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There’s Something Going On

Posted by Jim Walsh on Thursday, September 16, 2010

The past 36 hours or so (i.e., since the night of the primary election) have convinced me that there is a seismic shift going on politically the likes of which I’ve never seen before.

First, an anecdotal observation. This morning I drove from home (in Woodbine) to meet a client at Leisure World (a large age-restricted development in Silver Spring). On the way down Georgia Avenue, and then across Norbeck Road heading back to my office in Columbia, I noticed a handful of Ehrlich signs here and there. But I did not see a single O’Malley sign in my travels to and from Montgomery County, which is one of the bluest counties in this most blue of states. Even driving through the liberal hotbed that is Columbia, I see a roughly even split of O’Malley and Ehrlich signs. This is only anecdotal, but I am convinced that there is practically no enthusiasm this year for O’Malley.

Second, this morning I read that the latest poll done in the Ohio governor’s race has John Kasich (R) up 17 points over Ted Strickland (D). For those of you not familiar with the politics of my home state, the stunning thing about this poll is that Strickland is the INCUMBENT who was leading Kasich by 5 points in the polls in late June. Strickland is not mired in any scandal, and he has not made any significant campaign gaffe. The worst thing that Strickland has done so far in this campaign is a YouTube video clip showing him in a Howard Dean type tirade about how Republicans hate America. But that clip was not major news and the tirade occurred only about 10 days ago, when Strickland was already trailing badly in the polls. Across the Great Lakes states, it looks like governorships of Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Illinois are going to flip from Democratic to Republican.

Third, Christine O’Donnell defeated ex-Governor and current Congressman Mike Castle in the Delaware primary for the Senate seat previously held by VP Joe Biden. Normally an insurgent can beat a party favorite only when there is an very low turnout in the primary, and the insurgent’s villagers with torches and pitchforks are the only ones who show up at the polls. What was especially interesting about O’Donnell’s victory is that the turnout in Delaware was three times the average primary turnout.

All the pundits immediately said that the Delaware voters were crazy and the Republicans had just lost their chance at picking up that Senate seat, and hurt their chances to gain the majority in the Senate, citing polls showing Democratic nominee (New Castle County executive) Chris Coons with a 16 point lead over O’Donnell. Karl Rove promptly bashed O’Donnell for her past financial problems and quirks. Even before O’Donnell concluded her victory speech Tuesday night, the Republican Senatorial Committee said it would not be supporting her in the general election. Castle, in his concession speech, did not congratulate O’Donnell or even mention her by name (reminiscent of Maryland’s own sore loser Wayne Gilchrest in 2008). Why the outrage at O’Donnell, particularly from Republicans? What happened to Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment “Thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican.”?

Some Republicans dislike the Tea Party movement for its impact on the Delaware, and Alaska, and Nevada primaries. They like the enthusiasm that the Tea Party has generated for conservative candidates, but resent those same Tea Party-ers for upsetting the apple cart for some party insiders. Those Republicans are trying to have their cake and eat it too. You can’t expect a group to be enthusiastic about the political process unless that group can have an impact.

There were online reports that Karl Rove was working behind the scenes for the Castle campaign, so maybe he was just ticked off that his horse got beat. Even so, Rove is a political professional and his blast was a head scratcher. For those fans of conspiracy theories, I read one comment suggesting that Rove had done O’Donnell a huge favor. Now she was the underdog again, berated and dismissed by fellow Republicans. She was immediately transformed from a kooky fringe candidate to a sympathetic rallying point for conservatives across the country. On the day after the primary election, O’Donnell collected $750,000 in donations. By noon Thursday, she was up to $1,000,000. At the very least, she will have enough money to range a credible campaign, and the Democrats will still have to spend a significant amount of money in Delaware that they could have used elsewhere. Two days after the election, Coons’ lead over O’Donnell was down to 11 points. Now Delaware may be a blue state, but Chris Coons is no Joe Biden. He does not engender enthusiastic support. I think the momentum is shifting back to O’Donnell. I fully expect that any poll done the week of 9/19 will have her down by no more than 8 points. At the very least, O’Donnell is still going to make a race of it.

Let me try to connect some dots.
(1) There is no enthusiasm among Democrats.
(2) Republicans and independents are more likely to vote this year and they are angry. Ohio is the ultimate swing state, going back and forth between Republicans and Democrats. If an incumbent Ohio governor with no scandal or major gaffe is down 17 points, I’m extrapolating that Republicans have maybe a 12-15 point advantage over their base line of support this year.
(3) Christine O’Donnell is attracting money and support at an unprecedented rate.

