Former GOP chairman backs long-shot Ehrlich rival
On the eve of Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s announcement that he is running again for governor, long-shot Republican primary rival Brian Murphy trotted out a former party official who is backing him: James Pelura, the previous chairman of the Maryland Republican Party.
"It's time that we bring in some new blood," Pelura told reporters who attended a Murphy press availability outside the State House in Annapolis. "It's time we not keep relying on the career politicians."
Murphy, 32, a businessman from Chevy Chase who has not previously run for office, said that he remains undeterred by Ehrlich. Murphy criticized his fellow Republican for raising numerous fees during his four-year tenure.
"I don't think Bob Ehrlich can win," Murphy said. "He's not a fiscal conservative. ... I can't sit by and watch that happen."
Pelura stepped down as party chairman in November after months of pressure from other GOP leaders, who were frustrated by the state party's infighting and anemic fundraising. Pelura's relationship with Ehrlich grew frosty during Pelura's tenure, which started shortly after Ehrlich's 2006 loss to Gov. Martin O'Malley (D).
Pelura said he is supporting Murphy in part because he has a better understanding of the private sector than the former Republican governor.
"He's claiming he understands the role of the private sector," Pelura said of Ehrlich, "but this man, Brian Murphy, comes from the private sector."
April 6, 2010; 1:19 PM ET
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