Politics on parade: O'Malley, Ehrlich celebrate Independence together
It's a good bet they won't be strolling down the street arm in arm, but Gov. Martin O'Malley and former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. are set to appear in three of the same Independence Day parades today.
The political rivals start their morning in Dundalk, then travel to Towson and later check out Catonsville. No matter what the election cycle, the Fourth of July begets parades and parades beget politicians.
Despite the scheduling similarities, aides say it's unlikely the two will cross paths. Parade organizers are well-versed in the need to stagger political opponents. From a July 2006 Baltimore Sun article:
To avoid clashes between contenders, parade organizers say they follow strict protocol when they create the lineup. "It's federal, state, county and then want-to-bes," says Lil Tirshman, one of the organizers of the Dundalk Heritage Festival and parade.
That year, the last time Ehrlich and O'Malley faced off, both strolled in the same three places they'll appear this year. In 2006, O'Malley -- who as the Democratic Baltimore mayor was trying to unseat the Republican governor after one term -- also marched in Arbutus, Ehrlich's home town.
Ehrlich has Arbutus on his schedule, but O'Malley doesn't.
The remarkably similar schedules arrived one after the other Friday (Ehrlich's press aides prefer the all-caps style):
8:15 A.M. WALK IN DUNDALK'S 76TH ANNUAL INDEPENDENCE DAY PARADE
8:00 a.m. Governor and First Lady O’Malley to participate in Dundalk Heritage Parade.
10:30 A.M. WALK IN THE TOWSON AREA FOURTH OF JULY PARADE
10:30 a.m. Governor and First Lady O’Malley to participate in Towson Area Fourth of July Parade
3:00 P.M. WALK IN THE CATONSVILLE JULY 4th PARADE
3:00 p.m. Governor and First Lady O’Malley to participate in Catonsville Fourth of July Parade
The two part ways for Sunday activities. O'Malley plans to participate in a Takoma Park parade, while Ehrlich will spend the day parading in Havre de Grace and Bel Air.