ABC7 WEATHER: Partly sunny with highs in the low 40s. http://wj.la/72e8x6
'GOOD MORNING WASHINGTON': Among the reports - Pedestrian stuck and killed in Southeast; Details on a Rockville apartment fire that left one man seriously injured; much more, beginning at 4:30 a.m. M-F.
MARYLAND MONEY MAN: Of a gubernatorial war chest, per the Baltimore Sun, "Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown surged into the lead in fundraising in the Democratic campaign for governor as he built up his treasury to slightly more than $7 million. Brown's strong performance over the past year vaulted him above Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler, who on Wednesday reported having $6.3 million on hand.
"The lieutenant governor combined with his running mate, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, to raise $5.4 million over the past year. Gansler and his lieutenant governor candidate, Del. Jolene Ivey of Prince George's County, reported raising $1.7 million during that period. The third candidate in the Democratic race, Del. Heather R. Mizeur of Montgomery County, reported that she raised more than $1.1 million over the past year and has about $750,000 on hand. Spokesman Steven Hershkowitz said the money includes $280,000 she received in the first round of funding through her participation in the state's public financing system." http://bsun.md/1m8wSPh
BOYD MARCUS: Remember him?, per the Washington Post, "Gov. Terry McAuliffe fired both members of the state's Alcoholic Beverage Control Board before getting replacements installed days later, creating a brief power vacuum that led to the dismissal of a criminal case brought by ABC agents. McAuliffe (D) resolved the problem Wednesday with the appointment of two new commissioners but in so doing, he set off howls from the GOP. One of the six-figure patronage jobs went to a longtime Republican strategist who crossed party lines during the campaign to endorse McAuliffe.
"The episode was the first public bump in the road for McAuliffe, who stressed bipartisanship throughout the campaign and had drawn praise for his moderate Cabinet picks and outreach to GOP legislators. The goodwill that suffused McAuliffe's inauguration just four days earlier seemed to evaporate in an instant with the afternoon announcement that GOP operative Boyd Marcus, someone Republicans regard as a traitor to their party, had been appointed to the ABC Board." http://wapo.st/1eEEO8j
MORE GIFTS: It's better to receive - or not, per the Richmond Times-Dispatch, "In the last year of his term, former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell received gifts ranging from a $14,670 round-trip flight to Miami to 10 Rascal Flatts concert tickets valued at $1,240. In all, the governor, who left office Saturday, disclosed gifts totaling more than $27,670 on his 2013 statement of economic interests filed Wednesday.
"Gold Key Resorts in Virginia Beach gave McDonnell the flight to Miami; MeadWestvaco picked up the concert tickets. Bruce Thompson, an executive with Gold Key, gave McDonnell two tickets to the BCS championship game worth $4,000 and paid for meals and entertainment in Miami worth about $1,600." http://bit.ly/1iYIXH3
NEXT UP: It'll be a long line, per Roll Call, "Maybe Virginia Democrats should start figuring out who isn't running for retiring Rep. James P. Moran's seat? Moran's 12-term hold on the seat, located in the strong Democratic suburbs of Washington, D.C., has left a long line of ambitious pols poised to unload into the primary for Virginia's 8th District.
"Democratic operatives say Moran's brother, Brian Moran, is an obvious potential successor. A longtime state legislator and former chairman of the Virginia Democratic Party, Brian Moran would have the strong name identification and financial connections to run a competitive bid. The district is pricey because it includes the Washington, D.C. media market. But Brian Moran recently took a job with Gov. Terry McAuliffe's administration, raising questions as to whether he'd run for the seat." http://bit.ly/1apwQk1
BENGHAZI: The drips continue, per the New York Times, "A stinging report by the Senate Intelligence Committee released Wednesday concluded that the attack 16 months ago that killed four Americans in Benghazi, Libya, could have been prevented, singling out the State Department for criticism for its failure to bolster security in response to intelligence warnings about a growing security crisis around the city.
"The report is broadly consistent with the findings of previous inquiries into the attack on Sept. 11, 2012, but it is the first public examination of a breakdown in communications between the State Department and the C.I.A. during the weeks leading up to the deadly episode at the diplomatic compound where J. Christopher Stevens, the American ambassador, died." http://nyti.ms/1aGtae7
IT'S OFFICIAL: Of the spending bill, per The Hill, "The House on Wednesday easily approved a $1 trillion omnibus spending bill that would fund the government for the rest of fiscal 2014 and let Congress avoid the risk of a shutdown until the end of September. Members voted 359-67 to pass the bill, which was opposed by 64 Republicans and three Democrats.
