- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 15, 2007

ANNAPOLIS — Former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. is out of office, but not out of politics.

Mr. Ehrlich agreed Wednesday to host a talk show with his wife Kendel on WBAL Radio.

State observers say they see a charismatic politician weighing his options, which could include another run for elected office. But they say that decision likely still is at least a year off.

“Governor Ehrlich’s young, and he’s obviously proven to be a fine public servant,” said House Minority Leader Anthony J. O’Donnell, a Southern Maryland Republican. “I think that he will evaluate the political lay of the land and the political environment in a year or two.”

In the meantime, Mr. Ehrlich, a Republican, will host a two-hour talk show from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturdays beginning March 31 on WBAL Radio (AM-1090).

The former governor was a frequent guest on WBAL, and often used the “Stateline With the Governor” segment to break news during his term. His radio appearances were well-received, and he presented himself as an independent thinker, said Jeff Beauchamp, WBAL vice president and station manager.

Mr. Ehrlich, 49, left office in January with a high public approval rating, and the radio show could provide a vehicle for him to remain in the public eye while he considers his political future.

WBAL radio personality Ron Smith, host of “The Ron Smith Show,” said the former governor would be the most viable Republican candidate to challenge U.S. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, a Democrat, in 2010.

“He’d be the only choice,” Mr. Smith said yesterday. “Who else have they got?”

But after just two months in the private sector, a new run for office is Mr. Ehrlich’s last priority, a spokesman said yesterday.

“That is so low on the totem pole, it couldn’t be any lower on the totem pole,” said Ehrlich spokesman Henry Fawell.

The radio show is the most recent of three positions Mr. Ehrlich has accepted since leaving office two months ago.

Mr. Ehrlich took the reins of the new Maryland office of the Womble, Carlyle and Snyder law firm last month and was appointed Monday to the board of the Maryland Public Policy Institute, a state think tank focused on free-market-based policies.

Institute President Christopher Summers said Mr. Ehrlich has been more active since leaving office than other former Maryland governors.

“He’s very well known in the state,” Mr. Summers said.

Other Maryland governors have taken different routes since leaving office, often choosing less public roles.

Mr. Ehrlich’s immediate predecessor, former Gov. Parris N. Glendening, a Democrat, shied from the spotlight after leaving office in 2003. Last year, he campaigned in support of Gov. Martin O’Malley, a Democrat who defeated Mr. Ehrlich in November.

Former Gov. Harry R. Hughes, a Democrat who served from 1979-1987, served on a series of public boards before returning to politics in 2006 as an adviser to Mr. O’Malley during his transition.

Gov. William Donald Schaefer, a Democrat who served from 1987 to 1995, served two terms as state comptroller beginning in 1999.

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