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Ehrlich Takes Aim at Franchot

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. is, of course, running for re-election against Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley (D). But Ehrlich (R) directed his heaviest firepower toward the Democrats' candidate for comptroller, Montgomery Del. Peter Franchot, at a Republican dinner last night in Baltimore.

"Peter lives on an island," Ehrlich said of the Takoma Park resident to the roughly 1,000 attendees. "Chances are, no one in this room will ever visit that island."

Ehrlich said he was concerned that Franchot, who upset imcumbent William Donald Schaefer (D) in the primary, would "stop me" on the Board of Public Works, a three-member panel on which both the governor and comptroller sit. Several Democrats have also expressed concerns to him about Franchot landing on the panel and taking over as the state's chief tax collector, Ehrlich said.

"I am here to assure you that is not going to happen," Ehrlich said. "He doesn't even know what a comptroller does."

The Republican nominee for the position, former University of Baltimore business school dean Anne M. McCarthy, picked up on that theme upon taking stage later.

"Unlike my opponent, I am actually qualified for this job," McCarthy said. She urged the audience to vote for her and bring 10 Democratic friends to the polls with them in November to do the same.

It may take something close to that to derail Franchot in a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans nearly 2-to-1. A Baltimore Sun poll published the morning showed Franchot leading McCarthy 54 percent to 29 percent, with 17 percent undecided.

Last night's dinner was capped off with the unveiling of the newest member of the Maryland GOP, Sen. John Giannetti, who is switching parties to run in November for a seat which he lost in the primary.

Democratic primary.

By John Wagner  |  September 27, 2006; 8:31 AM ET
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