Are national Republicans giving up on Bob Ehrlich?
The GOP is on the offensive across the country this year, and the Republican Governors Association has $31.5 million left for the last two weeks of the campaign, compared to $13 million for its Democratic counterpart. And the GOP is set for gains -- RealClearPolitics currently projects a net gain of five governor’s seats for the Republicans.
But even with all those advantages, the party wants to focus on too-close-to-call races where it sees a chance at victory -- particularly in big states like California, Florida, and Illinois. So Ehrlich may pay the price. The Baltimore Sun says the RGA “canceled tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of advertising” for Ehrlich on Monday, cutting its investment in half. Several recent polls have shown Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley pulling away, and most voters seem to have made up their minds. A new Gonzales Research and Marketing Strategies survey shows O’Malley with a lead of just 5 points -- 47 percent to 42 percent -- but with only 6 percent undecided. Other recent polls have shown O’Malley leading by wider margins.
Gov. Bob McDonnell told the Sun that “little should be read into changes in ad buys. ‘There are evaluations that are done every week,’ he said. ‘There is a limited budget.’” But it would take a real game changer to get Ehrlich his old job back. Politico reports O’Malley’s latest ad contains a firm endorsement from Sen. Barbara Mikulski, part of O’Malley’s drive “to burnish his credentials with female voters,” a group Ehrlich has been wooing. (And an Ehrlich campaign mailer in which the candidate’s own name is misspelled won’t help.)
The conservative blog Red Maryland says O’Malley is already looking past the election. Though the governor “is telling pretty much anybody who will listen that he is not going to raise taxes,” the Maryland Business Tax Reform Commission has scheduled “a number of rapid fire meetings immediately after the election” to consider tax recommendations.
Elsewhere in the DMV:
* The Washington Post reports that unnamed fans of an Adrian Fenty write-in effort, but not the official "Write Fenty In" campaign, are targeting robocalls at Republicans. (An earlier round of calls by the organized campaign included other voters.) The D.C. Republican Committee says it is not behind the calls. The Post also reports that Fenty “said Monday he will not ask leaders of the ‘Write Fenty In’ campaign -- many of whom worked on his primary bid -- to cease their efforts.” Fenty, of course, said Friday that District residents should vote for Democratic mayoral nominee Vincent Gray, but the write-in crowd didn’t care. There’s no reason to think even candygrams delivered by Fenty himself would get them to stop. (In an editorial, the Georgetown Dish tells the write-in campaign to give it up.)
In another article, the Post says the opening of the renovated Georgetown Library turned into a sort of valedictory for Fenty, as he begins “what will likely turn into a farewell tour.” The Post notes that “new or refurbished libraries” have opened across the city during Fenty’s term, and though many of the projects originated under Mayor Anthony Williams, Fenty made the libraries a priority. At the Georgetown ribbon-cutting, he said, “This has been my entire term in coming. We are finally here.”
Another Fenty legacy: “campaign aides being rewarded with city jobs or raises,” as Washington City Paper’s Alan Suderman puts it. Suderman has discovered that “two campaign workers who left their city jobs to go campaign for Fenty received promotions and raises upon their return.”
* The news that Ward 6 D.C. Councilmember Tommy Wells will today introduce emergency legislation “that would limit access to the District’s homeless shelters for families to only D.C. residents,” as the Washington Examiner reports, has met with a quick backlash. Wells crafted the legislation after discovering that one in 10 homeless families who obtain shelter from the District do not live in the city. (Shelter for single individuals would not be impacted.) The Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless immediately issued an “action alert,” saying that the bill would “significantly change the District’s obligation to provide life saving emergency shelter.” The group says “there has been no community input,” and “at the very least, this should not be emergency legislation.” The Ward 3 D.C. blog also came out against the bill.
* The Post reports the federal government “is refusing to pay a new D.C. storm water fee, saying it amounts to a tax the government is precluded from paying even though the proceeds go toward meeting” clean water standards imposed by the federal government itself.
* In his Examiner column, Harry Jaffe says Gray should pick Deputy Associate U.S. Attorney General Channing Phillips for D.C. attorney general.
* The Frederick News-Post reports Maryland Republican state Sen. David Brinkley says he will reintroduce medical marijuana legislation if he is re-elected. The bill “would legalize but strictly regulate the drug for medical use.” It easily passed the Senate this year with “strong bipartisan support,” but died in committee in the House of Delegates.
* The Examiner has the sad news that the D.C. homicide count has entered triple digits for 2010, climbing to 103 as of Monday. That’s still a decline of nearly 6 percent compared to this time last year.
* In an editorial, the Post says D.C.’s “experiment with online voting,” which led to a quick hack by a University of Michigan, was worthwhile, since it offered “an important wake-up call about the potential dangers of Internet voting. States rushing to implement online voting should pause, lest they put the nation’s elections at risk.”
* The GW Hatchet reports the GW College Republicans are offering a $50 gift card to members who “attend a campaign trip for tea party-backed candidate Christine O’Donnell” in Delaware. And speaking of the Tea Party movement, the liberal blog Blue Virginia says there’s been a leadership change in the Northern Virginia contingent.
* All Life Is Local says leaf blowers should be banned in D.C.: “It makes little sense to chase a few leaves with a 180 mile per hour wind being propelled by a 70 decibel machine, when a quiet rake will do the job just as well.”
* Greater Greater Washington ponders whether DDOT or WMATA should be in charge of D.C.’s streetcars.
* Blogger Matt Yglesias mulls calls for tighter liquor license restrictions in the District.
* Want to make $40 an hour or more? Become a Montgomery County crossing guard, the Examiner writes.
Follow P.J. Orvetti on Twitter at @PJOinDC