Former Maryland governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R), who once banned state employees from speaking with two Baltimore Sun journalists, will write a weekly column for the paper, the Sun said Saturday.
Ehrlich’s op-ed column, which will focus on national politics, is set to debut Jan. 29, the Sun said in a story posted on its Web site.
In the piece, Ehrlich acknowledged his strained history with the paper and said that “both sides had to think very long and hard” about the arrangement.
“In a very real sense, it marks a closed chapter,” Ehrlich, who has said he has no plans to run again for elected office in Maryland, told the Sun.
Ehrlich, Maryland’s only Republican governor in a generation, was defeated in 2006 by Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) after serving a single term. Ehrlich lost a rematch with O’Malley in 2010 by more than 14 percentage points.
Following his 2006 loss, the former governor, congressman and state delegate co-hosted a weekly radio show with his wife, Kendel, on Baltimore’s WBAL AM station. The show often focused on national politics.
Ehrlich, who is serving as presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s campaign chairman in Maryland, also has been promoting a new book, “Turn This Car Around,” that draws on episodes from his political career to make larger points about American politics.
One chapter in the book is devoted to the 2004 episode with the Sun that led to his ban on a reporter and a columnist following a series of stories about land deals pursued by his administration. In the chapter, Ehrlich refers to the paper as a “second-tier daily.”
Ehrlich’s relationship with the Sun was rocky from the outset of his administration. He repeatedly lambasted the paper for a 2002 editorial that suggested he had chosen his running mate, Michel S. Steele, because he was black.
Andrew Green, The Sun’s opinion editor and a former State House reporter who covered Ehrlich, said in the paper’s story on Saturday that both Ehrlich and the Sun have “moved on.”
“We wanted somebody who could bring a strong, conservative voice to the page, somebody readers would know and be interested to hear” from, Green said. “I don’t think there’s anybody who fits that in Maryland better than Bob Ehrlich does.”