Ehrlich Out of Office but Not Out of Sight
Sunday, March 18, 2007
Maryland's new governor has been in office barely two months, but this much is already clear: You haven't heard the last of the old one.
Starting this month, former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and his wife, Kendel, will host a weekly Baltimore talk radio show. Other media gigs could soon be announced, associates say. And next month, Maryland's first Republican governor in a generation is booked for speaking engagements for at least two county GOP Lincoln Day dinners.
The unusual level of activity, so soon after losing to Martin O'Malley (D), looks like an attempt by Ehrlich to remain visible and keep his political options open, friends and foes say.
In an interview last week, Ehrlich said, "It's fair to say a little part of this is the thousands of e-mails that have come our way" expressing regret about his electoral loss and encouraging him to stay engaged in politics.
But Ehrlich, 49, cautioned against reading too much into his activities, which stand in marked contrast to those of his predecessor. Former governor Parris N. Glendening (D) largely disappeared from public view in Maryland after moving out of the mansion in 2003.
Even the outspoken William Donald Schaefer (D) lay relatively low immediately after leaving the governor's office in 1995. He later joined some college boards and, two years out of office, accepted a role as chairman of the Maryland Commission for Celebration 2000, a group that developed celebrations for the new millennium.
Schaefer later returned to Maryland politics as the state comptroller.
Neither the radio show nor the speaking appearances, Ehrlich said, will take up much of his time, which is mostly devoted to his family and launching the Maryland office of the law firm he recently joined. "The radio show is a fun thing with Kendel," Ehrlich said. "We like doing things together."
It will air Saturday mornings on WBAL (1090 AM), a station with largely conservative hosts who provided friendly confines for Ehrlich during his governing days. He often fielded calls on air during "Stateline" programs.
The new show's subject matter will differ from week to week, Ehrlich said, varying from family issues to presidential politics. "We certainly will not be critiquing in a direct way the present administration in Annapolis," he said.
Since leaving office in January, Ehrlich said, he has been approached by "a good half-dozen" radio and TV stations in the Washington and Baltimore markets floating possible arrangements.
He said his thinking about his political future has not changed since November, when O'Malley defeated him, 52.7 to 46.2 percent. Although he is ruling nothing out, Ehrlich said he interpreted the result as an indication that Maryland, a heavily Democratic state, was trending more to the left and was not likely to embrace candidates like him again.