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October 27, 2008

Ehrlich talks down 2010 prospects

Former Gov. Ehrlich tamped down the Bobby 2010 fever in his radio show on Saturday, saying he doesn't see a lot of potential for someone of his political bent in Maryland these days. Though not ruling anything out, he said two factors would make it difficult for him to mount a comeback: That he lost while enjoying good favorability ratings and that Maryland voters have failed to elect anyone else who shares his philosophy.

I wouldn't take this too seriously just yet.

 

For one thing, Ehrlich went through a loooong will-he-or-won't-he period before deciding to jump into the 2002 election. In September of 2001 (which, mind you, was about a year farther along in the cycle than we are now), Ehrlich said he was "inclined" to run for governor against the seemingly invincible Kathleen Kennedy Townsend but that he would need to be able to raise $2 million by the end of the year to make it possible. He didn't come all that close.

In January of 2002, The Sun's poll had KKT up 15 points on Ehrlich. (A hypothetical O'Malley-Ehrlch race wasn't even that close.) Throughout the spring, Ehrlich was in the conversation but not officially in the race. He didn't actually delcare his intentions until March 20, 2002, and it wasn't really clear up until the eve of his announcement that he was actually going to run. That leaves him about 18 months in the current cycle to make up his mind.

People close to Ehrlich say he decided to run for governor in 2002 not because he felt a need to be the GOP's standard bearer or to push a particular issue but because he thought he could win. His top advisers did focus groups that spring and, even in leftiest of Mongtomery County, found no great fealty to Townsend. The fact that he was millions behind in fund raising made no difference; he caught up fast.

If Ehrlich were to decide that late in the current election cycle, he'd be even farther behind money-wise than he was then, but he'd have vastly greater advantages in terms of name ID, political network, etc. The question for him would once again be, can I win? And that has a lot to do with factors beyond his control and impossible to know. Will the state's current budget troubles force Gov. O'Malley to push through more tax increases or to cut popular programs? Will the country's current anti-GOP mood reverse itself? Or will O'Malley continue his recent improvements in approval ratings?

Ehrlich showed himself to be a pretty astute tea-leaf-reader one time before, and we know he's willing to take his shot if he sees an opening. For now, though, his interest seems best served by engaging in a lengthy period of public waffling, and that's precisely what he's doing.

Posted by Andy Green at 10:42 AM | | Comments (9)
        

Comments

Why is it about can I win? Should it be about how can I help my state?

Why is it about can I win? Should it be about how can I help my state?

its can i win because we live in a state filled with nothing but liberal fools like O'Malley who put people like Shella Dixon in office and say the state has no money when there was a reserve but figures he wont say anything until election time so he can spend it ans say hey look what i did for the state.

Don,

Can you offer anything else besides "blah, blah, LIBERAL, blah, blah, LIBERAL FOOLS"?

Enjoy your next eight years in the political wilderness. I would feel sorry for you if it wasn't for the case of Schadenfreude that I'm currently experiencing.

Ehrlich lost because he had no accomplishments after 4 years in office. His only initiative, slots, went nowhere, mostly because he was inept at pushing his agenda. His political instincts (right wing hardball) are strainght out of the Rove/Bush White House from which he took his marching orders and which was a harbinger of the flames in which McCain now is going down. If he had tried to govern from the middle with clear platform, he might have had a chance. He left behind a huge structural deficit which has been costly to the state. I hope he stays away from further politics in Maryland--wish he would just go home and shut up.

Boomer, that's ridiculous. If Ehrlich had found a cure for cancer, the Democrats would have said that he did it simply for political gain, and would have blocked its implementation until a Democrat governor took office.

And the 'structural deficit'? That's the result of policies that were in place long before Ehrlich, and its even sillier than your previous comments to blame it on him.

How about that BGE rate increase? Part of a plan developed and approved by a Dem controlled assembly under a Dem governor. MO'M was going to make it all better when he won. Sure worked out well, didn't it?

Maryland voters are receiving exactly the government that they deserve.

MCG, he also had help from Washington in losing as well as pushing his "fees" instead of taxes which was just semantics. Taxes are taxes and his Republican base were turned off by those increases.

The state of Maryland has put democrat politicians in office for decades and people are still complaining about how bad things are in the state. You would think that people could put a little more thought behind their votes instead of always saying democrats are for the poor. Marching in line behind the same ideas again and again makes you predictable and vulnerable Maryland. Thats right. Democrats will make more of you dependant on them for your needs. Continue your march downward. Lessons will be learned the hard way I'm afraid.

Man, everyone here is really sensitive.

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About the bloggers
Annie Linskey covers state politics and government for The Baltimore Sun. Previously, as a City Hall reporter, she wrote about the corruption trial of Mayor Sheila Dixon and kept a close eye on city spending. Originally from Connecticut, Annie has also lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she reported on war crimes tribunals and landmines. She lives in Canton.

John Fritze has covered politics and government at the local, state and federal levels for more than a decade and is now The Baltimore Sun’s Washington correspondent. He previously wrote about Congress for USA TODAY, where he led coverage of the health care overhaul debate and the 2010 election. A native of Albany, N.Y., he currently lives in Montgomery County.

Julie Scharper covers City Hall and Baltimore politics. A native of Baltimore County, she graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and spent two years teaching in Honduras before joining The Baltimore Sun. She has followed the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pa., in the year after a schoolhouse massacre, reported on courts and crime in Anne Arundel County, and chronicled the unique personalities and places of Baltimore City and its surrounding counties.
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