Bob Ehrlich

For the entrepreneur and businessman, see Robert Ehrlich (businessman).
Bob Ehrlich
60th Governor of Maryland
In office
January 15, 2003  January 17, 2007
Lieutenant Michael Steele
Preceded by Parris Glendening
Succeeded by Martin O'Malley
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maryland's 2nd district
In office
January 3, 1995  January 3, 2003
Preceded by Helen Bentley
Succeeded by Dutch Ruppersberger
Member of the Maryland House of Delegates
In office
Personal details
Born Robert Leroy Ehrlich, Jr.
(1957-11-25) November 25, 1957
Arbutus, Maryland, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Kendel Sibiski (m. 1993)
Alma mater Princeton University (A.B.)
Wake Forest University (J.D.)
Religion Methodism
Website Official website

Robert Leroy "Bob" Ehrlich, Jr. (born November 25, 1957) is an American attorney and Republican politician who served as the 60th governor of Maryland from 2003 to 2007 after defeating Democratic opponent Kathleen Kennedy Townsend in the 2002 election. Prior to serving as governor, Ehrlich represented Maryland's 2nd Congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives. Before that he served in the Maryland House of Delegates.

In the November 2006 elections, Ehrlich lost to Democrat Martin O'Malley. In 2010, Ehrlich again ran unsuccessfully against O'Malley. Ehrlich then announced, via his website, that he would "return to private life". In October 2011, he was named chairman of Mitt Romney's Maryland campaign for the 2012 Republican nomination for President.[1]

Early life, career, and family

Ehrlich was born in the Southwest Baltimore suburb of Arbutus, Maryland, the son of Nancy (Bottorf), a legal secretary, and Robert Leroy Ehrlich, a commission car salesman.[2][3] After attending Gilman School, he graduated from Princeton University (1979), where he attended on a partial scholarship and was captain of the football team and a member of the Cap and Gown Club. He continued on to law school, graduating from Wake Forest University School of Law in 1982.

After law school, Ehrlich worked for Ober, Kaler, Grimes and Shriver, a Baltimore law firm, and became active in politics. In November 1986, Ehrlich won a seat in the Maryland House of Delegates, representing parts of Baltimore County from 1987 to 1995. He was a moderate Republican representing a Democratic stronghold.


He married Kendel Sibiski in 1993. They have two sons, Drew Robert Ehrlich and Joshua Taylor Ehrlich.[4][5]

He is also a frequent guest on the Sports Junkies.[6]


Ehrlich's congressional portrait

In 1993, 2nd district Representative Helen Delich Bentley announced she would be vacating her seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Ehrlich announced his candidacy for the open seat, and won the election in November. During his term, he introduced legislation aimed at helping disabled people maintain employment, and supported harsher gun violence penalties.

While in Congress, Ehrlich served on the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee. He was also a member of the subcommittees on health, telecommunications and the Internet, and environment and hazardous materials; the Congressional Biotechnology Caucus, where he served as co-chairman; and the Congressional Steel Caucus.

Ehrlich won all his elections in Congress by margins of at least 25%. He announced he would be forgoing reelection in 2002 to run for Governor. He was succeeded by Dutch Ruppersberger.

Governor of Maryland

2002 gubernatorial election

In 2002, Governor Parris Glendening’s (D) second term was coming to a close. While Glendening had been reelected by a substantial margin in 1998, the final years of his term were plagued by a personal marital crisis, and a large state budget deficit. The rural areas of Maryland  largely Republican  had long criticized Glendening for what they perceived as zealous environmental regulations; in addition, they believed that he did not give sufficient attention to their needs for infrastructure improvements (bridges, highways, etc.).

On March 15, 2002, Ehrlich announced his candidacy for the governorship. He attacked Glendening's record, tying his Democratic opponent, Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, to Glendening's program. Ehrlich promised, if elected, to increase school funding, balance the budget, and protect the Chesapeake Bay. Ehrlich chose as his running mate Michael Steele, a Republican African-American attorney and politician.

During the election, Townsend was criticized for her choice of running mate; she picked retired Admiral Charles R. Larson, a novice politician who had switched parties only a few weeks before. The Townsend campaign was also hurt by the unpopularity of Governor Parris Glendening, who had implemented a redistricting proposal that was overturned by Maryland's highest court. Townsend's popularity continued to fall when it was reported that much of her campaign money was given by out-of-state donors; Ehrlich remained on the attack while the lieutenant governor's poll numbers declined.

