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Monday, November 1, 2010:

The Agenda

WagnerAs former Maryland governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) wrapped up his final weekend of campaigning in his rematch with Gov. Martin O'Malley (D), he shared with reporters that he had very different feelings on Election Day 2002 and Election Day 2006.

In 2002, his gut told him he was going to win, Ehrlich said. In 2006, he was pretty sure he was going to lose.

EhrlichTowson2.jpg"This time, I have no idea what to suspect," Ehrlich said as he attended a late-afternoon bull roast Sunday at a Towson patio bar.

Judging from recent polls, there should be little doubt about Tuesday's outcome. Several, including one by The Washington Post, have shown O'Malley with leads ranging from comfortable to commanding.

Yet, as both campaigns acknowledge, this race is largely about turnout, and the motivation on both sides remains hard to gauge.

O'MalleyBmoreRally.jpgAs my colleague Aaron C. Davis and I wrote over the weekend, O'Malley and Ehrlich have focused most heavily on courting two largely different camps of voters. As we put it Saturday:

"If enough voters turn out for O'Malley in the heavily Democratic Washington suburbs and in Baltimore, he is all but guaranteed a second term. Since Aug. 1, O'Malley and his running mate have shown up at nearly 180 events in Montgomery and Prince George's counties and Baltimore -- nearly three times as many as the Ehrlich ticket. ...

EhrlichKingsville1.jpg"Ehrlich's only path to victory at this point hinges on phenomenal turnout from the five suburban counties that ring Baltimore -- coupled with historically weak showings for a Democratic incumbent in the areas where he should be strongest. One of every four of Ehrlich's campaign stops has been in Baltimore County since Aug. 1."

O'Malley is certainly taking nothing for granted, based on the pace of his campaigning over the weekend. As Davis noted, O'Malley moved at "breakneck" speed Sunday, attending church services and then continuing a Baltimore tradition by riding around to get-out-the-vote rallies in a caravan of more than a dozen dump trucks.

Ehrlich hit three church services -- one in Baltimore and two in Prince George's -- before dropping in on a couple of Sunday afternoon gatherings in Baltimore County, including an open house at the Kingsville volunteer fire house.

O'Malleysurrounded.jpgOur colleagues at The Baltimore Sun described a contrast between the two candidates' weekends this way: "a confident Gov. Martin O'Malley headlined events across the state, from Southern Maryland to Baltimore, while former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. took a more low-key approach, mostly checking in at gatherings organized for other purposes."

Ehrlich is scheduled to begin his final day of campaigning before the polls open by sign-waving outside his Annapolis campaign office. After stops in Rockville and Towson, he finishes the day with a rally near his boyhood home of Arbutus -- at the same place he held a rally on the night he entered the race in April.

O'Malley is making a mad dash around Baltimore and Prince George's, two heavily Democratic jurisdictions where he needs enough voters to turn out to prove the polls accurate.

-- John Wagner

News You Should Know

Montgomery zip code emerges as new money mecca
"Baltimore and its suburbs have for decades served as the epicenter of political fundraising in Maryland. Businesses atop the city's downtown high-rises, often with views of the shimmering Inner Harbor, and wealthy residents farther out in the tidy suburbs that ring the city's version of a beltway have most often opened their checkbooks for candidates running for governor. Not this year," writes The Post's Aaron C. Davis and Luke Rosiak. "Down Interstate 95, across the twisty northern span of the Capital Beltway, and tucked in a cluster of gated mansions in Potomac is Maryland's new capital for money in politics. Just outside the District line, Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) and former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) have collected more money from Montgomery County's 20854 Zip code than from any other." The online version of the story also has an interactive map.

A tale of two first ladies: Kendel Ehrlich & Katie O'Malley
Kendelradio.jpgKatie judge.jpg"Kendel Ehrlich is perched high on a swivel chair in the dimly lit radio studio at WBAL, wearing Levis and a pink T-shirt that displays her husband's campaign logo. The black leather purse below her feet is plastered with a campaign bumper sticker," writes The Post's Anne E. Marimow in a must-read Style piece. "A few miles away in downtown Baltimore the previous week, Katie O'Malley has slipped off her black judicial robe in the chambers of the Eastside District Court Building to headline a symposium on domestic violence. Standing before a room filled with female social workers, Katie tells the haunting story of a friend she invited to spend the night at the governor's mansion because the woman was worried she was being followed by her abusive husband."