Now let me go far out on a limb and make some predictions:
(1) Republicans take the House.
(2) Republicans take the Senate.
(3) Christine O’Donnell wins.


Posted in Democrats, Ehrlich, Jim Walsh, O'Malley, Republicans | 3 Comments »

Howard County Election Turnout (Preliminary)

Posted by Ed C on Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Still waiting for final results to be posed by the Howard County Board of Elections, but there are some additional numbers in that allow a rough comparison of voter participation in the 2006 election compared to past elections.

According to the Baltimore Sun’s article Absentee ballots leave results unchanged there are 2271 provisional and overseas ballots to be counted. The current state 2006 results for Howard County are here.

If all 2271 ballots are valid, there were 105,651 votes cast in the 2006 Election.

Using 2004 as a baseline:

Year Votes % Change

2006 105,651 + 9.5 Gubernatorial – Ehrlich / O’Malley

2004 132,221 + 37.0 Presidential – Bush/Kerry

2002 96,508 Gubernatorial – Ehrlich / Townsend

In 2004

53,260 votes – Governor Ehrlich.

42,438 votes – Kathleen K Townsend.

In 2006 (without provisional votes) compared to 2002 results

Votes Change % Change

50,888 votes (49.2%) – Governor Ehrlich -2372 -4.5

51,401 votes (49.7%) – Martin O’Malley +8963 +17.4

How did this affect the race for County Executive? Well, according to the Sun, currently Chris Merdon is more than 8000 votes behind.

Posted in Ed C, Ehrlich, Merdon | Leave a Comment »

Bob Ehrlich’s 2010 Comeback

Posted by Jim Walsh on Monday, November 13, 2006

Bob Ehrlich’s initial comments to WBAL after the election seems to indicate that he may have written off his chances for any political comeback in Maryland, but I have not. Governor Ehrlich is only 49, and has plenty of time to revive his career. I have identified four races that Ehrlich might consider in 2010. At least two of these races could be influenced by whether or not Barbara Mikulski decides to seek re-election.

GOVERNOR – Right now this seems foolhardy, but a lot of things can happen in 4 years (as we well know). If, as I suspect, taxes and spending skyrocket, and/or if O’Malley stops construction of the ICC, enough voters might be persuaded that two-party government is a pretty good idea after all. In addition, maybe O’Malley doesn’t run for re-election.

COMPTROLLER – William Donald Schaefer showed how this office can be a bully pulpit and gives the office holder a powerful voice in State government. Presumably, Ehrlich would be facing incumbent Peter Franchot. Again, the viability of such a campaign could depend on Maryland’s fiscal situation in 2010.

U.S. SENATE – Barbara Mikulski will be 74 years old in 2010. Although that’s fairly elderly for a lot of people, it’s still middle-aged among Senators. Her decision on whether or not to run again will affect the governor’s race as well. If Mikulski decides not to run, O’Malley might be tempted to go for this race instead of seeking re-election as governor. Open Senate seats occur too rarely in Maryland, only every 20 years or so, and O’Malley might see Mikulski’s retirement as his prime opportunity for the U.S. Senate. In addition, there might be a lot of pressure on O’Malley to run for Senate to clear the way for Lt. Gov. Brown to run for governor. Lt. Gov. Brown might also be interested in the Senate seat himself, as might Lt. Gov. Steele.

BALTIMORE COUNTY EXECUTIVE – Jim Smith will be term-limited and so this would be an open seat in 2010. It remains to be seen whether Ehrlich would be willing to run for a local office, which would be seen as a demotion, but it could be the easiest way of reviving his political career. Of the four offices, this is probably the most winnable for Ehrlich in 2010. Assuming that he was elected in 2010, he could run for Senate in 2012 (against, presumably, Ben Cardin running for re-election) without risking his seat. If he was re-elected in 2014, he could take a shot at Senate in 2016 (for an open seat or against 80-year old Barbara Mikulski). Again, Michael Steele could also factor in any of Ehrlich’s future Senate plans.

Posted in Ehrlich, Jim Walsh, Maryland | 2 Comments »

Last Minute Sleaze

Posted by David Keelan on Wednesday, October 25, 2006

O’Malley Campaign: DUI Story “Last Minute Sleaze”

Anyone who reads this blog knows I can’t stand this stuff and I don’t support O’Malley. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Ehrlich, Maryland, O'Malley | 30 Comments »

Washington Post Endorses Ehrlich

Posted by David Keelan on Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Read it yourself

It isn’t all glowing but here are some highlights

The Good Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Ehrlich, Maryland, Media, O'Malley | 1 Comment »

Ehrlich v O’Malley Debate

Posted by David Keelan on Saturday, October 14, 2006

Watch a taped web broadcast.

