Maryland Voters Back Slot MachinesAmendment to Allow Early Voting Also Passes
Maryland voters gave their blessing to slot machine gambling, approving a ballot measure to amend the state constitution to allow as many as 15,000 of the devices at five locations across the state. Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) and other slots supporters said revenue from slot machines would help balance the state budget, protect education funding and aid Maryland's ailing horse racing industry.
Voters also approved a lower-profile constitutional amendment that will allow the General Assembly to establish early voting, starting with the 2010 elections.
Absentee Votes to Decide Tax MeasureProposal's Success Mirrors Residents' Concerns
Whether an anti-tax measure on the ballot in Montgomery County eventually passes or fails, its relative success in Tuesday's election is a sign of voters' anxiety and rising unease with the tax policies of county leaders.
The measure, which would make it more difficult to raise the limit on property tax revenue in the traditionally liberal county, was leading by a few hundred votes after Election Day. But the final outcome won't be determined until more than 49,000 absentee and provisional ballots are counted in the two weeks following Tuesday.
The proposal was originated by tax activist Robin Ficker, who has pressed for stricter limits on local property tax increases.
Fairfax Explains Grades to CollegesParents Upset at Tougher-Than-Average Scale
Fairfax County school officials are developing a guide to help college admissions officers understand the county's tough grading scale by showing how students perform in relation to one another.
The action was prompted by parents who are lobbying to change the county's grading scale, which requires 94 percent for an A and gives no extra credit for honors courses. They say the policy is punitive compared with the 90 percent standard used in many other places, including Montgomery County, and puts their children at a disadvantage in applying for colleges and scholarships. Fairfax County gives half a point for Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate classes, less than what many other school systems give.
Democrats Win Senate, House RacesMark Warner, Gerald Connolly Beat GOP Foes
Democrat Mark R. Warner cruised to a decisive victory in the U.S. Senate race against Republican James S. Gilmore III, giving Virginia two Democratic senators for the first time in almost four decades.
In the 11th Congressional District, Democrat Gerald E. Connolly, chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, beat political newcomer Keith S. Fimian, a Republican owner of a national home-inspection business. Connolly and Fimian sought to replace retiring Rep. Tom Davis, a moderate and popular Republican.
Schwartz Loses to Michael Brown in D.C.Longtime GOP Council Member Ran as Write-In
Carol Schwartz, the longtime Republican D.C. Council member and former mayoral candidate, lost a bid for a fifth term to challenger Michael A. Brown, who ran as an independent for the at-large seat.
Brown, the son of the late Clinton administration official Ron Brown, claimed victory after failing in previous tries for the mayoralty and a Ward 4 council seat. Schwartz ran as a write-in candidate after losing the Republican primary to Patrick Mara. Two at-large seats were at stake, and under the Home Rule Charter, one of them had to go to a non-Democrat. Council member Kwame R. Brown (D) easily won reelection.
Fenty Names New Jobs Services HeadMass. Official Will Replace Ousted Administrator
D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) appointed a Massachusetts official as director of the District's troubled Department of Employment Services, the agency that mishandled the mayor's summer jobs program and overspent its budget by $30 million.
Joseph P. Walsh, director of policy and planning for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, will take over the District's jobs agency, effective Dec. 1. He replaces Summer Spencer, who resigned under pressure in August. The employment agency's mishandling of the summer jobs program was the Fenty administration's biggest embarrassment in his nearly two years in office.