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O'Malley's first campaign ad defies convention, reveals weakness

This weekend, Martin O’Malley started airing radio ads attacking Ehrlich as a big spender who raised taxes and fees. The ad aired twice on the Ehrlichs WBAL Saturday morning show, and is running on other radio stations.

As I pointed out in a previous post, the Democrats have been planning for a while to attack Ehrlich as a big spender. Rather than address the inaccuracies in O’Malley’s ad, I would like to comment about the ad generally.

The usual convention with incumbents or politicians with records is that their campaign ads start first by reminding people of what they have accomplished – the positive ads – and they save the attack ads against their opponent for later in the campaign – the negative ads.

O’Malley has defied convention, as he did when he challenged Ehrlich to debate the week of Ehrlich’s announcement. The question is why? Why would an incumbent governor not tout his own record of achievement(s) in his first campaign ads?

The answer is that O’Malley believes that his road to re-election lies with a different strategy. He is fearful of Ehrlich and his candidacy. He has implicitly recognized the threat posed by Ehrlich. The most recent poll showed Ehrlich closing the gap with O’Malley and pulling within three (3) percentage points—the margin of error. More telling in the poll is that Ehrlich has a forty (40) point lead with independents (unaffiliated) over the incumbent governor.

The O’Malley ad is designed to erode some of Ehrlich’s support, but it reveals O’Malley’s weakness. If you are an incumbent, you should give the voters a reason to retain you in your job, not start with focusing on your opponent’s alleged record from four or more years ago. Yet, the reality is that negative ads work, whether they are true or not, so it will be interesting to see where the next poll has the candidates.

That being said, there is a reason why “convention” exists; conventional usually works. However, recent elections around the country have shown that doing what is usual or normal may not work this year. Will O’Malley’s shift from conventional campaign advertising work?

If you liked this post, you will like:

Maryland Democrats plan to attach Ehrlich as a big spender

Maryland Democrat Party FCC complaint against Ehrlich shows their fear of his candidacy


Dilip Paliath has a general law practice in Towson. For more information, see


  • Alice McCart, Kansas City Vegan Examiner 5 years ago

    Thanks for keeping us informed. Yes, the campaigns will indeed be interesting to watch this year.

  • Jeff 5 years ago

    Thank you for expounding on the truth that Governor O'Malley has been a complete and utter failure as Governor of Maryland. Rated Worst Tax and Spend Governor in the United States, Largest Cabinet for a Governor in the United States and grew the Budget beyond the National and State Economic Recession. A Complete loon.

  • Truthiness 5 years ago

    So now that the polls show this morning that O'Malley is pulling away with an even larger lead over a challenger and has a 58% job approval rating, would that change your "analysis?"

    So often "conventional wisedom" used in service of the bias you have, is neither conventional nor wisdom.

    No wonder you didn't want to get into the ad's point. It highlights a huge Ehrlich fail.

    Maybe you should write about who, among Maryland Governor's, is rated the biggest spender and who has used fiscal restaint. (Hint: You'll be shocked at the truthiness.)

  • scoopnewsworthy 5 years ago

    He does not want to debate because he knows his record is attrocious. I wonder how all the thos furlough works will think when he gave his own staff and raises during the failing economy. Secondly, he did not go cross the board with the furloughs because it did not include Judicial branch, Public Safety, Legislative branches and the Comptroller. They all are State employees. Since, he chose to create a societal state then he suffers when the low level BOO's he hatched go to the polls to vote. He is going to reap what he sowed. That also goes for some incumbents in the legislature, one in particluar Sandy Rosenburg, he needs to go.

  • What else did you expect? 5 years ago

    So, does O'Mally's ad constitute a violation since it was aired on the station that the Democrats have filed a complaint against for even having Ehrlich on the air?

  • What else did you expect? 5 years ago

    Truthiness says: So now that the polls show this morning that O'Malley is pulling away with an even larger lead...

    A handful of points over an R in this state IS NOT A GOOD SHOWING for the boy gov!

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