The Montgomery Campaign Trail
The campaign for governor moves to Montgomery County today with both Democratic candidates putting in appearances designed to highlight each other's weak spots.
In Silver Spring, County Exec Doug Duncan promises a "debate" on slot machine gambling with "special guests."
(There was also an uninvited cutout: A protester carried a cardboard version of disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff with a sign reading "I HEART Duncan and Gambling"--a reference to campaign contributions Duncan returned last week from firms linked to the lobbyist)
Of the three gubernatorial candidates, Duncan is the only candidate firmly opposed to bringing slot machines back to Maryland. Ehrlich has advocated placing thousands of machines statewide to raise money for education, while O'Malley favors a more limited plan that would allow the machines at race tracks to help revive horse racing.
Duncan pledged to veto any slots plan that came before him as governor. Polls show Montgomery voters opposed the effort to expand gambling.
Later in the day, O'Malley arrives in Clarksburg, the northern Montgomery County community that has become synonymous with rampant growth. It was Clarksburg where residents discovered building irregularities: some houses were too tall and too close to the street.
The fault seemed to lie with the county planning department, which reports to the County Council, not to Duncan. But he has not escaped the backlash from anti-growth advocates, some of whom are lining up with O'Malley.
After the Clarksburg visit, O'Malley moves on to Germantown for a town hall meeting on sprawl. Today's events are the latest in the mayor's efforts to shift the campaign from Baltimore's woes to Montgomery's.
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