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: Change Maryland?

There is nothing inherently wrong with the idea of revamping state government, as Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced last week that he plans to do. And if you’re going to have someone look under the hood of the state bureaucracy, Bobby Neall is a pretty good guy to be tinkering with the engine. So why does something feel terribly wrong about this exercise? Hogan named the well-liked and widely-respected Neall, the Republican-turned-Democrat-turned Republican who has been a peripatetic figure in state politics for almost four decades, chief of the new and grandly named Office of Transformation and Renewal. “State government, as it stands today, is unwieldy and needs to be fixed,” Hogan said. “Bobby Neall has the experience, patience, and vision to revitalize our government to ensure that every single agency in the state is running at peak efficiency and that Marylanders are the beneficiaries of high-quality services.” Neall, for his... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: House Freshmen Honor Roll

Ask Annapolis insiders to evaluate the 60-strong class of House freshmen so far and some say – with tongues only partly in cheek – that it’s easier to name the bad ones than the standouts. It may eventually be worth having a conversation about the lawmakers who are disappointments. But you also want to give these people some time, and the benefit of the doubt. Not every top-notch Annapolis legislator started out that way. Yet already, after just two legislative sessions, a consensus is building on the stronger members of the House Class of 2014. The top 10 are listed below. Some came to Annapolis with a lot of political experience – though none has held elective office before. Others are true political novices. Some are mere kids. And all seem to have bright political futures – whether they’re thinking that far ahead or not. We are refraining, for now, from... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: The 74 Percent Solution

Thank you, Gov. Hogan. He wants thanks for keeping the peace after last year's Baltimore riots? There, we’ve just said it. Thank you also, Governor, for reminding us how petty and thin-skinned you can be. Thank you for showing what high regard you have for yourself and what little regard you have for the concept of separation of powers. Thank you for revealing that you view tackling urban problems as an annoyance, rather than a responsibility and an opportunity. Thank you for continuing to use last year’s Baltimore riots as a dog whistle to those of your supporters who have a healthy fear and loathing of the majority-black city. And thank you for interpreting high poll numbers as license to do what you want -- and to delegitimize legitimate dissent. At a time when the Maryland political community was understandably focused on last week's primary results and associated fallout, as Democrats... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: Franchot Finds His Footing

Peter Franchot wants you to know: He’s still a Democrat. Estranged from the party establishment for what seems like forever, the state comptroller convened a meeting of 20 or so Democratic elected officials, party activists and thought leaders from across Maryland at his stately Takoma Park home on Sunday afternoon. On a day when most politicians and party stalwarts were engaged in frenetic, last-minute pre-primary campaign activities, Franchot brought this group together to discuss the future of the Democratic Party in Maryland – and by implication, his own. It’s hardly news that Franchot has infuriated many Democratic leaders – and some party allies and activists – by cozying up to Republican Gov. Larry Hogan since Hogan’s surprise election. Franchot’s every move seems calculated to poke a finger, often gratuitously, in the eye of top Annapolis Democrats and potential Hogan challengers – conveniently failing to mention that he himself has been a... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: Primary Preview: The Resurrection Will Not Be Televised

If former Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon winds up losing her comeback bid in the Democratic primary next week, what will analysts say led to her defeat? There of course could be many factors, but one of them may be her relative lack of contrition, six years after resigning for pocketing gift cards meant for poor children and accepting lavish gifts from a developer she was dating. A little-noticed email she sent to supporters on Easter Sunday drove that point home. If you read that email a certain way, far from being contrite, Dixon seemed to compare herself to Jesus. “The resurrection is the greatest comeback!” – she wrote, calling Baltimoreans “conquerors,” not unlike Jesus’ disciples, equipped to overcome “whatever fear, despair or disappointment you have.” “Together, we will Reclaim, Revive, Rebuild and Resurrect our city,” she promised. Although she has trailed slightly in the most recent public polls, Dixon could still... Continue reading
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