What's Next For Bob Ehrlich?
Former governor may return to law firm; comments on robo-calls scandal.
Sitting courtside as he played with his two sons and munched on popcorn, Bob Ehrlich looked like the happiest unemployed man in town.
The former Gov. Ehrlich, coming off a sweeping loss to Gov. Martin O'Malley in the November general election, may return to his job working for a North Carolina-based law firm.
Patch caught up with the Republican during a Wednesday afternoon basketball game at Towson University, where the Towson Tigers took on the Princeton Tigers. A Princeton grad and former football player, Ehrlich admitted to having split loyalties. The former governor has a special relationship with Towson University, too—the university library holds papers from his administration and he visits once a semester to speak to a persuasion class.
As for what the former governor plans to tackle next, Ehrlich said he's done with campaigning ("I can't imagine running for anything in Maryland.") and may rejoin the Baltimore office of Womble Carlyle, the North Carolina law firm where Ehrlich worked as a self-described "rainmaker" after leaving Annapolis.
"I'm looking at my options for the future," he said, adding he's also been looking at association presidencies in Washington and ways to leverage his background in Congress. "A lot of my friends have really good positions right now."
Reflecting on his race, one of the key losses of Ehrlich's campaign came in Baltimore County, where O'Malley edged out Ehrlich in what was thought to be solid Republican ground. Ehrlich says that was probably due to an influx of African-Americans, who generally vote for Democratic candidates.
"Obviously as long as this partisan divide is what it is nationally, not just in Maryland, it's tough for any Republican," he said.
One of the clouds still hanging around Ehrlich's 2010 campaign is related to robocalls arranged by a company owned by political consultant Julius Henson. The calls, made on the afternoon of election day, told Democratic voters in Baltimore City that their "goals had been met" and "the only thing left is to watch it on TV tonight."
Maryland Attorney General has filed a civil complaint in federal court, saying the calls were meant to suppress voter turnout. Separately, investigators for the state prosecutor raided Henson's home and offices last week.
According to state records, Ehrlich paid Henson's companies $111,150 for consulting services this year. Ehrlich told The Capital in a recent interview that the calls were made "outside of my purview." Gansler has said he has no reason to believe Ehrlich knew about the offending call.
When talking to Patch, Ehrlich had no comment on the state's investigation, but further disavowed knowledge of the calls and said his campaign ordered no robocalls from Henson or anybody else, for that matter.
"I'm not a fan of [robocalls]," Ehrlich said. "I don't think they work."