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Schaefer's' Tax Ads Feature First Family

Comptroller William Donald Schaefer (D) has begrudgingly, it seems, offered to support the Democratic nominee for governor this year -- which is just one reason why he is likely to raise eyebrows today when he unveils new public service ads featuring the wife and son of the Republican incumbent.

The ads -- there are television and radio versions -- are designed to promote Maryland's upcoming tax-free shopping period on clothes and footwear from Aug. 23 to Aug. 27. The TV version of the ad depicts first lady Kendel Ehrlich and her 7-year-old son, Drew, doing back-to-school shopping.

Word of the ads led some Democrats to question Schaefer's involvement in their promotion, given that he is facing a tough primary against Anne Arundel County Executive Janet S. Owens and Montgomery County Del. Peter Franchot.

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) said, "For him to continue to cozy up to the governor at this late stage of the election process isn't going to sit well with some Democratic primary voters."

Schaefer spokesman Kevin Kane said the comptroller is charged by law with implementing the tax-free shopping period and that Schaefer did not pick the ads' stars. "It wasn't the comptroller's call," Kane said.

Ehrlich spokesman Henry Fawell said the first lady was approached by the Maryland Retailers Association, which paid for production of the radio spots. Production costs for the television ads were picked up by WMAR-TV in Baltimore, Kane said.

A provision passed by the General Assembly this year prohibits elected officials from appearing in state-funded public service ads this close to the election. Kane said, however, that no taxpayer money is being used. The state is relying on stations to run them as a public service, he said. Schaefer decided not to appear in the ads himself "to be on the safe side."

John Wagner

By Phyllis Jordan  |  August 3, 2006; 6:02 AM ET
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ads not produced or aired at taxpayer expense telling people about an opportunity to save money. SCANDAL!!!!

Posted by: and the issue is... | August 3, 2006 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Kendel Ehrlich is one good-looking babe and I'm delighted to see her on TV anytime.

Posted by: A reader | August 3, 2006 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Hmmm, guess we won't have to go to Delaware to buy Back-to-School clothes after all.

Thanks for the tip, Willie-Don!

Posted by: Rufus | August 3, 2006 12:59 PM | Report abuse

I guess we know who the wet-blanket partisans really are in Maryland.

Democrats need to lighten up and/or get lives. The governor is a Republican, why don't you deal with it.

Posted by: JD | August 3, 2006 1:01 PM | Report abuse

The ads were going well until the comptroller told Kendel Ehrlich to "walk away again."

Posted by: kramdenyards | August 3, 2006 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Man, who would let his wife anywhere near Governor Schaefer?

More to the point, what would he do if he lost the primary? A lame-duck version of Schaefer is a scary prospect.

Posted by: Tom Canick | August 3, 2006 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Hats off to WDS, who once again does what he thinks what is right regardless of the political implication. If only the rest of our politicians would do the same.

Posted by: jan | August 3, 2006 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Maybe it time for the State of Maryland to flush the political Toilet and get rid of its one party system.

Posted by: Richard ReWalt | August 3, 2006 5:44 PM | Report abuse

It's time for Willie Don to come out of the closet and admit that he's really a Repuplicant.

Posted by: smeghead | August 3, 2006 7:17 PM | Report abuse

The nerve of WDS. A Democrat promoting a tax free shopping day. This flies in the face of the Democrat manifesto. His time could be better spent prying more money out of working people's wallets by finding some new way to tax and spend. Once we negative attack our way back into the Governor's mansion, we can go back to the days of unchecked taxation on the working people of the state. Go O'Malley!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 3, 2006 9:22 PM | Report abuse

So, if I understand the Democrats' story on this (and the Post's, given the headline this had on earlier in the day), the Comptroller shouldn't be actively promoting a law passed by the Democratic General Assembly and signed by the Republican Governor which is administered by him?

And when an independent organization arranges a campaign to support this brilliant idea passed by the Democratic General Assembly and chooses the Governor's wife to spearhead it it reflects badly on the Comptroller?

Quite a bizarre view of things. I agree--many have had their view warped by the one-party lens of Maryland politics.

Posted by: Huh? | August 3, 2006 9:23 PM | Report abuse

This is just one more example of why we need to kick Shaefer out of office this september! He is no longer the star he once was. Janet Owens deserves and should get each and all of our votes this year as the democratic nominee for the comptrollers race! Elect Owens!

Posted by: casey v | August 8, 2006 11:32 AM | Report abuse

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