[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/09/21/art.omalley.ehrlich.2shot.gi.jpg caption ="The Republican Governors Association has jumped into the Maryland gubernatorial race between Republican Robert Ehrlich (left) and Democrat Martin O’Malley (right)."]Washington (CNN) - The rematch in Maryland's getting more interesting.
Republican Governor's Association released its first ad in Maryland's gubernatorial campaign on Tuesday, supporting GOP nominee and former Gov. Robert Ehrlich and attacking the Democratic incumbent, Gov. Martin O'Malley.
"With Martin O'Malley as Governor, Maryland has moved backward, not forward. Unemployment has doubled. More than three thousand Maryland businesses have closed or moved to other states. O'Malley passed the largest tax increase in history. A twenty percent sales tax hike. Job-killing taxes on business," says the narrator in the ad. "And now O'Malley says he's open to raising taxes again. Martin O'Malley: Higher Taxes, Fewer Jobs – moving Maryland backwards."
Maryland Democrats are firing back.
"In their haste to try to prop up Ehrlich's flagging campaign with false attacks against Governor O'Malley, national Republicans forgot to mention that Bob Ehrlich has zero credibility on taxes and spending. Ehrlich raised taxes and fees by $3 billion and went on the worst spending binge in Maryland history. Ehrlich's own Republican primary opponent savaged Ehrlich for his fiscal irresponsibility and refusal to sign a no-new-taxes pledge," says Maryland Democratic Party Executive Director Travis Tazelaar, in a statement.
The RGA ad goes up on the same day that the O'Malley campaign begins running a new commercial in the Washington D.C. market in which the governor talks about the importance of education in his life and touts his record of putting education first over the past four years in office.
The RGA involvement is important. As of late summer, O'Malley had a two to one advantage over Ehrlich in campaign cash on hand. In 2002, Ehrlich become the first Republican governor of Maryland in a generation, but he was defeated in his 2006 re-election bid by O'Malley, who was mayor of Baltimore at the time.
While Democratic voters outnumber Republican voters in Maryland, the most recent polls of likely voters suggest that O'Malley has a single digits lead over Ehrlich.
"We think O'Malley's record of tax increases and job losses makes him not only a disappointing governor, but one who can be defeated," RGA Spokesman Chris Schrimpf tells CNN.
–Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn