Bob Ehrlich

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Bob Ehrlich (politician))
Jump to: navigation, search
For the entrepreneur and businessman, see Robert Ehrlich (businessman).
Bob Ehrlich
Robert ehrlich speaking at healthierUS summit cropped.jpg
60th Governor of Maryland
In office
January 15, 2003 – January 17, 2007
Lieutenant Michael Steele
Preceded by Parris Glendening
Succeeded by Martin O'Malley
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maryland's 2nd district
In office
January 3, 1995 – January 3, 2003
Preceded by Helen Bentley
Succeeded by Dutch Ruppersberger
Personal details
Born Robert Leroy Ehrlich, Jr.
(1957-11-25) November 25, 1957 (age 57)
Arbutus, Maryland, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Kendel Sibiski
Alma mater Princeton University
Wake Forest University
Religion Methodism
Website Official website

Robert Leroy "Bob" Ehrlich, Jr. (born November 25, 1957) is an American attorney and politician, who served as the 60th Governor of Maryland from 2003 to 2007. A Republican, he was elected while defeating Democratic opponent Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, a member of the Kennedy family, 51% to 48% in the 2002 elections. Prior to serving as governor, Ehrlich represented Maryland's 2nd Congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives and also had served as a member of the Maryland House of Delegates.

In the November 2006 elections, Ehrlich lost to Democrat Martin O'Malley. He was the only incumbent governor to be defeated that year. In 2010, Ehrlich ran again against O'Malley but was unable to unseat him. Ehrlich then announced via his web site that he "will return to private life". In October 2011 he was named as Chairman of Mitt Romney's Maryland campaign for the 2012 Republican nomination for President.[1]

Early life, career, and family[edit]

Ehrlich was born in the Southwest Baltimore suburb of Arbutus, Maryland, the son of Nancy (Bottorf), a legal secretary, and Robert Leroy Ehrlich, a commission car salesman.[2][3] After attending Gilman School, he graduated from Princeton University (1979), where he attended on a partial scholarship and was captain of the football team and a member of the Cap and Gown Club. He continued on to law school, graduating from Wake Forest University School of Law in 1982.

After law school, Ehrlich worked for Ober, Kaler, Grimes and Shriver, a Baltimore law firm, and became active in politics. In November 1986, Ehrlich won a seat in the Maryland House of Delegates, representing parts of Baltimore County from 1987 to 1995. He was a moderate Republican representing a Democratic stronghold.[citation needed]

He married Kendel Sibiski in 1993. They have two sons, Drew Robert Ehrlich and Joshua Taylor Ehrlich.

He is also a frequent guest on the Sports Junkies.


Ehrlich's congressional portrait

In 1993, 2nd district Representative Helen Delich Bentley announced she would be vacating her seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Ehrlich announced his candidacy in November, and won the election. During his term, he introduced legislation aimed at helping disabled people maintain employment, and supported harsher gun violence penalties.

While in Congress, Ehrlich served on the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee. He was also a member of the subcommittees on health, telecommunications and the Internet, and environment and hazardous materials; the Congressional Biotechnology Caucus, where he served as co-chairman; and the Congressional Steel Caucus.

Governor of Maryland[edit]

2002 gubernatorial election[edit]

In 2002, Governor Parris Glendening’s (D) second term was coming to a close. While Glendening had been reelected by a substantial margin in 1998, the final years of his term were plagued by a personal marital crisis, and a large state budget deficit. The rural areas of Maryland – largely Republican – had long criticized Glendening for what they perceived as zealous environmental regulations; in addition, they believed that he did not give sufficient attention to their needs for infrastructure improvements (bridges, highways, etc.).

On March 15, 2002, Ehrlich announced his candidacy for the governorship. He attacked Glendening's record, tying his Democratic opponent, Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, to the previous governor's program. Ehrlich promised, if elected, to increase school funding, balance the budget, and protect the Chesapeake Bay. Ehrlich chose as his running mate Michael Steele, a Republican African-American attorney and politician.

During the election, Townsend was criticized for her choice of running mate; she picked retired Admiral Charles R. Larson, a novice politician who had switched parties only a few weeks before. The Townsend campaign was also hurt by the unpopularity of Governor Parris Glendening, who had implemented a redistricting proposal that was overturned by Maryland's highest court. Townsend's popularity continued to fall when it was reported that much of her campaign money was given by out-of-state donors; Ehrlich remained on the attack while the lieutenant governor's poll numbers declined.

Though Maryland traditionally votes Democratic and had not elected a Republican governor in almost 40 years, Ehrlich won the race (52% of the vote to Townsend's 47%). He was the sixth Republican governor in state history, and the first since Spiro Agnew left office to take the Vice Presidency in 1969.

