Businessman Brian Murphy enters GOP primary race for Md. governor

By John Wagner
Washington Post staff writer
Saturday, April 17, 2010

Brian Murphy, a political newcomer from Montgomery County, filed papers Friday for a long-shot bid for Maryland governor, casting himself as a Republican with more business acumen than Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. , who is seeking to win his old job back.

Murphy, a business investor, also unveiled his selection of a running mate: the better-known Carmen M. Amedori, a former state delegate from Carroll County who had been seeking the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate. While governor, Ehrlich plucked Amedori from the legislature to serve on the Parole Commission.

"We deserve a governor who's been in the private sector and knows how to run a business," Murphy said at a news conference outside the State House in Annapolis. "The policies of the past eight years are a fraud and a disgrace. People deserve something new."

His comments were a slap not only at the Democratic incumbent, Gov. Martin O'Malley but also at Ehrlich, whose term ended in early 2007. Amedori sounded a similar chord in her remarks, saying: "When you want to win, you sometimes have to change the players on the field."

The ticket is expected to run to the right of Ehrlich and has won the support of James Pelura, the former chairman of the Maryland Republican Party. He resigned last year under heavy pressure from other GOP leaders after a tenure tarnished by anemic fundraising and party infighting.

Murphy, 32, a former portfolio manager for Constellation Energy, is founder and president of Plimhimmon Group, an investment firm. Its projects include Smith Island Baking Co., a small start-up off the Eastern Shore that makes Smith Island cake, the state's official dessert.

Ehrlich has been dismissive of Murphy's bid in news media interviews. On Friday, the former governor made a campaign stop in Waldorf, where he visited Chaney Enterprises, a supplier of concrete and construction materials.

Audrey E. Scott, chairwoman of the state Republican Party, works for the company. She served as secretary of planning during Ehrlich's administration.

O'Malley has also drawn a Democratic primary opponent of note: George W. Owings III, a former state delegate from Southern Maryland who served as Ehrlich's secretary of veterans affairs.

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