Hundreds of frustrated Maryland residents poured into Annapolis Wednesday to rally against tax increases and government spending.
An advocacy group for lower taxes called Americans for Prosperity billed the demonstration as nonpartisan. But the crowd booed at the mention of many Democratic officials' names. Several also carried signs disparaging Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, also a Democrat.
Larry McClaugherty, a self-employed electrical contractor, said he showed up because he's upset about "the whole kit and
"They just keep driving the costs of doing business up in Maryland, and it makes it real hard to do business," said McClaugherty. "You have bad Republicans and you have bad Democrats, but the Democrats have controlled this state for 40 years and it's gotten worse."
Dave Schwartz, state director of the Maryland chapter of Americans for Prosperity, said at least 12 charter buses carrying up to 55 people each delivered protesters from all corners of Maryland to the event. One of those attending was former Maryland governor Robert Ehrlich, who advertised the march on his radio show . He’s also weighing a rematch against O'Malley.
"What's fascinating about this crowd and what I see around the state right now is people are showing up that have never showed up
at events before," Ehrlich said. "There's something there, there's clearly something there and it's a dissatisfaction with both parties."
Ehrlich brushed off questions about whether the turnout would influence his decision to run, but said he would make his mind up
"I agree with all of this, but the issue is in Maryland, do enough people want me to be governor?" Ehrlich said. "That's gotta be a hardheaded analysis."
Asked earlier in the day about the rally, O'Malley said dissent and the exchange of ideas are welcome, though he said he hoped
disagreements could remain respectful.
"In a time especially of economic hardship, it can become easy to do harm to our ability to talk openly and with respect for one
another," O'Malley said.
Published at 7:55 AM EST on Jan 14, 2010 | Updated at 8:17 AM EST on Jan 14, 2010
Copyright Associated Press