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DAYBREAK DAILY: Montgomery County looms large for Doug Gansler

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ABC7 WEATHER: Cloudy with highs near 70, followed by plummeting temperatures and severe rain storms. http://wj.la/72e8x6

‘GOOD MORNING WASHINGTON’: Among the reports – Howard County Police Department will hold a press conference to share information learned in the investigation into the January shooting incident at the Columbia Mall; Ukraine – the latest, as Congress mulls move; much more, beginning at 4:30 a.m. M-F.

MARYLAND RACE 2014: Of a key county, per the Washington Post, “Douglas F. Gansler grew up in the leafy Montgomery County community of Chevy Chase, just north of the District and a short drive from the important federal jobs held by his father, a high-level Defense Department employee, and many other county residents. Lowen’s toy store and Gifford’s ice cream, both in downtown Bethesda, were favorite destinations. After college and law school, Gansler returned to the county, raising a family just a few miles from his childhood home.

“Now Gansler is trying to do something that no other Montgomery County resident has done: get elected governor of Maryland. He emphasizes this goal every time he appears in Maryland’s most populous county, sometimes with his wife and mother in attendance. . . The former county prosecutor, now the state attorney general, promised to stop what he called Annapolis’s practice of treating Montgomery as “the state’s ATM” and to advocate for more state spending in the county, which is increasingly diverse ethnically and economically. To prevail in the June 24 Democratic primary, Gansler has to win big in his home county, most analysts say. At this point, he has a long way to go.” http://wapo.st/1lzC6Vv

VINCE GRAY: Of an interesting evening, per City Paper, “Who do you trust? On one hand, there's self-admitted serial election fraudster Jeff Thompson. On the other, there's Vince Gray: mayor, former nonprofit director, man of the people.That's the choice Gray set up in his State of the District address tonight at Ward 7's Kelly Miller Middle School, a day after Thompson entered a guilty plea and claimed Gray asked Thompson to fund an illicit shadow campaign to get him elected in 2010. Gray described Thompson's life, then his own.

"So I ask you, who do you believe?" Gray said. "A greedy man attempting to save himself, or me, a public servant who has dedicated my entire career and my entire life to giving back to our communities in the District of Columbia?" Gray acknowledged that not everyone—specifically, not some people in the whiter areas of town to the west of his home ward, Ward 7—is likely to believe his claims that he didn't ask Thompson for illegal favors. "To some in our city, I'm just another corrupt politician from the other side of town," Gray said.” http://bit.ly/1ibUy6G

HOUSE OF CARDS: Or something like that, per the Baltimore Sun, “Here's your chance to own Frank Underwood's favorite restaurant. A vacant storefront in Waverly, better known as "Freddy's BBQ Joint" to fans of the Netflix original series, is for sale.

“Owner Mahmut Nazli is selling the property at 2601 Greenmount Ave. for $119,000, although he says he would also be open to renting the four-bedroom house. The property's most recent assessment put its value at $21,000, according to the state's real estate database. Nazli said he was surprised when "House of Cards" producers asked him if they could film in the storefront. The crew did some renovations to the space, adding walls and shelves, which he asked them to leave.” http://bsun.md/1lzFIqA

OBAMACARE AND THE COMMONWEALTH: Not bad, per the Richmond Times-Dispatch, “With one month to go, Virginia already has passed the federal target for enrollment in health plans in the new insurance marketplace created under the Affordable Care Act. Almost 103,000 Virginians have enrolled in health plans through the marketplace operated by the federal government, or 101.2 percent of the target of 101,600 set by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, according to The Associated Press.

“Nationally, the federal and state marketplaces are lagging behind their target of about 5.7 million, with 4.2 million people signing up for coverage through the end of February. But in Virginia, one of 36 states that chose not to operate its own exchange, the totals represent a huge shift after the disastrous rollout of the federal marketplace in October and November, when just 4,000 people were able to enroll here.” http://bit.ly/O0btOx

POTUS DOES HIS THING: Outside the ferns, per the New York Times, “President Obama this week will seek to force American businesses to pay more overtime to millions of workers, the latest move by his administration to confront corporations that have had soaring profits even as wages have stagnated. On Thursday, the president will direct the Labor Department to revamp its regulations to require overtime pay for several million additional fast-food managers, loan officers, computer technicians and others whom many businesses currently classify as “executive or professional” employees to avoid paying them overtime, according to White House officials briefed on the announcement.

“Mr. Obama’s decision to use his executive authority to change the nation’s overtime rules is likely to be seen as a challenge to Republicans in Congress, who have already blocked most of the president’s economic agenda and have said they intend to fight his proposal to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour from $7.25. Mr. Obama’s action is certain to anger the business lobby in Washington, which has long fought for maximum flexibility for companies in paying overtime.” http://nyti.ms/1i5fETA

KEY RACE RESULTS: Or so they say, per The Hill, “Republican David Jolly defeated Democrat Alex Sink in the special election to fill Florida’s 13th district on Tuesday night, delivering a stinging blow to Democrats that underscores their vulnerability to ObamaCare attacks. With all precincts reporting, Jolly topped Sink 48.4 percent to 46.5 percent, winning by 3,417 votes. Libertarian Lucas Overby took nearly 5 percent of the vote.

