Kendel Ehrlich calls for GOP women's aid
'Grass-roots' support sought for governor
By Andrew A. Green
Sun Staff

May 10, 2005

Saying an unprecedented effort will be necessary to re-elect her husband, Maryland first lady Kendel S. Ehrlich called on Republican women to mount an aggressive grass-roots effort in 2006 similar to the one that brought President Bush victory in 2004.
Ehrlich told members of the Maryland Federation of Republican Women that her husband, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., has accomplished a great deal in his first term but would need another four years to change state government.

And for that, she said, he will need a stronger base of volunteers than the Maryland GOP has ever amassed.

"When Bob was elected, it wasn't a fluke, but we have to work harder than ever," Kendel Ehrlich said yesterday at a Bethesda hotel. "What we have to do on a grass-roots level has never been done in this state."

Jo Ann Davidson, co-chairwoman of the Republican National Committee and the woman who ran Bush's grass-roots efforts in Ohio, also spoke.

She said organizers in that Midwestern state thought the national campaign's goals for volunteer activity were impossible, but they achieved them anyway, providing the president with a solid victory in Ohio that proved decisive in the election.

"The reason Senator Kerry and the Democrats couldn't believe they lost is that they met all their goals ... in terms of voter registration and volunteers and getting their people to the polls," she said. "We just did it better."

State GOP Chairman John Kane said the Maryland party would attempt to follow Davidson's lead in developing a structured, quantitative system.

Kendel Ehrlich told the crowd of more than 200 women from around the state that they could not only re-elect the governor but also chip away at the Democrats' majority in the legislature. Their goal, she said, should be to send enough Republicans to the General Assembly to sustain the governor's vetoes.

She received the most applause of the day by suggesting that the women work "just as hard" to make sure that House Speaker Michael E. Busch, the governor's nemesis in the effort to legalize slot machines, is defeated.

"Bob Ehrlich needs to return to the State House with a legislature that is helpful, that supports him and certainly that is veto-proof," Ehrlich said. "To really make an impact and really get it going, we absolutely have to return."

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