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 Six Crises of President Ehrlich

By: Josh Kurtz  When politicians who are not quite ready for prime time announce they’re running for president, it’s often said that they’re really running for vice president. There’s no shame in that. Of course, there was the case of former Pennsylvania Gov. Milton Shapp, who was so colorless that his brief candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1976 was greeted with speculation that he was really running to become secretary of Transportation (for the record, he didn’t even get that). In view of that history, how are we to regard our own former Gov. Bob Ehrlich’s toe-dip into the presidential waters? First, let’s give the guy a little credit: He’s probably thinking about running for president because he’d actually like to be president. There’s no shame in that, either. It’s also safe to say that with Larry Hogan’s victory, with Martin O’Malley’s presidential exploratory effort already in high gear, with conservatives from... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: A Conversation With Kevin Kamenetz

By: Josh Kurtz  The Towson Diner, where Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz (D) frequently begins his days, taking meetings and greeting acquaintances, is smaller than many of the other eateries around the state where politicos congregate – like the Double T Diner in Annapolis, Plato’s Diner in College Park, the Silver Diner on Rockville Pike, or Rip’s in Bowie. But Kamenetz is looming larger in the conversation about the future of the Maryland Democratic Party than he was just a few weeks ago. When most people assumed Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown (D) was going to be elected governor – an assumption Kamenetz himself made until very close to Election Day – they also assumed that Kamenetz, due to circumstances beyond his control, would have very few opportunities for upward mobility in 2018, when he’ll be termed out. Kamenetz himself suggested as much, telling people who asked during his first term that... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: The Permanent Government

By: Josh Kurtz  Maybe it’s because Gov.-elect Larry Hogan (R) has so far done nothing to flesh out his priorities. Maybe it’s because he hasn’t made a single appointment for his incoming administration. But for now, the sense that a big change is coming to Annapolis, so palpable in the immediate aftermath of Hogan’s stunning victory, has faded considerably. Make no mistake, change is coming. Even if Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown (D) had won, there would be changes. It’s inevitable with a new administration. But Hogan’s first selections for his transition team, coupled with the reshuffling of key leadership positions in the legislature and the early reaction of lobbying shops and interest groups around town, reinforces the notion that Annapolis is a place where even if roles occasionally change, the cast of characters never does. “The Permanent Government,” as the late, great New York muckraker Jack Newfield used to call it,... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: Why Brown Lost

By: Josh Kurtz  The definitive article on the disintegration of Kathleen Kennedy Townsend’s gubernatorial campaign, back in 2002, did not appear until three weeks after Election Day, when The Washington Post examined, in exquisite detail, the role of Alan Fleischmann, KKT’s close friend and top adviser. So the ultimate “What Went Wrong?” article about Anthony Brown’s campaign – which has echoes of the KKT disaster, plus its own unique series of unfortunate events – may yet be written. You’re not going to read it here, though – not exactly, anyway. There’s an old saying in politics that a winning campaign has a thousand fathers, while a losing campaign is an orphan. But that’s not exactly true. Townsend’s campaign clearly had Fleischmann as its father – and Bob Shrum, the longtime Kennedy family consigliere, as its godfather. Brown’s failed campaign may not have had a thousand fathers (and mothers), but it probably had a few... Continue reading
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Mikulski Convenes Meeting of Party Leaders With Eye Toward ’16

By: Josh Kurtz  Distressed by Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown's defeat in last week's gubernatorial election and with an eye toward her own reelection bid in two years, U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D) is calling a meeting of Democratic leaders for next Monday to discuss "the path to new leadership" at the state party and "victory in 2016," according to a memo obtained by Center Maryland. An email sent Monday evening by current state Democratic Chairwoman Yvette Lewis to top state Democrats conveys Mikulski's desire to meet -- and the veteran senator's apparent plan to exert greater control over the state party operation. The email was sent to members of the so-called State Advisory Committee, which consists of the Democratic members of the state's congressional delegation, statewide elected officials, and the presiding officers of the General Assembly. Mikulski only wants officials who will be in office after Gov.-elect Larry Hogan (R) has... Continue reading
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