Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. began airing the second television advertisement of his re-election campaign yesterday, a 30-second spot appearing solely in the Baltimore media market that suggests Ehrlich has faced the most difficult challenges of any governor in decades.
Hitting the main themes of his campaign, the advertisement - which will air for at least a week - relies on newspaper quotes to praise the state's low unemployment and improved test scores as well as efforts to clean the Chesapeake Bay and to stop the General Assembly from raising taxes.
"Some say he faced the most difficult task of any governor in his lifetime," a female narrator says as Ehrlich is seen waving to a crowd and shaking hands in an opening scene from his 2003 inauguration. "Governor Ehrlich rose to the challenge."
The advertisement begins with a quote from Democratic Comptroller William Donald Schaefer published in a 2002 article in The Sun about the state budget. Ehrlich adamantly opposed raising sales and income taxes that year despite state analysts' forecasts of a huge gap between revenues and expenditures.
At the time, Schaefer said Ehrlich "has the most difficult task of any governor" in his lifetime.
Schaefer has at times appeared to be a closer political ally of Ehrlich than Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley, the governor's Democratic opponent. Schaefer backed Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan's Democratic primary challenge, but switched his allegiance to O'Malley when Duncan dropped out.
"The ad speaks for itself," said Ehrlich campaign spokeswoman Shareese N. DeLeaver, who would not say how much is being spent on the advertisement. "The goal is to highlight the accomplishments that the governor has achieved over the last 3 1/2 years."
Ehrlich formally announced his decision to seek re-election last week in Arbutus.
Rick Abbruzzese, a spokesman with the O'Malley campaign, said the governor and his advertisement have no credibility.
"Bob Ehrlich said he is prepared to do whatever it takes to win this election and apparently that includes misleading the people of Maryland about his record of standing with the special interests instead of fighting for Maryland families," Abbruzzese said.