<![CDATA[NBC4 Washington - First Read]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbcwashington.com/blogs/first-read-dmv http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/WASH+NBC4+BLUE.png NBC4 Washington http://www.nbcwashington.comen-usSat, 28 May 2016 07:57:15 -0400Sat, 28 May 2016 07:57:15 -0400NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Va. Gov. Says Feds Found No Wrongdoing]]> Wed, 25 May 2016 16:56:55 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/VA-Governor-Terry-GettyImages-511714986.jpg

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said Wednesday that federal investigators looking at donations from his 2013 campaign have told his attorney there's no indication he did anything wrong.

The governor said on a WTOP radio program that his attorney reached out to federal prosecutors following reports that McAuliffe is a subject of a federal investigation.

"My lawyer reached out to the Justice Department, and asked if they've had any indication of any wrongdoing on my part, and the answer was no,'' McAuliffe said.

His attorney, James W. Cooper, and a Justice Department spokesman did not immediately return requests for comment.

A law enforcement official told The Associated Press earlier this week that McAuliffe is the subject of a federal investigation related to campaign finance.

The governor said he believes the investigation centers around a donation connected to a Chinese businessman, Wang Wenliang. Federal law forbids foreigners from contributing to U.S. political campaigns, but McAuliffe said Wang has held a green card for nearly a decade and is a legitimate donor.

McAuliffe also criticized federal law enforcement officials for leaking information about the probe and said he and Wang have been treated unfairly.

"This poor man has been dragged through the mud for giving a legitimate contribution,'' McAuliffe said.

Wang is a member of China's ruling Communist Party and a delegate from the northeastern province of Liaoning to the country's ceremonial legislature, the National People's Congress, according to the body's website.

Membership in the congress, which meets only once a year, is often awarded based on contributions to China's economy and society. Proposals raised by Wang at the two-week annual session focused on economic development in the northeast and improving China's foreign trade links, according to a website run by the Chinese Cabinet's information office.

In 2012, Wang was awarded an honorary doctorate of business administration from the University of South Carolina, the school said in news release.

It described him as a "major benefactor engaged in U.S.-China relations, Southeast Asia relations and relations on the Korean peninsula,'' and said he had supported scholarly and exchange programs at New York University and the University of South Carolina's Darla Moore School of Business, where he established the Hodges Scholars Program to fund research and scholarships for students and faculty in China.

McAuliffe said he doesn't think he's even met Wang, though he believes he has met people from Wang's company.

A spokeswoman for Wang declined to comment.

One of Wang's companies, New Jersey-based West Legend, gave $70,000 to McAuliffe's gubernatorial campaign and $50,000 to his inaugural committee in 2013, according to Virginia campaign finance records.

Wang's campaign giving appears limited to McAuliffe. Neither West Legend nor Wang has given to any other state-level campaign, according to the National Institute on Money in State Politics, a nonprofit money-in-politics tracker. Nor has Wang personally given to federal candidates, according to the Federal Elections Commission's database.

McAuliffe, a Democrat and longtime friend of Bill and Hillary Clinton, said he's also confident the investigation won't harm Hillary Clinton's presidential bid.

"I don't think this has anything to do with Hillary Clinton,'' McAuliffe said.

McAuliffe is a former board member of the Clinton Global Initiative, a program of the Clinton Foundation. The foundation reports that it received $1 million to $5 million from one of Wang's companies, Rilin Enterprises, but does not say when the money was given.

Rilin, one of China's biggest architecture and design companies, has taken on multiple international projects, including construction work on China's consulate in New York City and its United Nations representative office, according to Chinese media reports.

One of Wang's companies, Dandong Port Group, has a trade deal to ship Virginia soybeans to China. Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore said Dandong has purchased "hundreds of millions'' worth of Virginia soybeans in recent years.

Wang is chairman of the group, based in the Chinese city of the same name along the North Korean border.

Wang is also an active environmentalist. Democratic Leader Harry Reid last year thanked Wang for his "commitment and dedication'' to restoring the Dandong Yalu River Estuary Wetland in China, according to a statement published in the congressional record.



Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[White House May Veto Bill to Take Away DC's Budget Power]]> Wed, 25 May 2016 10:54:44 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/dc-flag-shutterstock_206336773.jpg

The White House announced President Barack Obama could potentially veto the congressional measure to take away Washington, D.C.’s ability to spend its own money without approval from Capitol Hill.

House Resolution 5233 would repeal a referendum, approved by D.C. voters in 2013, that granted the District budget autonomy. It allowed Washington to spend local tax collections and non-Federal funds without congressional approval.

The House bill is expected to go to the floor on Wednesday. However, senior advisors to Obama said they would recommend the president veto the bill.

“The residents of the District and their elected leaders deserve to have the same ability as other U.S. residents and elected leaders to determine how to use their local revenues to address their unique needs,” a statement of administration policy read. “Such authority is fundamental to a well-functioning democracy, and the Congress denying the District this authority is an affront to the residents and elected leaders of the District.”

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) expressed her appreciation to the Obama administration for signaling their intention to veto.

“I am enormously grateful to the White House for strongly supporting D.C. home rule and condemning this latest effort by House Republicans to trample on the will of our voters,” Norton said. “ Budget autonomy has tremendous benefits for the District’s finances and daily operations, and Congress would lose nothing. The White House’s veto threat will give us momentum as we battle to keep the repeal bill from moving in the Senate or being attached to an omnibus later this year.”

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<![CDATA[Sherwood's Notebook: Words Matter... a Lot!]]> Wed, 25 May 2016 11:03:29 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/212*120/1104-redskins-generic.jpg

Well, The Washington Post certainly set off a firestorm with its published poll on whether the word "Redskins" offends Native Americans.

The Post went to a lot of trouble to describe how it located people self-identifying as Native Americans. The poll of just over 500 respondents showed nine out of 10 took no offense.

Some used the results as justification to back away from demands that team owner Dan Snyder change the name. Native American activists denounced the poll, declaring that no poll and no appeal to pride could erase the racist meaning of the name.

