First Click, Maryland
Turnout matters, for both Ehrlich and O'Malley
Monday, October 4, 2010:
On a phenomenal fall afternoon, supporters of former Maryland governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. turned out in droves Saturday for the Republican's 5th Annual Corn Roast on a farm in Baltimore County.
Besides plenty of beef, pork, chicken, beer and soda, the family-friendly event -- a low-dollar fundraiser -- also featured a ferris wheel, a corn maze, a corn-eating eating contest, hay rides and a local Top 40 band.
Ehrlich's Facebook page put the attendance at more than 3,000 people, a figure organizers called conservative. Whatever the number, it was an impressive turnout and one that Ehrlich boosters argue bodes well for his chances against Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) on Nov. 2.
"It shows the base is fired up in Baltimore County," said Joe Sliwka, Ehrlich's Baltimore County coordinator, who estimated that about 85 percent of the attendees came from the county.
For Ehrlich to avenge his 2006 loss to O'Malley, he is counting on phenomenal numbers from the region that helped propel him to victory in 2002 over then-Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend (D). A big reason why O'Malley won in 2006 is that he was able to tamp down Ehrlich's margins in the Baltimore suburbs. One of the keys to this year's election is whether 2010 will look more like 2006 or 2002 in Baltimore County.
In a year in which turnout is expected to matter more than most, what's going on there is the flip side of our weekend story that explored how crucial the size of the African-American vote is to O'Malley's re-election chances.
"With a month until Election Day, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley's chances of winning a rematch against his Republican predecessor could rest upon a big unknown facing Democrats across the country: how many African Americans turn out to vote," we said in a story that I wrote with Aaron C. Davis and Jon Cohen.
"The issue is paramount in Maryland, where President Obama is scheduled to appear this week with O'Malley (D) in a bid to bolster enthusiasm for O'Malley's campaign against Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R). The president's appearance will punctuate a race in which O'Malley, a former mayor of Baltimore, and Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown (D), a former Prince George's County state delegate, have become fixtures at community picnics and church services in those two large majority-African American jurisdictions."
O'Malley's efforts to bolster enthusiasm among African Americans and other key constituencies will be on display today with the kick-off of a new "On Your Side" tour that makes stops in College Park at the University of Maryland, a barber shop in Hyattsville and a gala in Bethesda sponsored by the Hispanic Democratic Club of Montgomery County.
The tour features an RV nicknamed Katie -- for the first lady, we can only assume. The role of Catherine Curran O'Malley, the human, is pretty limited on the campaign trail because of ethical restrictions related to her job as a district court judge in Baltimore.
Ehrlich, meanwhile, heads west today to court another constituency he hopes will turn out for him in strong numbers Nov. 2. He is holding an "agriculture and equine industry roundtable" at a farm in Walkersville.
News You Should Know
Mikulski has big lead over little-known Wargotz in Senate race
"Sen. Barbara Mikulski has a commanding lead in her race for a fifth term, according to a new Washington Post poll, though her popularity has eroded among key groups since her last reelection campaign," writes The Post's Ben Pershing and Kyle Dropp. "The Maryland Democrat leads Queen Anne's County Commissioner Eric Wargotz (R) among registered voters, 59 percent to 24 percent, and among likely voters, 61 percent to 29 percent. Mikulski tops Wargotz in every region of the state and among nearly all demographic groups. Wargotz, who beat 10 other candidates in the Sept. 14 Republican primary, suffers from low name identification in the state: Just 19 percent of registered voters knew enough to have an opinion of him -- 10 percent viewed him favorably, 9 percent unfavorably -- while 81 percent said they had no opinion."
O'Malley, Ehrlich headed in different directions on transportation
"This time around, in their rematch for governor, the differences between Martin O'Malley and Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. on transportation issues are stark," writes The Baltimore Sun's Michael Dresser. "Unlike 2006, when the two substantially agreed on the state's largest road project, in 2010 the Democratic incumbent and Republican challenger are at odds on billion-dollar decisions that could determine how Marylanders will get from place to place for decades to come. If O'Malley is re-elected, he will almost certainly keep Maryland on a course toward construction of two long-sought but expensive light rail systems -- the $1.8 billion Red Line in Baltimore and the $1.6 billion Purple Line in the Washington suburbs. As governor, Ehrlich supported the planning process on both lines, but has turned against them as proposed by O'Malley. The Republican has vowed to scuttle light rail on both lines, saying rapid bus lines are his preferred choice."
Likely Prince George's delegate benefited from Abe Pollin's deeds
"Abe Pollin is gone, but still giving. Just ask Tiffany Alston," writes Dave McKenna in the Washington City Paper. "More than two decades ago, Alston was among a bunch of Prince George's County kids that the sports and development mogul 'adopted' in one of the most ambitious do-gooder deeds in a life loaded with 'em. She is about to become a member of the Maryland House of Delegates after her first run for public office."
Home bought by Montgomery wasn't real Uncle Tom's Cabin
"In 2006, at the height of the housing bubble, Montgomery County paid $1 million to buy a two-story colonial in North Bethesda with a log cabin jutting out on one side. The house had been on the market only a couple of months, but county officials felt compelled to act quickly: This might be their only chance to save the real Uncle Tom's Cabin -- the former home of Josiah Henson, the model for the title character in Harriet Beecher Stowe's seminal antislavery novel," writes The Post's Annys Shin. "Since 2006, state and county officials have spent another $1 million to expand and study the property, and in recent months, Montgomery has held public meetings to solicit ideas on how to turn the old farmhouse into a public museum. There is just one problem, though. The house on Old Georgetown Road is not the real Uncle Tom's Cabin."
"Despite Republican candidate Mary Kane's cancellation, Lt. Governor Brown remains committed to the forum and hopes Mrs. Kane will reconsider."
-- A O'Malley/Brown media advisory that arrived in our inbox at 6:30 a.m. Sunday, three and a half hours before a debate that Kane had already made clear she would not attend because she planned instead to go to the Red Mass in Washington
"First he makes stuff up. When caught, he covers stuff up."
-- a new ad by former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) highlighting the removal of a jobs report from a state Web site
"We're all on the same page when it comes to getting stuff for Maryland. I don't think Maryland will be a loser if the Republicans take over."
-- Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett (R-Md.), quoted in a Baltimore Sun story about what a Republican takeover of Congress would mean for him
(Ehrlich corn roast photo courtesy of O.P. Ditch.)
| October 4, 2010; 6:45 AM ET
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