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: Baker’s Crucible

On JFK’s 98th birthday last Friday, Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker (D) took to Facebook to quote from the late president’s iconic book, “Profiles in Courage.” “The true democracy, living and growing and inspiring, puts its faith in the people – faith that the people will not simply elect men who will represent their views ably and faithfully, but will also elect men who will exercise their conscientious judgment – faith that the people will not condemn those whose devotion to principle leads them to unpopular courses, but will reward courage, respect honor, and ultimately recognize right,” was the “Profiles in Courage” passage Baker quoted. “Courage” is a word that has been attached a lot to Baker lately, as he pressed the County Council to bust through Prince George’s decades-old property tax cap to provide millions of dollars more for the public schools. The council, for the first time ever, did... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: O’Malley’s Opening

By Josh Kurtz As he launches his campaign for the White House this week, former Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) brings undeniable attributes to the table: his record as governor and as mayor of Baltimore; his intellect and policy chops; his youth and vigor; and his rock star persona. But all these may be of little import. Politics is situational, and O’Malley could be the beneficiary of two very big train wrecks in national Democratic politics. We don’t yet know the potential for O’Malley’s candidacy – or whether he’s even crossed the threshold of credibility with the national media, who have altogether too much say in the process, or with voters in early states like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. And we certainly don’t know if he’s got the campaign apparatus in place to go the distance, though early indications are fairly promising. He has supplemented his hometown political network with... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: Out in the Cold

By Josh Kurtz There were nervous smiles and awkward pauses in conversation. But there was no mistaking what we were looking at last week when Gov. Larry Hogan (R) signed Senate Bill 863, the “repeal” of what Hogan calls “the rain tax”: Hogan and leaders of the state’s environmental movement, sharing the stage in the Governor’s Reception Room – and more important, sharing some common sense of purpose. They may have different interpretations of what the legislation actually does. And most environmentalists, of course, tried hard last year to keep Hogan from becoming the state’s chief executive. But both sides, it appears, are letting bygones be bygones – and will look for opportunities to work in concert, even if they don’t occur very often. In the same way, Hogan and state employee unions, which were also big backers of the governor’s Democratic opponent last year, have reached a temporary détente after... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: After the Klieg Lights Go Out

By Josh Kurtz After a week and a half in the national spotlight, Baltimore is now a Rorschach Test – people from coast to coast and around the world, not to mention right here in Maryland, see what they want to see. Consider the conclusions that have been reached about the causes and after-effects of the unrest in the city: It’s a failure of the Great Society. It’s a failure of Reaganomics. It’s a failure of the post-industrial economy. It’s a failure of the welfare state. It’s a failure of Bill Clinton’s welfare reform. It’s a failure of the education system. It’s a failure of urban renewal. It’s a failure of “benign neglect.” It’s a failure of a society that has devalued African-American lives for too long – really, throughout history. It’s a failure of segregation. It’s a failure of integration, and its destabilizing effect on traditional middle-class black neighborhoods. It’s... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: Anthony Brown and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad FEC Report

By Josh KurtzFirst, let’s stipulate that the candidates who have officially gotten into the race to replace Rep. Donna Edwards (D) as she runs for Senate had only three weeks to raise money before the release of the latest campaign finance disclosures.Let us also stipulate that none of the candidates had a particularly impressive Federal Election Commission report, though Glenn Ivey’s – he raised $117,000 and had $120,000 on hand – is at least in the realm of respectable. But former Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown’s (D) showing is astoundingly meager. This, after all, was the guy who raised an eye-popping $18 million for his gubernatorial campaign and affiliated party committee spending in the 2014 election cycle, collected from hundreds if not thousands of donors, according to a Baltimore Sun analysis. Raising money was the one thing Brown showed a talent for in that disastrous campaign. He had a robust fundraising list he... Continue reading
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