The New York Times was among several publications that picked up reporting on the poll. Times sportswriter Dan Barry allowed how offensive names can be muted over time: "Not long ago, for example, 'queer' was considered a pejorative for gays and lesbians; now it has become what linguists call a reclaimed epithet — a word adopted by a group in empowering defiance."

But Barry mostly quoted activists and academics about the racist history of the name and its lingering effects. The Barry article had 780 responses by the time the comment section was closed two days later.

The backdrop of this poll has important implications. If you believe city leaders, Snyder is serious about funding a new team stadium on the site of old RFK. But Snyder has said he would never change the team name. That's a sticking point because the entire D.C. Council has voted against the name, signifying that it would be a deal-killer.

■ Huh? No. 1. The Daily Caller is a conservative news and opinion website. It focuses mainly on national and international political affairs. But on May 21, it put up a much-mocked story on seven reasons why the District of Columbia doesn't deserve statehood and why it would be "an epic disaster."

The No. 1 reason listed? "The city's mismanagement of the dysfunctional Metro system." Woefully, there is not even a hint that Metro is a regional transportation system.

The story also slams the city's history of corruption. If corruption were a standard for denying voting rights and self-government, many states — New York and Illinois come immediately to mind — would forfeit their statehood status.

The Notebook will give the rookie reporter some slack. His LinkedIn profile says he has worked for the Daily Caller only since January and that his previous job for three years (while in college) was as a conference center technician who set up ballrooms and audiovisual equipment. No professional journalism background, but again, you have to start somewhere.

■ Huh? No. 2. Federal prosecutors may have given up their investigation to prove former Mayor Vincent Gray knew all about that dastardly 2010 shadow campaign.

But the upcoming prison sentencing of two key players in the scheme is keeping the scandal in focus for the media and, especially, The Washington Post. The Post has several reporters still trying to untangle the scheme and connect Gray to it.

But Gray's supporters are crying foul at the latest Post story. It fills in the blanks of some redacted court documents addressing what Gray knew or didn't know during the scheme at the time. The Post story has Gray's former girlfriend confirming she is the person in the documents emailing about the shadow campaign, suggesting she at the time told Gray about those concerns. (If true, that would tie Gray to having at least contemporaneous knowledge of the shadow effort, something he always has denied.)

The "huh" comes in when the former girlfriend, public relations veteran Linda Greene, talks to The Post for its latest story. Did Greene, in fact, tell Gray of concerns about "off the books" spending?

"I think I did," Greene told The Post. "I would say it's most likely I did. I can't say I definitely did."

Read that sentence again. No wonder the prosecutors were wringing their hands trying to indict Gray. As Gray's veteran campaign aide Chuck Thies so simply put it, "Summary: She said she said that she said something she said to him that maybe she didn't say or maybe he didn't hear."

Gray now is running for the Ward 7 council seat held by Yvette Alexander, a former ally. Greene has held a fundraiser for Alexander.

Gray's supporters contend the Post mashup is just another story trying to derail Gray's comeback. (A Post editorial on Gray slammed him again and endorsed Alexander, saying that although she hadn't been a very good council member, she was at least ethical.)

Supporters of Gray firmly believe prosecutors in 2014 derailed Gray's bid for re-election as mayor by getting Jeffrey Thomson — who financed the shadow campaign — to plead guilty and implicate Gray just a month before the primary won by Muriel Bowser that year.

The moneyman Thompson — who steadfastly has refused to make any public comment on the case — will be sentenced June 10 for his role in the shadow campaign and other corruption crimes. Gray's Democratic primary faceoff with Alexander is four days later, June 14. (The sentencing was set before Gray announced his campaign.)

■ Clarification. It wasn't the bourbon. We promise. Reporting last week on the Bourbon & Bluegrass event at President Lincoln's Cottage, we bungled a key fact. The Lincoln Cottage is on the grounds of the Armed Forces Retirement Home, but the cottage is independently run by a nonprofit. Find all you need (and maybe donate) at lincolncottage.org. Our apologies go to the hard-working folks who support the cottage.

Tom Sherwood, a Southwest resident, is a political reporter for News 4.

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<![CDATA[Clinton, Trump 2 of Most Unpopular Likely Nominees in Decades]]> Mon, 23 May 2016 07:43:24 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000014798412_1200x675_690909763884.jpg Mark Murray of NBC News discusses the results of the new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, which shows Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are two of the most unpopular likely presidential nominees in decades. Murray said this illustrates just how polarized American politics are right now.]]> <![CDATA[Trump Delegate Faces Child Porn, Explosives, Gun Charges]]> Thu, 19 May 2016 18:19:21 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/CalebBaileyMug.jpg

A Donald Trump delegate in Charles County, Maryland, is facing federal charges related to child pornography, illegally transporting explosives and illegally possessing a machine gun, authorities said.

A federal grand jury indicted 30-year-old Caleb Andrew Bailey, of Waldorf, on Wednesday, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland and law enforcement agencies announced Thursday.

In light of the charges, Bailey has withdrawn as a Trump delegate and the Charles County Republican Central Committee is moving to replace him, a spokesman for the committee said.

"We strongly condemn these allegations and leave it in the capable hands of law enforcement," spokesman Hope Hicks said Thursday. "He will be replaced immediately."

Investigators said postal workers found a package with ammunition and explosives at a postal facility in Capital Heights on Feb. 18.

The package, which was addressed to someone in Wisconsin, was linked to Bailey a few days later when he called the U.S. Postal Service inquiring about the package. Investigators said Bailey did not have a federal explosives license to transport the explosives.

Authorities arranged to meet with Bailey at a postal facility May 5 to discuss the package, but Bailey did not show up for the meeting.

Law enforcement then searched Bailey's properties and found a machine gun, investigators said.

According to the indictment, investigators also discovered that Bailey engaged in sexually explicit conduct with a minor to produce child pornography and he possessed child porn.

Bailey faces up to 50 years in prison for charges including unlawful transport of explosives, illegal possession of a machine gun, production and attempted production of child pornography and possessing child pornography.

Bailey is in custody pending a detention hearing May 24 in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt.

