Here's our weekly take on who's up and who's down in politics in Maryland and beyond:
Stephanie Rawlings-Blake: Down. She's absolutely right that Gov. Larry Hogan's plan to rejigger Baltimore's bus lines is peanuts next to the Red Line that he killed, and she no doubt knows that delivering the kind of "transformative" change to the system that he promised is way easier said than done. But the mayor got the legs kicked out from under her on this issue by the willingness of other Baltimore politicos -- City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young and mayoral candidates Sheila Dixon, Sen. Catherine Pugh and Councilman Carl Stokes -- to show up for the Hogan dog-and-pony show and give it their blessing.
Hillary Clinton: Up. First Joe Biden announces he won't run for president, then the former secretary of state glides through an 11-hour grilling on the Benghazi attack without losing her cool or suffering any serious blows. Even the Wall Street Journal editorial page is left to pout that she "has the Democratic Party nomination all but wrapped."
Martin O'Malley: Down. The Democratic primaries' little engine that could had, by some measures, a pretty good week. He did The Daily Show and The View, where he wowed the ladies with his rendition of Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood." Ultimately, though, spending time on TV being fawned over for how handsome he is (in comparison to what, Bernie Sanders?) and deflecting questions about whether he really wants to be vice president probably isn't getting him where he needs to go.
Elijah Cummings: Up. You'd think if the Baltimore congressman was going to run for Sen. Barbara Mikulski's seat, he'd have announced it by now, but a couple of events in the last week could push him into the race. First was a Washington Post poll confirming what he's been saying all along, which is that he would be the front-runner the second he declared (The Post has him at 33 percent compared to 20 percent each for Reps. Donna Edwards and Chris Van Hollen). The second was the Benghazi hearing, in which he was the chief pugilist for the Democrats, allowing Hillary Clinton to sit, Cheshire Cat-like, and enjoy the scene. That kind of thing sure doesn't hurt your standing among Democratic primary voters.
Kevin Kamenetz: Down. A second-term Democratic county executive ought to be able to keep a Democrat-controlled County Council in line, but he's been having some trouble of late. A couple of months ago, he vetoed a bill related to the planned unit development process that had passed the council 7-0. He managed to prevent an override that time, but it may be much harder to stop new legislation supported by all seven council members to do away with the county's stormwater remediation fee (better known as the "rain tax"). If Republican-controlled Anne Arundel and Howard counties are keeping their fees, it's pretty stunning that Democrat-controlled Baltimore County wouldn't.