Slots referendum: Does Ehrlich or O'Malley gain?
It depends on who you ask, Baltimore Sun colleague Annie Linskey reports:
O'Malley, who supports the referendum, hopes his opposition to a casino at Arundel Mills will help him peel off like-minded Republicans in the large and growing county who supported Ehrlich in the past two elections. His campaign plans to stress Ehrlich's role in helping to bring slots to the mall, feeding the larger narrative they are working to construct: Ehrlich as lobbyist for special interests.
"It is important that the people of Anne Arundel County are heard on this," O'Malley said. "If I lived in northern Anne Arundel County, I would rather see the slots location go to a racetrack" — a reference to Laurel Park — "rather than a mall in a residential neighborhood."
But Ehrlich's camp says the debate cuts two ways. Aides to the former governor say the referendum is Exhibit A of O'Malley's foundering slots program; they say the issue will remind voters that the state is still waiting for the hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue expected from the five casinos approved two years ago.
"There is a recognition that the state has failed," said Ehrlich spokesman Henry Fawell. "Bob Ehrlich supported slots seven years ago. The only people making money off slots are the lobbyists and the slot machine manufacturers."
Read more about the political impact of the Arundel Mills slots referendum at baltimoresun.com.