October 31, 2010

Governor candidates give closing arguments on TV

*** Update: Over the weekend, O'Malley began airing a third new spot, a reprise of an attack ad from earlier in the campaign. It highlights Ehrlich's "a fee is not a tax" statement and cuts to "real Marylanders" calling Ehrlich a "typical politician." A similar spot became controversial when Maryland Public Television's Jeff Salkin objected to being used in a poltical ad.

In three commercials on the air now, Gov. Martin O'Malley and former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. make their final pleas for your vote. The commercials are stylistically quite different, but they are similar in that they quickly dismiss the opponent and then attempt to drive home the candidate's message.

O'Malley's two commercials, called "One Leader" and "Only One," are nearly identical to each other in style and content. "Only One" opens with a scene of an empty governor's chair and the words, "Two governors, but only one has made the tough choices to put our priorities first."

"One Leader" touts his endorsement by The Washington Post. In both, images of O'Malley at work are interwoven with iconic Maryland scenery. A narrator says the Democratic governor cut spending while protecting priorities such as education and public safety.

Ehrlich's commercial, titled "I Ask," features the Republican former governor in a candy-cane-striped tie, against a white backdrop. It opens with Ehrlich calling O'Malley's negative ads "nonsense." Looking directly at the camera, he says, "This election isn’t about Martin O’Malley or me. It’s about you." He then says he will "stop spending money we don't have" and repeal the sales tax increase.

All new spots appear after the jump.

Continue reading "Governor candidates give closing arguments on TV" »

Posted by Julie Bykowicz at 6:00 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Political ads

October 23, 2010

Ehrlich has increased media spending

Baltimore Sun colleague Julie Bykowicz reports:

Republican former Gov. Robert L Ehrlich Jr. has spent more than $2.6 million on advertising on television and other media in the past month and a half, a campaign finance report released Saturday morning shows.

Ehrlich ad buys are a dramatic increase from the much tinier amount — roughly $100,000 — he spent on advertising between April, when he anounced his election bid, and the beginning of September, the last time finance reports were made public.

By contrast, Gov. Martin O’Malley has invested steadily in media throughout the election season. From the beginning of the year through early September, the Democratic candidate spent about $1 million on advertising and other media outreach. His latest camapign finance report was’t immediately available Saturday.

Reports for all statewide and local candidates were due Friday night to the State Board of Elections. They are expected to be made public over the weekend and will provide the final look at campaign finances before Election Day.

Continue reading "Ehrlich has increased media spending" »

Posted by Matthew Hay Brown at 11:20 AM | | Comments (12)
Categories: Campaign finance, Candidate Watch 2010, People, Political ads

October 18, 2010

O'Malley woos women, too, with new Mikulski ad

Women voters are getting a lot of attention in these final days of Maryland's gubernatorial race.

Gov. Martin O'Malley's campaign just released a new television advertisement featuring Sen. Barbara Mikulski, a fellow Democrat. It is in effect an answer to a women-themed ad Republican Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. began airing over the weekend.

In the new O'Malley ad, the senator -- who repeatedly shows up as the state's most popular politician in polls -- talks directly to the camera, recounting how long she has known O'Malley (25 years) and what she believes he cares about most (families).

Transcript and ad appear after the jump.

Continue reading "O'Malley woos women, too, with new Mikulski ad" »

Posted by Julie Bykowicz at 1:12 PM | | Comments (13)
Categories: Political ads

Ehrlich courts women in new campaign ad

A new attack ad from Team Ehrlich hit the airwaves this weekend hammering Gov. Martin O'Malley on familiar themes: Taxes and pocketbook issues. What's new about the spot is the overwhelming number of women featured in it.

The 30-second ad is mostly black and white and includes the voices of 13 women who point out flaws with O'Malley's tenure. (One woman in the ad mentions concern for her daughters' futures.) The piece is capped off with GOP lieutenant governor pick Mary Kane offering up Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. as a more palatable alternative.