“Sink’s loss in the race to succeed the late Rep. Bill Young (R-Fla.) was seen by Republicans as evidence the political winds are blowing hard against Democrats in their uphill pursuit of the 17 seats they’ll need to take back the House. “Tonight, one of Nancy Pelosi’s most prized candidates was ultimately brought down because of her unwavering support for ObamaCare, and that should be a loud warning for other Democrats running coast to coast," National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden (Ore.) said in a statement. A swing district held by a Republican but won by President Obama in 2012, Florida’s 13th district is exactly the playing field Democrats need to win in this cycle to be successful. Democrats pointed out that the special election turnout would always trend GOP, and they downplayed their loss on Tuesday evening.” http://bit.ly/1lVaZr1

POLITICO PLAY: “Internal Central Intelligence Agency e-mails detail misgivings about an in-house review of aggressive, Bush-era interrogations of terrorism suspects and show how that inquiry was curtailed by a separate Justice Department probe, according to the documents obtained by POLITICO.

“The e-mails appear to discuss the same internal review at the core of a unusual public row between the CIA and lawmakers that escalated dramatically Tuesday when Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein delivered a blistering floor speech accusing the agency of trying to thwart oversight and possibly undermining the Constitution by spying on the work of Senate aides.” http://politi.co/1fpkYfZ

MORE NAVY SHIPS: Well, kind of, per the Virginian-Pilot, “With a few strokes on a keyboard, the Navy's top brass avoids shrinking its 280-ship fleet next year by simply reclassifying a couple of hospital ships and its small patrol craft deployed overseas. The changes, quietly noted in the Defense Department's 2015 budget proposal released last week, add the dozen vessels to the battle force and help make up for the planned retirement of 10 frigates, a submarine and other ships.

“The Navy's proposed 2015 budget, part of a $496 billion defense spending plan, also calls for adding eight new ships to the fleet. Under what it calls "revised counting rules," the Navy calculates, it will have 283 ships next year. However, if the dozen existing ships aren't transferred to the battle force, the fleet drops to 271 ships.” http://bit.ly/1gk4zOv  

NO MORE: Just the facts, per Gazette.Net, “A loophole that lets part-time school employees and coaches escape prosecution for sexual conduct with a minor could close without a controversial exemption for conduct between those close in age. Maryland law criminalizes sexual contact between people who are considered to be in a “position of authority” and minors in their care. But the law is limited to full-time school employees including principals, vice principals, teachers and school counselors.

“A 2012 case in Montgomery County illustrated the limit of the current law when a 47-year-old teacher and coach who was accused of having sex with a 16-year-old former student couldn’t be prosecuted because he was a part-time employee. Maryland’s Senate advanced to a final vote Tuesday its version of a bill broadening the law to include part-time and contractual employees as those subject to the law and close the loophole.” http://bit.ly/1fTfuQs

MAIN STREET: Sounds good in theory, per the Frederick News-Post, “Myersville’s long-awaited Main Street construction project begins Monday. The Town Council recently awarded Hagerstown-based Kinsley Construction a $1.7 million contract for the nine- to 10-month project to rebuild 2,000 feet of Main Street that the town owns. An additional 3,000 feet of sidewalk is being replaced simultaneously along the section of Main Street the state owns.

“Letters have been sent to residents and schools informing them of the construction, including how trash pickup will be handled as the project is underway. “Main Street will be a busy place, and (we’ve got) to work with folks to minimize the impact the projects will have,” Town Manager Kristin Aleshire said. “We’ve done a pretty extensive outreach effort to create as much awareness as possible.” http://bit.ly/1lVbMbq

SPORTS, BRIEFLY: Caps lose 2-0 against Pittsburgh.

TRENDING ON ABC7 FACEBOOK: “A Fredericksburg 1st grader has beat cancer four times, and now faces a virus he contracted after a bone marrow transplant. Doctors said that a medicine could save him, but that it wasn't yet on the market. After a social media campaign launched to put pressure on the drug manufacturer to provide the trial medicine, the company has finally decided to give Brincidofovir to 7-year-old Josh Hardy.” http://wj.la/1lPGQJF

NEWSTALK: Among today’s topics (10 a.m., NewsChannel 8) -- The first of two back-to-back D.C. mayoral debates. We’ll speak with candidates Vincent Orange, Andy Shallal, Reta Jo Lewis and Carlos Allen. On Thursday at 7 p.m., we will hear from Mayor Gray, Muriel Bowser, Jack Evans and Tommy Wells.

--Skip Wood swood@wjla.com

 

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