Maryland: The Land that TEA Forgot?/A Monoblogue Post

I actually sent this in to PJM early this but they decided not to run it for whatever reason. Maybe it’s a little bit off-message, or perhaps we are a true backwater of conservative politics.

Last year in Virginia and New Jersey, the first successes of the TEA Party movement swept unabashed fiscal conservatives Bob McDonnell and Chris Christie into office.

Similarly in Pennsylvania, the latest polls show Republicans with wide leads in statewide races for governor and U.S. Senate. Next door in West Virginia, a Republican has a good chance of taking over the U.S. Senate seat held by Democrat stalwart Robert Byrd.

Even where the polls aren’t as friendly, such as Delaware, they garnered national attention when a TEA Party-backed upstart in Christine O’Donnell upended longtime moderate Republican Congressman Mike Castle in the September 14 primary. O’Donnell made her final push to victory after getting financial backing from the TEA Party Express and the endorsement of Sarah Palin.

Yet as all that political turmoil roils states which border Maryland, TEA Party activists there bemoan the fact that they’ve been bypassed by the excitement.

Sarah Palin’s endorsement of TEA Party favorite Brian Murphy did little to help his campaign for governor as he was spanked by a nearly 50 point margin in the September 14 primary. While Delaware voters turned their political world upside down by going against the state’s establishment Republicans and selecting O’Donnell, Maryland’s state GOP apparatus placed their support behind former governor Bob Ehrlich almost immediately after he formally announced he would seek the office again. The move angered conservative activists but more mainline Republicans bought the argument that only Ehrlich could unseat current Governor Martin O’Malley – who defeated Ehrlich in 2006.

Unfortunately, as of this writing, Ehrlich trails in the latest Rasmussen Poll by 8 points, which is larger than his 2006 margin of defeat. A similar (and more recent) poll by Gonzales Research has Ehrlich down 5.

Of course there are bright spots for conservative activists in some portions of the state. Andy Harris is a TEA Party favorite who is giving freshman Democrat Frank Kratovil all he can handle in a spirited First District race that’s also a rematch, from 2008. Even more popular is the man challenging Steny Hoyer in the Fifth District, Charles Lollar. He’s a dynamic speaker who has excited crowds anywhere from a small campaign event to the 9-12 rally in Washington, D.C.

But for two TEA Party believers I spoke to, the lack of good choices on the Maryland ballot is disheartening.

Read about the Two Tea Party Patriots here.

Murphy Accepts Invitation to Debate Ehrlich on WMAL

Murphy Accepts Invitation to Debate Ehrlich on WMAL; Ehrlich Reacts by Running from Murphy and Challenging O’Malley to Debate

CROFTON, MARYLAND – On Tuesday, Brian Murphy, Republican Candidate for Governor of Maryland, accepted WMAL’s Bryan Nehman and Fred Grandy’s offer to debate his primary opponent, Bob Ehrlich, on their top-rated radio show (Part I, Part II). Today, Ehrlich replied by attempting to sidestep Murphy and the Republican party by challenging O’Malley to a series of debates before next month’s Primary.

Murphy has the endorsement of national Republican and conservative icons Governor Sarah Palin, Gary Bauer’s Campaign for Working Families, and Family Research Council, as well as Maryland law enforcement stalwart Frederick Sheriff Chuck Jenkins, and Pro-Life leader Maryland Right to Life. In addition, responsible tax policy icon and Americans for Tax Reform President, Grover Norquist, spoke on Murphy’s behalf at a Murphy fundraiser held at the home of former MDGOP Chairman, Dr. Jim Pelura.

Bob Ehrlich’s primary national support comes from former Lt. Governor and current RNC chair, Michael Steele, by way of a back-room deal struck before Ehrlich filed for office and in lieu of a primary.

“As a former Governor of Maryland, Bob Ehrlich acted irresponsibly and forfeited core republican principles for fiscal and social responsibility. He grew Maryland’s budget by almost 30%, and raised $3 billion in fees and taxes. He also turned his back on every core Republican belief, including the sanctity of life, the 2nd Amendment, illegal immigration, and the right to work. As a result, he lost the trust of the general Maryland voter and was defeated by O’Malley in 2006, a year when every other incumbent Republican Governor won reelection,” said Murphy.

“Ehrlich and Steele are once again attempting to sidestep Republican principles and Ehrlich’s failed record as a Republican. The data confirms a real Republican can win in Maryland in 2010. And Ehrlich is no Republican. If I were him, I’d be afraid to debate me, too,” said Murphy.

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Brian Murphy and Robert Ehrlich are running in the Republican Primary on September 14. Governor Martin O’Malley is running in the Democratic Party Primary on September 14. The winners of the respective parties’ elections will square off against each other in the November 2 General Election.

Brian Murphy is a successful Maryland businessman with a BA in Economics from the University of Maryland and an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. He is founder of the Plimhimmon Group, whose first investment, the Smith Island Baking Company, has been featured in The Washington Post, the Wharton Magazine, the Baltimore Sun, BusinessWeek and other publications for its principled approach to job creation in Maryland.

