ANNAPOLIS, Md. | Republican Robert Ehrlich announced Wednesday that Mary Kane would be his running mate in his bid to regain the governor's office, choosing a resident of a key battleground in the race.
Kane, 48, lives in Potomac, an affluent area of Montgomery County. Ehrlich has been focusing attention in the county, which is Maryland's largest jurisdiction and rich in potential swing voters.
"She has a great mix of experience in government and the private sector, and knows the joys and challenges of raising a family in Maryland," Ehrlich said in a statement shortly after making the announcement on his Facebook page.
Kane has recently served as director of special projects at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. She is married to John Kane, a former Maryland Republican Party chairman who is president of the Kane Company, a commercial moving company.
"I am honored to join Bob Ehrlich's campaign to bring new ideas and proven leadership to state government," Mary Kane said in a statement.
She served as Ehrlich's secretary of state from August 2005 until the end of his first term as governor in 2007.
Audrey Scott, who chairs the Maryland Republican Party, said the two will make a good team because they have a good working relationship. Scott also pointed out the significance of Kane's Montgomery County link.
"Montgomery County is certainly one of the targeted counties and a very critical part of the campaign strategy," Scott said.
GOP fundraiser Dick Hug said Kane's selection brings solid geographic representation to the ticket, with Ehrlich from the Baltimore suburbs and Kane's residency in the suburbs of Washington, D.C.
"She's a seasoned professional woman who is very articulate," Hug said.
Political observers also saw the choice as a smart one.
Michael Cain, director of the Center for the Study of Democracy at St. Mary's College of Maryland, said she could help the former governor pick up votes in Montgomery County.
"I think she and her husband are going to be able to help out in Montgomery County, and I think that's going to be important," Cain said. "It was a good pick for him to choose her — given what he's going to need to pick up in this election."
Kane has been very visible on the Ehrlich campaign in recent months. She was with him in April, when he announced in Rockville, the seat of Montgomery County, that he would challenge Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley in a rematch. She also attended Ehrlich's announcement about his plans to help small businesses during an appearance at a Gaithersburg pizza shop.
Ehrlich has scheduled to formally introduce Kane on Thursday morning in Silver Spring. Afterward, the pair will meet with students in Baltimore and are scheduled to attend a Charles County Republican Central Committee dinner in Waldorf.
Ehrlich is set to formally file to run against O'Malley on Friday.
O'Malley and Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown already have filed at the Maryland State Board of Elections.
Tom Russell, O'Malley's campaign manager, welcomed Kane to the debate.
"This election will ultimately be about which candidate puts the interests of Maryland's working families ahead of the special interests, and who is on the side of working families," Russell said.