Bob Ehrlich to you: Friend me
* Updated to reflect new friends.
The former governor of Maryland wants to be friends with you on Facebook. Actually, he wants you to be his "fan," but close enough.
Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. might be waiting another month to announce whether he'll challenge Gov. Martin O'Malley to a rematch, but already he is assembling an online army of support.
This message from Team Ehrlich arrived last night:
Thank you for being a strong supporter of Governor Bob Ehrlich over the years.
We have a simple request: Will you join the "Bob Ehrlich" page on Facebook?
It's the best way to hear directly from Governor Ehrlich about what it will take to make Maryland strong and prosperous again. Bob has been busy meeting with folks like you across Maryland, but Facebook is an easy way to get his take on current events and to learn about his upcoming appearances.
Thanks again for your leadership and support. Governor Ehrlich looks forward to connecting with you on Facebook soon.
Henry Fawell, a spokesman for Ehrlich, says the former governor's campaign has maintained that page for about a year and a half.
"He thinks it’s a great way to connect with friends and supporters," Fawell said by email. "He’s used it in the past to talk about everything from politics to the Super Bowl. We’ve seen great response to it even prior to this message."
*A quick review of Facebook reveals numerous support pages for the Republican former governor. The Bob Ehrlich page his Team points us to had almost *9,000 fans by the end of Thursday, meaning he picked up almost 2,000 friends in a single day. A Bob Ehrlich for Maryland page has another 3,000-plus fans. Add to those several "reelect Bob Ehrlich" and "bring back Ehrlich" pages.
O'Malley, a Democrat, has also embraced social media in recent years. O'Malley's personal Facebook page boats 5,001 friends, which appears to be Facebook's official limit. His group page, similar to what Ehrlich was promoting, lists more than 3,000 fans. Those kinds of Facebook pages can holds countless fans or members, as you may know from requests to join groups such as "If 100,000 people join then my dad will quit smoking!"
Keep in mind that not all of these "friends" and "fans" are supporters. Reporters, campaign snoops and perhaps even the candidates themselves join Facebook pages to keep track of each other.
O'Malley, it appears, isn't on any of those "reelect Bob Ehrlich" pages. But he's also not one of the five people on the "Keep Bob Ehrlich at Home" page.