Ehrlich and O'Malley to bask in light of Giuliani and Clinton

Maryland Votes 2006

November 05, 2006|By Doug Donovan and Andrew A. Green | Doug Donovan and Andrew A. Green,Sun reporters

Down to their final 48 hours, the rival campaigns of Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and Mayor Martin O'Malley are hoping to receive major boosts today from national political luminaries visiting for rallies in Prince George's County.

Former New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani is set to appear on behalf of the Republican incumbent at a volunteer fire station in Glenn Dale, and former President Bill Clinton is scheduled to stump for the Democratic nominee -- as well as for the Democrat's U.S.. Senate nominee, Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin -- in Upper Marlboro tonight.

It's the second visit to Maryland for Clinton and Giuliani, an indication of how close both candidates for governor believe the race to be. A poll conducted for The Sun, as well as other surveys in recent days, have shown the race to be a statistical tie.

FOR THE RECORD - The 2B column in the Maryland section Sunday incorrectly stated the location of Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s election night party. It is set for the Hyatt Regency Baltimore on Light Street. THE SUN REGRETS THE ERROR

Giuliani "did the same thing at this point last time, and that worked out pretty well," Ehrlich said last night.

Clinton has also recorded a 30-second television commercial in support of O'Malley that will begin airing today. The former president's appearance occurs a day before former Vice President Al Gore is scheduled to stump for O'Malley in Montgomery County and two days after Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois spoke in Prince George's for O'Malley and Cardin.

Matthew A. Crenson, a political scientist at the Johns Hopkins University, said visits from high-profile politicians are meant to garner news media coverage, excite campaign workers and persuade voters to turn out at the polls.

Crenson said national figures could have a particularly strong influence in the Washington suburbs. "These are familiar faces to them," Crenson said. "At this point, it's too late to change anyone's mind about policy. The only thing you can do is to energize people to get them out."

That's what the candidates spent most of their time doing yesterday.

Ehrlich traveled to Mount Airy, a community at the border of Carroll and Frederick counties, where he spoke to volunteers making phone calls urging supporters to vote on Tuesday. The two jurisdictions voted heavily for him last time, and he needs them to do so again.

As O'Malley attended the morning opening of the Basilica of the Assumption in Baltimore, his campaign rolled out a collection of Democrats from Prince George's -- a crucial jurisdiction for his success -- to announce the Clinton ad. They were joined by Douglas H. Palmer, the mayor of Trenton, N.J., and president of the National Conference of Democratic Mayors.

O'Malley is the nation's leading mayor, Palmer told a gathering of campaign workers at the Enterprise Plaza shopping center in Lanham, "not just because of his pretty face," but "because he's a change agent."

Later, O'Malley, U.S. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings and other Democrats spoke at a small rally in Columbia.

O'Malley said he and his running mate, Del. Anthony G. Brown, "are running to serve the people of Maryland. We are not chasing titles or perks. We are running for the 80-year-old widow whose husband won the Second World War and whose president now wants to cynically shake her off of Medicare prescription coverage. We run for Maryland."

O'Malley then took his tour bus into Anne Arundel County to go door to door in Odenton before he was scheduled to head into Silver Spring to greet voters at an intersection and at a football game of his alma mater, Gonzaga College High School.

Ehrlich traveled to Baltimore yesterday afternoon for a rally at the Helping Up Mission, where he was endorsed by three black leaders: Anthony Evans, president of the National Black Church Initiative; the Rev. Mark McCleary, pastor of the First Church of Seventh-day Adventists in Washington; and Frankie L. Powell, vice chairman of the Baltimore Republican Central Committee. McCleary and Powell said they supported Ehrlich four years ago. Evans, who lives in Washington, said he was not involved in the 2002 race.

All three praised Ehrlich as a man of integrity who has extended opportunities to minorities.

Ehrlich said he believes the black vote in Maryland is up for grabs in a way it has never been, and he pledged to pursue improvements to the state's educational system and policies to help those who are addicted to drugs or imprisoned.

"Judge us, as Dr. King said, by the content of our character. Judge us by what we do," Ehrlich said. "This is an agenda for people regardless of color. This is an agenda for people in need."

Many in the crowd praised Ehrlich for directing aid to Helping Up, which offers long-term residential recovery programs for drug addicts and services for the poor and homeless.

In the Senate campaign, both Cardin and Republican Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele attended the opening of the basilica.

Cardin then joined with former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright for a foreign policy forum with College Democrats at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County in Catonsville.

She and Cardin were critical of the Bush administration's foreign policy, particularly in Iraq.

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