O'Malley campaign manager urges "deep breath"
In a memo to top financial backers Wednesday, Gov. Martin O'Malley's campaign manager urged Marylanders "to take a deep breath" and argued that O'Malley remains well-positioned to win re-election next year, despite Democratic losses last week in Virginia and New Jersey.
"When you look at the record and the numbers, I think you'll see how Maryland's political landscape provides Governor O'Malley with a superior advantage over any potential opponent in 2010," wrote Tom Russell, the governor's campaign manager. "There has been plenty of speculation in recent days about who our opponent might be. After a long process of soul searching, 'cross tab' analysis and focus groups, will it be former Governor Ehrlich? Will it be Michael Steele, Larry Hogan, Delegate Pat McDonough or some other name we haven't heard yet? Frankly, it doesn't matter who the Republicans settle on. We'll be prepared for them, and we will beat them."
Russell's reference to Ehrlich's "soul searching" refers to comments by Maryland's former Republican governor in the aftermath of the Republican victories last week. Speculation about a gubernatorial candidacy by Steele, the current chairman of the Republican National Committee, seems to have waned considerably in recent months. Hogan, a former Ehrlich Cabinet official, and McDonough, who represents parts of Baltimore and Harford counties, have both said they will bow out of the race if Ehrlich decides to run.
Russell argues there are several important differences between Maryland and the two states in which Republican gubernatorial candidates prevailed last week -- starting with Maryland being "a more reliably Democratic state."
President Obama carried all three states last year, but his margin of victory in Maryalnd (62 percent to 37 percent) was larger than in both New Jersey (57 percent to 42 percent) and Virginia (53 percent to 46 percent), Russell points out.
"Voters in New Jersey and Virginia were expressing frustration with the pace of change and NOT rejecting President Obama or Democrats," Russell argues.
His letter also previews what are likely to be issues on which O'Malley will campaign next year, including: a freeze on public university tuition during the governor's term; Education Week magazine's ranking of Maryland schools as best in the nation; and a decrease in crime.
The text of the memo is printed in its entirety below:
To: O'Malley/Brown Finance Committee Members
From: Tom Russell, O'Malley-Brown Campaign
Date: November 11, 2009
Re: 2009 Election Results and State of 2010 Race
While last week's election returns were discouraging nationally, we at the O'Malley-Brown campaign urge our Maryland supporters to take a deep breath before accepting the predictable and inaccurate national GOP spin.
When you look at the record and the numbers, I think you'll see how Maryland's political landscape provides Governor O'Malley with a superior advantage over any potential opponent in 2010.
There has been plenty of speculation in recent days about who our opponent might be. After a long process of soul searching, "cross tab" analysis and focus groups, will it be former Governor Ehrlich? Will it be Michael Steele, Larry Hogan, Delegate Pat McDonough or some other name we haven't heard yet? Frankly, it doesn't matter who the Republicans settle on. We'll be prepared for them, and we will beat them.
We will accomplish this despite the global economic crisis, and despite the insecurity many are feeling today, because Governor O'Malley has a record of making the tough decisions, cutting government spending while still making real progress for Maryland. Specifically -
1. Despite Republican rhetoric, the state's general fund budget is SMALLER today, after three years of the O'Malley/Brown administration, than it was under the Ehrlich/Steele administration. No amount of Republican spin can change that fact. (Source: Department of Legislative Services)
2. Maryland's public schools are the best in the nation, according to Education Week Magazine. This does not happen by accident, but through leadership that puts a priority on education to prepare our children and our state for the future.
3. College tuition costs at state universities have been frozen throughout the O'Malley/Brown administration's term. That took Maryland from one of the most expensive states for college education four years ago, to one of the more affordable for middle class families. (Source: Capitol News Service, 11/5, 2009)
4. Crime is down. (Source: FBI Uniform Crime Report)
5. Under Governor O'Malley's leadership, Maryland has strengthened protections of the Chesapeake Bay in a program that is hailed as a national model. (Source: thebaynet.com, 10/24, 2009)
6. Based on these very measurable accomplishments, among many others, Martin O'Malley was named Governor of the Year for 2009 by the non-partisan Governing Magazine.
Now, let's address the issue of last week... the elections in New Jersey and Virginia. There are many important differences between Virginia, New Jersey and Maryland, all indicating that Maryland 2010 will have dramatically different results than the 2009 elections in Virginia and New Jersey.
First, Maryland is a more reliably Democratic state. In 2008, Barack Obama carried Maryland 62%-37%, where he carried New Jersey 57%-42%, and Virginia 53%-46%.
Second, Maryland has gotten MORE Democratic since November 2006. Helped in large measure by the 2008 Obama campaign, three-quarters (77%) of the new voters in Maryland are registered Democrats, compared to just 7% who registered as Republicans.
Third, a look at the New Jersey exit poll results suggests that it will be extremely difficult for Republicans to win in Maryland , even if you assume the worst environment for Democrats in years.
(a) For a "worst case" scenario, assume that the Corzine-Christie results by party will be the results in Maryland in 2010. According to the Edison Research exit poll, Corzine won Democrats by 86%-8%; Christie won Republicans by 91%-6% and Independents by 60%-30%.
(b) The "worst case" partisan environment for Democrats in Maryland occurred in 2000, where the exit polls had Democrats at 48%, Republicans at 30%. (By comparison, in 2008, the exit polls for Maryland showed 51% Democrats, 28% Republicans)
(c) IF - for the sake of argument and speculation -- we assume that Governor O'Malley gets the SAME vote by party as Governor Corzine, and we assume a "worst case" electorate of 48% Democrat and 30% Republican, that STILL results in a solid O'Malley victory of 51% to 43%.
We are not underestimating the voter dissatisfaction that heavily influenced last week's elections or the justified desire of voters that policymakers focus on improving the economy and creating jobs (NOTE: Last week, Governor O'Malley unveiled a 10-point plan to strengthen small businesses). But we do believe, despite national Republican spin, that voters in New Jersey and Virginia were expressing frustration with the pace of change and NOT rejecting President Obama or Democrats (For example, the New Jersey exit poll showed the President with a healthy 57% approval rating).
The record of progress achieved by the O'Malley/Brown Administration in difficult times is documented by specific, fact-driven indicators, all of which underscore that Governor O'Malley is setting the right priorities and leading Maryland in the right direction.
So, if it is not abundantly clear already, let's say it one more time to our friends, interested parties and, yes, even the political opposition: We will NEVER take anything for granted. We will ALWAYS be responsive to the needs of Maryland citizens during this difficult economic time. We will ALWAYS act aggressively to correct false "spin" and other attacks on Maryland's progress. And we will CONTINUE to make tough decisions, laying the groundwork for continued progress and an even better future under Governor O'Malley and Lt. Governor Brown's leadership.
For more information on the campaign, please visit www.martinomalley.com .
Authority: Friends of Martin O'Malley. Martin F. Cadogan, Treasurer.
Posted by: cbulow99 | November 12, 2009 7:27 AM | Report abuse
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