Md. GOP is ready to win, Ehrlich says
Close to 700 upbeat Maryland Republicans filled a hotel ballroom Thursday night to celebrate the state party's return to solvency and tout their candidates' prospects in November.
Former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R), who is running to get his old job back, was among those who contrasted the mood at the party's 20th annual Red, White and Blue dinner with that of recent years.
Instead of "a morgue," the room was filled with "a bunch of people ready to win," Ehrlich told the crowd, which also heard speeches from National Republican Committee Chairman Michael S. Steele and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney (R).
In the wake of Ehrlich's 2006 loss to Gov. Martin O'Malley (D), the Maryland GOP struggled to overcome poor morale and infighting among party leaders and, until recently, had been mired in debt.
Party chairwoman Audrey Scott, who took over last fall and hired new staff, told the crowd that last month "the Maryland Republican Party became solvent for the very first time in over three and a half years. ... It's not only that we've paid all our bills. We have money in the bank."
Party staff said Thursday night's dinner raised about $200,000, which will be used for field operations leading up to November.
Steele, Ehrlich's former lieutenant governor, said the state party was experiencing a renaissance and introduced Ehrlich as "the once and future governor of the great state of Maryland."
Steele cautioned the crowd against becoming overconfident even as some polls show a very competitive race, however.
"My friends, don't screw this up," Steele said. "We've got work to do."
Romney, who ran for president in 2008 and is angling to do so again in 2012, said "the only way this state is going to create jobs again is if Bob Ehrlich is your governor."
In his remarks, Ehrlich confirmed that his wife, Kendel, will become the sole host of the couple's weekly radio show on WBAL once Ehrlich officially files as a candidate next month.
Earlier, Ehrlich told reporters he is considering several possible lieutenant governor candidates, but plans an announcement "no time soon." By law, Ehrlich must have a running mate by July 6, the filing deadline for gubernatorial candidates.
June 10, 2010; 11:26 PM ET
Categories: 2010 Elections
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