The Baltimore Sun

Board of Trade endorses Ehrlich

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. won the Greater Washington Board of Trade's endorsement for re-election yesterday because of his pro-business stands and support for the Inter-County Connector.

The backing is the Ehrlich campaign's second boost from a Washington-area business group in recent days -- he was also endorsed by the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce last week.

The Board of Trade, which also endorsed Ehrlich in 2002, said the Democratic candidate, Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley, supports many of the group's priorities, including funding the ICC and mass transit in the Washington suburbs. But Ehrlich's record on those and other business issues gave him the edge, said Mahan Tavakoli, chairman of the Board of Trade's Maryland political action committee.

The Ehrlich administration approved a route for the ICC, which had been delayed for decades. The state is due to break ground soon on the highway, which will connect Interstate 270 and I-95 through Montgomery County.

"Four years ago, we endorsed then-candidate Bob Ehrlich largely because of his pledge to build the ICC and to be a pro-business governor," Tavakoli said in a statement. "Governor Ehrlich is living up to those pledges, so we are pleased to endorse him again."

Andrew A. Green

Cardin ad features John Lewis

Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Benjamin L. Cardin launched a new radio ad in the Washington market yesterday that features Georgia Rep. John Lewis, an African-American and a veteran of the civil rights movement.

"I've been around long enough to know who's helping our children achieve their dreams," Lewis says in the spot, which will air on WHUR, WMMJ, WOL, WPGC and WYCB. "And that's my friend, Democrat Ben Cardin. Ben Cardin has stood up to Bush's cuts to education. Stood up to Bush's cuts to health care. And stood up to Bush on his war in Iraq."

Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele, the Republican contender, "was recruited by President Bush," Lewis says in the ad.

"Steele helped block funding for neighborhood schools and cut funding for Maryland colleges," says the Georgia congressman. "And Steele says he stands with Bush on everything from the war in Iraq to restricting the kind of stem cell research with the greatest promise of cures."

Black voters are a traditionally Democratic constituency, but many state leaders have expressed disappointment that the party's ticket is dominated by white males. In a phone call with reporters yesterday, Cardin said he hopes the ad ensures that voters turn out Nov. 7.

Lewis said the party cannot afford to lose the seat that has been held for three decades by retiring Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes.

"Although this is a seat for the United States Senate in Maryland, it has national implications," Lewis said. "We are talking about changing the direction of this country and changing the spirit of Maryland."

Jennifer Skalka

Senate debate to be televised

City residents who want to watch the Oct. 3 debate in the U.S. Senate contest can tune in tonight to Channel 75, a public access channel on Baltimore cable, at 6 p.m. It will also be rebroadcast on Channel 75 at 8 a.m. tomorrow.

Sponsored by the Urban League, the two-hour Baltimore debate -- the first after the primary -- featured Democrat Benjamin L. Cardin, Republican Michael S. Steele, and Green Party candidate Kevin Zeese, who was also nominated by the Libertarian and Progressive parties.

The debate was taped by Baltimore Grassroots Media and has not previously been televised.

Staff report

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