Democrats don't wait for Ehrlich to enter
Former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) has yet to say whether he is running again for governor. But the Democratic campaign against him has apparently already begun.
On Thursday, Maryland Democratic Party Chairwoman Susan W. Turnbull released an "open letter" to the former Republican governor, posing several unflattering questions for him to consider during his deliberations about 2010.
"As you conduct - in your own words - your 'objective analysis,' 'hold focus groups' and 'look at cross-tabs,' I wanted to make sure that you and your pollster ask the right questions on which to base your decision," Turnbull wrote.
Among the questions she gamely suggested: "Do voters know that ... you increased spending by almost 22 percent in your last two years in office?" and "Do voters know that ... you raised state property taxes 57 percent?"
There are several more, but you get the idea.
In response to the letter, former Ehrlich aide Henry Fawell said the Democrats "are redefining the term "paranoid.'"
"I would urge them to take the advice Governor O'Malley's campaign manager gave to fundraisers: Take a deep breath," said Fawell, who now works for Ehrlich's law firm.
Fawell was referring to a memo written this week by Tom Russell, the campaign manager for Gov. Martin O'Malley (D). Russell sought to assure financial backers that the Democratic incumbent is still well-positioned to win Maryland depsite Republican wins last week in Virginia and New Jersey.
The complete text of Turnbull's letter is below:
Dear Former Governor Ehrlich,
Running for governor is an intensely personal decision for you and your family, and no one - Republicans or Democrats - should fault you for taking the time to consider your prospects in 2010. As you conduct - in your own words - your "objective analysis," "hold focus groups" and "look at cross-tabs," I wanted to make sure that you and your pollster ask the right questions on which to base your decision.
For instance, do voters know that:
1. You increased spending by almost 22% in your last two years in office - exceeding the Spending Affordability guidelines?
2. You raised more than $3 billion in hidden taxes, tolls and fees on Maryland families?
3. You raised taxes on income from manufacturing?
4. You raised state property taxes 57%?
5. You raised the corporate filing fees by $188 million during your first three years in office?
These are very important questions that you should ask in your poll - especially since spending levels in the State of Maryland are lower today than they were during your last year in office. No doubt voters will be very interested in your spending record given the state of the national economy.
Voters and opinion leaders are already aware that you were the only incumbent governor in the country to lose re-election in November. Sure it was a bad year for Republicans after six years of George Bush, but you were the only incumbent governor of either party to lose re-election. So, as you prepare your poll and focus groups, I recommend you ask whether you would, yet again:
* Cut funding for K-12 public education, since you failed to fully-fund Thornton while you were in office.
* Roll-back the progress we have made to make college more affordable by increasing college tuition by over 40% again, as you did during your term in office.
* Start raiding Program Open Space dollars instead of making difficult decisions to balance the budget.
* Block any increase in the minimum wage for hard working Marylanders.
Susan W. Turnbull
Chair, Maryland State Democratic Party
P.S. Please also be sure that you ask voters about your flip flop on slots, which you supported for all four years of your Administration as the centerpiece of your budget program, only to oppose in last year's referendum, which passed with 59% of support from Maryland's voters.
November 12, 2009; 6:00 PM ET
Categories: 2010 Elections , John Wagner
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