Republican gubernatorial candidate Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. told listeners of his WBAL radio talk show Saturday that he will stay behind the microphone until July, when he officially files his candidacy with the state elections board.
"BAL has asked, and we've agreed that I stay on this show ... until [I] become an official candidate," Ehrlich told listeners at the start of the two-hour "Bob and Kendel Ehrlich Show." "And that's when under the law, I guess, you become a formal candidate. And that date is sometime in July. I'll have to check that date. I'm not even sure when it is. At any event, it's in July."
Ehrlich, who recently confirmed his candidacy, gave his audience a taste of how his campaign might intersect with his duties as host.
"We don't want this to devolve into a 'We love Bob, we love Martin' segment," Ehrlich said as his WBAL show began at 9 a.m., referring to Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley.
He promised robust debate about state policies and said the station would offer equal time to O'Malley. However, later in the show, he took a brief call from "Martin from Annapolis," a man who, in a Bill Clintonesque voice, mocked the current governor's solid union support.
Asked whether O'Malley was interested, spokesman Rick Abbruzzese replied in an e-mail, "It's clear that former Governor Ehrlich and his wife, Kendel, now plan to run their campaign out of the law offices of Womble Carlyle and WBAL radio studios. For now, Governor O'Malley is focused on the last few weeks of the legislative session and creating the conditions for economic growth and job creation in our state."
Ehrlich manages the Baltimore office of North Carolina law firm Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice. He will formally announce his gubernatorial campaign Wednesday in Rockville and Halethorpe, and said he will give details about his professional plans at that time.
The former governor devoted much of his two-hour show to discussing the Democratic administration's spending plan, which he criticized as a prelude to tax increases next year, and recent state legislation - a departure from the more national tone his show had taken lately.
He took calls from a few Democrats - another change - who challenged him on his disdain for national health care changes. Two Republican lawmakers briefly phoned in with Annapolis updates.
Ehrlich directly addressed several callers' questions about his candidacy.
One asked whether he considered challenging popular Democratic Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, to which Ehrlich replied, "Yes, briefly." He said he views the governorship as "where the action is" and believes he could make a greater, quicker impact in Annapolis than on Capitol Hill.
Kendel Ehrlich will appear tonight on Richard Sher's "Square Off" on WMAR-TV.