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<![CDATA[Sherwood's Notebook: Two Radical Changes]]> Wed, 18 May 2016 17:15:01 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Muriel-Bowser-AP_816174278725.jpg

Mayor Muriel Bowser’s ambitious — and expensive — plan to close the homeless shelter at D.C. General is getting a major rewrite.

And a key House committee on the Hill is showing District citizens who’s boss of the city’s budget.

First, the mayor’s housing plan.

The D.C. Council on Tuesday approved a move to scrap Bowser’s plan to build smaller, alternative housing on five privately owned sites around the city and close the decrepit D.C. General shelter in 2018.

Council Chairman Phil Mendelson instead offered a substitute bill moving three of those five projects onto parcels already owned by the city. That move alone would save millions of dollars and deny lucrative profits to private developers. (That was a big criticism of Bowser’s plan in the first place.)

Under Mendelson’s revised homeless plan, the remaining two sites on private land would be purchased by the city upfront, again denying huge profits to current owners. If the owners don’t want to sell at a given price, the Mendelson bill allows for eminent domain to seize the properties.

The council move irritated the mayor, who says it jeopardizes her ability to close D.C. General in 2018. WAMU reporter Martin Austermuhle reported overhearing Bowser scream an obscenity — “f—-ing liar!” — at Mendelson for saying that the changes wouldn’t impact the 2018 closing and that the mayor hadn’t consulted with the council enough. The mayor’s office declined to comment on the reported slur.

From Mendelson’s committee report: “The Committee closely examined its cost-effectiveness, its potential for complications due to zoning disputes, its long-term impact on the District’s ability to meet its obligation to shelter families experiencing homelessness, the adequacy of individual proposed sites for the intended purpose, and the overall feasibility of the plan to close D.C. General as rapidly as possible.”

That’s a long way of saying the Bowser plan was too expensive and had not had enough community involvement with picking sites.

The report, in particular, said the proposed Ward 3 site on Wisconsin Avenue NW (and now moved adjacent to the 2nd District Police Headquarters on Idaho Avenue NW) would have created “windfall” profits for private owners.

Both the mayor and the council agree D.C. General is no proper home for anyone. But the mayor and council still will need to work out details on the scattered-site homeless plan. And community groups — and zoning concerns — still need to be heard.

Visit tinyurl.com/shelter-draft-bill and tinyurl.com/shelter-committee to read the revised bill and the committee report, respectively.

Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill Tuesday, the city’s bold move to radically change how Congress reviews the city’s annual budget may be hitting the wall many have expected.

The House Government Oversight and Reform Committee on Tuesday approved on a partisan vote a bill to nullify local legislation allowing “budget autonomy.”

In short, the city decided it would change the congressional charter under which the local government has operated since 1974. Instead of awaiting formal approval of the budget each year, as it has done for more than four decades, the city decided the local budget need only be subject to a 30-day review period, like most D.C. legislation.

City voters backed the change to the charter, and it survived its own legislative review period on the Hill. But the Government Accountability Office and Republican leaders of the House said all along the move was illegal. D.C. officials disagree, citing a court case decided by a D.C. Superior Court judge.

The full Republican House likely will move the bill nullifying the city’s grab of more independence. If it comes up for a vote in the Senate, it may pass. And if it is attached to some must-pass legislation, Democratic President Barack Obama is unlikely to put up a fight based on his treatment of the city in the past.

At a press conference Tuesday, D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton vowed to fight on. “We are by no means giving up on Congress,” she said, noting only full statehood would get the city out from under congressional rule.

■ Bourbon & Bluegrass. The Notebook was out at President Lincoln’s Cottage on Sunday for the Friends of the Soldiers Home fundraising concert. The weather cooperated, and about 300 people showed up for bluegrass, lawn games and Rocklands Barbeque.

With our friend Pepin Tuma, we walked the grounds of the Armed Forces Retirement Home, on which the cottage sits. It is remarkable space, but much of it is in disrepair. The stately Grant Building is empty and fenced off.

As much fun as we had at the Bourbon and Bluegrass event, we couldn’t help but think a new tune needs to be played to save the old buildings.

Take a walk on the grounds the next time you visit President Lincoln’s Cottage. The buildings are magnificent to see; just look past the fencing of the Grant Building. It needs a savior.

And here’s your chance — the upcoming Memorial Day holiday on May 30 is a perfect day to go. There’s a wreath-laying ceremony at the Logan Mausoleum and guided tours of the cemetery where Abe Lincoln himself would walk, struggling with the grief of the Civil War dead and wounded. The cemetery is beautiful and haunting and far less crowded than other national cemeteries on this important day.

Tom Sherwood, a Southwest resident, is a political reporter for News 4.



Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[House Committee Asserts Budget Power Over DC Government]]> Tue, 17 May 2016 20:41:14 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/20150517+DC+Budget.jpg

A House committee approved a bill on Tuesday that would block the District of Columbia government from spending local tax dollars without approval by Congress. 

The party-line vote by the House Oversight Committee was not a surprise after Republican leaders, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, characterized the city's so-called "budget autonomy" law as an illegal attempt to take power away from Congress. 

The District government has sent its budget to Congress for approval every year since the city was granted home rule in 1973. But this year, city leaders planned to skip that step. City voters approved a referendum granting freedom over the budget to the District, and a judge ruled in the city's favor after the law was challenged in court. 

The arcane issue of how and when the city can spend its money is a big deal to local officials and advocates of home rule, who say it's unfair for the city government to be treated like a federal agency. Roughly three-quarters of the city's $13 billion budget comes from local tax dollars rather than federal appropriations. In the past, the city government has been forced to close during federal shutdowns even though it had the money to continue operating. 

But Republicans said Congress clearly intended to have the final say over the city budget when it granted home rule.

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrat who represents the District in Congress, noted that budget autonomy has garnered plenty of Republican support in the past. She said local control of the local budget is a commonsense principle that saves both time and money. 

"This is the most significant abuse of congressional authority since the passage of the Home Rule Act in 1973," Norton said.

