The candidates for Maryland governor held their second debate Thursday, battling again on the economy and job creation but also drawing clear distinctions about their views on illegal immigration, gay marriage and even the Washington Redskins.
Republican Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. again said incumbent Gov. Martin O’Malley, a Democrat, has failed to create and retain jobs in Maryland, but this time added the governor has also overlooked younger residents.
“I would ask everybody … to compare job numbers under my administration to those under the O’Malley administration,” said Mr. Ehrlich, who became governor in 2002, then lost his reelection bid to Mr. O’Malley in 2006. “The young people who want to stay in this state, let’s retain them.”
Mr. O’Malley told Mr. Ehrlich his repeated criticism of the state is not helping the economy.
“You always take down Maryland,” he said during the one-hour debate at the Washington Post. “That’s not good for job creation.”
Mr. Ehrlich said gay marriages should not be recognized in Maryland, while Mr. O’Malley said he supports the decision to recognize such marriages.
Mr. Ehrlich appeared more relaxed than in the first debate, Monday in Baltimore. Mr. O’Malley gave a similar performance, sticking to his campaign-trail points about improving public schools, decreasing crime and helping the state through a tough economic time. Though both sniped at each other, neither made a gaffe.
On the question of whether either candidate would fund groups that help illegal immigrants, Mr. O’Malley said he would not support those that “conspire to break the law.”
Mr. Ehrlich said Mr. O’Malley has championed the Casa de Maryland group, though he knew the group had created pamphlets on how to avoid arrest.
He also criticized Mr. O’Malley for using the words “new Americans,” instead of “illegal immigrants.”
Mr. Ehrlich said he likes the Redskins in Maryland, but whether the team keeps its home stadium in Maryland’s Prince George’s County is a matter for the team owner and county officials.
Mr. O’Malley said he wants the team to remain in the Maryland suburb.