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: 2018, Already

By: Josh Kurtz The General Assembly session hits its halfway point on Thursday, and still not much is happening. The administration of new Gov. Larry Hogan (R) is still finding its way, and legislative leaders continue to adjust to the dramatically altered landscape. Most of the new Democratic lawmakers in Annapolis, who were elected with a certain set of goals and expectations, are realizing that those will have to be significantly scaled back. Deadlock over the next four years seems unavoidable. So perhaps it is inevitable that a number of political people in Maryland, out of ennui or political calculation or just sheer desperation, are already starting to think about 2018, when Hogan will be vigorously challenged for re-election. When Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker (D) penned an op-ed piece in The Baltimore Sun a few weeks back outlining his economic development vision, some insiders saw that as the starting gun of 2018.... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: A Steep Hill to Climb

By: Josh Kurtz When last we wrote about the Towson-based political consulting firm CampaignON, in a July 15, 2013 Center Maryland column, company executives Herb Sweren and Barry Silverman were touting their new one-stop shopping campaign management software, which they were pitching to Democrats and Republicans throughout Maryland.Now, these two veterans of state politics and the business world have inked their first 2016 presidential contender as a client.They are not working for Joe Biden, John Bolton, Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz, Bob Ehrlich, Carly Fiorina, Jim Gilmore, Lindsey Graham, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, John Kasich, Peter King, Martin O’Malley, Sarah Palin, George Pataki, Rand Paul, Mike Pence, Rick Perry, Marco Rubio, Bernie Sanders, Rick Santorum, Rick Snyder, Scott Walker, Elizabeth Warren, or Jim Webb.Chances are, you’ve never heard of CampaignON’s client. He is, by his own account, and by the reckoning of his consultants, the longest... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: If Only We Could Call in the Marriage Counselor

By: Josh Kurtz Well, that was a quick honeymoon. The only shorter one on record was the honeymoon of Lenny and Lila in Elaine May’s 1972 comedy, “The Heartbreak Kid.” But the collapse of that marriage could at least be explained away by the presence of Cybill Shepard. This one is a little more difficult to diagnose – and there’s plenty of blame to go around. Gov. Larry Hogan’s State of the State speech last week started off badly. Maybe he was trying to make a political argument. But was it really wise for the new Republican chief executive to spend the first quarter of his televised speech tearing the state down? You’ve already been hired, Governor – time to stop campaigning. On the other hand, it’s fair to say the Democrats in Annapolis have overreacted to what they heard. They were right to be angry with Hogan’s tone. Even after... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: Maryland in the National Context – and Spotlight

By: Josh KurtzYes, that was Gov. Larry Hogan (R) peering out from newspaper boxes all around Washington, D.C., last week. Framed by the fat snowflakes that fell throughout his inaugural address, a smiling Hogan was the cover boy for an article in the conservative Washington Examiner titled, “How the GOP wins in the Northeast.” Even more fascinating was the cover story in this week’s National Journal magazine called “The Emerging Republican Advantage,” which devoted several hundred words to Hogan’s upset victory over Democrat Anthony Brown in November. Three months later, Hogan’s win remains big news in national politics. The Examiner piece amounted to a victory lap of sorts. It was written by Walter Olson, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank funded by the Koch brothers – and a volunteer for Hogan’s campaign. But it contained valuable insights about the limitations Republicans still face in deep blue states – how GOP governors... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: Annapolis Mad Men

By: Josh Kurtz “The boys are back in town”       --Thin Lizzy For women – especially for younger women – Annapolis from mid-January to mid-April can be a treacherous place. All too often, State Circle and environs become a breeding ground for sexual harassment.Talk to women legislators and lobbyists and advocates and staffers and interns – and I interviewed a dozen – and they all have a story to tell. About the delegate who isn’t allowed to have female interns anymore because he was getting a little too “hands-on.” About the senior lawmaker who cut a woman lobbyist off with a “Not now, honey” when she began to speak during a five-person meeting in his office – while he was squeezing her leg. About the legislators who won’t meet your eyes because their gaze is fixed a little lower. About the lawmakers who insist on greeting you with kisses or whose “friendly”... Continue reading
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