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Ehrlich hasn't ruled out run for office

May 04, 2007|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

WASHINGTON COUNTY - Six months after losing the Maryland governorship to Democrat Martin O'Malley, Republican Robert Ehrlich hasn't pledged to run for office again. But he hasn't ruled it out, and that includes another try at being governor.

A video tribute shown Thursday at a Washington County Republican dinner ends with him raising presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani's arm. The caption: "Until next time."

During an interview, Ehrlich said he's watching the political landscape to see if last year's national and statewide Democratic surge was an aberration or a new standard.

Asked if he'd run for governor again in the right political climate, Ehrlich said, "That would be a possibility."

Until then, Ehrlich is helping Giuliani's campaign, working at a law firm in Baltimore, writing a book designed to come out before next year's presidential election and hosting a weekly radio show with his wife.

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And he's trying to rally and inspire Republican troops coming off clear and convincing losses last year, including his.

Ehrlich, who was governor from 2003 to 2007, said the O'Malley administration is pushing "a harsh left agenda, by any measure."

He named a list of successful and unsuccessful measures from the past General Assembly session - an attempted repeal of the death penalty, a ban on public indoor smoking, more voting rights for convicted felons, proposed in-state tuition for illegal immigrants - whether they were initiated or just supported by O'Malley.

Ehrlich, who blistered Democrats in a recent fundraising letter, said he won't criticize O'Malley, but his agenda is fair game for attack.

The Washington County Republican Central Committee turned this year's Lincoln Day dinner into a "thank you" to Ehrlich for his service to the state and county.

About 200 people attended the dinner at the Four Points Sheraton on Dual Highway.

Ehrlich said his "thank you" to constituents is found in a 40-plus page color book of his administration's legacy, which included a fiscal turnaround, protection of the Chesapeake Bay, a first-in-the-nation department for disability issues and increased education spending.

With his parents looking on, Ehrlich told the Republican-dominated audience - a handful of Democrats attended - that losing is one thing, but acting defeated is another.

Nationally, he said, the GOP can chalk up its defeats to four reasons: "too much spending, too few vetoes, too many scandals and failure to pass immigration reform."

"We need to elect a Republican president long on fiscal prudence and short on pork spending," he said.

Ehrlich said he considers Washington County - with seven Republicans in its state delegation, compared to one Democrat - welcome territory.

"This is a solid group of people," he said. "They were my go-to people."

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