FOR YEARS, political strategist Larry S. Gibson has been a regular at the Democratic National Convention.
But Gibson, bosom friend of former Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke and political handler of others, will not be among the state's 91 delegates to the rah-rah in Los Angeles this summer.
He signed up to run in the March 7 presidential primary as a convention delegate pledged to Vice President Al Gore, but it seems the campaign passed him over.
The Gore camp declined to authorize him as a delegate running in the 7th Congressional District, and Gibson subsequently asked elections officials to take his name off the Super Tuesday ballot.
We're told this had nothing to do with the fact that Gov. Parris N. Glendening is actively involved in the state campaign for Gore -- or the fact that Gibson headed Eileen M. Rehrmann's failed primary challenge to the governor in 1998.
Gibson, who was state chairman of the 1992 Clinton-Gore sweep in Maryland and an occasional visitor to the White House, could not be reached for comment.
Gore campaign officials pleaded ignorance.
"I don't know about Mr. Gibson registering for delegate," said Jennifer E. Crawford, the campaign's "delegation selection coordinator" who also happens to be Glendening's green-bag appointments secretary. "Larry never called me."
Crawford said the campaign worked closely with Democratic leaders around the state in developing its list of authorized delegates. In the 7th District, they worked with Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, she said.
Cummings said he knew Gibson was interested in going.
But, he said, "we had quite a few people who wanted to go, and we were trying to do this in such a way in which it was balanced geographically, racially and considering gender.
"We ended up with a list, and he was not a part of the list," Cummings said. "No big deal. I did talk to him about it, and he was fine with it."
Explained Crawford: "We only have so many slots."
Certified candidates only
No more Mickey Mouse in Maryland politics.
The days of casting write-in votes for the likes of Mr. Mouse, Donald Duck, and Moe, Larry and Curley might be over -- at least for offices in Maryland.
The state election board has asked the General Assembly to tabulate and report votes for certified candidates only -- not just any of the names written in. That means that the votes cast for candidates not registered with elections officials would not have to be tallied, saving time and expense, they say.
On Friday, the bill flew through the Senate, 45-0, bound for the House of Delegates.
We can hear you
Technology marches on in the General Assembly.
Laptops are popping up in the House of Delegates and the Senate, and members are using their computers. Every week there are classes on the mysteries of e-mail and navigating the Internet.
The public is also getting a chance to listen to what goes on during each session.
The General Assembly is broadcasting House and Senate sessions over the Internet. But there have been a few bumps on the legislature's journey into cyberspace.
Sensitive microphones are picking up everything. More than once, members in the two chambers have had to be reminded that someone, somewhere is listening.
Recently, Sen. Barbara A. Hoffman brought this to Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller's attention.
Hoffman, a Baltimore Democrat, offered the morning prayer that her sister heard over the Internet. Her sister also heard someone chuckling at the end of the prayer.
"That someone was you, Mr. President," said Hoffman.
Miller joked and said new microphones are being ordered that should make life easier on legislators.
"They'll have a red light on them to tell us when they're on," he said.
You need Real Audio to listen to the sessions. You can find the Web site at http: //mlis.state.md.us/
No role for governor
The death of longtime Maryland Comptroller Louis L. Goldstein in July 1998 led to a political fiasco for Gov. Parris N. Glendening.
You might recall that the governor named his close ally, former U.S. Rep. Michael D. Barnes, to fill the job. But Barnes had no appetite for running that year against former Gov. William Donald Schaefer and pulled out. Finally, Glendening named then-Deputy Comptroller Robert L. Swann to fill the job until the next election.
Del. John S. Arnick, a Baltimore County Democrat, has come up with legislation to avoid such a problem. His bill, which will be heard today in the House Commerce and Governmental Matters Committee, would have the deputy comptroller fill the job in the case of a vacancy, giving the governor no role in the matter.