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Kane skipping debate to attend 'Red Mass'

Maryland gubernatorial combatants Martin O'Malley (D) and Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) have finally agreed to debate this month. But a debate between their running mates that had been scheduled for Sunday will not be happening.

As first reported by Maryland Politics Watch, Mary D. Kane, Ehrlich's running mate, withdrew this week from a debate that had been set for 10 a.m. at Congregation Har Shalom in Potomac, not far from Kane's residence.

Kane today explained the "scheduling conflict" that prompted the cancellation: "I go to Mass every Sunday morning. I'm actually scheduled to go to the Red Mass," she said, explaining that event had been placed on her campaign calendar but it had not been checked against her personal calendar.

Red Masses are held in some Catholic dioceses to bless politicians, government officials, lawyers and judges; the most famous mass in the D.C. area is held every October at St. Matthew's Cathedral in Washington, shortly before the start of the Supreme Court term.

Kane's planned sparring partner, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, said in a statement that he's "prepared to join Mrs. Kane for a debate at her earliest convenience." No other debate between the two is scheduled.

In comments Friday after an event at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce -- where Kane has worked as an executive -- she also addressed the Greater Washington Board of Trade's O'Malley endorsement, which is notable because the board had preferred Ehrlich in 2006 and because Kane's husband, office-moving mogul John M. Kane, has long been active in the group.

"We were not going to agree to raise the gas tax or support the Purple Line," she said. "We don't have the money to do that." Kane also mentioned that O'Malley is an incumbent but stopped short of saying that the group generally favors incumbents.

A rail-based Purple Line and raising the gasoline tax to fund transportation projects are both Board of Trade priorities, Jim Dinegar, the group's CEO, said today.

O'Malley is on the record supporting light rail for the Purple Line corridor in Montgomery County, but has not aid much recently about whether he'd raise the gas tax.

"We have no plans to raise the gas tax, absolutely not," said Rick Abbruzzese, O'Malley's campaign spokesman.

Dinegar said O'Malley "made no representation" on the gas tax in his interview with the Board of Trade, saying only "everything was on table" with regard to fiscal matters, while Ehrlich was "very clear" in his opposition. He added that the O'Malley endorsement was based more on the incumbent's strong record on regional cooperation rather than any particular policy position.

In 2007, O'Malley proposed pegging the gas tax to inflation, but in August he refused to commit to a further hike.

By Mike DeBonis  | October 1, 2010; 6:14 PM ET
Categories:  Bob Ehrlich, Martin O'Malley, Mary Kane, Maryland, Maryland Governor 2010  
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Comments

Mary Kane is not the brightest bulb I can see why she would back out of debating Lt. Gov Brown.

Posted by: agwilson1399 | October 2, 2010 8:06 AM | Report abuse

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