Norton said the Senate is unlikely to take up the bill. However, Republicans could ensure its passage by inserting identical language into an appropriations bill or another critical piece of legislation. 

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<![CDATA[Change to Mayor's Homeless Plan Leads to an F-Bomb]]> Wed, 18 May 2016 15:53:30 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/20150517+DC+General.jpg

The debate over where to house the District's homeless after the large and aging D.C. General shelter closes apparently led to a tense moment this afternoon between the district's top two leaders.

D.C. Council gave preliminary approval Tuesday to a plan that would house homeless people in new shelters built in almost every ward on public-owned land. 

That new plan, which News4 first reported last week, radically alters what Mayor Muriel Bowser had proposed, which was to build new shelters on land that was privately owned.

The new council plan would save taxpayers more than $100 million, according to its author, D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson.

But the mayor contends it will delay closure of the troubled D.C. General shelter. 

Reporter Martin Austermuhle at WAMU says the Council vote led to Bowser shouting the F word at the council chairman, calling him a liar.

"You're a f---ing liar! You know it can't close in [2018]!" the mayor shouted, according to a tweet from Austermuhle.

News4 reached out to the mayor's office, which declined to comment.


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<![CDATA[Big Changes Coming to Mayor's Homelessness Plan]]> Mon, 16 May 2016 18:47:50 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/DC+General+Playground.jpg

A new bill is expected to radically change D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser's plan to house homeless families throughout all eight wards of the District.

District Council Chairman Phil Mendelson is planning to propose a subsitute bill Tuesday that guts Bowser's plan to build shelters on private land.

Instead, his bill would locate shelters on public-owned land throughout the city.

Mendelson says his plan would save the city many tens of millions of dollars. Bowser's plan had been criticized for enriching private developers.

News4 first reported Mendelson was rewriting the proposal last week.

Both Bowser and the members of D.C. Council are trying to close D.C. General, the large homeless shelter in an old hospital in Southeast. That's where 8-year-old Relisha Rudd was living when she went missing in 2014; Rudd, who police believe left with a janitor at the facility, has never been found.  

Meanwhile, D.C. is grappling with a jump in the number of homeless people. An annual survey just completed found that the number of homeless people in D.C. jumped 14 percent; the number of homeless families jumped almost 32 percent. 



Photo Credit: NBCWashington.com]]>
<![CDATA[DC Street Parking Rates Going Up June 1]]> Fri, 13 May 2016 11:07:45 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/ParkingMeter6.jpg

Parking on the street is about to get a lot more expensive in the nation's capital.

The city is preparing to set hourly parking rates at $2.30 city-wide. The change brings the cost of parking in non-commercial areas of the District on par with those in higher-demand zones, including downtown.

Parking rates in heavily commercial areas will go from $2 to $2.30 per hour. In residential areas, the rates will more than double, from 75 cents to $2.30.

The increase was ordered by the D.C. Council last year and will take effect June 1. The city says it will generate up to $2 million in fiscal year 2016.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA['Dealer School' for 700 Jobs at MGM Casino Starts Monday]]> Fri, 13 May 2016 10:00:08 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/051216+mgm+card+dealing.jpg

Crews at MGM National Harbor casino and resort are preparing for the grand opening and still need to hire 3,600 people, including 700 card dealers who can take training courses that start Monday.

Casino executives are betting Maryland residents and people across the region can learn fast. Jeff Elmore, vice president of table games at the casino, said experience is not necessary.

"We are going to give you the skills to become a dealer. All you have to do is come with a positive attitude," he said. "A smile on your face and a positive attitude."

Of the 3,600 new employees the company is seeking, 40 percent need to come from Prince George's County, per MGM's agreement with the county.

"We are going to meet our commitment, but we also are looking for people from D.C., Virginia and other parts of Maryland," vice president for human resources Logan Gaskill said.

MGM previously partnered with Prince George’s Community College on a culinary and hospitality training. Classes in the Dealer School Training Program start Monday in Oxon Hill. Tuition starts at $380, and courses in blackjack, craps, roulette and baccarat are offered.

"MGM National Harbor’s instructors will be available to help students determine their best career path," the community college's website says.

Completion of the program does not guarantee a job offer from MGM. Card dealers must audition and get licensed by the state, among other requirements.

Courtney Ison of Upper Marlboro got a crash course in card dealing Thursday, checking out her options at the dealer school's open house.

"It felt really good. I wasn’t expecting to do that well my first time," she said.



Photo Credit: NBC Washington]]>
<![CDATA[District Heights Mayor Found Dead in His Home]]> Fri, 13 May 2016 09:59:35 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/MayorJamesWells.jpg

The mayor of District Heights, Maryland, James L. Walls Jr., was found dead in his home Thursday, the mayor's office confirms to News4.

Police said there were no immediate signs of foul play in the death of the 39-year-old. He was found inside his home on Council Drive about 12 p.m. Thursday, police said. 

Gov. Larry Hogan offered his family's condolences.

"We send our deepest and most heartfelt prayers to the family, friends and loved ones of Mayor Walls, as well as the entire District Heights community as they mourn the loss of a dedicated and beloved public servant.”

According to the city's website, Walls was serving his third term as mayor after being re-elected in 2014. He was the youngest person ever elected to the post in the city of about 6,000.

An autopsy will be conducted to determine his cause of death. 

Stay with News4 and NBCWashington.com as we continue to update this story.



Photo Credit: DistrictHeights.org]]>
<![CDATA[New Md. Law Makes Birth Control, Vasectomies Free]]> Wed, 11 May 2016 12:42:44 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Birth-Control-GettyImages-129376341.jpg

Insured Maryland residents will be able to get birth control for no cost thanks to a bill that was signed into law Tuesday.

The Contraceptive Equity Act forces insurance companies to offer over-the-counter birth control at no cost to consumers, eliminates pre-authorization requirements and provides free vasectomies for men.

The morning-after pill is included in the over-the-counter options that will be provided for free. Insurers also must provide six months' worth of contraceptives at a time.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan signed the bill Tuesday. The state now has one of the most comprehensive birth control laws in the nation. 

