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Maryland GOP vows to shadow O’Malley on national travels, telling ‘real story’

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley speaks during U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin's annual fundraising steak fry, in September in Indianola, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

As he moves around the country in coming months, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) could have an uninvited traveling companion.

David Ferguson, executive director of the Maryland Republican Party, vowed Tuesday that he or someone else affiliated with the state GOP will show up each time O’Malley attends an out-of-state event, starting this weekend in South Carolina.

O’Malley, frequently mentioned as a potential 2016 presidential contender, is planning to make an appearance Saturday at an “issues conference” in Charleston at the invitation of South Carolina state Sen. Vincent Sheheen (D), a 2014 gubernatorial hopeful.

Ferguson said he will counter with a press conference with GOP leaders in Columbia on Friday and be at the event site Saturday in Charleston.

“Anytime O’Malley goes and makes a stop on his presidential parade, we’re going to follow him and let people know who the real Martin O’Malley is,” said Ferguson.

Ferguson said the effort — dubbed the “No Left Turn Tour” — is an outgrowth of previous work to arm Republicans in other states with background material on O’Malley, the former chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, when he visits.

Some talking points put out Tuesday by the South Carolina Republican Party, for example, say that “Martin O’Malley is a classic tax-and-spend liberal whose tenure as governor of Maryland has been defined by tax hikes.”

Elisabeth Smith, a spokeswoman for O’Malley, said she has no problem with talk about O’Malley’s track record in Maryland.

“We encourage hearing the fact about Gov. O’Malley’s record, because even in the toughest of times he’s gotten results for the people of Maryland,” she said, ticking off a series of favorable rankings, including Education Week naming Maryland schools No. 1 in the nation for five years in a row.

John Wagner is a political reporter covering the race for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.



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