Though Maryland traditionally votes Democratic and had not elected a Republican governor in almost 40 years, Ehrlich won the race (52% of the vote to Townsend's 47%). He was the sixth Republican governor in state history, and the first since Spiro Agnew left office to take the Vice Presidency in 1969.

Tenure as governor

Ehrlich meeting members of MDTA Police Honor Guard

Ehrlich said "fiscal responsibility, education, health and the environment, public safety, and commerce" were the "Five Pillars" of his administration. He opposed sales and income tax increases and supported legalization of slot machines to raise revenue.

Under Ehrlich's tenure, Maryland stayed 0.5% or more below the national unemployment average. The unemployment rate dropped significantly from 4.5% in 2003 to 3.9% in 2006, with an increase of 98,000 private sector jobs, aided by its proximity to the strong labor market associated with the national capital.[7] He endorsed the Thornton Plan, which was passed by the Legislature in 2002 and named after Dr. Alvin Thornton. In part, this plan would grant extra money to poorer school systems and those in areas with a higher cost of living.

After pushing though the charter school law in Maryland, Ehrlich oversaw the opening of the first public charter school in the state (Monocacy Valley Montessori Public Charter School). During his administration 45 new schools were constructed, and an additional 52 schools were fully renovated. His administration invested record funding in Maryland community colleges as well as public historically black colleges in the state.

Ehrlich established a position in his cabinet for people with disabilities: the Secretary of Disabilities became the first cabinet-level disabilities office in the nation.

In 2004, Ehrlich signed the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Act:[8] it funds upgrades of water treatment plants to reduce pollution discharge by a surcharge on business and residential water and septic bills. The resulting reduction in pollution into the bay was expected to meet approximately one-third of Maryland's obligations under the 2000 Chesapeake Bay Agreement. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation described the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Act as the most significant piece of legislation for the Bay in a generation.[9]

Ehrlich appointed a cabinet-level Homeland Security adviser. He opposed President George W. Bush's 2006 approval for a U.A.E. firm to take control of six U.S. port operations, including those at the Port of Baltimore.[10] (See Dubai Ports World controversy).

In 2003, Ehrlich abandoned the "life means life" policy of his predecessor that precluded persons serving life sentences from eligibility for executive clemency. Ehrlich promised to evaluate each request for clemency on a case-by-case basis. He was nationally recognized for his progressive approach that helped free wrongly convicted defendants.

In 2004, Ehrlich ended the moratorium on executions that was instituted by his predecessor in May 2002. (See capital punishment in Maryland.) Under his tenure, two men were executed by the state; Ehrlich denied clemency in both instances.

In 2006, Ehrlich signed a law banning police traffic ticket quotas.[11] Officers could not be reprimanded for failing to issue a given number of traffic tickets, thus preventing traffic tickets from becoming a steady source of revenue for police departments

Although he was entitled to membership in the National Governors Association, the Southern Governors' Association, and the Republican Governors Association, he was not actively involved in those organizations.

Veto of the "Wal-Mart" Health Care Bill

In January 2006, Ehrlich vetoed the "Fair Share Health Care Bill," also known as the WalMart Bill,[12][13] which required businesses with more than 10,000 employees in the state (three of the four companies being WalMart, Northrop Grumman, and Giant) to either spend eight percent of payroll on employee health care, or pay that amount to a state health program for the uninsured.[12][14] The bill was named after WalMart because it was the only company in Maryland of that size that did not already provide affordable health insurance to its employees. The Maryland Legislature passed the bill over Ehrlich's veto.

Critics of the international discount chain claimed that Wal-Mart's low wages force employees and their dependents to rely on state healthcare assistance. (See Wal-Mart Employee and Labor Relations). The bill's supporters claimed that the veto showed Ehrlich, whose official biography describes him as "unapologetically pro-business," had sided with "big corporate interests rather than Maryland's working families."[12] For his part, Ehrlich called the bill the "first step toward government-run health care" by "anti-jobs lawmakers." He claimed that it would hurt low and middle-income consumers and was unfair to Wal-Mart and other businesses.[15] On July 7, 2006, the Maryland law was overturned in federal court by U.S. District Judge Frederick Motz, who ruled that the law would "hurt Wal-Mart by imposing the administrative burden of tracking benefits in Maryland differently than in other states."[16][17]

2006 gubernatorial election

Governor Ehrlich opted to seek a second term and did not face opposition in the Republican primary. When Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele opted to run for Senate instead of seeking a second term on Ehrlich’s gubernatorial ticket, Ehrlich named Maryland Secretary of Disabilities Kristen Cox, who was blind, as his running mate[18] and was renominated by his party for a second term.

