More than 250 supporters of former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. gathered at a Perry Hall residence for a campaign fundraising picnic on Saturday, Aug. 21.
The event, advertised throughout the community as "Backyard with Bob," was hosted by Donna Davis, 54, and her daughter, Laura Kimball, 33. It featured a catered outdoor meal and a speech from Ehrlich, who is running against Brian Murphy in the Republican primary in Maryland's upcoming gubernatorial election.
Ehrlich is expected to win and will take on Gov. Martin O'Malley, the Democratic incumbent, in a reverse rematch of the 2006 election.
This event emphasized the "philosophical compatibility" Ehrlich feels between himself and the Perry Hall area, he said. "This is my old congressional district and people here know me, they know my family, they know how I view politics and they know my position on issues."
Between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m., attendees met with Ehrlich and his wife, Kendel. Other Republican politicians attended the event, including state Sen. Andrew P. Harris, who is running for Congress, and David Marks, who is running for Baltimore County Council in the 5th District.
Tickets were priced at $25 per person, while children under 8-years-old were admitted free. Event organizers also sold $5 commemorative mugs. The picnic raised approximately $2,000 for the Ehrlich campaign, according to Davis.
Davis and her family organized a similar backyard fundraiser for Ehrlich during his last campaign for reelection in 2006. "I was so impressed with his integrity, and management skills of running Maryland that I, a private citizen, wanted to do something," Davis said.
"I wanted to have him for dinner, but knowing his schedule, I thought the only way he would come is if we invited a couple hundred other people too," she said.
The picnic featured pit beef, catered by Fast Eddie's in Fallston; apple pies and cake, donated by George's Bakery in Chase; and crab soup, donated by Bill's Seafood and Catering Company, which is owned by Bill Paulshock, the Democratic candidate for the County Council's 5th District. Hotdogs, homemade root beer, watermelon and other food items were supplied by the host family. Music was supplied by Westside DJ's Mike Restivo.
Picnic attendees were confident that Ehrlich—if he wins his party's primary, as he is expected to do—will defeat O'Malley in the Nov. 2 general election.
"These events bring a good sense of camaraderie for Republicans in the Perry Hall community," said local resident Harry Spahn. "It's an effort to get Ehrlich out, inform people about him and help get him into office."
Dee Hodges, a state Senate 8th District candidate, agreed that local campaign events are important to rally support. "The candidates can become more like the person next door," she said, "and it lets people get to know our ideas and where we as candidates stand on issues and policies."
During Ehrlich's speech, he thanked the event's host family, as well as supporters. He also talked about his feelings after losing the 2006 election and shared some of the things he hopes to accomplish as a second-term governor.
Ehrlich said that he has a pro-small business agenda and understands the concerns of small business owners, including so-called hostile business regulations, which he believes have cost the state hundreds of jobs.
"Members of the General Assembly need to gain a better understanding of the pressures that go with conducting business, starting a business, running a business and expanding a business," Ehrlich said.
Ehrlich said he is confident in his chances of winning support in Perry Hall's voting district. "This is one of our very strong areas," he said. "We have a lot of strong areas in Baltimore County."