Ehrlich Sought by 2008 Maybes; Giuliani Seeks Governor's Aid

Article excerpt

Byline: S.A. Miller, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

ANNAPOLIS - Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. yesterday disclosed that former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney have sought his input for their potential presidential campaigns, saying that his own re-election loss has not ended his career in Republican politics.

Mr. Ehrlich, who was Maryland's first Republican governor in 36 years, also said he had not ruled out another run for state office, including a possible campaign in 2010 to replace Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, a Democrat.

"I would not eliminate that as an option," he said of a run to succeed Miss Mikulski, 70, now in her fourth term.

However, Mr. Ehrlich told reporters at a farewell lunch at the State House that it was "grossly premature" to speculate about a Senate run four years from now. "It depends on a lot of elements that are unknown at present," he said.

The governor was more definite about his ability to help Republican candidates for president in 2008. He said he had been approached by Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Romney.

"Those discussions with Giuliani are much further along than with anyone else," Mr. Ehrlich said. "It is no secret that we have had a friendship and that friendship has flourished over the last two, three, four years."

The two men talked late into the night at a dinner in Baltimore's Little Italy following Mr. Giuliani's appearance at a campaign event for Mr. Ehrlich the Sunday before Election Day.

The Giuliani exploratory committee yesterday announced Michael DuHaime will be the committee's executive director. Mr. DuHaime is a former Republican National Committee political director.

Mr. Ehrlich lost re-election last month to Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley, a Democrat who will be sworn in Jan. 17.

Giuliani spokeswoman Sunny Mindel confirmed Mr. Giuliani has reached out to Mr. Ehrlich.

"Rudy has known the governor for quite a while and has great respect for him," she said.

Mr. Ehrlich yesterday praised Mr. Romney's "absolutely great" performance this year as chairman of the Republican Governors Association.

"Mitt and I have similar views on issues," he said. "He obviously being a Northeastern Republican had some of the same obstacles that we have had as well. …