Bob Ehrlich’s campaign paid for an automated phonecall targeting Democratic minorities that told voters to stay at home and not bother voting because they had already won. The call was dishonest and didn’t work but it was a clear attempt to suppress the vote.
A grand jury in handed down indictments against two Ehrlich operatives and Paul Schurick – Ehrlich’s campaign manager – was found guilty of election fraud.
Even though his senior staff actually formulated a strategy to suppress the turnout of African American voters, Bob Ehrlich vehemently denied knowledge of the robocalls and saw himself free of blame or complicity.
Last week we learned otherwise.
A campaign finance report showed that Bob Ehrlich’s campaign spent more than $100,000 to futilely defend his former campaign manager and longtime aide. By doing so, Ehrlich has taken responsibility for the reprehensible robocalls and the fundamentally un-American voter suppression strategy that originated in his campaign backrooms.
Ehrlich may not be new to the voter suppression business, but what’s truly troubling is how GOP Governors and legislators around the country have followed his lead by enacting laws restricting voter registration and early voting, and placing undue obstacles at polling places. This coordinated approach may supposedly be targeting non-existent voter fraud, but in reality the intention to make it harder for seniors, minorities, young voters and the poor to participate in elections.
Taking responsibility for his campaign’s election day wrong-doing may be part of Bob Ehrlich’s political rehabilitation. Or maybe Ehrlich simply wants drive up sales of his book (currently languishing at #249,908 on Amazon.com) by appealing to tea-party Republicans who fully embrace voter suppression as a means of winning elections.
Either way, we hope Bob Ehrlich is truly finished with Maryland politics.