The overt focus on women marks a shift for Ehrlich, who has not used paid advertising to make an outright appeal for the female vote. It is also the first TV ad featuring Kane with a solo speaking role. Ehrlich's voice is not used at all in the spot.

Ehrlich has ground to make up with female voters. He consistently trails O'Malley, a Democrat, with the group. The Washington Post recently pegged the gender gap at 56 to 38. O'Malley isn't taking female support for granted, said his deputy campaign manager Rick Abbruzzese. The governor just wrapped up a series of rallies focused on generating enthusiasm with the group.

Continue reading "Ehrlich courts women in new campaign ad" »

Posted by Annie Linskey at 5:30 AM | | Comments (7)
Categories: Political ads

October 12, 2010

Jim Smith on the radio for O'Malley

Gov. Martin O'Malley is airing a new spot on Baltimore radio this morning, this one featuring friend and political ally Baltimore County Executive James T. Smith Jr.

Smith is wrapping up his eighth year as a popular county executive and has been campaigning hard for O'Malley, a fellow Democrat, all through the election season.

Four years ago, Smith unleashed what was considered one of the most effective television commercials of the year, a spot in which he said then-Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. had gone years without talking to him or returning his calls. Smith accused the Republican of being out of touch with one of the largest counties in the state -- charges that Ehrlich never refuted.

Smith recently reminded county residents about the snub with this door hanger.

In the new radio ad, Smith talks taxes and spending. More on the content after the jump.

Continue reading "Jim Smith on the radio for O'Malley" »

Posted by Julie Bykowicz at 7:51 AM | | Comments (8)
Categories: Political ads

October 1, 2010

New Ehrlich attack ad focuses on jobs report "fiasco"



The war on credibility continued Friday with former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich airing a new attack ad in the Baltimore area Friday that alleges Gov. Martin O'Malley ordered his labor department to falsify a downbeat jobs report.

It's not a huge surprise that the issue would find its way on TV. Ehrlich on Monday released a stack of embarrassing emails recording how stressed-out staffers struggled to do damage control after a negative jobs report went up briefly on the state's website.

Those emails show tortured efforts at spin in the agency, but do not directly implicate O'Malley or anyone in the governor's office. Ehrlich, however, clearly hopes to use the issue to support a narrative his campaign is trying to establish: O'Malley can't be trusted to steer the state's economy.

Rick Abbruzzese, O'Malley's deputy campaign manager, noted that so far this year Maryland employers have added 33,000 jobs. He called the ad "desperate" and accused Ehrlich of "lashing out" because "he knows his 24-year political career is slipping away."

For those who missed the news story here's a quick synopsis: The state's labor department in August put out a report saying that Maryland's economy "stalled" in July. A sharp-eyed GOP staffer noticed that it was at odds with O'Malley's economic message and blasted out an email to supporters.

Continue reading "New Ehrlich attack ad focuses on jobs report "fiasco" " »

Posted by Annie Linskey at 5:19 PM | | Comments (8)
Categories: Political ads

September 28, 2010

Obama's voice on the radio

Baltimore area residents who listen to African-American radio stations like WOLB this morning will hear President Barack Obama making a pitch to re-elect Gov. Martin O'Malley, according to the governor's campaign.

(Text of the ad and a link to hear it appear after the jump.)

The radio spot will feature the president touting fellow Democrat O'Malley's record on education and the economy. It will be later be aired on a broader number of radio stations, said O'Malley Deputy Campaign Manager Rick Abbruzzese.

Rumors that Obama (or the First Lady) will stump for O'Malley in Maryland have been swirling around the State House for weeks -- but those intensified Monday. Abbruzzese would not confirm whether the president has committed to campaign.

Fueling the talk perhaps was O'Malley's Monday stop at the White House  to witness Obama sign into law a bill that included a program that lets governments guarantee some small business loans -- an initiative that the governor has been pushing in order to help businesses borrow funds from the still tight capital markets.

