If challenger Brian Murphy claims any hope of splitting Republican support with former Gov. Bob Ehrlich in this year’s gubernatorial primary, he’ll have to get his backing from outside of the General Assembly.
Ehrlich’s campaign announced today that every GOP member of the General Assembly — all 14 senators and each of the 37 delegates — have signed on to support him this September (and one would imagine, November).
Murphy has said he believes Ehrlich would not be a viable candidate to unseat Gov. Martin O’Malley in a rematch, and that Ehrlich is not a fiscal conservative.
Republicans in the Senate disagree, writing that Ehrlich “put Maryland’s fiscal house in order,” and “stopped billions of dollars of tax increases proposed by Democrats in the General Assembly.”
Of course, spending comparisons between the O’Malley and Ehrlich administrations are difficult. Ehrlich presided over a period of economic growth and tax revenue expansion, while O’Malley has governed during a national recession.
Murphy has the support of ousted state GOP chairman Jim Pelura, but today’s announcement demonstrates the difficulty he will have in drawing endorsements from mainstream Republicans.
But it’s worth noting that Murphy’s running mate is former Republican Del. Carmen Amedori, whom Ehrlich appointed to the parole commission.
“When we want to win, sometimes we have to change the players on the field,” Amedori said in a statement Friday announcing her candidacy.
Clearly not all Republicans are enamored of Ehrlich.
Murphy admits he’s an outsider. This might help him bolster that underdog image. Whether it will prove an effective selling point is a different question.