CONCORD, N.H. — He’s gotten very little attention since losing the governor’s race in Maryland five years ago, but former Gov. Bob Ehrlich is nonetheless exploring a presidential campaign.
Ehrlich plans to make his fourth visit to New Hampshire on Feb. 24, after meeting last week with more than 100 top donors in New York to discuss financing a potential campaign. At those meetings, he discussed setting up a leadership PAC, as a bunch of other probable candidates have done in recent weeks.
“Obviously this summer we have to figure out what the situation is. Are people responding to my message? Are they lining up to hear more of what I say after I speak? Clearly there’s been a little bit of a spark in my public speeches,” Ehrlich said. “Can that spark cause more sparks? Are there more groups that want to hear me?”
If Ehrlich does decide to run, he’d be considered a huge long shot in what’s shaping up to be a very deep field of candidates for the GOP nomination. Asked how he could compete against possible rivals with major name recognition such as Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush, and Chris Christie, Ehrlich said, “That’s not where we are right now. That’s not where my mind is right now. That doesn’t reflect my present status.”
“Right now for our purposes that really doesn’t matter,” he added. “I’ve been very careful with the people we’ve talked to and the people we’ve met in not getting ahead of ourselves.”
Ehrlich was elected Maryland governor in 2002 — a rare Republican in the solidly-Democratic state — but was defeated in the next two elections by Democrat Martin O’Malley.
“I remark to everyone around me how much New Hampshire reminds me of the 2nd Congressional District of Maryland, my old district,” he said, “It’s very easy for me to come up and to not just talk about politics and my views but feel very comfortable almost immediately up there.”
Besides his stops in New Hampshire, Ehrlich says he’s been invited to South Carolina, Florida, Rhode Island, Vermont, and New York for speaking engagements.
Ehrlich added that he’s “accepting invites from people who want to hear what I have to say.”
Paul Steinhauser is the political director of NH1.
What We're Following See More »
Perhaps Donald Trump can take a plebiscite to solve this whole messy immigration thing. At a Fox News town hall with Sean Hannity last night, Trump essentially admitted he's "stumped," turning to the audience and asking: “Can we go through a process or do you think they have to get out? Tell me, I mean, I don’t know, you tell me.”
Donald Trump "nearly quintupled the monthly rent his presidential campaign pays for its headquarters at Trump Tower to $169,758 in July, when he was raising funds from donors, compared with March, when he was self-funding his campaign." A campaign spokesman "said the increased office space was needed to accommodate an anticipated increase in employees," but the campaign's paid staff has actually dipped by about 25 since March. The campaign has also paid his golf courses and restaurants about $260,000 since mid-May.
Donald Trump probably isn't taking seriously John Oliver's suggestion that he quit the race. But he has canceled or rescheduled rallies amid questions over his stance on immigration. Trump rescheduled a speech on the topic that he was set to give later this week. Plus, he's also nixed planned rallies in Oregon and Las Vegas this month.
Donald Trump's Fox News brain trust keeps growing. After it was revealed that former Fox chief Roger Ailes is informally advising Trump on debate preparation, host Sean Hannity admitted over the weekend that he's also advising Trump on "strategy and messaging." He told the New York Times: “I’m not hiding the fact that I want Donald Trump to be the next president of the United States. I never claimed to be a journalist.”