- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 28, 2006

ANNAPOLIS — Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley held a rally yesterday just steps from the governor’s mansion, then traveled to Gov. Robert. L. Ehrlich Jr.’s hometown of Arbutus for another event, on the same day Mr. Ehrlich formally announced his re-election bid.

“We cannot afford another four years like the four we just had,” Mr. O’Malley, a Democrat, said to a cheering crowd of more than 200 people.

Observers called the O’Malley events “cheap-shot politics.”

“This is intended to be rude and to basically upstage the governor’s announcement,” said Blair Lee, a conservative Democrat who had supported Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan until last week, when Mr. Duncan dropped out of the race, citing clinical depression.

Donald F. Norris, a public policy professor at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, said it is customary for candidates to allow opponents their time in the spotlight on the day they announce their candidacy.

“The fact is that there’s no love lost between these guys, and politics is a contact sport,” Mr. Norris said. “They’re both going to go at one another with the heavy artillery from now until the election.”

Mr. Ehrlich, who is Maryland’s first Republican governor since 1966, is not expected to announce his choice for running mate until today.

Mr. O’Malley’s rally began at the AFL-CIO office, where he was joined by supporters bused from Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, Baltimore and the Eastern Shore.

Mr. O’Malley and his running mate, Delegate Anthony G. Brown, Prince George’s Democrat, then walked several blocks to the state’s Board of Elections office to file paperwork for their candidacy.

The O’Malley campaign said it scheduled the event “in advance of us finding out about [Mr. Ehrlich’s] event.”

“We have been contemplating an event like this for a number of weeks,” O’Malley spokesman Rick Abbruzzese said. “We knew [Mr. Ehrlich] was going to have to announce at some point.”

Audra Miller, of the Maryland Republican Party, called the O’Malley events “tacky.”

“The reality is that O’Malley looks for any opportunity to step in front of TV cameras and grab media headlines,” she said.

Derek Walker, of the Maryland Democratic Party, said the events “don’t have anything to do with the governor, except for that we’re going to beat him.” He also said the Annapolis rally was held next to the governor’s office because “it’s a small town.”

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