'Ehrlich for Governor?'
Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., for Governor? That question is posed not by Maryland's Republican former governor, but by the Democratic current governor in a dispatch e-mailed today.
Gov. Martin O'Malley's campaign is employing "The Ehrlich Factor" as a money-raising tactic, saying it's important to bulk up its coffers just in case. Ehrlich served a four-year term and lost to O'Malley in 2006. He has been publicly toying with the idea of a rematch on his radio show and elsewhere but has yet to announce an official decision.
Here are the opening lines of the O'Malley campaign e-mail:
"Robert Ehrlich claims he still doesn't know whether he'll run for governor next year.
But there's one thing he does know for sure: he's got plenty of friends ready to bankroll his campaign."
The e-mail goes on to quote from a Nov. 19 Maryland Politics blog entry by Paul West, in which Ehlrich says he could raise $10 million to $12 million, despite the poor economy.
O'Malley, like all Maryland lawmakers, can't accept campaign donations during the 90-day legislative session that begins Jan. 13, which is among the GOP's "pretty significant built-in advantages," the e-mail notes.
It's easy to wonder whether the media are the only ones pondering a rematch between Ehrlich and O'Malley. But today's e-mail shows that the governor himself is similarly intrigued.
Here's who else is in the gubernatorial race queue:
* One of Ehrlich's former cabinet members, Lawrence J. Hogan Jr.
* Baltimore County Republican Del. Patrick L. McDonough
* On the Democratic side, former delegate (who also served in Ehrlich's cabinet) George W. Owings III (He confirmed through his Facebook "fan" page that he'll be officially announcing his run at a rally Jan. 6 in Prince Frederick.)
* Libertarian candidate Susan Gaztañaga (You can read about her in this marylandreporter.com post.)