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: Purple Haze and Red Red Whine

Who says elections don’t have consequences? But for inept gubernatorial campaigns run by Democratic lieutenant governors, 12 years apart, riders would probably already be hopping aboard the Purple Line in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, and the Red Line in Baltimore would be close to winning its final approvals. Instead, this. Gov. Larry Hogan (R) oh-so-grudgingly consents to let the Purple Line live another day, but with caveats that make the advocates’ celebrations seem premature. And he outright kills the Red Line, another symbolic dagger in the heart of beleaguered Baltimore. The wonder is he kept the Purple Line alive at all. Hogan did say some nice things about its potential as an economic driver, and about D.C.-area residents’ propensity to use mass transit – validating many of the arguments that the project’s biggest supporters had advanced. It’s possible, though, that after all the state’s efforts to attract private sector bidders... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: 25 Republican Rising Stars

Leaders of the Maryland Republican Party made a tactical mistake. By inviting Donald Trump to headline their annual “Red, White and Blue” Dinner the other day, they stepped all over their message -- and made it difficult to focus on the fact that their titular leader, Gov. Larry Hogan (R), just announced that he has cancer. Sure, Trump put fannies in the seats and drew media attention, and at least he had the good graces to publicly wish Hogan well. But even with Hogan's sad and sobering diagnosis, Maryland Republicans for once have a few things to celebrate: a new governor whose first five months in office have been a success, and who is only going to engender more good will for the foreseeable future; the most robust farm team in memory; and an intriguing cast of up-and-comers from just about every corner of the state, and representing every GOP faction.... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: Poole Taps Pat Murray for State Dems

Maryland Democratic Chairman Bruce Poole has named Patrick Murray, a former top aide to House Speaker Mike Busch (D) and Senate President Mike Miller (D), as the state party’s new executive director. Murray, one of the savviest strategists in Maryland politics, will have day-to-day control over the party’s strategy, fundraising and messaging at a time when Democratic leaders and activists are still reeling from Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s upset win last November. The party also faces potentially contentious primary battles in 2016. Murray’s appointment suggests that Miller and Busch will continue to play a big role in charting the state party’s future course. They were also instrumental in ensuring that Poole, a former state House majority leader who served in Annapolis from 1987 to 1999, become the new chairman after Yvette Lewis stepped down earlier this year. Despite his association with the Legislature’s presiding officers, Murray has good working relationships with... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: Don’t Mourn, Organize!

The outpouring of outrage, grief and angst since The Washington Post announced Friday that it was immediately shuttering The Gazette, the venerable community newspapers that covered Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, has been something to behold. Between formal statements from elected officials, a steady stream of anguish on social media, and personal conversations, it’s clear how important the papers were in the communities they served and how badly they will be missed. It’s also abundantly clear, as if there was any doubt, how much they meant to the staffers who put in the sweat and toil every week, which made The Gazette so vital to readers. I spent seven years at the paper, from 1995 to 2002, writing a weekly column and covering the State House and local politics. It was my first exposure to the delicious world of Maryland politics, so I am going through my own stages of outrage... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: The Kathleen Matthews Difference

Here are three things, right off the bat, that separate Kathleen Matthews from the typical Maryland congressional candidate:-- Although Matthews officially launched her bid for the 8th District seat last week, with a candidate’s standard round of appearances at a Metro station, a senior citizens center and local businesses, she signaled her intention to run two months earlier, in Mike Allen’s Politico Playbook, the must-read newsletter for D.C. insiders. That’s an outlet not readily available to most Maryland pols. But here a star employee of the billionaire Allbrittons was doing a favor for a former star employee of the billionaire Allbrittons.  --Just weeks before her official announcement, Matthews and her husband, MSNBC yakker Chris Matthews, adorned the cover of Washington Life magazine, a glossy society rag, in his and hers black suits, for a feature on the 100 most powerful Washingtonians. It seemed like the next logical step for the hype... Continue reading
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