Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tidbits From The Campaign Trail

This week, during some of my interactions with various friends across the political spectrum, I heard the following morsels of gossip from the gubernatorial campaign trail:

1) The closing date for the next state campaign finance report is Monday, August 30th. I heard that Team Ehrlich, in an attempt to grow their numbers prior to the report, has attempted tapping political sources for quick cash. First, they are approaching Republican legislators for $6,000 cash transfers from their state accounts into the Ehrlich account. Now, I have no idea how successful the strategy has been - I guess we'll know when the next report comes out - or how many legislators they've tapped overall. But, I am personally aware of two that were approached for money by campaign staff. And, I have heard that many are grumbling over the fact that, when Ehrlich spoke to the GOP legislative caucus after the 2010 session, he said he wasn't in a position to raise money for them, and that his support would have to be limited to endorsements. This is what they call irony, folks.

2) The second potential fundraising source tapped by Ehrlich and crew is the Republican Governors Association in Washington, D. C. This overture was unsuccessful, however, as Team Ehrlich was advised just within the past two weeks that it wasn't appropriate for the RGA to give money to candidates facing primary opponents. Ehrlich is, of course, facing businessman Brian Murphy in the September 14th primary. It will be interesting to see if the RGA will open its wallet for Ehrlich after he triumphs over his passionate but in-over-his-head opponent.

3) My last tidbit concerns Ehrlich's nemesis, Governor Martin O'Malley. Apparently Steve Kearney - O'Malley's communications director in both City Hall and the State House - has joined his campaign as a consultant. Kearney left the State House to start his own public affairs firm with Damian O'Doherty, formerly a senior aide to Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith. Now, I first met Steve when he was working for the mayor and I was at Downtown Partnership of Baltimore. I reconnected with him recently when we both did MPT's State Circle program. I regard him to be a talented Democratic communications professional. Some of the course correcting we have witnessed in O'Malley's communications strategy -  using the gubernatorial bully pulpit more effectively to promote good news, and jettisoning those head-scratching radio ads blaming Ehrlich for the Gulf oil spill in favor of polished and professional TV ads touting O'Malley's record - may bear Kearney's imprimateur.

So, that's the latest gossip. Those of you who know me know that I keep my ear pretty close to the ground, so I will continue to post future tidbits as I hear them.

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