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With less than a month to go before gubernatorial candidate Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. gives up the microphone, his radio show is sounding more like his campaign than ever.

This morning, the Ehrlichs discussed slot-machine gambling and charter schools -- two issues of frequent discussion on the campaign trail. In fact, Ehrlich visited a Baltimore charter school this week and announced he'd soon be releasing his education plan.

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Ehrlich and call-in radio show guests Carl Stokes, a Baltimore city councilman, and Jeanne Allen, president of the Center for Education Reform, talked at length about education. Allen is a Republican running for delegate in Montgomery County. She and Ehrlich lamented the "weak" charter school law in Maryland. Expansion has been held back, they said, by teachers unions. On the campaign trail, he has promised to double the number of charter schools.

On slots, the Republican former governor reminded listeners that he'd wanted a "relatively simple" slots plan that would have put the machines at race tracks. And he said he would have leased the machines instead of purchasing as Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley has done. Some, including Comptroller Peter Franchot, a Democrat, worry the state is spending too much money per machine.

The Maryland Democratic Party has complained loudly that the two-hour WBAL radio show, which Ehrlich and his wife, Kendel, have hosted for more than three years, is a messaging vehicle for his campaign. Ehrlich is seeking to unseat O'Malley, who swiped his second term four years ago.

The Maryland Attorney General's office recently determined that the show should not be considered a campaign contribution. Radio station officials said lawyers told them Ehrlich could keeping the show until filing his candidacy with the State Board of Elections, which he must do by July 6. (O'Malley also has not filed his candidacy.) Kendel Ehrlich will then pilot solo.

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