Tenure as governor[edit]

Ehrlich said "fiscal responsibility, education, health and the environment, public safety, and commerce"[citation needed] were the "Five Pillars" of his administration. He opposed sales and income tax increases and supported legalization of slot machines to raise revenue.

Under Ehrlich's tenure, Maryland stayed 0.5% or more below the national unemployment average. The unemployment rate dropped significantly from 4.5% in 2003 to 3.9% in 2006, with an increase of 98,000 private sector jobs, aided by its proximity to the strong labor market associated with the national capital.[4] He endorsed the Thornton Plan, which was passed by the Legislature in 2002 and named after Dr. Alvin Thornton. In part, this plan would grant extra money to poorer school systems and those in areas with a higher cost of living.[5]

After pushing though the charter school law in Maryland, Ehrlich oversaw the opening of the first public charter school in the state (Monocacy Valley Montessori Public Charter School). During his administration 45 new schools were constructed, and an additional 52 schools were fully renovated. His administration invested record funding[citation needed] in Maryland community colleges as well as public historically black colleges in the state.

Ehrlich established a position in his cabinet for people with disabilities: the Secretary of Disabilities became the first cabinet-level disabilities office in the nation.[citation needed]

In 2006, he vetoed the "Fair Share Health Care Bill," also known as the WalMart Bill, which required businesses with more than 10,000 employees in the state (three of the four companies being WalMart, Northrop Grumman, and Giant) to either spend eight percent of payroll on employee health care, or pay that amount to a state health program for the uninsured.[6] The bill was named after WalMart because it was the only company in Maryland of that size that did not already provide affordable health insurance to its employees. On July 7, 2006, the Maryland law was overturned in federal court by U.S. District Judge Frederick Motz, who ruled that the law would "hurt Wal-Mart by imposing the administrative burden of tracking benefits in Maryland differently than in other states."[7]

In 2004, Ehrlich signed the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Act: it funds upgrades of water treatment plants to reduce pollution discharge by a surcharge on business and residential water and septic bills. The resulting reduction in pollution into the bay was expected to meet approximately one-third of Maryland's obligations under the 2000 Chesapeake Bay Agreement. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation described the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Act as the most significant piece of legislation for the Bay in a generation.[8]

Ehrlich appointed a cabinet-level Homeland Security adviser.[citation needed] He opposed President George W. Bush's 2006 approval for a U.A.E. firm to take control of six U.S. port operations, including those at the Port of Baltimore.[9] (See Dubai Ports World controversy).

In 2003, Ehrlich abandoned the "life means life" policy of his predecessor that precluded persons serving life sentences from eligibility for executive clemency. Ehrlich promised to evaluate each request for clemency on a case-by-case basis. He was nationally recognized for his progressive approach that helped free wrongly convicted defendants.[citation needed]

In 2004, Ehrlich ended the moratorium on executions that was instituted by his predecessor in May 2002. (See capital punishment in Maryland.) Under his tenure, two men were executed by the state; Ehrlich denied clemency in both instances.

Although he was entitled to membership in the National Governors Association, the Southern Governors' Association, and the Republican Governors Association, he was not actively involved in those organizations.

In 2006, he became a member of the Capital-to-Capital Coalition.

2006 gubernatorial election[edit]

Governor Ehrlich opted to seek a second term and did not face opposition in the Republican primary. When Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele opted to run for Senate instead of seeking a second term on Ehrlich’s gubernatorial ticket, Ehrlich named Maryland Secretary of Disabilities Kristen Cox, who was blind, as his running mate[10] and was renominated by his party for a second term.

On November 7, 2006, Ehrlich was defeated for re-election in the 2006 gubernatorial election by Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley, who won 53% to Ehrlich's 46%.[11] Ehrlich's term as governor expired at noon on January 17, 2007.[12]

Between elections[edit]

A month after he left public office, Ehrlich and several aides from his administration opened a Baltimore-area office of North Carolina law firm Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice. His wife Kendel took a consulting job as a director of the BankAnnapolis.[13]

In March 2007, Ehrlich endorsed former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani for the US Presidency. He was the Chairman of Giuliani's Mid-Atlantic Campaign Committee.[14]

Ehrlich and his wife hosted their own radio show on WBAL-AM Radio every Saturday from 2007 to 2010.[15][16]


Veto of the "Wal-Mart" Health Care Bill[edit]

In January 2006, the Maryland Legislature passed the controversial Fair Share Health Care Bill, over Ehrlich's veto. The bill attracted national attention because it made Maryland the first state to require very large corporations to either spend eight percent of their payroll on employee health care, or pay that amount to a state health-care fund. It became known as the "Wal-Mart Bill" because while it nominally applied to any corporation with more than 10,000 workers, in practice Wal-Mart was the only employer which met that threshold and did not already spend at least eight percent of their payroll on employee health care.[6][17] Critics of the international discount chain claim that Wal-Mart's low wages force employees and their dependents to rely on state healthcare assistance. (See Wal-Mart Employee and Labor Relations).

