: Maryland’s Political Logjam, By the Numbers

We still seem to be waiting for that transformative election in Maryland. Last year brought more than 60 new members of the House of Delegates, a dozen new members of the state Senate, a new state attorney general, and political realignment in a few key jurisdictions – not to mention a rare Republican governor. But at the top of the political food chain, hardly anything changed. In 2006, Marylanders elected a new governor, comptroller and attorney general. But even with the retirement of 30-year U.S. Sen. Paul Sarbanes (D), the expected shakeup of the state’s congressional delegation never materialized. Although many House members that year talked openly of running for Senate, only one – Rep. Ben Cardin (D) – actually did. So only his House seat was up for grabs – and it was filled by a Sarbanes. Sen. Barbara Mikulski’s (D) looming retirement in 2016 will also not bring about... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: Del. Waldstreicher Won’t Run for Congress

Del. Jeff Waldstreicher (D), a three-term Montgomery County lawmaker, is telling supporters today that he will not run for Congress in 2016. Waldstreicher was one of several legislators who considered seeking the 8th District congressional seat being vacated by Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D), who is running for Senate. But in an email to supporters being delivered later today, Waldstreicher, a 35-year-old attorney, suggested that he is more enamored with the prospect of trying to solve local problems, rather than some of the more global issues facing Congress. In his missive he talks in personal terms about overcrowded schools and Washington’s broken-down Metrorail system, and concludes, “I have too much work to do locally.” “For me, now is the time to double down on making Montgomery County better: investing in our local schools, fixing our local transportation system, and fighting for an economy that works for local families,” Waldstreicher writes. Had... Continue reading
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