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Bob Ehrlich for Governor of Maryland on the Issues

ECONOMIC GROWTH:

Bob Ehrlich’s first priority is to strengthen Maryland’s economy and help the private sector create jobs. To reach that goal, he will treat small business owners as a source of new jobs – not a source of new tax revenue like the O’Malley Administration has the past four years.

Roughly 230,000 Marylanders are currently unable to find work, and the unemployment rate in Maryland has doubled since the O’Malley Administration took office. Approximately 3,000 small businesses have closed in Maryland in the last year alone. Maryland ranks 45th out of 50 states in CNBC’s 2009 “Cost of Doing Business” ranking of the states. Bob Ehrlich believes this status quo in unacceptable.

To help create jobs, he will lower the tax burden in Maryland and cut bureaucratic red tape that discourages entrepreneurs from starting new companies and hiring new employees. He believes we must get government off the backs of job-creating small business owners so they can flourish and invest in people, technology, and Maryland’s future.

When Bob Ehrlich served as governor from 2003 to 2007, more than 100,000 private sector jobs were created in Maryland. Unemployment consistently remained around 4 percent, and business confidence in Maryland reached an all-time high, according to surveys.
TAX RELIEF:

Bob Ehrlich will cut taxes in Maryland in order increase prosperity for everyday Marylanders and entrepreneurs. As governor from 2003 to 2007, Ehrlich defeated for vetoed $7.5 billion in tax hikes proposed by the Maryland General Assembly.

Bob Ehrlich opposed the O’Malley’s Administration’s enactment of the largest tax increase in Maryland history in 2007. He believes it had a crippling effect on Maryland families and small business owners who were already struggling under the weight of a national recession. The O’Malley Administration enacted a record $1.4 billion tax increase, including a 20% increase in the sales tax, which disproportionately punishes low and middle income Marylanders. The O’Malley Administration also raised the corporate income tax, making it harder for small businesses to grow and create jobs. Maryland has the 4th highest combined personal income tax in the nation, according to the Tax Foundation.

Bob Ehrlich firmly believes in lowering the tax burden to help Marylanders get back to work. As governor, he will repeal the O’Malley Administration’s 20 percent increase in Maryland’s sales tax, which disproportionately hurts small businesses and low and middle-income Marylanders.
FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY:

Bob Ehrlich believes Maryland must begin spending within its means. In the last three years, the O’Malley Administration has plunged Maryland into its largest budget deficits in history without offering any plan to balance the budget. In addition to this deficit, total state spending today is nearly $2 billion higher than it was when the O’Malley Administration took office. When the O’Malley Administration called a special legislative session in Annapolis to “reduce spending,” it actually approved $600 million in new spending just as the state was entering a recession.

As governor, Bob Ehrlich will immediately cut wasteful spending and make government more responsive to the taxpayers. When he served as governor from 2003 to 2007, Ehrlich turned $4 billion in inherited budget deficits into a budget surplus and nearly tripled the State’s Rainy Day Fund. He did so without increasing sales or income taxes. Under his leadership, Maryland was one of just six states with a coveted Triple A bond rating from all three major rating agencies.
CHESAPEAKE BAY:

Bob Ehrlich believes the environmental, cultural, and economic benefits of the Chesapeake Bay are priceless. He wants his two sons to inherit a Bay that is cleaner and healthier than the one his generation inherited, but the task will require uncommon political leadership.

He is proud to have authored the landmark Chesapeake Bay Restoration Act as governor in 2004. This innovative plan financed upgrades to faulty wastewater treatment plants that emitted millions of pounds of pollution into the Bay and its tributaries every year, harming wildlife and Maryland’s watermen community. As a result of his leadership, the Bay Restoration Act is currently preventing one million pounds of pollution from entering Maryland’s waterways every year.

As governor, Bob Ehrlich will continue to pursue innovative and nonpartisan solutions to restore the Bay and the wildlife that depends on it, and he has a record of delivering once-in-a-generation results for this great national treasure.
EDUCATION:

Maryland is blessed to have many school districts that have performed at consistently high levels for decades. Unfortunately, those blessings are not extended to tens of thousands of students trapped in failing schools across Maryland.

Bob Ehrlich believes every child in Maryland has a civil and constitutional right to a quality education. As governor, he will dramatically expand charter schools in Maryland to give children and parents stuck in failing schools a choice to move to a better and safer learning environment. Charter schools are publicly funded schools that operate with greater freedom to help students reach their full potential.

As governor in 2003, Bob Ehrlich authored Maryland’s first-ever charter schools law. As a result, more than 12,000 students in Maryland are currently learning and growing in 42 charter schools across the state. He also strengthened Maryland’s needs-based college scholarship program, helping 37,000 students go to college who could not otherwise afford it.

AUTHORITY: BOB EHRLICH FOR MARYLAND COMMITTEE, TREASURER: H. TERRY HANCOCK