In the dead-heat gubernatorial competition, turnout will be critical, and the state's top Democrats are nervous after the unusually poor showing in the primary. Over the summer polls showed that Obama was still fairly popular in Maryland -- which is 29.7 percent African-American.

The country's first black president could be particularly helpful in Baltimore and Prince George's County, two majority African-American and majority Democratic areas where O'Malley is counting on racking up the votes needed to win.

Continue reading "Obama's voice on the radio" »

Posted by Annie Linskey at 5:30 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Political ads

September 27, 2010

Ehrlich launches first TV attack ad

Republican former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s first attack ad aired this weekend in Baltimore markets and hit a theme familiar to anyone who has followed Maryland politics in recent years: The BGE rate hikes.

In the new spot, Ehrlich calls out Gov. Martin O'Malley, a Democrat, for failing to deliver on a 2006 campaign pledge to prevent an expected 72 percent increase in electricity bills. The ad also claims that O'Malley gave "the bureaucrat" who approved the increase a huge raise.

A no-nonsense female narrator points to those actions as evidence O'Malley lacks credibility on his more current promises that Maryland is emerging from a recession. As a kicker, Ehrlich reminds viewers about a new report showing that the state lost jobs last month.

“Four years ago Martin O’Malley misled us. Now he’s just making stuff up,” the not-very-friendly narrators says.

The ad signals a clear shift for Ehrlich who as recently Wednesday stressed the importance of keeping an upbeat and positive tone on the campaign trail. He's frequently said that voters aren't interested in political bickering while consumed with worries about their future.

He's also bristled as the word "grudge-match," encouraging reporters to characterize the race as a "re-match." But by leading off with an attack ad about BGE rates, he dredges up the dominate theme of the 2006 election.

Before getting to the meat of the ad, it is worth noting that Ehrlich uses unorthodox jobs numbers in the spot – he states that the state's economy lost 7,000 positions citing a Department of Labor report that is not generally thought of as an accurate count of lay-offs. The more commonly used report shows that Maryland lost 5,700 jobs in August.

Appreciating, or even just following, the balance of the ad (BGE portion) requires a brief history lesson. (after the jump)

Continue reading "Ehrlich launches first TV attack ad" »

Posted by Annie Linskey at 5:45 AM | | Comments (36)
Categories: Political ads

September 21, 2010

O'Malley 'moving Maryland backward,' RGA claims

The Republican Governors Association has put its own spin on Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley's campaign theme of "moving Maryland forward." In a television advertisement out today, the RGA proclaims O'Malley is "moving Maryland backward."

The well-off organization is lending a hand to former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., a Republican trying to win back the governor's office this fall. In addition to the 30-second spot, the RGA has created a web site titled "Martin's Mess." As we reported this morning on this blog, the spot is a sign that the RGA believes Ehrlich can win the race.

As of late August campaign finance reports, O'Malley had about three times as much money in the bank as Ehrlich. The RGA ad comes as O'Malley launches one in the pricey Washington TV market. O'Malley's spot focuses on education -- a striking change from two attack ads he recently aired in the Baltimore market.

We "truth squad" the RGA ad below the virtual fold, where you can also view the spot itself.

Continue reading "O'Malley 'moving Maryland backward,' RGA claims" »

Posted by Julie Bykowicz at 2:08 PM | | Comments (15)
Categories: Political ads

September 9, 2010

O'Malley ad targets Ehrlich's credibility

Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley today began airing a television advertisement that digs at Republican former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich's credibility when he promises no new taxes.

Until now, the likely opponents in the November election have aired positive TV spots, with business leaders touting O'Malley's jobs creation in a tough economy and Ehrlich, against a backdrop of sunny Maryland streets, saying he will fix the budget and help small businesses.

The new O'Malley ad marks a shift in strategy -- directly attacking Ehrlich by name. It began airing this morning in the Baltimore market.