"The three Democrats who voted "no" were Reps. Ral Grijalva (Ariz.), Rush Holt (N.J.) and Mike McIntyre (N.C.), a centrist Democrat who is retiring at the end of this Congress. Some Republicans were known to oppose the bill, given their opposition to restoring some of the sequester cuts, as was agreed to as part of the budget deal struck late last year. The bill allows discretionary spending to increase by $45 billion compared to the sequester." http://bit.ly/1hYA7LY
POLITICO PLAY: "New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has apologized to his constituents for the George Washington Bridge scandal. Now, he'll face his base. Christie is headed to Florida for a series of events with some of the GOP's deepest pockets three Saturday fundraisers and a Sunday dinner with major donors from around the country.
"The weekend could provide the first sign of whether Christie will be able to maintain his superstar status among the rich Republicans who have backed him in the past and figure to play an outsize role in deciding the party's 2016 nominee. It won't be easy." http://politi.co/1j0jUUe
GOOD READ: Long but good, per City Paper, "In June 2011, lobbyist John Ray found himself on the wrong side of the D.C. Council dais. Once a councilmember himself, he was back as one of the Wilson Building's top lobbyists, testifying against a bill by Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh that would wrest away his client Joe Mamo's tight grip on many of the District's gas stations.
Ray had even brought a letter from the Rev. Jesse Jackson supporting his position, but Cheh suspected the civil rights icon didn't know as much about the intricacies of gasoline wholesaling as his letter suggested. "You, Mr. Mamo or Mr. Ray, ginned up this letter," Cheh said. Councilmember Phil Mendelson, also at the committee hearing, seemed just as eager to pass the bill that spelled doomor at least a less lucrative businessfor Ray's client. Still, Ray had one councilmember in the room that he could work with: Vincent Orange." http://bit.ly/1fAUcYf
LONG COMMUTE: To and from Southwest Virginia, per the Roanoke Times, "When it begins running in a few years, the train from Roanoke to Washington, D.C., will cruise at a top speed of 79 mph, reaching the nation's capital in five hours, according to project requirements. That's a four-hour car trip. However, rail passengers won't have a steering wheel to hang onto and may read, surf the Web or sleep.
"The fare hasn't been announced, but a tentative schedule has. The train will leave Roanoke at 6:19 a.m. and arrive at Union Station in Washington at 11:20 a.m., according to current plans. To return, rail passengers will catch the southbound train in Washington at 4:50 p.m. and reach Roanoke, the end of the line, at 9:55 p.m., the plans state." http://bit.ly/1htJOPE
THE MINIMUM: Wages, per DCist, "Joined by a majority of the members of the D.C. Council, Mayor Gray, along with Council Chairman Phil Mendelson signed a bill that will increase the District's minimum wage to $11.50 by 2016.
"Stemming from the fallout of the Large Retailer Accountability Act, which Gray vetoed, the Minimum Wage Amendment Act of 2013 will raise the District's minimum wage in increments. This July, the minimum wage will be increased to $9.50. In 2015, it will go up to $10.50 and then another dollar in 2016." http://bit.ly/K2WOQH
SEX FOR SALE: Buyer beware, per the Frederick News-Post, "Increased prostitution-related arrests in Frederick have been the result of undercover police sting operations. Lt. Clark Pennington, spokesman for the Frederick Police Department, said his department usually sets up sting operations after receiving tips from concerned residents.
"He said officers pose undercover, either as prostitutes or potential clients, as a means of making arrests and deterring future activity. Pennington said the operations run throughout the year. "We've seen an increase of complaints, so we've been running increased operations," Pennington said." http://bit.ly/1eEI3fW
CHARTER LOST: Or something like that, per Gazette.Net, "Montgomery County's only charter school will become a private school following fundraising difficulties that left the school short on private donations to complement public funds. The Cross Community Inc. board of directors, which runs the school, voted Tuesday to terminate the charter after this academic year.
"Currently in its second year, Community Montessori Charter School in Kensington teaches students between the ages of 3 and 5. The school's budget includes public funding from the county school system for about 40 percent of the school's students." http://bit.ly/KkWbBk
SPORTS, BRIEFLY: Wizards beat Chicago 114-97; Caps lose 4-3 against Pittsburgh.
TRENDING ON ABC7 FACEBOOK: "Congratulations to our very own Maureen Bunyan, who will be inducted into the National Association of Black Journalists Hall of Fame. A 44-year veteran of television news, Bunyan is one of the most respected and admired broadcasting journalists in the country." To read more and check out a photo gallery of some of Bunyan's greatest moments, click here: http://wj.la/1aIcYcj
NEWSTALK: Among today's guests (10 a.m., NewsChannel 8) is D.C. Mayor Vince Gray.