Maryland's General Assembly proved expanded gambling and a new casino in Prince George's County. Now voters will have their say. And in Virginia, Mitt Romney's selection of Paul Ryan as running mate adds a new wrinkle to the dead heat U.S. Senate race. Washington Post columnist Robert McCartney speaks with WAMU Morning Edition host Matt McCleskey about these local stories?
What's next for this measure to allow table games and to put a casino at National Harbor?
"I think that the assumption right now, based on past voting results and opinion polls, is that it will pass. The previous gambling referendum in the state in 2008 was approved with 58 percent of the vote and I don't see any reason to expect any big change in sentiment on the issue. There is an interesting twist on this one because part of the provision in the bill to add the sixth casino in the state in Prince George's County requires specifically that the vote on the referendum is positive within Prince George's County. In other words, Prince George's County voters get sort of a special privilege here — which is whether, by voting yes or no, they want a casino in their county. But Prince George's has voted pretty much like the rest of the state in the past, and opinion polls indicate they'll approve it again.
That's not the only issue on the ballot — what else is there?
"Same-sex marriage and the DREAM Act — which grants in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants — both are high-profile, hot-button issues. There will be a lot of attention on those. And assuming a court lets it go ahead, which we're assuming it will, there will be a fourth referendum issue on the ballot, which hasn't gotten a lot of attention yet, would be to overturn the U.S. Congressional redistricting map. If voters threw it out, this would force Democrats to undo the gerrymandering that they did of the state's eight Congressional districts for the state's 2014 election.
How is the Paul Ryan pick affecting the raise between George Allen and Tim Kaine?
"I think putting Ryan on the national ticket for the Republicans is a little bit harmful to Republican Senate candidate George Allen, because it gives Democrats a stick with which to beat him. Ryan of course was the champion in the U.S. House of Representatives of this very conservative budget plan which included a proposal to convert Medicare over time to a voucher program. That's been a very delicate issue for George Allen. He's consistently refused to say whether he would have voted for that Ryan budget. He has consistently refused to say what he thinks about Ryan's proposal on Medicare. And Allen is in kind of a difficult position here, because if he endorses the Ryan budget than he strengthens his position with the GOP's conservative base, but he runs the risk of alienating independents and middle-of-the-road voters. And Kaine is hoping he can pick them up.
By picking Ryan, he didn't select Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell. What will we see from him now in the coming months?
"He did get three consolation prizes: he was named chairman of the Republican platform committee for the convention, the announcement of Romney picking Ryan was made in Virginia, calling attention to the state, and it was announced that McDonnell will be one of the six headliners who speaks at the convention, which means he will get a good spot in prime time.