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: Political Teases

Tell the truth, was anyone surprised when Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger (D) announced last week that he would not be running for Senate in 2016? The Senate campaign, it seemed, had long passed Ruppersberger by – just as many other statewide campaigns had in the past two decades. But until last week he insisted, half a year after U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D) had announced her retirement plans, that he was still mulling the race. When it comes to political teases, Ruppersberger is the current Maryland champion. But he’s hardly alone. It has been 19 years since Ruppersberger first floated his name as a possible candidate for statewide office. Remember the drama back then? Ruppersberger, then the Baltimore County executive, and now in his seventh term in Congress, was part of a cabal of Democrats who descended on the Maryland Association of Counties summer convention in Ocean City, plotting to deny incumbent... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: Getting Schooled by Larry Hogan

When she announced her resignation last month, State Superintendent of Education Lillian Lowery described her new gig, heading an early education nonprofit in Columbus, Ohio, as an irresistible opportunity. Perhaps it was. But it is also possible that Lowery, a lifelong public school teacher and administrator who spent almost four years in the top job, saw changes coming in the state that she did not want to be a part of. Quietly, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) is seeking to remake the Maryland State Board of Education, filling it with advocates for charter schools, religious education and greater corporate involvement in the management of schools. Five of Hogan’s appointees are already serving on the state board on a provisional basis – their nominations will be considered by the state Senate next year – and by the end of 2016 the overwhelming majority of the 11 board members will be Hogan’s appointees (a... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: More Political Potpourri

Anthony Brown’s financial solicitations in the 4th congressional district have been constant and beseeching. Still, it was surprising that the former lieutenant governor’s campaign sent one out on Wednesday – Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year for Jews. While Brown isn’t Jewish, and neither is most of the Dist. 4 electorate, many candidates tend to forego the tin cup shaking on major religious holidays, regardless of their own faith. If you want to be a stickler, Yom Kippur officially ended at sunset Wednesday – 7:04 p.m. in Washington, D.C., according to the website And Brown’s email hit our in-box at 7:02 p.m. Still… But for even greater chutzpah, there was Del. Dereck Davis’ fundraising solicitation that also went out Wednesday evening – after sundown. Davis, one of several Democrats battling Brown for the nomination in the 4th district race, tried to capitalize on Pope Francis’ visit to the... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: Political Notes from All Over

We still don’t know whether Wes Moore, the author and entrepreneur, is going to run for mayor of Baltimore next year. But if he does, he should be in good hands on the campaign trail. According to multiple sources, Moore has reached an agreement in principle with well-regarded Democratic strategist Lisa Bianco to run his campaign – if he decides to make the leap. Bianco worked most recently as chief of staff to Maryland Congressman John Delaney (D) and spent several years with Maryland Congressman Steny Hoyer (D), the No. 2 House Democrat. She has close ties to several Democratic factions in the state, and has national political connections as well. Moore has flirted with a run for months but has only recently begun to publicly acknowledge the possibility – and talk of his candidacy has grown louder since Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake (D) announced on Sept. 11 that she would not... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: A Daughter of Baltimore – And Her Burden

Pete Rawlings was the smartest person I ever knew in Maryland politics. The late House Appropriations chairman had the rare combination of street smarts, book smarts and political smarts. He used all three with steely effectiveness. Rawlings could sense political moods and trends better than anyone. He seized opportunities, exploited people’s weaknesses and was completely fearless. He didn’t care what people thought about him or about the consequences of his words and deeds. He could be a tough SOB, but his heart was bursting with compassion. He had a dry, wicked sense of humor, and a sly grin. It must have been hard for his daughter, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, to measure up. She was bred for a life in politics, and entered her father’s line of work at the ridiculously young age of 25, when she was elected to the Baltimore City Council. So in essence, Rawlings-Blake was forced to grow up... Continue reading
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