Dave Wissing Commentary Here

Posted in Ehrlich, Maryland, O'Malley | 1 Comment »

O’Malley’s School System Lowers Standards For Passing

Posted by David Keelan on Wednesday, August 16, 2006

David Wissing beat me to the punch. 

Maryland Politics Now has commentary on this as well.

Need I say more?  Absolutely not… 

David Wissing’s report follows…

What a simple way of boosting your school system’s performance? How about lower the standards for passing. From The Baltimore Sun.

Mayor Martin O’Malley rallied Tuesday to the defense of city school board members who lowered the passing grade for key subjects taught in Baltimore’s schools, but the move drew criticism from several City Council members and a spokesman for Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.During an appearance at an East Baltimore middle school, O’Malley said lowering the minimum passing grade from 70 to 60 changed the grading scale, but it did not lower standards.

So according to Martin O’Malley, lowering the grade for passing from 70% to 60% is somehow “not lowering the standards”. I see…. read more

Posted in Ehrlich, Maryland, O'Malley | Leave a Comment »

Ehrlich and O’Malley Tied

Posted by David Keelan on Monday, August 14, 2006

BALTIMORE – Campaign staff for Republican Gov. Robert Ehrlich and his Democratic challenger, Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley, were puzzled Friday by a recent poll showing Ehrlich and O’Malley tied in the race for governor.

At least one poll conducted in June showed the governor trailing O’Malley by as much as 16 percentage points. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Ehrlich, Maryland, O'Malley | 2 Comments »

Poll indicates county could be election key

Posted by David Keelan on Wednesday, July 19, 2006

From The Sun 

Howard County is up for grabs in this year’s gubernatorial election, a Sun poll shows, and the results locally could be crucial statewide.

“We know we fought the JV team” in 2002, when then-Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend carried her party’s banner, said state Republican Party Chairman John Kane.

“He’s a ’94 congressman, at the elbow of [former House Speaker] Newt Gingrich, who’s brought home that [Karl] Rove-Bush type of rhetoric,” said Tony McGuffin, Howard’s Democratic Party chairman.

So what?  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Ehrlich, Howard County, O'Malley | 1 Comment »

Maryland Governor’s Poll

Posted by David Keelan on Sunday, July 16, 2006

David Wissing has a good post on this.  Just the facts more or less.

The way I look at this…. Great news for Ehrlich.

Ehrlich at 56% approval rating (hard to beat a sitting Gov. with ratings like that) but only 38% of support (O’Malley 46%)

I suggest that low support is because Ehrlich hasn’t defined O’Malley yet.  He hasn’t even started.

Now this poll shows O’Malley leading by 8%.  Previously O’Malley let by 15%.  As Dave pointed out.  In a previous Sun poll O’Malley was 48% and Ehrlich was 33%.

This spells huge trouble for O’Malley.

O’Malley is down 2 points.  Ehrlich is up 5 points.

Why is this big trouble for O’Malley?  Because O’Malley has been trying to define Ehrlich for 2 months and now we know it isn’t working.  The exact opposite of what O’Malley has been trying to accomplish is happening (just like everything else he touches).  O’Malley took him to court on the BGE deal, stopped Ehrlich from taking over troubled schools, he is getting hit over the head with UTech, crime statistics…  Maybe a cynic out their believe that Ehrlich is behind all this bad news – but that is all it would be – cynical.  The fact is O’Malley has too many chinks in his own armour to effect Ehrlich.

Another interesting note from the Washington Time:

“…the poll was conducted too soon after the selection of Mrs. Cox to gauge whether the governor received a bounce with women from the pick. However, Mr. O’Malley’s lead among female voters has decreased to 11 percentage points, from 21 points in November.”

O’Malley’s appeal to women voters has been highlighted as a key to O’Malley’s bid for Government House.  If Kristen Cox begins to register positive numbers for Ehrlich then this important block of voters could swing the vote to Ehrlich.

The importance of Howard County in this election is not lost either…

“Baltimore County and Howard County are emerging as battlegrounds.”

Wait until the Guv starts to define O’Malley.  Dave, you won’t have to worry.  I will bet you next time I see you that Baltimore County will go Ehrlich.

Maybe a lot more of Duncan’s supporters have swung to Ehrlich than they did to O’Malley.  If they were solid democrats then Ehrlich would not have closed the gap by 7 points.

Posted in Ehrlich, Maryland, O'Malley | Leave a Comment »