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Former GOP chairman backs long-shot Ehrlich rival

murphy-pelura.jpgOn 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."

By John Wagner  |  April 6, 2010; 1:19 PM ET
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I don't see Ehrlich (or Murphy) as having a chance to win at all. He didn't win against Townsend; she lost the race. There's a big difference. First, she split the ticket. She put a (R) as her running mate! Retired US Navy Chuck Larson, is not what you want on the Dem ticket. Stupid move. Second, because she lost her father, RFK to assassination, she waited until the end of the campaign to come out against gun laws. MD is a southern state, especially when it comes to guns. Third, she didn't speak to her own constituency: white females. She didn't talk about daycare or education and lost their vote. I really don't see how Ehrlich can win. He wasn't even close the first time. Maryland is a blue state. Period.

Posted by: gr8bigguy | April 6, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

"I really don't see how Ehrlich can win. He wasn't even close the first time."

gr8bigguy, put down the crack pipe. Ehrlich lost by only a few percentage points in a year that wasn't friendly at all to Republicans. Lots of Democrats held their noses while voting for O'Malley in 2006...and that was before he raised the sales tax. I see a real close race here, just as the polls indicate.

Posted by: Digitalman08 | April 6, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Ehrlich and O'Malley are both career politicians, we need an executive running our state.

Posted by: jrivs | April 7, 2010 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Ehrlich is wasting taxpayer's time and money by even joining the race. The MD GOP was in debt if I read correctly. I predict the the Dem's margin of victory nearly doubles this time.


Posted by: free-donny | April 8, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

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