The law will go into effect January 1, 2018



Photo Credit: UIG via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[DC Council Chairman Reworks Homeless Shelter Plan]]> Fri, 06 May 2016 13:43:49 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/cms412.jpg Council Chairman Phil Mendelson is reworking the plan to build smaller homeless shelters to replace DC General. He wants to build some of the sites on city-owned land. Tom Sherwood has the story.]]> <![CDATA[Sherwood's Notebook: Another Bandwagon?]]> Wed, 04 May 2016 05:27:37 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/dc-flag-shutterstock_206336772.jpg

Here we go again.

District citizens are going to be asked this November to vote on whether they support statehood for the District.

Before the fall, the city intends to hold public hearings on a proposed constitution that would be the foundation for the state of New Columbia.

As a citizen, your Notebook wants the full voting rights enjoyed by other Americans. There’s no practical reason New Columbia couldn’t carve out a modest federal enclave for the seat of government. There are plenty of political reasons against statehood. There’ll be no shortage of opposition.

The Notebook just wants to point out that statehood efforts and excitement have risen and fallen more than the Kennedy Center curtains.

Mayor Muriel Bowser has helped set off the latest — and most aggressive — round in a couple of decades. She is supporting the creation of the constitution, its passage in November and its presentation to Congress. The city could make public the constitution later this week. There’ll be public hearings and, possibly, revision during the summer. Even the name “New Columbia” is not set in constitutional stone.

WAMU reporter Martin Austermuhle has done a good job of wrapping up this entire subject in an easy-to-read report. You can find it at tinyurl.com/wamu-statehood.

■ Bowser on WAMU. And you can join the Notebook and host Kojo Nnamdi by tuning in on Friday at noon. Mayor Muriel Bowser will be our guest on the Politics Hour, WAMU 88-5. We welcome your questions. Email us at kojo@wamu.org or tweet us at @kojoshow.

■ LGBTQ suicide. At-large D.C. Council member David Grosso is being honored Friday night for his work with suicide prevention. The Trevor Project is honoring Grosso at the Monaco Hotel for the first law in the nation that requires school suicide prevention policies to specifically address gay and lesbian students. The Trevor Project is a national group focused on crisis intervention and suicide prevention for LGBTQ youth.

■ Security camera cash. It seems with cellphones and security cameras, we’re all on camera all the time. Ward 6 Council member Charles Allen has been to more community meetings than you can count. He said when it comes to crime, anxious community members come back time and again to the idea that home and business security cameras help prevent and solve crimes.

Now, the city is in the midst of Allen’s $500,000 security camera rebate program. More than 200 individuals and businesses have applied for rebates that are given once the cameras are installed. Homeowners neighborhoods can get up to $500 for their cameras, commercial and nonprofit groups $750, with priority given to police service areas with known crime issues; in Northwest, these are PSAs 103, 202, 207, 208, 302, 303, 305, 307, 308, 402, 403, 404, 405, 406, 407, 409 and 501. Visit tinyurl.com/ovsjg-cameras to learn more and apply through the Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants.

■ Resisting Trump. As we’ve pointed out before, the TV version of the Notebook is going to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in July. We’ve been watching Maryland Republican Gov. Larry Hogan. He was an early supporter of Chris Christie in his party’s presidential sweepstakes. But since Christie dropped out, Hogan has steadfastly avoided endorsing anyone else.

At a news conference last Friday, the governor had had it with questions about whether he’d end up supporting Donald Trump, who is closing in on the nomination.

“I’m not going to answer any more stupid questions about Donald Trump,” said Hogan, as quoted in The Baltimore Sun. The newspaper reported Hogan restated his intention not to endorse a candidate or be involved in the presidential race.

Back in mid-March, Hogan had told The Associated Press he didn’t think Trump should be the nominee.

“I’m not a Trump fan,” Hogan told the AP. “I don’t think he should be the nominee. At this point in time, I have no idea who the candidates are going to be or who I’m going to vote for.” The Maryland governor said he had no plans to attend the Republican National Convention this summer in Cleveland. “I don’t even want to be involved,” he said. “It’s a mess. I hate the whole thing.”

You can’t blame him. Hogan has tried to keep to a moderate-conservative, Maryland-oriented path. He’ll want to run for re-election in 2018. As a Republican in a mostly Democratic state, he doesn’t want to unnecessarily muddy his own political waters.

Tom Sherwood, a Southwest resident, is a political reporter for News 4.

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<![CDATA[What's Ahead for the GOP]]> Wed, 04 May 2016 17:00:10 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/2016-05-04_1628.jpg NBC's Carrie Dann discusses what's ahead for the GOP and looks at whether Bernie Sanders' win in Indiana is hurting Hillary Clinton's campaign.]]> <![CDATA[Cruz Suspends Campaign: 'Voters Chose Another Path']]> Tue, 03 May 2016 21:41:08 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-527830664-CRUZ.jpg

Sen. Ted Cruz, who despite an early victory in the Iowa caucus struggled to stop Donald Trump from cutting into his support from evangelical Christian voters, dropped out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination Tuesday.

Cruz lost the primary in Indiana on Tuesday, the latest in a string of defeats to the billionaire from New York, who considers himself the party's presumptive nominee.

"I've said that I will continue on as long as there is a viable path to victory. Tonight, I'm sorry to say that it appears that path has been foreclosed," Cruz said at a rally in Indianapolis.

"We gave it everything we've got, but the voters chose another path," he continued, vowing to continue to fight for liberty, a constant theme of his campaign.

Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich had battled to be the alternative to Trump. Kasich said in a statement Tuesday night that he continues to seek the nomination at an open convention.

"Gov. Kasich will remain in the race unless a candidate reaches 1,237 bound delegates before the Convention," his statement said.

But the head of the Republican party indicated for the first time Tuesday night that the establishment was finally ready to back Trump.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus tweeted that Trump will be the party's presumptive nominee. 

"We all need to unite and focus on defeating @HillaryClinton," Priebus said.

Reversing course after weeks of calling Cruz "Lyin' Ted," Trump said Tuesday night that the senator has "an amazing future" and congratulated him on the race he ran.

