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First Click, Maryland -- Measuring progress

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Thursday, April 29, 2010:

The Agenda

WagnerViolent crime in Maryland has been driven down to its lowest rate since 1975, Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) told a crowd Wednesday in Howard County.

Unemployment in Maryland has doubled since 2006, former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) told supporters in a fundraising solicitation emailed the same day.

Last month, Maryland created more jobs than any other state in the nation, O'Malley told the crowd in Howard, a stop on day two of his three-day announcement tour.

More than 230,000 Marylanders are currently looking for a job and unable to find one, Ehrlich said in his solicitation.

There has been a 45 percent increase in school construction in Howard County during the current administration compared to the last one, O'Malley said.

Maryland has gone from a budget surplus at the end of his administration to a record budget deficit today, Ehrlich said.

omalleybmore.jpgWelcome to the 2010 governor's race.

If recent days are any indication, we're in for a dizzying array of claims and counterclaims in coming months, many of them backed up by purported statistics, about what happened during the Ehrlich and O'Malley administrations. Such is the nature of a race, it appears, between two governors seeking a second term.

O'Malley made his bid official Tuesday at a rally framed by a stunning sky in Fells Point before leaving Baltimore on a three-day tour of the state that is scheduled to wrap up Thursday.

Among other things, O'Malley's rally -- and subsequent tour stops -- have demonstrated the value of announcing when the legislature is not in Annapolis. The current governor has been surrounded by delegates and senators singing his praises, something that was noticeably absent from Ehrlich's announcement and subsequent tour earlier this month.

O'Malley, who likes statistics, has thrown out plenty of them in making the case that his four years, despite the challenges presented by the national economy, have been a lot better than the previous four years.

"We don't make excuses. We make progress," O'Malley has said at most every stop.

Ehrlich, who stayed out of public view on the first day of O'Malley's announcement tour, re-emerged Wednesday with a more pointed message: "Marylanders cannot afford four more years of Governor O'Malley's 'progress,'" Ehrlich said in his fundraising solicitation, which included the less flattering statistics mentioned above, among others.

Ehrlich will try to build upon that theme Thursday morning with a planned stop at E&G Classics, an automotive restyling company in Columbia. "Ehrlich will meet with E&G Classics employees to discuss the company and whether 'progress' is being made in Maryland's economy," says a campaign advisory.

Undoubtedly, the comparisons of the past four years to the four years before that will continue. The bigger question is how much Maryland voters will hear about the future.

O'Malley has spoken in no more than generalities in recent days about what he would do with a second term. Ehrlich has gone out of his way to insist the race is not a "grudge match" and is about what comes next. But the new ideas he has unveiled thus far have a lot to do with the past.

Ehrlich wants to roll back a sales tax increased passed with O'Malley's support in 2007. And Ehrlich has proposed doubling the number of charter schools in Maryland -- building on an initiative he started back when he was governor.

-- John Wagner

News You Should Know

Post poll underscores anti-incumbent mood at national level
"Members of Congress face the most anti-incumbent electorate since 1994, with less than a third of all voters saying they are inclined to support their representatives in November, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll," write The Post's Dan Balz and Jon Cohen. "Dissatisfaction is widespread, crossing party lines, ideologies and virtually all groups of voters. Less than a quarter of independents and just three in 10 Republicans say they're leaning toward backing an incumbent this fall. Even among Democrats, who control the House, the Senate and the White House, opinion is evenly divided on the question."

Maryland wind farm prospects bolstered by Obama decision
Wind farm.jpg"The Obama administration's approval of the nation's first offshore wind farm near Cape Cod in Massachusetts buoys prospects for similar renewable-energy projects off Maryland's shore and elsewhere along the Atlantic coast, proponents say," writes The Baltimore Sun's Timothy B. Wheeler. "But it may still be several years -- if ever -- before turbines are spinning wind into electricity off Ocean City, state officials note." "There are at least 11 other U.S. offshore wind projects in development, off Delaware, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island and Texas," reports The Post's Juliet Eilperin.

Maryland incentive package not enough to lure defense giant
"Maryland and Montgomery County offered a total of $22.5 million to bring the headquarters Northrop Grumman Corp. to the state -- more than the investment disclosed thus far by Virginia, but ultimately not enough to woo the defense giant," writes Nicholas Sohr in The Daily Record. "Northrop eliminated Maryland from the race this week and narrowed its search to sites in Northern Virginia, citing the better real estate deals available in the region. Northrop had considered buying a building on Gaither Road in Rockville."

Baker urges O'Malley to veto tax break
Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Rushern Baker.jpg"Here's something you don't see very often: A candidate coming out against a tax break in an election year," writes The Post's Jonathan Mummolo. "Former Del. Rushern L. Baker III (D), who is running for Prince George's County Executive, said Gov. Martin O'Malley should veto a bill on his desk that would give residents a tax break because it could also impair the county's ability to avoid furloughing workers in this year's budget.

Manno latest delegate to challenge a sitting senator
Thumbnail image for manno.jpg"Roger Manno of Montgomery County is about to become the latest Maryland delegate to launch a primary campaign to unseat the senator in his district," writes The Post's John Wagner. "Manno, a Democrat finishing his first term in the House, used a Tuesday night radio appearance on WPFW 89.3 FM to announce plans to run against Sen. Michael G. Lenett (D-Montgomery) in the September primary. Manno said he plans to kick off his campaign May 16 with a rally at a Silver Spring restaurant."

Science City plan close to council approval
"Plans for a 'science city' in Montgomery County are nearing approval by the County Council, a move that officials hope will lead to the creation of a $10 billion center for research and development," writes The Post's Miranda Spivack. "Officials from Johns Hopkins University, among the key players in the development, and business and political leaders are backing the plan, which they say could create a scientific research center that would rival North Carolina's Research Triangle or Palo Alto, Calif. County officials predict that the number of jobs in the area west of Interstate 270 could triple to at least 60,000, many of them high-paying."


Thumbnail image for o'malley-serious.JPG"The angry one who lights up radio ... extreme right-wing radio that is."
-- Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) alluding to Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) Wednesday at a stop in Frederick on his kick-off tour. O'Malley has yet to call Ehrlich by name on the campaign trail.

Ehrlich head turned.jpg"If he's going to run on a jobs platform, good luck. We invite that comparison."
-- Ehrlich, speaking of O'Malley, at about the same time Wednesday during an appearance on "The C4 Show" on Baltimore's WBAL radio


Trust First Click for critical news and analysis you need to navigate Maryland politics. Each Monday and Thursday, First Click brings you The Agenda, a concise, forward-looking analysis of a top development in politics or policy. "News You Should Know" breaks down top stories from across the state. And other features keep you up to speed with power brokers in Annapolis and beyond. Want First Click on the go? Sign up for our free e-mail edition, and get the news delivered to your inbox or mobile device.

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By John Wagner  |  April 29, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  First Click , John Wagner  
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Next: Ehrlich highlights Columbia company's job losses


ehrlich can argue stats all day, but he doesnt seem capable of explaining why he had policemen infiltrate anti-death penalty poety readings or bussed homeless people from philly down here to hand out fake campaign literature.

Posted by: MarilynManson | April 29, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

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