Kratovil, Harris race awash in television ads and then some
Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for kratovil-mug1.JPG"Across the country, political candidates and campaign workers are more than eager for the endless loop of rallies, fairs and fundraisers finally to come to an end on Nov. 2. Marian Norris has a simpler dream -- she just wants all the ads to stop," writes The Post's Ben Pershing. "'Oh, my God, you can't watch the news,' Norris said Monday night as she emerged from casting her ballot at the Harford County Public Library. 'I've stopped watching the local news because of them.' Unfortunately for Norris, she is a resident of Forest Hill in Maryland's 1st Congressional District, one of the most ad-saturated patches of ground in the country. The tight contest between freshman Rep. Frank M. Kratovil Jr. (D) and state Sen. Andrew P. Harris (R) has turned into a magnet for spending from a host of groups, which was bad news for Norris -- who backed Kratovil -- and some of her fellow early voters."

Could losing control of Congress be good for Hoyer's future?
HoyerPelosi.jpg"If predictions of outsize Republican gains prove accurate," writes The Baltimore Sun's Paul West, "a Democratic succession contest could begin in earnest as early as next week, and [Rep. Steny H.] Hoyer [D-Md.] would be well-positioned to gain from his party's downfall. He might even end up as House speaker at some point, a turn of events that seemed all but impossible after longtime rival Nancy Pelosi bested him in a leadership contest a decade ago. 'No, no, no,' Hoyer said to the suggestion that an electoral thrashing could work to his advantage. And yet, that may be the case."

Maryland still deep blue while rest of country sees red?
"Despite a volatile electorate that has targeted incumbents nationwide, particularly Democrats, Maryland seems likely to remain as solidly Democratic as ever this year, thanks to a large number of federal government employees, a sizable African American population and unions," writes The Post's Frederick Kunkle. "Only one of its congressional seats seems up for grabs: the close race between Rep. Frank M. Kratovil Jr. (D) and Republican challenger Andy Harris in Maryland's 1st District."

Quotables

Dundalk2.jpg"You don't walk away when things get a little tough. ... The whole election can change in two days. We just need to get our voters out, get our people to vote."
-- Former Maryland governor Marvin Mandel (D), at a Saturday morning rally for Democrats supporting former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R)

"On the whole, Mr. O'Malley's ideas are better suited to the challenges Maryland faces now, whereas Mr. Ehrlich at times has failed to recognize the ways in which the world has changed since he left office four years ago."
-- The Baltimore Sun, in an editorial endorsing the reelection of Gov. Martin O'Malley (D)

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By John Wagner  | November 1, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  First Click, John Wagner  
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Comments

Voters of Md., it's time to throw the bums out. Vote for the GOP, the Greens, anyone but the Dems. One party rule in Md., no matter which party, is unAmerican.
"...safe seats exacerbate partisanship and extremism: candidates who can take the general election for granted and need attend only to winning the primary nomination will inevitably be pushed to the outer edges of their parties," the Wapo editorial, today.

Posted by: VikingRider | November 1, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Hey Mr Viking, we useta' had a GOP here in Merlin, but it died some years ago. We also tried starting a Green party here in PG, but the Johnson machine (re:Miller) kept it from voting Baker in '06: somehow, re-registrations from G to D weren't put in the system.
Really, we have been a one party state from since the first indentured servant grandchildren became freemen. I had to tell my kid about how our constitution held us up back in the forming of the nation days so that we are seventh & not first.
I watched my mom/dad democrat vote every time for "Mac" Mathias, a TRUE REPUBLICAN. In this "one party state", we have all kinds of Democrats, from Frank in District 1 & the President with lots of middle names, to the progressives in my District 47 and my PG. So, stop B....ing: register Democrat, vote for blue dogs in the primary & whoever tomorrow, and you can be a true Merlinder.

Posted by: johnlclark | November 1, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

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