"I don't know if he likes me or if he doesn't like me, but he is one hell of a competitor. He is a tough, smart guy," Trump said in a speech at Trump Tower.

Cruz based his campaign on appealing to the most hardline conservatives and evangelical Christians. He outlasted over a dozen other Republican contenders, but despite winning 10 states, including his home state of Texas, Cruz was losing ground to Trump by March.

When an outright win proved out of reach, Cruz turned to a strategy of forcing a contested convention — preventing his rival from amassing the 1,237 delegates needed to clinch the nomination. But after Indiana, Trump was less than 200 delegates shy of doing so, with California among the states left to vote.

Cruz had expected to leverage his role as a Washington outsider — where he is known for stalling legislation and insulting other members of the Senate and where he planned to shut down the government his first year in office in a protest over Obamacare.

Cruz was popular among voters who described themselves as very conservative but Trump outdid him with white evangelical voters, including in the Indiana primary, according to NBC News exit polls. 

And in the contest for the nomination, he was quickly overshadowed by Trump’s outsized personality and non-political standing.

On Tuesday morning, Cruz attacked Trump as "a braggadocious, arrogant buffoon." He didn't mention Trump in his concession speech Tuesday night.

Cruz is unpopular among his fellow senators and others in the Republican establishment, some of whom worked quietly on behalf of Sen. Marco Rubio, who dropped out of the race in March. Afterward, the so-called "Never Trump" movement turned to Cruz, but some in the Senate still only managed lackluster endorsements.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, himself a former candidate, called Cruz a reliable conservative he endorsed over Trump, but said Cruz was "certainly not my preference."

Cruz was born in Canada to an American-born mother and a father from Cuba. The legitimacy of his candidacy was challenged, particularly by Trump who threatened to go to court.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Trump, Cruz Supporters Fight for Delegates at VA GOP Convention]]> Fri, 29 Apr 2016 21:20:43 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Virginia+Republican+Convention+042916.jpg

For Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, winning the Virginia primary in March was an important step in the process, but two months later, a new Trump versus Ted Cruz battle is playing out in the commonwealth.

The Virginia GOP convention got off to a raucous start Friday. It's a scaled down version of what some Republicans envision if there is a contested national convention in July.

A contested convention is what former Loudoun County Delegate David Ramadan wants. He’s firmly in the never Trump camp.

“Based on principles, Trump in my mind is not a conservative and not a Republican, and yes, I’m a never Trump,” he said.

Virginia’s convention may matter because Virginia sends 49 delegates to the national convention. On the first ballot, all must proportionally reflect the vote of the March 1 primary. But if there is a contested convention and a second ballot, those delegates are unbound and can vote for the candidate of their choice. Thirteen of the delegates will be chosen Saturday, and Ted Cruz supporters are trying to win a majority of them. Ramadan expects Cruz to win at least 10 of them.

Trump supporter Isabella Hale is convinced Trump will wrap things up well before the convention.

“He’s the presumptive nominee and I’m going with it,” she said.

Del. Tim Hugo (R-Fairfax County) believes that even though Virginia Republicans are still in a fierce fight, the party won’t splinter.

“In the end, I'm fully convinced the people will say we've had our differences, that was a fight within the family, now it's time to get onto the general election,” he said. “Hillary Clinton has got to be defeated.”



Photo Credit: NBCWashington]]>
<![CDATA[MD's GOP Candidate Looks Ahead at Her Path to US Senate]]> Wed, 27 Apr 2016 20:44:05 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Kathy+Szleiga+042716.jpg Kathy Szeliga, the Republican candidate for Maryland's open U.S. Senate seat vacated by Democratic Sen. Barbara Mikulski, explains News4's Chris Gordon why she thinks she can beat Democratic candidate Rep. Chris Van Hollen in an overwhelmingly Democratic state and how the popularity of presidential GOP front-runner Donald Trump could help her campaign.

Photo Credit: NBCWashington]]>
<![CDATA[Sherwood's Notebook: Soccer, Statehood and More]]> Wed, 27 Apr 2016 05:57:42 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Muriel-Bowser-AP_816174278725.jpg

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser was wielding a silver-plated sledge hammer on Monday.

She didn’t wave it at reporters (Terrific restraint, Mayor!).

Bowser, instead, was enjoying the ceremonial demolition starting construction of the new $300 million D.C. United soccer stadium in Southwest.

The site is just across South Capitol Street from Nationals Park. It’s due to open in 2018. The city is responsible for purchasing and clearing the land. The team is responsible for the stadium itself. Your Notebook has scowled at the unimaginative design, but we’re told it’s not finished.

Bowser did get into some big machinery. She pulled a few levers to knock down a wall. The mayor says it’s a bit scary to do, but she’s happy to promote the 1,000 construction and permanent jobs the project represents.

The soccer stadium is a centerpiece of what will be a complete makeover of Southwest land that is now dotted with a concrete plant and other industrial uses.

“This is the opportunity to really help to rethink the way Buzzard Point and this end of Southwest are really realized,” said Ward 6 D.C. Council member Charles Allen. More than a billion dollars of investments are expected in the once-ignored area.

Monday’s ceremony was picketed by activists from Empower DC. The group contends there are serious environmental concerns with clearing the land. Nearby public housing residents say they fear worsening air pollution. They also fear the potential gentrification that will move them out.

Mayor Bowser and Council member Allen say they are mindful of those concerns. “We think any investment in this area is going to enhance the quality of life for everybody,” Bowser told us.

■ Kasich KOs statehood. Presidential candidate John Kasich is the Republican governor of Ohio. But he’s not interested in the District’s bid for statehood. Maybe, he says when asked whether our delegate to Congress should have voting rights, but he hasn’t really thought about it.

Here’s his full quote in a brief, satellite interview on Monday with NBC4’s Chris Gordon:

“I’m not for statehood. I mean the idea that somebody who is a delegate would have the right to vote, I’m not opposed to that. I need to look at all the ramifications, but I’m not for statehood. The reason I’m not for statehood is the founders set it up so D.C. would be a neutral place. I think they were wise in doing that. As for the delegate, I’m open to the suggestion.”

