Gansler unopposed; few well-known Republicans surface for Md. statewide offices
The governor's race in Maryland may be competitive, but no well-known Republicans stepped forward for other statewide offices, as filing closed at 9 p.m. Tuesday.
In fact, Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler (D) drew not a single opponent and could well be running unopposed in November. Under state law, the Republican party could still field a candidate, given no one filed for the office. But party officials said Wednesday they weren't sure whether they will take advantage of that provision.
Meanwhile, 11 Republicans (and seven Democrats) have stepped forward to challenge the seemingly well-entrenched Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.). But none of the senior senator's challengers are exactly household names.
Comptroller Peter Franchot (D) has drawn three Republican challengers, none of whom have held public office before. The most credentialed is William H. Campbell of Howard County, a former chief financial officer of Amtrak.
Former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R), who is trying to win his job back from Gov. Martin O'Malley (D), acknowledged Wednesday to reporters that candidate recruitment for other offices have suffered due to the party's past track record in heavily Democratic Maryland.
"When you fail to win races over an extended period of time, it has a dramatic and negative impact on your ability to attract candidates," Ehrlich said, following an event in Grasonville at which he met with watermen angry with the O'Malley administration's policies on oysters, among other things.
Ehrlich predicted that if he wins in November, more Republicans will seek other statewide offices four years later. Ehrlich also said he had focused more energy on recruiting candidates for potentially competitive legislative races than other statewide contests.
Maryland GOP spokesman Ryan Mahoney presented a more rosy view, saying the party would get behind whichever candidates prevail in the U.S. Senate and comptroller's primaries. He said the party would field an attorney general candidate if "a strong one" steps forward in coming days.
"The number of U.S. Senate candidates is a tribute to how much enthusiasm there is out there this year," Mahoney said.
July 7, 2010; 12:36 PM ET
Categories: 2010 Elections , John Wagner
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