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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Ehrlich Beats Back Tea Party, O'Malley Gets the "Fustero Treatment"

The big news in Maryland so far has got to be the size of Bob Ehrlich's victory over Tea Party and Sarah Palin favorite Brian Murphy. On a night when conservative insurgents scored a dramatic victory in Delaware and battled to a near tie in New Hampshire Bob Ehrlich defeated Brian Murphy 76% to 24%.

On the other side of the ballot, Martin O'Malley has to deal with the unexpected embarassment of losing 14% of the vote to two unknowns with 10% going to J.P. Cusick, a candidate whose entire campaign is based on reforming child support and custody laws. This is like Kathleen Kennedy Townsend losing 20% of the vote to grocery store clerk Robert Fustero in 2002.

Winning 76% to 24% against a known and financed candidate in a year of upsets is far more impressive than winning 86% to 14% over two unknowns with no campaign organization of which to speak.

Worse, the ratio of Democratic turnout compared to Republican turnout is lower than in any recent election and thus far O'Malley is on track to underperform compared to his own performance of 500,000 votes in 2006 and to finish roughly on par with Kathleen Kennedy Townsend's 400,000 in 2002. Though Ehrlich received only 76% of the GOP vote he is on track to receive roughly that same number of votes as 2002 and 2006.