Supporters of the bill claimed that this veto showed Ehrlich, whose official biography describes him as "unapologetically pro-business," had sided with "big corporate interests rather than Maryland's working families."[6] For his part, Ehrlich called the bill the "first step toward government-run health care" by "anti-jobs lawmakers." He claimed that it would hurt low and middle-income consumers and was unfair to Wal-Mart and other businesses.[18] In summer 2006, a federal judge struck down the legislation on the grounds that it violated federal law.[19]

NIH Director Elias Zerhouni talks with Ehrlich following a speech by President George W. Bush in Bethesda, Maryland.

Slot machines[edit]

State House speaker Michael E. Busch (D) opposed slot machines in Maryland and regularly clashed with State Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr. (D) on this issue. These actions divided both chambers of the Assembly as well as the Maryland Democratic party. Busch permitted passage of a bill allowing 9,500 slot machines.[20]

Following the failure of the slots initiative, Ehrlich predicted that no further slots bills would be passed during the next legislative session. He said the issue would remain off the table until after the 2006 gubernatorial election.[21] Some legislators tried to call a special session of the General Assembly to address slot machines.

In November 2008, a referendum passed with 59% voter approval, after a campaign heavily funded by gambling companies.[22] Initially, 65% of the profits went to the casinos; it is planned that by 2018, this is to be tapered to 33%, with 48.5% of the profit to be directed to education in the state.[22][23]

2010 gubernatorial campaign[edit]

On March 30, Ehrlich announced that he would challenge incumbent Governor Martin O'Malley.[24][25]

In June 2010, Ehrlich was endorsed by Terrapin basketball standout and Memphis Grizzlies NBA draft pick Greivis Vasquez.[26] Ehrlich was supported by Terps basketball coach Gary Williams in past elections. On June 30, 2010, Ehrlich announced that his running mate would be Mary Kane, who had served under Governor Ehrlich as Secretary of State, August 2, 2005 to January 17, 2007, and also as Deputy Secretary of State and Chief Legal Counsel, March 2003 to August 2, 2005.[27] Ehrlich won the Republican primary, but lost the general election to O'Malley by a 14% margin (56% to 42%).

2006 and 2010 campaign controversies[edit]

On November 6, 2006, the day before the general election, Republican Gov. Ehrlich's and Lt. Gov. Steele's campaigns mailed a flier to numerous residents in Prince George's County; the population is majority African-American and has a voting history of supporting Democratic candidates. The flier was entitled, "Ehrlich-Steele Democrats Official Voter Guide," although the candidates are Republicans. It was designed and printed as a sample ballot endorsing Ehrlich and Steele, together with a list of other politicians, who were all Democrats. The front cover of the mailer featured pictures of several current and former Democratic candidates for public office, with the text, "These Are Our Choices," implying that Ehrlich and Steele were Democrats.[28]

Many Democrats criticized the mailer as misleading, as it implied that Ehrlich and Steele were Democrats and recommended by the Democratic Party. Kweisi Mfume and Jack B. Johnson also objected to the flier, saying its featuring of photos of three Prince George's County Democrats suggested that they all had endorsed Ehrlich and Steele; none had.[29]

In December 2011, Ehrlich's 2010 campaign manager, Paul E. Schurick, was convicted of four counts concerning a scheme to suppress the black vote using 112,000 fraudulent robocalls, which discouraged voters from going to the polls.[30] Political consultant Julius Hensen was also convicted on one count.[31]

Election history[edit]

Year Office Subject Party Votes Pct Opponent Party Votes Pct Opponent Party Votes Pct
1994 Congress, District 2 Robert Ehrlich Republican 125,162 62.74% Gerry Brewster Democrat 74,275 37.23%
1996 Congress, District 2 Robert Ehrlich Republican 143,075 61.83% Connie Dejuliis Democrat 88,344 38.17%
1998 Congress, District 2 Robert Ehrlich Republican 145,711 69.32% Kenneth Bosley Democrat 64,474 30.67%
2000 Congress, District 2 Robert Ehrlich Republican 178,556 68.56% Kenneth Bosley Democrat 81,591 31.33%
2002 Governor Robert Ehrlich Republican 879,592 51.55% Kathleen Kennedy Townsend Democrat 813,422 47.68% Spear Lancaster Libertarian 11,546 0.68%
2006 Governor Robert Ehrlich Republican 825,464 46.2% Martin O'Malley Democrat 942,279 52.7% Ed Boyd Green 15,551 0.9%
2010 Governor Robert Ehrlich Republican 776,319 41.8% Martin O'Malley Democrat 1,044,961 56.2%

