The race for governor is heating up in Maryland, and that means calling in the big guns. Last night, Gov. Martin O’Malley got his first big visit from Vice President Joe Biden. Biden spoke at a fundraising dinner for the governor at a Baltimore hotel.
Current Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Sen. Barbara Mikulski also headlined the event that drew about 200 people. The local politicians praised the Obama administration for their support of the state, including a grant that allowed the state to hire 200 new police officers.
Biden’s 30-minute speech highlighted his connection with the state. He said that his family has roots in Baltimore and that they’ve had a presence in the state since 1825.
He was also quick to praise O’Malley for his work in Maryland and for supporting the Obama administration.
“Martin has been a great governor. We’ve accomplished a lot with Martin,” Biden said. “This is a man whose passion for Maryland starts in the gut and moves to the heart.”
He credited O’Malley with keeping a GM plant in Maryland from closing and giving small businesses incentives to hire employees who were on unemployment.
Biden also took the opportunity to swipe at the Republican Party.
“I find it fascinating that our colleagues [in the Republican Party] talk about fiscal restraint, that is like an arsonist talking about fire safety,” Biden said. “Their vision was very creative financial instruments. They gave us a Ponzi scheme masquerading as vision.”
O’Malley is entering a rematch in November with former Gov. Bob Ehrlich, whom O’Malley defeated in 2006. The race is already tight with most surveys showing the two in a close battle.
Tickets for Monday night's event ranged from $250 for general admission to $4,000 for host committee members.