April 6th, 2010
08:45 PM ET
13 years ago

The challenger gets challenged

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/06/art.malley0406.gi.jpg caption ="Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley on Tuesday offered to debate former Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich."](CNN) - This rematch is getting interesting.

Wednesday, former Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich kicks off his bid for his old office. On the eve of that campaign kickoff, the man he's running against, current Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, offered to debate Ehrlich this Saturday morning on a popular Baltimore radio station.

"I welcome Mr. Ehrlich back into the race for governor," said the first term Democratic governor, on his Facebook page. "I look forward to an issue-based discussion about ideas and issues that can keep our state moving forward. If Ehrlich accepts our challenge we are looking forward to an hour-long Saturday morning debate on Maryland's future on WBAL radio."

An Ehrlich spokesman tells WBAL they are reviewing the request.

In 2002, then-Rep. Ehrlich upset Democratic Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend to become Maryland's first Republican governor in over 30 years. But four years later Ehrlich lost his re-election bid to O'Malley, who at the time was Baltimore's mayor.

O'Malley is offering to debate Ehrlich in place of the weekly radio talk show that Ehrlich co-hosts with his wife on WBAL each Saturday morning. Ehrlich will officially kick off his campaign Wednesday with events in heavily Democratic Montgomery County, and in Baltimore County, the area he represented in Congress for eight years.

Updated at 8:45 p.m. ET:

Tuesday evening Ehrlich invited O'Malley to appear on his radio program this Saturday.

"I look forward to playing host this Saturday as I have every Saturday for the past few years. Rather than bringing in a moderator to fill air time, I will personally host Governor O'Malley for a one-on-one conversation," said Ehrlich.

Ehrlich's counter-offer was rejected by the governor.

We regret that he did not take our offer in the spirit it was intended," said O'Malley campaign manager Tom Russell.

Ehrlich responded that his offer still stands.

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn

Filed under: Martin O'Malley • Maryland • Robert Ehrlich
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    DO IT!!! Don't be a chicken and don't make excuses. You wanna run for office and claim you've got answers? PROVE IT.

    April 6, 2010 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  2. NVa Native

    Ehrlich was a really bad Gov for Md. It would be like Goerge "ma-cah-cah" Allen running again. Both followed a self-serving devisive ideology which they themsleves confirmed as a failure by what they left behind after their four years of crawling backward while trying to drag the state with them.

    April 6, 2010 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  3. PAUL

    Erlich was voted out of office because he was a worthless governor and did nothing for Maryland except boost his ego.

    April 6, 2010 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  4. IVOTE

    I look forward to a civil debate saturday morning. Ehrlich should accept this offer.

    April 6, 2010 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  5. rdepontb

    Erlich's best memories are as a high school football star. NOT as Maryland's governor; seriously, this has got to be one of his worst ideas yet, to get back into the race.

    Can't society find other uses for politicians who've had their time in the sun, who've put in the time and effort for the common good? Can't someone come to Erlich's aid here?

    April 6, 2010 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  6. Realist

    I am a lifelong Maryland resident. Ehrlich, typical of Republicans increased debt and spending and left the incoming administration to hold the bag. He then screamed about the tax policies and debt level of the state. No way will he be re-elected.

    April 6, 2010 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  7. Marie MD

    Good luck ehrlich. You better not give up your day job. You are NOT coming back as our governor. We had more than enough of you the first time around.

    April 6, 2010 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  8. Hayden

    Ehrlich was a good governor, he was just up against the Democratic machine that couldn't get over the fact that he beat a Kennedy in Maryland. What has O'Malley done? He's eloquent but out of his depth... funny, sounds familiar. Ehrlich should accept the Gov's offer but O'Malley should accept his.

    April 6, 2010 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  9. JAS

    Martin O'Malley is a worthless political hack. I'm from Maryland so I can say this with certainty whereas I'm sure most of the other people that will comment on this story have never even been to the state during either Ehrlich or O'Malley's tenures as governor.

    April 6, 2010 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  10. Johnny DC

    It's real easy to sit there and say Ehrlich was a bad Governor, and cite the typical excuses and stereotypes for why Liberals hate Conservatives. I'm also a NoVA native and I disagree. I think Ehrlich and O'Malley share the same tendencies to put politics ahead of people, but I think Ehrlich has more good ideas than the current Governor. I can't wait to see him back in office.

    April 6, 2010 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  11. Perusing-through


    Middle-class Marylanders bust their butts to fulfill their dreams. The last thing Marylanders need is more fighting over irrelevant political ideologies that don’t focus on the issues at hand.

    The only thing 'Bob Erlich-Bush' will bring is more Republican-GOP ideology that failed America and helped create the recent brutal recession. Worst, the Republican-GOP has never acknowledged their responsibility for the nation’s economic debacle of the past 2-years, while pointing their fingers at President Obama even before he took office.

    No more neo-con trash-talking. Marylanders want practical, realistic solutions; not Republican-GOP spin.

    April 6, 2010 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |