O'Malley upbeat about early voting turnout
Standing in the living room of a senior center in Howard County on Thursday, Gov. Martin O'Malley asked for a show of hands from those who had cast their ballots ahead of the Nov. 2 election. Only a handful of the more than 50 residents and aides at Brighton Gardens of Columbia indicated that they had chosen Maryland's early voting option, which is scheduled to end Thursday at 8 p.m.
But O'Malley's campaign has been tracking participation, which the governor said was steadily increasing by the day as voters begin to focus on the election. O'Malley said his campaign is on target in terms of early voting turnout for Tuesday's rematch with former Republican governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. O'Malley's numbers track stats from the State Board of Elections that show a total of 170,000 people had cast ballots since voting began last Friday.
"What a wonderful turnaround from the primary when no one was going out to vote," O'Malley said, before telling the crowd several times, "I need your help."
O'Malley seemed in good spirits, briefly serenading a woman he met named "Nadine" with a tune about her name as they posed for a photo. The governor invoked his late father's military service as a pilot, pulling out his own American Legion card from his wallet, as he honored a local veteran who organizes care packages for American troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The governor was joined by Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), who quickly connected with the older audience by sprinkling her remarks about Social Security benefits and Medicare with an anecdote about learning to use a walker after she cracked her ankle last year. In an interview, Mikulski said the Democratic governor remained popular in an anti-incumbent election year because he has "stayed connected with constituents."
"He made tough budget decisions before the ship of state was torpedoed," Mikulski said. "He anticipated the crisis and began to deal with it, and in many ways, Maryland was better prepared than other states."
| October 28, 2010; 5:10 PM ET
Categories: 2010 Elections
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