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Md. Dems highlight divide between Ehrlich, Murphy

John Wagner

The Maryland Democratic Party apparently is hoping a radio interview given Wednesday by former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) won't help him bring Brian Murphy's supporters back into the fold.

In an appearance on WBAL radio, Ehrlich was pressed by host Ron Smith and guest Blair Lee, a Gazette columnist, about what he is doing to court the nearly one-quarter of GOP primary voters who cast ballots for Murphy Tuesday.

A recording of the interview and a transcript was released Thursday morning by the Democrats, who pointed out that Murphy endorsed Ehrlich and attended a "unity" rally in Annapolis with him shortly before the radio program.

Speaking about Murphy on the radio, Lee told Ehrlich that "you need to publicly embrace this guy, you need to call him a rising star in the party, you need to borrow his rolodex, and you need to get all of his voters to vote for you."

Ehrlich's response: "Well, Blair, I respect him, but quite frankly we have a lot of rising stars in our party, including people who have won races."

Lee continued: "Brian Murphy's followers are now looking for a signal from you, a very clear signal, and you need to give that signal."

Ehrlich, who until this spring co-hosted a weekly radio show on WBAL, said he understood the advice and added: "We didn't criticize Brian Murphy one time during the campaign, and I haven't criticized him yet, anywhere, and we talked last night. So all is fine. Don't be creating needless controversy here."

The Maryland Democratic Party didn't heed that advice.

"It's clear that Bob Ehrlich doesn't have time for Brian Murphy and can't even bring himself to compliment his former opponent," the party said in a press release issued Thursday morning.

Henry Fawell, Ehrlich's communications director, shot back with this later Thursday morning: "Did Martin O'Malley 'compliment' his primary opponents who garnered 60,000 votes from Democrats who want new leadership in Maryland?"

Fawell was referring to little-known Democratic candidates J.P. Cusick and Ralph Jaffe, who won nearly 10 percent and about 4 percent, respectively, of the primary vote against the sitting governor.

By John Wagner  |  September 16, 2010; 9:13 AM ET
Categories:  2010 Elections , John Wagner  
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The great thing about recorded interviews is that you can listen, first-hand, to what people actually said. When I read this article, I thought to myself, "The Democrats at the Post are just trying to cause trouble." Then I listened to the interview and the exchange between Blair Lee and Bob Ehrlich. I encourage every Murphy supporter to listen to that interview.
Ehrlich is a jerk, and a liar. His people called Murphy every name in the book during the campaign. They called him a Democrat, a Libertarian, an O'Malley plant, a liar (regarding his business enterprises), that he caused massive losses at Constellation Energy when he managed some of their investments, ... and the list could go on and on. I was in the trenches with the Murphy campaign as a volunteer, and I was abused by countless Ehrlich people, including prominent members of the Maryland legislature.
Ehrlich and his people got massive monetary support from the RNC and the MdGOP. Murphy paid his own way. Murphy wanted to debate Ehrlich. Ehrlich ran and hid. Ehrlich and the GOP completely dismissed Tea Party groups like the Maryland Society of Patriots, and proclaimed publicly that "Those people who attend protests will support us (the GOP) anyway, so we have to work with moderates and liberals, instead."
Murphy is a class guy. He is a very intelligent man, a man of principle and a man of honor. He is a University of Maryland grad, not some Ivy League football star. After listening to Bob Ehrlich today, I wouldn't support Bob Ehrlich ever, under any circumstances. The choice I've been given is to vote for the real democrat (O'Malley), or democrat-light (Ehrlich). I'll support other Republicans, and I can't vote for O'Malley, but I can't vote for Ehrlich either. I'll leave that spot on the ballot blank.

Posted by: lawyerhale | September 16, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

right on lawyerhale.

Bob Ehrlich trashed Murphy, Palin and the tea party supporters. Ehrlich expects Murphy to bow down and kiss his princeton ring. Nice little classless cheap shot about "people who have won races".

Then again Bob Ehrlich defines classless.

My vote goes to a third party. probably Libertarian.

Posted by: geevill | September 16, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

I'm voting for Ehrlich. Vote all liberals out of office.

Posted by: thorhero | September 16, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

If you want to vote all liberals out of office, then don't vote for Ehrlich. Ehrlich is pro-abortion, he is pro-gay civil unions, and his administration supported Casa of Maryland, so he is weak on enforcing our immigration laws. Ehrlich increased spending 29% during his previous administration, and he increased taxes, too, but he calls taxes "fees." I never saw Ehrlich around any Tea Party rallies, either. Listen closely to what Ehrlich says. Ehrlich considers liberals to be his base. We need to cut taxes and to cut spending in Maryland, and Bob's not the man for the job.

Posted by: lawyerhale | September 16, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Ah, the sweet sounds of implosion. My advice to the MD GOP would be to bag it for 2010, save your money, and rebuild for next time.

Posted by: free-donny | September 16, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Ehrlich is an albatross around the necks of the MDGOP. No offense to albratrosses

Posted by: geevill | September 16, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

geevill, lawyerhale: I applaud your courage and your conviction. Please continue to vote for even wackier Libertarian candidates than the one who split your party. Please continue on your spirited tunnel-vision of your take on what's right. Please keep calling yourselves "patriots" (because we all know we god-less liberals aren't -- can't be -- I mean we want *everyone* to have civil rights - not just well to do white males) We flaming, screaming liberals appreciate all of your efforts to marginalize yourselves. I would god bless you, but I'm a secular-humanist atheist. Peace.

Posted by: allen-a-dale16 | September 17, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

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