The 30-second ad opens with a woman saying, "Everyone knows a fee is a tax." It cuts to an interview between Ehrlich and MPT's Jeff Salkin. "As you know, there's a big difference between fees and taxes," Ehrlich says. The ad returns to "real Marylanders," O'Malley aides say, who say, "It's a tax," often while smiling knowingly.

Continue reading "O'Malley ad targets Ehrlich's credibility" »

Posted by Julie Bykowicz at 12:20 PM | | Comments (42)
Categories: Political ads

September 7, 2010

B'More Green: Candidates wade into Bay politics

The Chespeake Bay is getting some unexpected face time in recent political ads and campaign literature. Candidates are usually quiet on green issues in part because the environment barely registers in polls about what issues are important to voters.

Sister blog B'More Green notes that Bob Ehrlich, a Republican gubernatorial candidate and former governor, features the Chesapeake Bay in a television ad. And in Baltimore County's heated county executive race, the Democratic challengers have traded barbs about the environment.

From B'More Green:

"The latest, most visible example, is the ad from former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. that debuted on Facebook/YouTube on Sunday and will begin airing on local TV stations later this month. The 30-second spot, "Let's Get to Work," doesn't make any specific claims or promises, just flashes through a series of reasons why the Republican candidate says he's running - including the Bay.

The campaign issues Ehrlich has been hammering throughout the summer are mentioned, including fixing the state's budget woes, helping small businesses and ensuring excellent schools for all. But the brief litany ends with what appears to be a waterman saying "Protect the Bay - Finally."

The governor's race isn't the only one where the Bay or the environment are getting some attention. In the Baltimore County executive's race, Democratic Councilman Kevin Kamenetz is hitting his primary rival, Councilman Joseph Bartenfelder, for votes he made years ago as a legislator on pesticides and bayfront development.

Bartenfelder has responded with his own ad saying Kamenetz is misrepresenting his environmental record. Such green-themed campaign ads are remarkable because polling routinely shows environmental issues aren't high on most voters' minds, whether in national, state or local races. Other than limited, targeted appeals to devoted greenies, candidates rarely bring up the environment on their own."

Posted by Julie Bykowicz at 4:20 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Candidate Watch 2010, Political ads

Ehrlich TV ad: 'Let's get to work.'

The first television ad for Republican candidate for governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. is out, and it's filled with sunny images and a call to action.

Ehrlich, who is trying to win back the post from Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley, calls the spot "Let's Get to Work." It debuted early Sunday morning on Facebook, the social media site that he has used for other major announcements, including his selection of running mate.

It'll air in the Baltimore media market, where O'Malley's ads have been playing for weeks. Stations WBAL and WJZ confirm Ehrlich's ads will air until Sept. 19, costing him more than $150,000.

There isn't much to analyze in Ehrlich's 30-second spot. He makes no claims, makes no specific promises and refrains from directly attacking O'Malley. Rather, he uses a few simple phrases meant to motivate voters:

Continue reading "Ehrlich TV ad: 'Let's get to work.' " »

Posted by Julie Bykowicz at 7:55 AM | | Comments (33)
Categories: Political ads

September 6, 2010

Campaign finance reports out for Baltimore County executive race

Sun reporter Arthur Hirsch gives us an update from the Baltimore County executive race

Baltimore County executive candidate Kevin Kamenetz has spent four times as much on advertising as his chief opponent for the Democratic nomination, Joseph Bartenfelder, according to the last campaign finance reports that will be filed before the primary next week.

Reports show that Kamenetz, 52, a county councilman from Owings Mills, has spent $969,211 on media, as compared with $243,893 for Bartenfelder, 53, a councilman from Fullerton. Also running for the Democratic nomination in the Sept. 14 primary is Ronald E. Harvey, a former county employee from Nottingham, who reported total expenses of $1,278 and a cash balance of $3,872. 

The winner will face Republican Kenneth Holt, a former member of the Maryland House of Delegates who is running unopposed for his party’s nomination.

