Michael S. Steele and Audrey E. Scott, two prominent Maryland Republicans and former Ehrlich administration officials, on Tuesday threw their support behind Question 7, the state’s expanded gambling measure.
In a joint letter to “fellow Republicans,” the pair announced that they plan to vote for next month’s ballot measure and urged others to do the same. Question 7 would allow a casino in Prince George’s County, as well as Las Vegas-style table games at the state’s five previously authorized slots sites.
“As many of you have said, if we’re going to have gaming in Maryland, we should to do it right. Well, we agree,” said the letter signed by Steele and Scott, both of whom are past chairmen of the Maryland Republican Party and hail from Prince George’s.
During his tenure, former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) was a big proponent of gambling. But support for the expansion plan was tepid this summer among Republicans in the legislature, particularly those in the House of Delegates, who objected to holding a special session to put the measure on the November ballot.
Steele, who served as Ehrlich’s lieutenant governor, went on to become chairman of the Republican National Committee. He is now an MSNBC analyst.
Scott, who served as secretary of planning under Ehrlich, is also a former mayor of Bowie and former member of the Prince George’s County Council.
In their letter, the pair of Republicans say support for Question 7 should not hinge on how people feel about Gov. Martin O’Malley (D), who pushed the expansion plan through the legislature in August.
“Partisan politics should not interfere with economic development and the creation of jobs; and Gov. O’Malley is term-limited and will be out of office by the time Question 7 is fully implemented,” Steele and Scott say.