- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 14, 2011

Bob McDonnell is going to New Hampshire.

The Virginia governor, widely considered to be on the short list for a vice-presidential pick next year, is slated to be the keynote speaker at the New Hampshire Republican Party’s annual fundraiser Sept. 26 in Concord.

Gov. McDonnell has exercised the leadership required in these tough times to balance budgets, control spending and create a surplus for his states long-term economic viability … the kind of leadership that is lacking in the White House and in our state’s corner office,” said state GOP Chairman Jack Kimball.

It will be Mr. McDonnell’s first visit to the Granite State — obsessively watched by politicos as an early proving ground in presidential contests — since taking office.

“New Hampshire is a great state where Republicans historically have done very well,” said Mr. McDonnell, the vice chairman of the Republican Governors Association. “Republicans currently control the House, Senate and Executive Council, along with three of four congressional seats. But there is much more work to be done, and that work starts with electing a Republican governor in 2012.

“I’m pleased to help the NHGOP with their fundraising efforts, and I look forward to this opportunity to talk about the common-sense solutions our party is putting forward to help the private sector create new jobs and get our people back to work and our economy back on track.”

The party anticipates a handful of presidential candidates will be there and about 600 people.

Texas Gov.Rick Perry arrived Saturday, just hours after announcing his presidential candidacy.

Getting along

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot serve as two-thirds of the state’s Board of Public Works and have long appeared to have a somewhat cool, if not strained, relationship.

So what happens when fellow board member, Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp, isn’t there to serve as a buffer during meetings? Not much, apparently.

Mr. O’Malley and Mr. Franchot, Democrats who sometimes disagree and seldom make eye contact during meetings, got along just fine at last weeks meeting, despite the absence of Mrs. Kopp, whom the governor said was kept away by travel delays.

Mr. O’Malley injected some levity early on, joking that he and Mr. Franchot would settle any split votes with a jump ball in the middle of the room. He also told audience members not to be alarmed by the treasurer’s absence.

“If you looked up here and expected to see three people — no, the Board of Public Works has not fallen victim to yet another round of budget cuts,” Mr. O’Malley said.

The governor and comptroller did not disagree on any votes but briefly got into a bit of a quarrel over the status of Maryland’s debt ceiling in light of the much publicized and criticized federal debt-ceiling debate.

Mr. Franchot — taking the fiscally conservative tone that has often put him at odds with the more liberal governor — worried a project on the agenda could push the state dangerously close to its limit in coming years.

Mr. O’Malley downplayed Mr. Franchot’s concerns and said he wouldn’t be opposed to raising the ceiling. The two voted for the project anyway.

Know when to hold ‘em

Timing is everything — at least when it comes to the D.C. Lottery’s iGaming, a controversial initiative to allow online gambling in private homes and hot spots throughout the city.

First, folks cried foul when council member Michael Brown, at-large independent, slipped the iGaming measure into a supplemental budget bill in December. It was the wrong time to move first-in-the-nation legislation, critics said, pointing to a lack of public input and transparency.

This month, the D.C. Lottery rolled out a series of meetings to discuss iGaming in each ward and address concerns about “trusted sites” that will allow WiFi access to online gambling in public areas, such as hotels.

Critics doubled down, however, and bet most residents and advisory neighborhood commissioners wouldn’t care for a slew of meetings during prime vacation weeks and the council’s recess.

The lottery acquiesced, pushing back its meetings by about a month, to run from about mid-September into October.

David Sherfinski, David Hill and Tom Howell Jr. contributed to this report

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