While he’s way behind in advertising spending, Bartenfelder has spent more than five times as much as Kamenetz for campaign signs, brochures and other printed materials, reflecting both a difference in resources and a different approach to the campaign. Bartenfelder’s campaign chairman, W. Michael Seganish, has said they never expected to match Kamenetz in fundraising, and have focused on using more traditional methods of posting lots of signs and relying on volunteers to get their voters out. Bartenfelder reports spending $175,987 on printing and campaign materials, compared with $33,807 for Kamenetz.

Bartenfelder  has raised $889,866 and reported a cash balance of $461,219. Kamenetz has raised $1,445,471 and reported a cash balance of $357,425.

Continue reading "Campaign finance reports out for Baltimore County executive race" »

Posted by at 3:04 PM | | Comments (0)

September 3, 2010

Brian Murphy spot to air during Glenn Beck

Bob Ehrlich isn't the only Republican gubernatorial hopeful with television news today. Underdog challenger Brian Murphy he will debut a TV spot tonight on the jumbotron at Frederick's minor league baseball team stadium, after throwing out the game's first pitch.

Murphy's spot will air during Fox's Glenn Beck show tonight, next week and on the day before the Sept. 14 primary election, said campaign spokeswoman Karla Graham. The campaign disclosed the ad buy in a release announcing the beginning of his "Refuse to Settle Tour."

The Montgomery County investor plays up that theme in the ad, saying small businesses have been "choked" for the past eight years, under Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and Gov. Martin O'Malley, and that "our last two governors forgot their role." The ad includes text saying "Ehrlich = largest spending increase in state history" and "O'Malley = largest tax increase in state history."

Continue reading "Brian Murphy spot to air during Glenn Beck" »

Posted by Julie Bykowicz at 2:50 PM | | Comments (7)
Categories: Political ads

Ehrlich going up on TV

Gubernatorial candidate Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. made his first TV buy this week. The Republican former governor will pour $91K into television advertisements on WBAL-TV starting Sunday and is spending $62K for ads on WJZ. His ads on both stations go for at least two weeks -- until Sept. 19, the station confirms.

Typically candidates buying in the Baltimore market will put up ads on all four major stations -- though were waiting to hear from FOX45 and ABC2.

Ehrlich spokesman Andy Barth would not comment on the content of the ads. "We prefer not to discuss media strategies, purchase, etc," he said in an email.

The ads will run during news programs, and will be Ehrlich's will be his first paid spots on television -- typically the medium candidates spend most of their money. The purchase raises the question of Why Now? Campaigns often heat up after Labor Day, though many had thought the Ehrlich team would wait until after the September 14 primary to start spending money on TV since he does not appear to be threatened by Republican challenger Brian Murphy.

It will also be interesting to see if Ehrlich will run positive ads like the ones O'Malley has had up throughout the summer -- or if he'll jump out of the gate attacking the incumbent governor. O'Malley's ads feature business owners and executives praising the governor's handling of jobs and the economy.

Baltimore area viewers will be blanketed. Other candidates buying time include Baltimore State's Attorney Patricia Jessamy and her opponent Gregg Bernstein; U.S. Rep. Frank M. Kratovil Jr. and his challenger state Sen. Andrew P. Harris; Joe Bartenfelder v. Kevin Kamenetz, who are vying for the Democratic nod in the Baltimore County Executive's race.

Even longtime Congressman CA Dutch Ruppersberger will be challenged on air - his primary opponent Raymond Atkins bought time.

Posted by Annie Linskey at 9:09 AM | | Comments (25)
Categories: Horserace, Political ads

July 29, 2010

Ehrlich's Republican opponent says he'll buy TV ads

The dark horse candidate for the Republican nomination, Brian Murphy, put out a fundraising plea on Facebook earlier today requesting cash to fund a paid advertising campaign.

“Next week we are launching radio and TV ads, but airtime costs money...” he wrote. Murphy hasn’t put in any orders at Baltimore’s two biggest stations. A call to the campaign revealed that they are spending the day with a camera crews.

