GOP governor hopefuls on display this weekend
When Maryland Republicans convene this weekend, selecting a new chairman to succeed James Pelura will be foremost on the agenda. But the state convention in Bowie also should provide a showcase for the party's 2010 candidates for governor.
Firing up party activists is always an important early step in a gubernatorial bid. An enthusiastic base could be particularly important this cycle for the Republican nominee, who will face a well-funded Democratic incumbent and a steep disadvantage in party registration.
Former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R), who is still mulling a rematch against Gov. Martin O'Malley (D), is scheduled to address the convention on Saturday. Aides say not to expect any major announcements, i.e. whether he has decided to run.
Former Ehrlich Cabinet secretary Larry Hogan, who has said he's running if Ehrlich doesn't, could be the most visible of the hopefuls this weekend. Hogan, Ehrlich's former appointments secretary, has booked a hospitality suite at the convention site, the Bowie Comfort Inn, on both Friday night and Saturday morning.
Del. Robert A. Costa (R-Anne Arundel) is hosting Hogan's "unity suite," where guests also can mingle with Mike Pappas, the Towson lawyer who recently dropped out of the governor's race and endorsed Hogan.
"This is a great opportunity because all the grassroots folks will be there," Hogan said of the GOP convention.
Del. Patrick L. McDonough (R-Baltimore County), who is "testing the waters" for governor, also plans to make a splash at the convention. He will hand out a flier claiming momentum in the race and highlighting his views on illegal immigration.
McDonough tells us he also has bought a "major" ad Thursday in The Washington Times that will demonstrate how serious he is about the governor's contest.
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