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City State: Morning Roundup

- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 20, 2011

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray said Wednesday that he has not been summoned to appear before a grand jury investigating allegations of corruption in his mayoral campaign, even as reports suggest that prosecutors are accelerating their closely watched probe and that a Gray campaign consultant is playing a pivotal role. Mr. Gray, a Democrat, said he has not been asked to provide fingerprints, and he distanced himself from Howard L. Brooks, a campaign consultant who reports suggest has gone from a target of the corruption probe to an informant willing to wear a wire, The Washington Times reports.

The Maryland House of Delegates on Wednesday approved a new congressional map expected to give Democrats a better shot at winning one of state Republicans' two congressional seats, clearing a final hurdle for Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley's stamp of approval. The Senate overwhelmingly approved the map on Tuesday, just two days into the General Assembly's special session, held to consider the map submitted by Mr. O'Malley. Critics said it would split districts and slight minority voters to take the Western Maryland district held since 1993 by GOP Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett. Senate lawmakers must return to Annapolis on Thursday to approve some technical changes made by the House, then send the map legislation to the governor, according to The Times.

Maryland Senate Majority Leader Rob Garagiola, a Democrat, has filed FEC paperwork to challenge GOP Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett, according to Politics1.com. The reported filing ended speculation about Mr. Garagiola's plans and ccame as the General Assembly approved a congressional redistricting map that reworks Mr. Bartlett's conservative 6th District to including parts of Democrat-leaning Montgomery County where Mr. Garagiola lives. The 85-year-old Mr. Bartlett repeated Wednesday that he still is running for an 11th term.

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray signed an order Wednesday that prohibits public-safety officers from asking people about their immigration status. The executive order directs officers in seven D.C. agencies not to arrest people based only on their immigration status and draws a bright line between local duties and federal law enforcement, officials said. Mr. Gray, a Democrat, said the policy should promote public safety by ensuring that immigrants report crimes or cooperate with police without fear, The Times reports.

D.C. authorities are investigating the fatal overnight shooting of a Metrobus passenger in Southeast. Police say a man on a W4 bus was shot early Thursday near 23rd Street and Alabama Avenue. The man died while he was being taken to a hospital. He has not been identified, according to the Associated Press. Investigators plan to review footage from interior and exterior cameras on the bus.

Montgomery County detectives say they have a motive in the killing of 12-year-old Jessica Nguyen, who was found stabbed to death in her family's Gaithersburg basement more than four months ago by someone wielding a small sword. They say the suspect, David R. Hang, 42, entered into a sham marriage with Jessica's mother to help her gain citizenship but had difficulty getting out of it after he fell in love with someone else and also married her, according to The Washington Post.

Contributions to Virginia General Assembly candidates are down 13 percent in 2011, compared with 2007 — the last election cycle when every seat in the 100-member House of Delegates and the 40-member state Senate was up for grabs. Through Sept. 30, cash donations are at $28.4 million this year, compared with $32.6 million in 2007, according to the Virginia Public Access Project, a nonpartisan tracker of money in state and local politics, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Former Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., a Republican, has been enlisted as chairman of GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney's campaign in Maryland, while Rick Perry has picked two Republican state legislators and a political consultant to lead his effort in the heavily Democratic state. Mr. Perry's three co-chairmen are state Sen. Christopher B. Shank of Washington County, Delegate Justin D. Ready of Carroll County and Lawrence Scott, who with his wife operates a political consulting firm. Mr. Perry's campaign also announced Wednesday that Richard E. Hug, Mr. Ehrlich's former chief fundraiser, is helping lead the Texas governor's fundraising efforts in Maryland, according to The Washington Post.

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