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September 21, 2010

Jim Smith reminds Balto Co voters about Ehrlich snub

Gov. Martin O'Malley's campaign team distributed door hangers in Baltimore County this week touting support from County Executive James T. Smith, Jr. and hitting a familiar theme from 2006.

In a quote featured on the campaign piece (pictured on the right) Smith blasts O'Malley's Republican challenger, Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr., for a very long snub. "I served with the previous governor who NEVER returned my phone calls during his last three years in office. NOT ONCE!" Smith says on the flier. "Martin O'Malley always calls back."

Smith has said in interviews that the relationship with Ehrlich chilled after a December 2003 news conference where he described Ehrlich's insurance commissioner as "aloof" and accused him of failing to help county residents battle red tape and collect insurance for damage incurred by Hurricane Isabel. (As an aside, that same former commissioner Alfred Redmer just lost a primary for an open Senate seat in Baltimore County.)

O'Malley launched a TV commercial in 2006 with a similar theme, and it was widely viewed as effective, as my colleague Julie Bykowicz wrote in a recent Sun story about Maryland political battlegrounds. Bykowicz noted that 2006 spot also went undisputed by Ehrlich.

On Tuesday after speaking to a group of homebuilders at a DoubleTree hotel in Columbia, the Ehrlich had a slightly different spin and said the two frequently crossed paths. "I saw Jim Smith all the time as County Executive you know," Ehrlich said.

When asked if there was any truth to the claim that Ehrlich failed to communicate with the head one of the state's largest counties, Ehrlich avoided the word "telephone."

"What can I say to that? I saw Jim Smith all the time as County Executive. I saw him all the time. All the time." One example he offered was at Maryland Association of County events.

The door hangers appear to be funded by O'Malley (not Smith who has a vast war chest), but the governor's campaign wouldn't say much about them, declining to answer questions about how many were distributed and which homes were targeted.
Posted by Annie Linskey at 5:26 PM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Candidate Watch 2010


I live in Baltimore Co., am generally happy with the job Jim Smith did as County Executive and wish him the best in the future. Having said that, I don't exactly see Smith as an objective observer of the governor's race or value his opinion of Ehrlich considering his ties to MOM.

The Baltimore Sun forgot that in 2006 Jim Smith railed against Ehrlich for "cuts to local government." When O'Malley tripled those cuts, Jim Smith says he's my friend?

Don't confuse naked partisanship with results-oriented governance. There is a difference.

Jim Smith is kissing up again for a job since there is no where for him to go.

While we are trotting out peccadilloes about the two candidates, perhaps someone should remind the voting public that when Ehrlich was governor, O'Malley would come to visit him (and then-Comptroller Schaefer) and prop up his feet on the Governor's desk. This was reported in the Sun at the time.

There is a lot that we need to remember about Bob Ehrlich. Not only
does he not return phone calls to County Executives, Ehrlich hires Agency
Expediters like Joseph Steffen (who went from agency to agency firing
state employees). He is bringing back Agency Expediters like Joseph Steffen in his recently released "Road to Nowhere by 2020".

I'm hearing rumors about Ehrlich's PLAN FOR MASSIVE LAYOFFS OF STATE
EMPLOYEES in order to make up for the 1 penny cut. Watch your back
with Bob Ehrlich.

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About the bloggers
Annie Linskey covers state politics and government for The Baltimore Sun. Previously, as a City Hall reporter, she wrote about the corruption trial of Mayor Sheila Dixon and kept a close eye on city spending. Originally from Connecticut, Annie has also lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she reported on war crimes tribunals and landmines. She lives in Canton.

John Fritze has covered politics and government at the local, state and federal levels for more than a decade and is now The Baltimore Sun’s Washington correspondent. He previously wrote about Congress for USA TODAY, where he led coverage of the health care overhaul debate and the 2010 election. A native of Albany, N.Y., he currently lives in Montgomery County.

Julie Scharper covers City Hall and Baltimore politics. A native of Baltimore County, she graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and spent two years teaching in Honduras before joining The Baltimore Sun. She has followed the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pa., in the year after a schoolhouse massacre, reported on courts and crime in Anne Arundel County, and chronicled the unique personalities and places of Baltimore City and its surrounding counties.
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