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« Kennedy, Obama Say Now Is The Time For Health Care Reform | Blog Home Page | Strategy Memo: Omni-bust »

Ehrlich Fixing For A Rematch?

Former Gov. Bob Ehrlich (R-Md.) launched a new Web site today, fueling speculation that he may be setting the stage for another statewide run in the Free State next year.

The site certainly has the feel of a campaign site, with a picture of Ehrlich beside the slogan "Our Maryland: Always worth fighting for." Visitors can sign up to be on a mailing list and "Join the Team." And a "Latest News" page features a number of links to stories promoting Ehrlich's work, and others that are critical of the Democratic agenda, both locally and nationally. A footer on the site says that it is paid for by the "Bob Ehrlich for Maryland Committee."

Greg Massoni, an Ehrlich spokesperson, said not to read too much into the new Web site, saying it's just another vehicle to promote the former governor's radio show, TV appearances and books.

"It's still way to early to predict whether or not he's going to run for anything," Massoni said. But he added: "It's safe to say that Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid and Martin O'Malley make it interesting to keep the option alive."

In 2002, Ehrlich became the first Republican elected governor in Maryland since Spiro Agnew. Despite strong favorability ratings, he lost a tough re-election battle to then-Baltimore Mayor O'Malley by six points in 2006, when Democrats rode a national wave and retook control of Congress. O'Malley's approval rating has rebounded after dipping as low as the 30s in 2008.

Ehrlich would certainly be less inclined to seek a rematch in the still heavily-Democratic state if his successor had higher numbers. Another option could be the U.S. Senate, with some questioning whether Barbara Mikulski will seek another term. An open seat could spur a free-for-all among Democratic officeholders, potentially creating another opening for Ehrlich, himself a former member of Congress.