Brian Murphy was one Maryland Republican who said he didn’t pay much attention to former Gov. Robert Ehrlich’s official gubernatorial campaign announcement Wednesday in Rockville.
Murphy was busy doing campaigning of his own, because he’s hoping to beat Ehrlich in the Republican primary for the chance to take on Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley in the general election.
Murphy described himself as a “finance guy” Thursday at a Maryland GOP town hall meeting at the Leisure World retirement community in Silver Spring.
“Ronald Reagan was once a Democrat, we all know this. I was once a Democrat. I was a blue-dog, fiscal conservative Democrat. But the modern Democrat Party are people who are big-hearted and generous with other people’s money and, frankly, bad at math,” said Murphy.
He positioned himself as a moderate, dollars-and-cents type of Republican as he spoke to the group of about 50 senior citizens, but in an interview after his speech, Murphy turned his fire on Ehrlich.
“The numbers tell the truth. Ehrlich grew the government more than O’Malley did. And that’s not what Maryland blue-dog Democrats cross for,” Murphy said.
Murphy said Maryland needs a fiscal conservative to restore balance to Annapolis, and Ehrlich has already proven that he doesn’t fit the bill.
“If he did it when he was the governor, frankly, he might still be governor,” said Murphy. “He was a better governor than O’Malley, but that’s a pretty low bar.”
Murphy said he has a better chance than Ehrlich of getting moderate Democrats and independents to swing Republican, which is always important in a heavily Democratic state like Maryland.
A resident of Chevy Chase who grew up on the Eastern Shore, Murphy has an MBA in finance from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and is the founder of the Plimhimmon Group investment firm.
The day before Ehrlich’s long-awaited announcement, Murphy made some noise by winning the endorsement of former state GOP chairman Jim Pelura, who resigned the post in November after a rash of party infighting.
This year’s primary election is scheduled for Sept. 14.
–By Capital News Service’s Graham Moomaw