Ehrlich hits Md. campaign trail with new running mate, Mary Kane

Former Maryland Secretary of State Mary Kane, center, is hugged by a supporter next to Maryland Republican gubernatorial candidate Robert Ehrlich.
Former Maryland Secretary of State Mary Kane, center, is hugged by a supporter next to Maryland Republican gubernatorial candidate Robert Ehrlich. (Jacquelyn Martin - AP)
By John Wagner
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, July 2, 2010

Mary D. Kane pledged to help revitalize Maryland's economy and lower the state's tax burden as she made her debut on the campaign trail Thursday as former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s running mate.

Ehrlich (R) introduced Kane, a former Maryland secretary of state, to a crowd in her home county of Montgomery, where she also derided "politicians who talk too much and do too little."

"We'll fix the problems facing Maryland, but first we need to start fixing those problems in Annapolis," Kane said at the morning event in downtown Silver Spring, the first of three appearances the Republican hopefuls made together.

Ehrlich, who is seeking to win his job back from Gov. Martin O'Malley (D), announced his selection of a candidate for lieutenant governor Wednesday night on Facebook.

"I like to pick people that I know," Ehrlich told reporters at the event in Silver Spring. "I like to pick people I trust. . . . That has to be the foundation."

Kane served in Ehrlich's Cabinet, and her husband, John, was chairman of the Maryland Republican Party while Ehrlich was governor. The Kanes live in Potomac.

Republican insiders acknowledge that the pick also reflects Ehrlich's need to improve upon his 2006 performance among women and in Montgomery, the state's largest jurisdiction.

Kane played up her roots as the daughter of Irish immigrants at the Silver Spring event and at a later stop in Baltimore, where she and Ehrlich toured a charter school. Ehrlich has made expansion of charter schools a focus of his campaign.

"Every kid in Maryland should have this opportunity," Kane told reporters after the tour of Bluford Drew Jemison STEM Academy, noting that she and Ehrlich do not "come from wealthy backgrounds."

Ehrlich grew up in working-class Arbutus before winning scholarships to a private school in Baltimore and to Princeton University.

As Ehrlich and Kane were moving around the state, Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown (D) made himself available to reporters in Annapolis, saying that he had spent the past four years working on meaty issues such as expanding health care to almost 200,000 residents and navigating the military base realignment and closure process, which is expected to bring 45,000 to 60,000 jobs to Maryland by 2015.

"For the next four months, I look forward to discussing, perhaps even debating, Ms. Kane on those issues and other issues," Brown said. "I think Marylanders are going to have a real opportunity to compare and contrast records and whether they want to move forward with Martin O'Malley or move backwards with Bob Ehrlich."

Staff writer Aaron C. Davis contributed to this report.

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