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: An Early Look at the Hogan Administration

By: Josh Kurtz  Most journalists are hard-wired to want to report the news first.  But sometimes I have an odd-sounding secondary goal: To report on something before it doesn’t happen. Two weeks ago, Center Maryland published a column exploring what an Anthony Brown administration might look like. Obviously, there isn’t going to be one. But I don’t regret doing the column. In fact, I ran into Ken Ulman a day after it appeared and he told me it was pretty spot-on. So, a moral victory for me, haha – something Brown, Ulman and Democrats cannot claim. So we are looking at a Larry Hogan administration – a surprise to many people, maybe even to Hogan himself. What will it look like? Who will he tap for key positions? Will he honor his pledge to put together a bipartisan team? How many retreads from the Ehrlich administration will there be? How much influence will... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: An Aligning Election

By: Josh Kurtz  Seems like the right time to quote from the classic political movie, “The Candidate”: What do we do now? Larry Hogan, in his victory speech Tuesday night, was magnanimous for about 20 seconds. Then, he went on the attack, promising to “clean up the mess” in Annapolis. Hogan did pledge on Wednesday to put together a bipartisan administration. But it’s easy enough in Maryland to find crypto-Republicans with a Democratic voter registration card to fill a check list. I didn’t get to circulate among Maryland pols on Tuesday night, but I was struck by something Jolene Ivey said while she was providing election night commentary on News Channel 8: “We’ve got to make him a one-term governor.” So, game on. No congratulations. No olive branches. We may be in for a wild ride over the next four years. In the end, it wasn’t all that surprising that Anthony... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: A Last Look Across the State

By: Josh Kurtz  It’s the most shopworn of clichés to say that the result of an election will boil down to turnout. But here in Maryland, we can be pretty specific about it: If African-American turnout is strong, then Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown (D) will be elected governor. If it isn’t, then businessman Larry Hogan (R) wins. Brown is lucky that first lady Michelle Obama came to Baltimore Monday for a last-minute get-out-the-vote rally. The ensuing images on TV – which will probably also appear on the front page of this morning’s Baltimore Sun – will help remind base Democratic voters that it’s Election Day. There is no other discernible sign of excitement among Democrats. I’ve never been much of a numbers-cruncher, but for Hogan to win, something akin to 2002, when Bob Ehrlich (R) upset Kathleen Kennedy Townsend (D), will have to take place. Can it happen again? That year,... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: What a Brown Administration Might Look Like

By: Josh Kurtz  The last three Democratic governors of Maryland – Martin O’Malley, Parris Glendening and William Donald Schaefer – were chief executives of major jurisdictions when they were elected. So they came to Annapolis with a well-established cadre of aides and advisers. Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown (D) is something different. If he’s elected governor next week, he’ll be making history – not just as Maryland’s first African-American governor, but as the first lieutenant governor ever given a promotion by the voters. As lieutenant governor, Brown has a small staff that reflects the miniscule official portfolio that comes with the office. Before that, he served in the General Assembly, where his staff was even smaller. So we don’t know exactly what kind of team he’ll put together if he’s able to hold off Republican Larry Hogan on Election Day. Heck, in the tightly-controlled world of the Brown campaign, we’re not even... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: Against All Odds

By: Josh Kurtz  The circumstances aren’t nearly as dire for Maryland Democrats as they are for their national counterparts. But there are some eerie similarities between the U.S. senators who are fighting for their political lives this fall and the Maryland state senators who are fighting for theirs. What they have in common is the hostile territory the Democrats are battling on. To prevail in these contests, the Democrats are going to have to dramatically surpass their party’s average performance levels, in some cases by 20 points or more. But Democrats have quality candidates in many of these races. Not only that, many of these candidates have a strong political brand – either through their own work, or from the political legacies of their families – that often inoculates them even in the most challenging electoral environments. The question is whether the political undertow is just too powerful this fall, and... Continue reading
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