It sounds like he’s been talking to former Virginia Rep. Tom Davis, who tried mightily to get voting rights for D.C.’s delegate. But Davis was thwarted by District politicians who turned down the chance in favor of full voting rights in the House and the Senate someday. That’s the operative word. No one in authority in the District ever heard of the phrase, “a bird in the hand … .”

Maybe activists can point out new statistics from the city’s tax office. District citizens (not just “residents”) paid more than $26 billion in taxes to the federal government in 2014, but got back only $3.5 billion. That figure doesn’t include matching funds that all states receive.

As DCist reported, the District’s federal tax payments are bigger than 22 states and Puerto Rico. Now, that’s taxation without representation.

■ It’s alive! New opposition filings to the $6.8 billion merger of Pepco and Exelon seek to ensure this isn’t a done deal after all. Although the Public Service Commission in March voted 2-1 to (finally) approve the deal, the Office of the People’s Counsel now wants reconsideration. “I strongly believe that the manner in which the decision was reached was legally flawed,” said people’s advocate Sandra Mattavous-Frye in a release late last week.

However, many people believe it’s extremely unlikely the PSC will attempt to rewire this deal.

■ A final word. Former D.C. school board member R. Calvin Lockridge died this weekend. He was 81 and had been in ill health for several years. But in his day, Lockridge was a controversial, combative member of the school board — a key player in its struggles to improve schools and retain superintendents amid many battles.

In 1988, Lockridge was under fire for meddling in staff hiring at Ballou High School and other ward schools. Linda Cropp, then the school board president, threatened to censure his actions.

Responding to The Washington Post at the time, Lockridge was unapologetic, saying high-level jobs weren’t going to Ward 8 residents in an unfair system. “I plead guilty to hustling jobs for the Ward 8 constituents. I have made no bones about the fact that my constituents are generally not qualified for professional jobs. So when opportunities for custodians, food services and other jobs become available, I demand that those positions be made available to my constituents.”

The Post’s Colby King in 1998 wrote a withering article about “buffoonery” in city government, singling out Lockridge for, among other things, his numerous antics and possible wrongdoings. “If the city had an Elected Officials Hall of Shame, Lockridge would be a charter member. A loud, antics-loving political figure, he made D.C. voters look like they had lost their minds.”

Despite all, the Notebook does miss those occasional calls from Lockridge offering up some off-the-record tips or gossip. “I’m talking to you now, just you,” he’d say in hushed tones before passing along information. But Lockridge, despite the flaws, was far from hushed in public life.

Tom Sherwood, a Southwest resident, is a political reporter for News 4.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Who Will President Obama Roast at This Year's White House Correspondents' Dinner? ]]> Tue, 26 Apr 2016 16:42:46 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/whcd2016-04-26_1652.jpg PYPO Editor-in-Chief Elizabeth Thorp discusses the humor, celebrities and parties that come with the annual White House Correspondents' Dinner. She predicts that President Obama won't hold back in the comedy roast.]]> <![CDATA[MD Results Delayed as 4 Baltimore Polls Close Late]]> Tue, 26 Apr 2016 21:16:28 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Voting-Sign-Generic-Ballot-1.jpg

Results for the presidential campaign and a U.S. Senate race were delayed in Maryland Tuesday night after a judge granted an injunction to keep some polls in Baltimore City open past the 8 p.m. scheduled closing.

News4’s Chris Gordon said the judge ordered four precincts in the city to remain open until 9 p.m. The injunction was filed by attorney Billy Murphy on behalf of U.S. Rep. Donna Edwards, who is running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski.

Edwards campaign press secretary Ben Gedis told WBAL-TV reporter Kai Reed the judge ruled any poll location opening 45 minutes or more late would be remain open the same amount of the delay, up to 9 p.m.

Linda Lamone, state administrator for the Maryland State Board of Elections said two precincts in Baltimore opened more than an hour late and 12 opened less than one hour late.

The locations are John Eager Howard Elementary School, Beth-Am Synagogue, Oliver Multi-Purpose Center and Pimlico Elementary School.

Montgomery County Board of Elections said because of the Baltimore City situation, they would not be able to release results until 9 p.m. Prince George's County also will not release results until all polls are closed.

The Associated Press said the State Board of Elections will not release any results while any polling places remain open.

The court proceedings were delayed after a small fire in the courthouse forced evacuation of the building. No one was hurt, and the small fire was quickly extinguished.

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<![CDATA[Md. Votes: What You Need to Know for Primary Day]]> Tue, 26 Apr 2016 19:06:31 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Maryland+Flag.jpg

Tuesday is primary election day in Maryland, and residents can cast their votes for president, U.S. Senate and several local races.

Here's what you need to know before you head to the polls, plus a rundown of some top races, in case your mind still is not made up:

When and Where to Vote

The polls will be open until 8 p.m. Anyone in line by 8 p.m. will be able to vote, the State Board of Elections says on its website.

To see where your polling site is located, check your voting districts and see a sample ballot, check the Board of Elections website.

Some first-time voters will be asked to show identification before they can cast their ballots. A government-issued photo ID or a copy of a current bill with your name and address will be accepted, the election board's website says.

Higher than usual turnout is expected. 

Races to Watch

President: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump each hold big leads against their party rivals in the race for the presidency in Maryland, poll results released earlier this month show.

Clinton, the former secretary of state, holds a 22-point lead over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, according to the NBC4/Marist Maryland Poll conducted April 5-9. Among the Republican primary electorate polled, Trump holds a 12-point lead against Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. The results have a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

U.S. Senate: Rep. Donna Edwards and Rep. Chris Van Hollen top the packed race to replace Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D), who is retiring after five terms.

Edwards is giving up her 4th Congressional District seat, representing parts of Prince George's and Anne Arundel counties, to make the leap to the Senate. Van Hollen is giving up his 8th Congressional District seat, representing Carroll and Frederick counties, plus parts of Montgomery County.