"I've been crazy busy getting all the costs from the stations and find our slots," said Karla Graham, a Murphy campaign spokeswoman. Graham said in an e-mail the ads will likely go up in the next 10 to 15 days.

The campaign also expects to attract a national figure to stump for Murphy: They've planned a Sunday fundraiser where they expect anti-tax guru Grover Norquist to make an appearance.

Murphy has positioned himself as a more conservative alternative to Republican former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. -- but so far he hasn’t captured much attention. A recent Gonzales poll shows that the state's Republicans are behind Ehrlich Jr.

If Murphy does go up on TV, Ehrlich, who has not spent a dime on TV, will face pressure from both sides. Gov. Martin O’Malley, a Democrat, has been airing TV ads continuously since July 12 – spending about $160,000 a week in the Baltimore market. They’ve also done three different radio ads.

Posted by Annie Linskey at 2:53 PM | | Comments (7)
Categories: Political ads

July 20, 2010

Candidates must adhere to new social media rules

A committee of state lawmakers today approved regulations that will change how much information candidates must include on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. The new rules take effect in two weeks.

Candidates must begin including an authority line -- a declaration of approval that lists their campaign treasurer -- on their official campaign pages on Twitter, Facebook and other social networking sites that have exploded in popularity this election season.

The rules do not mean that each 140-character "tweet" has to contain that detailed infomation. Rather, it has to be on the "landing page" that corrals all of the tweets for a specific candidate.

Both major gubernatorial contenders, Gov. Martin O'Malley and former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., are already including authority lines. Check out the bio section and of their Twitter pages to see what all candidates must now begin doing.

"This is very new," said Jared DeMarinis, director of the division of candidacy and campaign finance for the State Board of Elections, which crafted the regulations. "We're taking the rules as they are today and applying them to Internet."

Social networking companies have lauded the state for being at the forefront of the issue. Company representatives for Google, AOL, Yahoo and Facebook were in Annapolis this morning to testify in favor of the regulations.

Continue reading "Candidates must adhere to new social media rules" »

Posted by Julie Bykowicz at 1:15 PM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Candidate Watch 2010, Elections, Political ads

June 21, 2010

Z on TV: O'Malley ad hijacks Ehrlich show

Democrats have been loudly complaining for months about former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr's WBAL radio talk show. With just a few Saturdays left until the the Republican files his paperwork to challenge Gov. Martin O'Malley, The Sun's television writer David Zurawik wonders whether Democratic operatives have organized call-ins.

One after another caller to the two-hour Saturday show, which Ehrlich co-hosts with his wife, Kendel, seemed to be dropping Democratic talking points. Frustrated, Ehrlich asked his producers to cut off calls. It was one of two ways that "The Kendel and Bob Ehrlich Show" became more of "The Martin and Bob Show" this week.

Zurawik notes that an O'Malley campaign attack ad calling Ehrlich "Big Oil Bob" dominated the discussion. Shortly after the spot rolled out last week, Republicans blasted it as inaccurate.

The ad, which played during commercial breaks, was discussed on-air by Ehrlich and Towson University professor Richard Vatz. Zurawik opines:

As sound and astute as the advice offered by Vatz might be, the ad was still setting the agenda on "The Kendel and Bob Ehrlich Show" Saturday. The simple fact that it was being discussed meant less time for the usual propaganda of ringer Republican guests brought on to sound the same narrative of how fabulous things were in Annapolis when Ehrlich was governor, and how wretched things are now with O'Malley.

(Ehrlich has pointed out the irony of Democrats complaining that he has a microphone but then essentially underwriting his show by buying ads.)

Zurawik's blog Z on TV has a robust discussion about this. Head over to that neighborhood to check it out.

Posted by Julie Bykowicz at 9:33 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Candidate Watch 2010, Political ads

June 17, 2010

GOP launches all-out response to O'Malley oil ad

Officials at all levels in the state’s GOP mobilized to mop up perceived damage from Gov. Martin O'Malley's newest attack. The 60-second spot connects the likely Republican nominee, former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., with Big Oil and the gushing spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The first response came from Ehrlich campaign spokesman Andy Barth, who called on O'Malley to issue an apology for an ad that "intentionally misrepresents the truth."

