First Click, Maryland:
Final push looks different for O'Malley and Ehrlich
Tuesday, October 5, 2010:
With four weeks to go until Election Day -- and with far less than that remaining before early voting begins -- the campaigns of former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) and Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) early this week look and feel very different.
O'Malley on Monday arrived at the University of Maryland campus in College Park in a bright-green RV dubbed the "On Your Side" Express, complete with a traveling "kitchen table."
The moniker and prop have given O'Malley ready access to what's emerged as a central theme running through his campaign. With commercials funded by the Democratic Governors Association attempting to reinforce the same message, O'Malley is painting himself as the everyman "fighting for working families" that are having to make tough decisions around the kitchen table, while Ehrlich, he says, is the candidate on the side of big banks, big oil, big tobacco and every other special interest.
Ehrlich, meanwhile, was at a more intimate event in Frederick County, making the pitch that he would be a friend to farmers - and to small businesses, in general - if returned to office.
"You have to have a governor and you have to have a regulatory leadership that understands and cares about promulgating your way of life," Ehrlich told about 30 farmers, reports my colleague Fredrick Kunkle. Ehrlich repeated his contention that state regulations have become punitive in the O'Malley administration, that the state government's hunger for revenue has overtaxed small businesses, and that no one in Annapolis is standing up to the regulatory excesses coming from the Obama administration.
Perhaps more interesting than the content of either candidate's familiar stump speech early this week is the number of times they are being repeated. Ehrlich's stop in Frederick was his first public appearance since Saturday - and his only one scheduled until Wednesday.
During the same time, O'Malley made three stops Sunday, another three Monday and has four planned appearances Tuesday. He posed for pictures with students outside of the Taco Bell in the UMD student union building during lunch Monday, pulled up the RV and shook hands at Afros Cut at a mall in Hyattsville, and today will visit a senior center and crisscross the Baltimore area.
Ehrlich did have a widely attended Republican rally in Baltimore County over the weekend, and either he or his running mate appeared at six events on Saturday and Sunday. But the disparity in the number of public campaign events is familiar to any one who has watched the race unfold over the last six months.
As my colleague John Wagner and I reported over the weekend, O'Malley or lieutenant governor Anthony Brown have attended roughly 35 events in Prince George's County since the beginning of August. Ehrlich in that time has appeared in the county twice.
Ehrlich's campaign says that rather than be on the trail Tuesday, the former governor has multiple private media interviews scheduled today across the state that will enable him to reach voters. But will Ehrlich roll out an RV of his own? Will he have more public appearances in the final four weeks?
"Details of the final push will be unveiled soon," says Henry Fawell with the Ehrlich campaign.
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Aaron C. Davis
| October 5, 2010; 8:59 AM ET
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