Ehrlich votes early, downplays primary challenge
As he cast his vote early Thursday, former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. declined to speculate about how much support his challenger, Brian Murphy, will draw in the Republican primary.
"I haven't given it one thought," Ehrlich (R) told reporters before he and his wife, Kendel, cast ballots at an Annapolis polling station with their eldest son, Drew, looking on. "It is what it is. Obviously, we expect to win by significant margins."
Some political prognosticators, including Gazette columnist Blair Lee and Richard Cross, a former Ehrlich staffer, have speculated that Murphy, a political novice, could win more than 20 percent of the vote in Tuesday's primary. Murphy, a business investor from Montgomery County, has run to Ehrlich's right on most issues.
Ehrlich said that Tuesday will be just another day on the campaign trail for him.
"We have focused ... on ending Martin O'Malley's reign in Maryland," Ehrlich said of the Democratic incumbent. "We've been focused on Nov. 2."
As governor, Ehrlich vetoed a bill in 2005 to allow early voting in Maryland. Asked why he was now utilizing the process, Ehrlich laughed and said: "Ask my staff. ... My staff thought it was probably the appropriate thing to do."
Ehrlich said he would keep an open mind about continuing early voting if returned to office. But, he said, "this is a pretty expensive process during a very difficult time on the fiscal side."