Since Tuesday’s Primary, the Democrats have been trying to spin the results in the Ehrlich-Murphy race to be an indication of Ehrlich’s weakness. Sound familiar? It should. In 2002, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend (“KKT”), who was beset with a variety of miscues, garnered approximately 80% of the vote, and an unknown grocery clerk received 20%.
This result was spun by the media, perhaps with some help from the Republicans, as showing the weakness of KKT going into the General Election against Ehrlich. Fast forward to 2010, and the Democrats are attempting to do the same thing with Ehrlich. They would want people to believe that because Murphy received 25% of the vote that Ehrlich is weak and without momentum going into the General Election against O’Malley.
The analogy fails. Townsend lost 20% of the vote to a grocery clerk who did no campaigning whatsoever. Murphy on the other hand was a legitimate candidate—a successful businessman who waged a full and vigorous campaign. Murphy received the high profile endorsement of Sarah Palin, along with others who have influence in a Republican primary with conservative voters. While he did not run network TV ads, Murphy used the Internet and made a lot of in-person and media appearances, particularly after the Palin endorsement.
O’Malley only received 86%, losing 14% of the vote to two unknown candidates. That would appear to be more troublesome for O’Malley. Compare O’Malley’s results this year with the 93% Ehrlich garnered against two opponents in 2002.
The Murphy voters, while comprised of Palin conservatives and single-issue voters (e.g., pro-life voters), are at base people who are upset with the status quo. They are energized and mobilized to vote this year, and it is likely that they will come out to vote for Ehrlich in November who will give Marylanders a change in the status quo.
Dilip Paliath has a general law practice in Towson. For more information, see www.paliath.com.