Martin O'Malley, Leading By 14 Points, Tours Maryland Eastern Shore, But Quietly

Posted on October 26, 2010

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The Washington Post has released a poll showing Gov. Martin O’Malley leading challenger Bob Ehrlich by 14 points in Maryland. O’Malley is the popular Democratic incumbent in a blue state.

The Post’s reported margin is exactly the same as the spread reported in a separate poll by The Baltimore Sun on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Rep. Frank Kratovil and challenger Andy Harris are running neck-and-neck in District 1, Maryland’s only competitive Congressional race (see post immediately below), with 14 percent undecided, also according to a Sun poll.

That might explain why Gov. O’Malley’s whirlwind tour of Kratovil’s mostly Eastern Shore district was kept so quiet on Monday as to be almost under the radar. It hardly made an impression on the local media, and the Democratic Party was promoting the tour in nearly a whisper.

My theory is that Gov. O’Malley wants to rally the Democratic faithful on the Eastern Shore, while not attracting undue attention of Republicans and nonaffiliated voters, as independent voters are called in Maryland. O’Malley is not as highly regarded on the conservative Eastern Shore as in the rest of blue-state Maryland.

The crowd that greeted Gov. O’Malley at a get-out-the-vote rally at the Salisbury Civic Center toward the end of a long campaign day was enthusiastic, but not large. Fewer than 150 people, I would say.

Many Democratic candidates here are keeping a discreet distance from the governor. The only local candidates at the Salisbury rally were Wicomico County Executive Rick Pollitt, and Del. Rudy Cane, who is assured re-election in District 37A, a gerrymandered district.

Earlier Monday, former District 1 Congressman Wayne Gilchrest formally endorsed O’Malley at a campaign stop in Easton. Gilchrest is a Republican who voted more like a Democrat on environmental issues and was defeated by Andy Harris in the Republican primary in 2008. Gilchrest remains highly respected in the district.

On Tuesday, Gov. O’Malley is scheduled to attend a 7:30 a.m. breakfast in Berlin hosted by the Worcester County Democratic Central Committee before continuing his campaign tour in Harford County on the Western Shore. Parts  of Harford, Baltimore and Anne Arundel Counties on the Western Shore are also in Kratovil’s District 1.

Berlin Mayor Gee Williams, a Democratic candidate for House of Delegates in District 38B, will be on hand to greet the governor, but I don’t know if any other Democratic candidates will appear. Personally, I’m not getting up that early. I already showed my support for the governor at the Salisbury rally.

It’s possible that Sen. Barbara Mikulski will also be at the Berlin breakfast, but she was not at the rally on Monday evening.

— John Hayden

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Posted in: Maryland, News, Politics