On November 7, 2006, Ehrlich was defeated for re-election in the 2006 gubernatorial election by Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley, who won 53% to Ehrlich's 46%.[19] Ehrlich's term as governor expired at noon on January 17, 2007.[20]

Between elections

A month after he left public office, Ehrlich and several aides from his administration opened a Baltimore-area office of North Carolina law firm Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice. His wife Kendel took a consulting job as a director of the BankAnnapolis.[21]

In March 2007, Ehrlich endorsed former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani for the US Presidency. He was the Chairman of Giuliani's Mid-Atlantic Campaign Committee.[22]

Ehrlich and his wife hosted their own radio show on WBAL-AM Radio every Saturday from 2007 to 2010.[23][24] Governor Ehrlich has guest lectured at Towson University in Professor Richard Vatz's political persuasion class twice a year since 1993.[25][26]

2010 gubernatorial campaign

Ehrlich campaigning for governor in 2010

On March 30, Ehrlich announced that he would challenge incumbent Governor Martin O'Malley.[27][28]

In June 2010, Ehrlich was endorsed by Terrapin basketball standout and Memphis Grizzlies NBA draft pick Greivis Vasquez.[29] On June 30, 2010, Ehrlich announced that his running mate would be Mary Kane, who had served under Governor Ehrlich as Secretary of State, August 2, 2005 to January 17, 2007, and also as Deputy Secretary of State and Chief Legal Counsel, March 2003 to August 2, 2005.[30] He easily won the Republican primary.

His former lieutenant governor, then Chairman of the Republican National Committee Michael Steele, traveled to Maryland on his "Fire Pelosi" bus tour to endorse Ehrlich. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney also appeared at a fundraiser to endorse Ehrlich.[31] Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani campaigned in Maryland with Ehrlich, calling him "one of the best governors of all-time."[32]

In the general election, Ehrlich lost again to O'Malley 56% to 42%.

In December 2011, Ehrlich's 2010 campaign manager, Paul E. Schurick, was convicted of four counts of fraud and conspiracy concerning a scheme to suppress the black vote using 112,000 fraudulent robocalls, which discouraged voters from going to the polls.[33] Political consultant Julius Hensen was also convicted on one count.[34]

Election history

Year Office Subject Party Votes Pct Opponent Party Votes Pct Opponent Party Votes Pct
1994 Congress, District 2 Robert Ehrlich Republican 125,162 63% Gerry Brewster Democrat 74,275 37%
1996 Congress, District 2 Robert Ehrlich Republican 143,075 62% Connie Dejuliis Democrat 88,344 38%
1998 Congress, District 2 Robert Ehrlich Republican 145,711 69% Kenneth Bosley Democrat 64,474 31%
2000 Congress, District 2 Robert Ehrlich Republican 178,556 69% Kenneth Bosley Democrat 81,591 31%
2002 Governor Robert Ehrlich Republican 879,592 52% Kathleen Kennedy Townsend Democrat 813,422 48% Spear Lancaster Libertarian 11,546 <1%
2006 Governor Robert Ehrlich Republican 825,464 46% Martin O'Malley Democrat 942,279 53% Ed Boyd Green 15,551 1%
2010 Governor Robert Ehrlich Republican 776,319 42% Martin O'Malley Democrat 1,044,961 56%

