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Flier Roils Republicans--and Democrats

Governor

Among the less noted features of the much denounced Election Day flier authorized by the campaigns of Republicans Michael S. Steele and Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. is that the sample ballot actually advocated Democrats, rather than their fellow Republicans, in some races.

The bogus "Democratic Sample Ballot" looked like what it purported to be in part because -- though it urged support for Ehrlich and Steele -- it endorsed a raft of other candidates who were, in fact, Democrats.

The flier, which was mailed to some voters and handed out at the polls by people bused in from out of state and paid $100 each, backed Democrat Douglas F. Gansler, the Montgomery County state's attorney, for attorney general instead of Ehrlich's hand-picked GOP candidate: Scott L. Rolle, the Frederick County prosecutor. Gansler defeated Rolle in a landslide Tuesday.

The neglected Rolle saw the flier himself at a polling location in Bowie, where a couple guys in Steele t-shirts had been just been chastised for handing them out.

"They told me that some woman had come up and told them that these things were fraudulent and that they weren't supposed to be handing them out and is she telling the truth," he said.

In an interview, Rolle said he suspected the fliers were somehow the work of Democrats -- but acknowledged that that idea Democrats would circulate a flier supporting Steele and Ehrlich "doesn't make logical sense."

Still, he said he couldn't imagine that his fellow Republicans would deliberately work against him.

"I'd be very, very surprised if something like that happened," he said, noting that Ehrlich and Steele had been supportive of his candidacy. "Everyone was great to me."

The flier is also stirring a lot of discussion in Prince George's political circles and could bring a backlash for some prominent political and business leaders who endorsed Steele in the week before election day.

Eric Rich

By Phyllis Jordan  |  November 9, 2006; 3:16 PM ET
Categories:  Governor  
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