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First Click, Maryland -- Ehrlich-Kane 2010

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Thursday, July 1, 2010:

The Agenda

marykane.JPGBold or boring? Strategic, if nothing else.

My colleague, John Wagner reports this morning that "former Maryland governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) reached into vote-rich Montgomery County on Wednesday night, tapping Mary D. Kane, a former Maryland secretary of state from Potomac, as his running mate for this year's rematch against Gov. Martin O'Malley.

"Ehrlich's choice of a lieutenant governor candidate, announced in a 10 p.m. posting on Facebook, appeared aimed at improving the Republican's prospects in the state's largest jurisdiction and among women. Polls show Ehrlich trails the Democratic incumbent among female voters.

"Ehrlich plans to introduce Kane, 48, Thursday morning in Silver Spring, and the newly minted ticket will formally file for office Friday, aides said."

A running mate from Montgomery is logical. The county "has more registered Republicans -- about 120,000 -- than any Maryland jurisdiction except Baltimore County. Montgomery is also home to nearly 110,000 registered independents -- nearly a quarter of all those in Maryland," Wagner writes.

Aaron.jpgBut Kane's name had been circulating for weeks, and despite the new twist of announcing on Facebook, the fact that she was the expected choice took some zing out an announcement in which Ehrlich had shown a flair for the dramatic in years past.

"In 2002, he tapped Michael S. Steele, who became the state's first African American lieutenant governor and is now chairman of the Republican National Committee. In his losing effort in 2006, Ehrlich picked Kristen Cox, who is legally blind. She was secretary of his Department of Disabilities."

Kane, who lost twice in county races before her stint in state government, also carries a potential downside risk, Wagner reports:

"An office moving company owned by Kane's husband, John, has been sued by the federal government for allegedly paying its workers less than required by federal contracts and for submitting "false and fraudulent documents" indicating it was in compliance over several years.

"Mary Kane, a lawyer, was a member of the board of directors of the Kane Co. from 1997 to 2003, according to a state-issued biography, when much of the alleged misconduct is said to have taken place."

-- Aaron C. Davis


News You Should Know

Owings dropping out of governor's race
Owings.jpg"George W. Owings III is ending his long-shot bid to win the Democratic nomination for governor," Wagner writes. "In an e-mail to friends Wednesday, Owings, a former state veterans affairs secretary and delegate from Southern Maryland, said he was withdrawing from the race to recuperate from major surgery. 'While my heart and mind remain focused and committed to the campaign, the reality is that limited energy and stamina, coupled with restricted travel, leave me without the ability to function at a level necessary to pull off what would have been an historic upset in Maryland politics,' Owings said in the e-mail. ... Owings mounted a primary challenge to Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) in January, attempting to run to his right on issues including the state budget and the death penalty. His departure leaves O'Malley with only token opposition in the Democratic primary."

Dems give Kratovil co-authorship on popular bill
kratovil-mug1.JPGCongress late Wednesday approved a measure that would give people who have home sales under contract until the end of September to finish closing to claim the federal first-time homebuyers tax credit. "The fact that Congress would take such a step isn't surprising, but what might be are the identities of the three main sponsors of the bill -- Reps. Frank Kratovil (Md.), Travis Childers (Miss.) and Kathy Dahlkemper (Pa.)," writes The Post's Ben Pershing. "All three Democrats are low on the seniority totem pole (Kratovil and Dahlkemper are freshmen, while Childers took office after a 2008 special election), and none of them are on the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee. But all three face competitive reelection races, which might help explain why the House leadership gave them the privilege of sponsoring a slam-dunk bill. Giving vulnerable members the chance to put their names on popular legislation is standard practice on the Hill, and one of the perks of being in the majority. At House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer's (D-Md.) weekly news briefing Tuesday, a reporter asked whether it would be helpful for Kratovil, Childers and Dahlkemper to be able to go back to their districts and take credit for the bill. 'Gee, I hope so, Hoyer said, prompting laughter in the room.

NEA: O'Malley education governor of the year
Thumbnail image for o'malley-4.7.jpg"The teachers' vote was never much in doubt, but Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) is certain to trumpet a new, union-designated governor-of-the-year award in seeking a few more votes heading into November," writes The Post's Aaron C. Davis "The National Education Association has announced that it plans to honor O'Malley on Monday with its not-so-modest sounding 'America's Greatest Education Governor Award.' Without naming the award, O'Malley himself has already hyped the impending announcement on his campaign Web site, Facebook, Twitter and in an e-mail to supporters. ... The announcement comes at interesting point for O'Malley's challenger. Ehrlich has spent the last two weeks attempting to remind Marylanders that he, and not O'Malley, was the one who started the state's expansion of what have turned out to be mostly high-scoring charter schools. He's also attempted to gain traction with voters by saying he would give those schools more power to innovate (including by nixing a requirement that charter school teachers be unionized)."

Quotables

"I was involved in appointing Mary as Secretary of State and served side by side with her in the Ehrlich cabinet for four years. Mary and her husband John have been good friends for many
years. She's a terrific woman."

-- Larry Hogan, the former appointments secretary to former governor Robert
L. Ehrlich Jr. (R), who was also considered as a 2010 running mate

"Of course I'm disappointed that I will not be helping Bob Ehrlich enact a bold agenda to make Maryland better for kids, parents, and taxpayers, but -- having declared my candidacy for delegate in the 16th district before being considered -- I will with determination get the confidence of voters to let me do that work from the state house floor."
-- Jeanne Allen, a national school choice advocate who lives in Montgomery
County, who was also considered by Ehrlich as a possible running mate.

"Bob Ehrlich has some pretty serious questions to answer about his vetting process."

-- Democratic Party chairwoman Susan Turnbull, referring to a federal
lawsuit pending against the company of Mary Kane's husband, John.

"Ms. Kane certainly has an interesting background working for the family business and a unique perspective on Bob Ehrlich's background. We look forward to her being part of this discussion."
-- O'Malley campaign manager Tom Russell.


-----

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 Aaron C. Davis  |  July 1, 2010; 7:23 AM ET
Categories:  First Click  
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Next: Ehrlich says Kane is someone he knows, trusts

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