Governor candidates visit each other's home counties
Gov. Martin O'Malley, who grew up in Montgomery County, will spend his day in the home county of former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. -- who is storming Montgomery today.
The same-day territory swap is likely a coincidence, but it also may lend insight into the gubernatorial candidates' perception of where they need to focus their resources. O'Malley, a Democrat, and Ehrlich, a Republican, each have primary challengers but have commanding name-recognition across the state and appear headed toward a November rematch.
Democrats outnumber Republicans more than two-to-one in Maryland, and there are few Republican treasure troves. Together, Montgomery and Baltimore County, although both majority-Democrat, account for nearly one-third of the state's 902,436 registered Republicans. Political strategists say Ehrlich must win Baltimore County and minimize damage in Montgomery County if he has any chance of recapturing the governor's office.
Conversely, O'Malley will likely try to make inroads in Ehrlich's native Baltimore County, which the Republican also represented in Congress for eight years. A recent Washington Post poll showed O'Malley leading Ehrlich by 8 percentage points, but they are tied when it comes to people who say they are certain to vote. What that may show is that Maryland Republicans are more energized than Democrats -- a scenario that seems to be playing out across the country.
The Democratic governor declared East Baltimore County "capital for a day," an ongoing administration program, meaning he is not officially campaigning there today. But O'Malley's time in Baltimore County includes a morning "Jobs Across Maryland Tour" at Middle River Aircraft Systems. While he has conducted that tour as governor, it carries his campaign theme of "moving forward" and jobs creation.
Next, O'Malley will head to Gunpowder Park in Middle River for an announcement about the Chesapeake Day, and then he'll hold a cabinet meeting in the Oak Crest community of Parkville.
Meanwhile, Ehrlich is making several stops in Montgomery County, where O'Malley grew up and still has relatives. The Republican former governor will attend a woman-owned small business roundtable in Bethesda before heading to Rockville. There, he'll take a lunchtime stroll around the town center and sit it on another small business roundtable, this one at Gordon Biersch restaurant.