See also


  2. "Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr., Maryland Governor". Retrieved August 13, 2014.
  3. Woestendiek, John (October 2, 2002). "The Good Sport". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved April 27, 2015.
  4. "CPWN Newsletter" (PDF). Chesapeake Professional Women's Network. September 2006. Retrieved April 27, 2015.
  5. Nitkin, David (April 23, 2004). "For baby Ehrlich, gifts of glitterati". The Morning Call. Retrieved April 27, 2015.
  6. Steinberg, Dan (December 4, 2013). "How the Junkies landed Rob Ford". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 27, 2015. they’d like him to pick NFL games, as other politicians – including former Maryland governor Bob Ehrlich – have long done for the show.
  7. "Top Picks (Most Requested Statistics) : U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics". August 17, 2011. Retrieved September 20, 2011.
  8. "Chesapeake Bay Restoration". Maryland Department of the Environment. Archived from the original on April 29, 2006. Retrieved November 5, 2016.
  9. "Governor Ehrlich interviewed by George S. Wills Archived June 15, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.". citybizlist. September 2005. URL retrieved on February 23, 2007.
  10. "Bush Says He Will Veto Any Bill to Stop UAE Port Deal". Fox News. February 22, 2006.
  12. 1 2 3 Wagner, John; Barbaro, Michael (May 20, 2005). "Ehrlich Vetoes Health Care Bill Aimed at Wal-Mart". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 22, 2010.
  13. Armour, Stephanie (January 13, 2006). "Maryland OKs 'Wal-Mart bill'". USA Today. Retrieved May 22, 2010.
  14. Armour, Stephanie (January 13, 2006). "Maryland OKs 'Wal-Mart bill'". USA Today. Retrieved May 22, 2010.
  15. Archived September 23, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  16. "Md. 'Fair Share' law loses in court". United Press International. July 19, 2006. Retrieved April 5, 2007.
  17. Mosk, Matthew; Ylan Q. Mui (July 20, 2006). "'Wal-Mart Law' in Md. Rejected By Court: Measure Sought To Boost Workers' Health Benefits". Washington Post. p. A01. Retrieved November 1, 2010.
  18. Brooks, Darryl (February 3, 2015). "Bob Ehrlich 2016: 8 Facts About Political Background of Potential GOP Presidential Hopeful". NewsMax. In his 2006 loss, Ehrlich had chosen Maryland’s Secretary of Disabilities Kristen Cox, who is blind.
  19. "Maryland Governor Race". RealClearPolitics. Retrieved April 27, 2015.
  20. "Washington DC Local News, US & World, Business, Entertainment, Green News News | NBC Washington". September 1, 2011. Retrieved September 20, 2011.
  21. Green, Andrew A. "Ehrlich will join law firm". The Baltimore Sun. February 22, 2007. URL retrieved on February 23, 2007.
  22. "Former Maryland Governor Bob Ehrlich Endorses Giuliani Archived April 18, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.". Rudy Giuliani Presidential Committee web site. March 22, 2007. URL retrieved on April 5, 2007.
  23. Wagner, John (March 18, 2007). "Ehrlich Out of Office but Not Out of Sight". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 16, 2009.
  24. "Robert and Kendel Ehrlich Show". RadioTime. Retrieved August 16, 2009.
  25. Vatz, Richard E. (June 2015). "Curriculum Vitae". Towson University. Retrieved October 28, 2015. Governor Bob Ehrlich's addresses to my 'Persuasion' class at Towson twice a year 1993-present
  26. Green, Andy (October 30, 2008). "Ehrlich: Definitely not running (right now...)". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved October 28, 2015. The former guv spent the afternoon at Towson U. professor Rick Vatz's class, as he has many times before
  27. Wagner, John (March 30, 2010). "Ehrlich plans rematch with O'Malley in Md. governor's race". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 30, 2010.
  28. "Ex-Gov. Ehrlich Doesn't Rule Out U.S. Senate Bid". CBS Corporation. Associated Press. March 16, 2010. Retrieved March 23, 2010.
  30. "Mary D. Kane, Maryland Secretary of State". Retrieved September 20, 2011.
  33. Wagner, John (December 6, 2011). "Ex-Ehrlich campaign manager Schurick convicted in robocall case". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 13, 2012.
  34. "Jury Finds Julius Hensen Guilty Of Conspiracy For Leaving Off Authority Line In Robocall Case", CBS Local-WJZ , 11 May 2012

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Helen Bentley
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maryland's 2nd congressional district

Succeeded by
Dutch Ruppersberger
Party political offices
Preceded by
Ellen Sauerbrey
Republican nominee for Governor of Maryland
2002, 2006, 2010
Succeeded by
Larry Hogan
Political offices
Preceded by
Parris Glendening
Governor of Maryland
Succeeded by
Martin O'Malley
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