Swinging by a poll in Columbia about an hour ago, Gov. Martin O'Malley posed for photos with Howard County Executive Ken Ulman volunteers and thanked election judges before hitting the trail again. The Democratic incumbent's hectic final campaign day has included stops at a poll in Springdale and at Leisure World senior center in Silver Spring. He heads now to Baltimore.
O'Malley said he is "proud of the campaign we've run," and said he believes he has convinced voters to reelect him today. He said his Republican challenger, former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., asked the wrong question in campaign ads that invoked former President Ronald Reagan's, "Are you better off today than you were four years ago?"
"We're all worse off," O'Malley said, noting the national recession. "The questions is, is Maryland moving forward" ahead of other states. He said he believes the answer is yes.
O'Malley predicted that early voting results, scheduled to be made public shortly after polls close at 8 p.m. "will closely reflect" the outcome of the election.
About 220,000 Marylanders voted early, taking advantage of the state's new system. They account for about 6.3 percent of the electorate. O'Malley called that a good sample, especially given that no major events -- such as a hurricane or crime spree -- have happened since early voting concluded Thursday.
Outside of Columbia's Long Reach High School, an independent voter approached O'Malley to tell him she'd voted for him because he supports President Barack Obama. Fatima Reyhani, 59, of Columbia then asked him for tips on who to choose down ballot.
Reviewing a sample ballot Reyhani had brought along, O'Malley suggested several people whom he had appointed to various positions.