Next the state GOP sent out a missive asking O’Malley to return donations they say he received from oil companies. We wonder if the GOP would also want Ehrlich to do the same. A quick check with the Center for Responsive Politics shows he's taken oil money including $500 from BP when he was a congressman in 2000. (Ehrlich was not alone; BP coats members of congress with funds and handed out $42,500 that year alone.)

Minutes after the party e-mail came a statement from Ehrlich himself, writing that O'Malley's attack “debases the office we both seek.”

He then asks “Has the O’Malley campaign no decency?”

It is possible that a simple miscommunication is causing the heightened rhetoric. Ehrlich goes on to defend himself against a claim that O'Malley's ad never made.

Ehrlich says: “To suggest that I somehow favored or caused the Gulf oil disaster and now call for more coastal drilling is untrue, and Martin O’Malley knows it.”

We listened to the ad a few times and didn’t hear O’Malley’s camp blaming his predecessor for the spill or saying that Ehrlich somehow supports pouring oil in to the Gulf of Mexico.

Ehrlich has said that he wants to open Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for drilling, but has not responded directly to questions about other coastal drilling. Barth, a spokesman, has said Ehrlich would not favor additional drilling off Virginia's coast for the time being.
Posted by Annie Linskey at 6:25 PM | | Comments (17)
Categories: Political ads

O'Malley drills into Ehrlich's record on oil

Gov. Martin O'Malley unleashed a fresh attack ad this afternoon trying to associate his likely Republican opponent with the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

In the 60-second ad, a woman talked about the gulf spill and then accuses Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. of being a Big Oil Lobbyist who repeatedly voted with Big Oil in Congress. Listeners will also hear Ehrlich repeating the "Drill, Baby, Drill" refrain coined by his former lieutenant governor.

The O'Malley campaign says the 60-second ad will be up for at least a week and can be heard on 10 stations spread over Baltimore and the Eastern Shore.

Ehrlich spokesman Andy Barth called the ad "dishonest, deceitful and knowingly misleading." Barth called on O'Malley to apologize because he said the ad is "beneath the dignity of the office."
The ad is slick, but a quick scrub shows that Ehrlich is not a registered federal or state lobbyist. He's worked for three years at Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, and he told the Sun's Julie Bykowicz that his job description does not include meeting with elected officials to push legislation.

As to the claim that Ehrlich represented ExxonMobile and CitGo, Womble's Baltimore Managing Partner, David Hamilton, says the former governor had no hand in either account. In fact, neither client is served out of the firm's Baltimore office, Hamilton said. 

Court records show the firm did represent Center Point Terminal Baltimore LLC and the Petroleum Fuel & Terminal Company which O'Malley's campaign alledges was responsible for a 80,000 gallon heating oil spill in South Baltimore in 2007. Hamilton said Ehrlich was not involved with the case.

The congressional votes O'Malley uses to stain Ehrlich as an industry flunky were actually supported by members on both sides of the aisle and were not flagged as problematic by pro-environmental groups.

Ehrlich did vote to allow additional exploration in the Gulf, his vote allowed far less exploration than the Bush administration and the oil companies wanted. He also voted to reduce small businesses' liability for cleaning up spill - a measure that attracted broad support in Congress.

Ehrlich uttered "Drill, Baby, Drill" on his WBAL radio show, a review of the transcript shows that he was quoting GOP Chairman Michael Steele during a discussion about the media splash the phrase made at the Republican National Convention.

(As an aside we attended a recent GOP fundraiser hoping to ask Chairman Michael Steele if he would amend his Drill, Baby, Drill refrain given the gusher in the gulf. His handlers told us Steele wasn't taking questions and hung around to be sure we followed the rules.)
Posted by Annie Linskey at 4:00 PM | | Comments (10)
Categories: Political ads
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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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