See also[edit]


  2. ^ "Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr., Maryland Governor". Retrieved 2014-08-13. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Top Picks (Most Requested Statistics) : U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics". August 17, 2011. Retrieved September 20, 2011. 
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ a b c Wagner, John; Barbaro, Michael (May 20, 2005). "Ehrlich Vetoes Health Care Bill Aimed at Wal-Mart". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 22, 2010. 
  7. ^ "Md. 'Fair Share' law loses in court". United Press International. July 19, 2006. Retrieved April 5, 2007. 
  8. ^ "Governor Ehrlich interviewed by George S. Wills". citybizlist. September 2005. URL retrieved on February 23, 2007.
  9. ^ "Bush Says He Will Veto Any Bill to Stop UAE Port Deal". Fox News. February 22, 2006. 
  10. ^ [2][dead link]
  11. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)[dead link]
  12. ^ "Washington DC Local News, US & World, Business, Entertainment, Green News News | NBC Washington". September 1, 2011. Retrieved September 20, 2011. 
  13. ^ Green, Andrew A. "Ehrlich will join law firm". The Baltimore Sun. February 22, 2007. URL retrieved on February 23, 2007.
  14. ^ "Former Maryland Governor Bob Ehrlich Endorses Giuliani". Rudy Giuliani Presidential Committee web site. March 22, 2007. URL retrieved on April 5, 2007.
  15. ^ Wagner, John (March 18, 2007). "Ehrlich Out of Office but Not Out of Sight". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 16, 2009. 
  16. ^ "Robert and Kendel Ehrlich Show". RadioTime. Retrieved August 16, 2009. 
  17. ^ Armour, Stephanie (January 13, 2006). "Maryland OKs 'Wal-Mart bill'". USA Today. Retrieved May 22, 2010. 
  18. ^ [3][dead link]
  19. ^ Mosk, Matthew; Ylan Q. Mui (July 20, 2006). "'Wal-Mart Law' in Md. Rejected By Court: Measure Sought To Boost Workers' Health Benefits". Washington Post. p. A01. Retrieved November 1, 2010. 
  20. ^ "More gambling for the children in Maryland". The Tax Foundation. March 25, 2005. Retrieved September 20, 2011. 
  21. ^ "Lots of time to lay blame, claim credit for no slots". April 12, 2005. Retrieved September 20, 2011. 
  22. ^ a b "Maryland Casino Measure, Question 2 (2008)". Ballotpedia. Retrieved September 20, 2011. 
  23. ^ [4][dead link]
  24. ^ Wagner, John (March 30, 2010). "Ehrlich plans rematch with O'Malley in Md. governor's race". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 30, 2010. 
  25. ^ "Ex-Gov. Ehrlich Doesn't Rule Out U.S. Senate Bid". (CBS Corporation). Associated Press. March 16, 2010. Retrieved March 23, 2010. 
  26. ^
  27. ^ "Mary D. Kane, Maryland Secretary of State". Retrieved September 20, 2011. 
  28. ^ Ruff, Rivéa (November 9, 2006). "Poll Workers Bused Here To Hand Out "Trick" Guides". Greenbelt News Review. p. 16. Retrieved September 9, 2010. 
  29. ^ Mosk, Matthew (November 7, 2006). "Democrats Denounce Flier Mailed by GOP.". Washington Post. Retrieved November 12, 2006. 
  30. ^ Wagner, John (December 6, 2011). "Ex-Ehrlich campaign manager Schurick convicted in robocall case". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 13, 2012. 
  31. ^ "Jury Finds Julius Hensen Guilty Of Conspiracy For Leaving Off Authority Line In Robocall Case", CBS Local-WJZ , 11 May 2012


  • Maryland Archives gubernatorial biography. [5]
  • Maryland Archives general biography. [6]
  • Congressional Quarterly election library. [7]
  • Ehrlich Personnel Story [8]
  • MD Gubernatorial Candidates List [9]

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Helen Bentley
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maryland's 2nd congressional district

Succeeded by
Dutch Ruppersberger
Party political offices
Preceded by
Ellen Sauerbrey
Republican nominee for Governor of Maryland
2002, 2006, 2010
Succeeded by
Larry Hogan
Political offices
Preceded by
Parris Glendening
Governor of Maryland
Succeeded by
Martin O'Malley