The candidates are similar in political outlook, News4's Tom Sherwood said in his Sherwood's Notebook column. Edwards has cast herself as an outsider who will contribute to the diversity of the Senate, and Van Hollen is viewed as the establishment candidate, Sherwood wrote. See the websites for Edwards and Van Hollen for more information on their campaigns.

Van Hollen has a six-point edge over Edwards, results of the NBC4/Marist Maryland Poll conducted April 5-9 show. Van Hollen commanded 44 percent of likely Democratic primary voters reached in the poll. Edwards won 38 percent of likely voters. Eighteen percent of voters were undecided in the poll, for which data on likely Democratic primary voters had a 3.5 percentage point margin of error.

Voters for Van Hollen skew white, male and older than 45, the polle results show. The majority of African-American likely Democratic primary voters polled said they would support Edwards.

The front-runners also have to deal with Democratic challenges from more than a half-dozen other candidates: Freddie Donald Dickson Jr., Ralph Jaffe, Teresa C. Scaldaferri, Charles U. Smith, Violet Staley, Blaine Taylor, Ed Tinus and Lih Young.

A long list of Republican candidates will also try to win the Senate seat: Chris Chaffee, Sean P. Connor, Richard J. Douglas, John R. Graziani, Greg Holmes, Joseph David Hooe, Chrys Kefalas, Mark McNicholas, Lynn Richardson, Anthony Seda, Richard Shawver, Kathy Szeliga, Dave Wallace and Garry Thomas Yarrington

4th Congressional District: The race for Edwards' open seat to represent parts of Prince George's and Anne Arundel counties drew six candidates, including two Prince George's County Democrats with strong name recognition: former lieutenant governor Anthony G. Brown and former state's attorney Glenn Ivey.

Brown, who was elected to lieutenant governor on a ticket with Martin O'Malley in 2006, unsuccessfully ran for governor in 2014, suffering a defeat to now-Gov. Larry Hogan. He previously served two four-year terms in the House of Delegates and is currently a colonel in the Army Reserve, according to his campaign page.

Ivey, who served as a state's attorney for Prince George's County from 2002 to 2010, ran for election to the District 4 House seat in 2012 but dropped out before the filing date due to insufficient funding. Ivey does not believe he will have trouble raising enough money for a competitive race this time around, The Washington Post reported

Warren Christopher, Matthew Fogg, Joseline Peña-Melnyk and Terence Strait also are vying for the seat in the heavily Democratic district.

Christopher is a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel and former chief of staff at the Department of the Interior, according to his campaign page.

Fogg was formerly with the U.S. Marshals Service, retiring as deputy marshal with a distinguished career, according to his campaign page

Peña-Melnyk is the current state delegate representing a district consisting of Prince George's and Anne Arundel counties. She won the endorsement of The Washington Post editorial board for her "energy, grit and determination." Peña-Melnyk worked as a lawyer representing abused and neglected children, according to her campaign page.

Strait received a master's degree in psychology and served in the U.S. Army, according to his campaign site.

Robert "Bro" Broadus, Rob Buck, George McDermott and David Therrien are running for the Republican nomination.

6th Congressional DistrictEight Republican candidates, one Democratic candidate and one Green Party candidate are vying to challenge incumbent Democrat John Delaney for the District 6 seat. The 6th District, which spans from Potomac and Gaithersburg to Garrett County in western Maryland, was redrawn -- gerrymandered, according to critics -- in 2011 to boost chances of electing a Democrat. About half of the district's registered voters live in Montgomery County, Bethesda Magazine reported.

Delaney was elected in 2012 and narrowly beat Republican Dan Bongino in his second run, according to Ballotpedia. Prior to serving in the House, Delaney was an entrepreneur, according to his campaign site.

Puca was a candidate for the Maryland House of Delegates in 2010. He was a business owner and CEO before he became a mortgage loan officer, according to his campaign site.

Two Republican candidates are being called standouts because of their expensive campaigns. Amie Hoeber has indicated a willingness to pump substantial personal funds into the contest, increasing pressure on opponents to intensify their fundraising and spending. Her focus is on national security and environmental cleanup programs, according to her campaign page.

Conservative State Del. David Vogt, a veteran Marine and the 2010 Marine of the Year, also is running for the seat. As delegate, Vogt has fought to cut taxes, balance the budget and uphold the Second Amendment. His campaign has been endorsed by more than 30 conservative leaders from Maryland, according to his campaign page.

Terry Baker, Scott Cheng, Robin Ficker, Frank Howard, Christopher Mason and Harold Painter also are running for the Republican nomination for this House seat. Green Party candidate George Gluck is seeking the nomination as well.

8th Congressional District: District 8 is becoming one of the most expensive primary contests for a House seat in the nation. The 8th Congressional District is fairly Democratic, and although there is a wealth of candidates, it appears to be a three-way race.

Kathleen Matthews worked as a reporter for WJLA before she became an executive for Marriott International. Some of Matthews' opponents have questioned campaign donations from guests of husband Chris Matthews' MSNBC talk show "Hardball," The Washington Post reported.

The Maryland Senate's majority whip, Jamie Raskin, is a constitutional law professor at American University and has played key roles in legalizing same-sex marriage and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, according to his campaign page.

David Trone is the founder of Total Wine & More with a story of success after he worked on his father's farm. The Montgomery County businessman personally put more than $12 million into the contest. That's the most anyone has ever self-funded a House campaign. His knowledge in politics from his business makes him an able candidate, according to his campaign page.

David M. Anderson, Kumar P. Barve, Dan Bolling, Ana Sol Gutierrez, William Jawando and Joel Rubin also are on the ballot on the Democratic side.

On the Republican side, Dan Cox, Jeffrey W. Jones, Liz Matory, Aryeh Shudofsky and Shelly Skolnick are running.

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<![CDATA[Kasich, Cruz Team Up Against Trump]]> Mon, 25 Apr 2016 13:32:36 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/2016-04-25_1331_001.jpg The presidential hopefuls announced their plan to team up against front-runner Donald Trump -- but Trump said they're too late. Mark Murray, senior political editor for NBC News, has more on the alliance and Tuesday's primary.]]>