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O'Malley campaigns in Washington County

April 28, 2010|By ANDREW SCHOTZ
  • Maryland Gov. Martin O' Malley checks out Tommy Kunkleman's pancakes Wednesday at a campaign stop at the United Auto Workers Local 171 office in Maugansville. Kunkleman made letter shapes of several pancakes in the form of an "O" and an "M." Tom Chedester looks on.
, Kevin G. Gilbert

o O'Malley talks taxes, Ehrlich, jobs, corrections

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- Gov. Martin O'Malley made his case for a second term Wednesday, telling local supporters that his administration has made Maryland better than it was four years ago.

O'Malley and Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown spoke at the United Auto Workers Local 171 office on Maugans Avenue, north of Hagerstown, focusing on jobs, education and tough budget decisions.

On Tuesday, O'Malley and Brown, who are Democrats, launched their re-election campaign. O'Malley said he stayed Tuesday night at Inn BoonsBoro.

Republican Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., who preceded O'Malley as governor and lost to him in the 2006 election, is running again, too.

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On April 8, the day after he officially announced his candidacy, Ehrlich held a rally in Hagerstown.

Speaking to more than 100 people at the UAW union hall, O'Malley said Wednesday that he and Brown attracted 60,000 jobs to Maryland through the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission process, froze public college tuition and extended health care to 180,000 more residents.

He said Maryland has survived the economic slump better than most states and led the nation last month with about 35,000 new jobs created.

"There is no more powerful place in this world than a family home, and there is nothing more empowering to a family than a job," O'Malley said.

The governor has been on a "Jobs Across Maryland" tour this month, talking about the state's job creation and retention efforts at different sites.

In an e-mail to supporters Wednesday afternoon, Ehrlich looked at the state's job health from another angle.

His e-mail says unemployment in Maryland has doubled since 2006 and the state dropped 25 spots in a CNBC ranking of affordable states for businesses.

Ehrlich has said he'd overturn the sales tax increase -- from 5 percent to 6 percent -- that went into effect under O'Malley.

But, on Wednesday, Del. John P. Donoghue, D-Washington, an O'Malley ally, said the tax increase protected vital services and staved off harsh cuts.

"The ex-governor needs to stop the irresponsible intellectual dishonesty and answer our questions: Where is the money going to come from?"

Others who have filed to run for governor are Democrats J.P. Cusick and Ralph Jaffe, Republican Scott Murphy and Libertarian Susan J. Gaztanaga.

David Perkins, Local 171's president, announced Wednesday that the union has endorsed O'Malley and Brown for a second term.

O'Malley and Brown visited the same hall in 2006, days before the election.

The labor crowd was welcoming then, as it was Wednesday.

But, unlike Maryland as a whole, where Democrats outnumber Republicans by a 2 to 1 ratio, Washington County and Western Maryland lean GOP.

When O'Malley beat Ehrlich in 2006, Ehrlich had 61 percent of the vote in Washington County.

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