Paul Steinhauser: Bob Ehrlich's busy swing through NH
CONCORD - From a tavern in Derry to forum with college students in Henniker to a Republican reception in Portsmouth, Bob Ehrlich has a packed itinerary next week when he visits New Hampshire.
The former Maryland governor's in the first-in-the-nation primary state Monday and Tuesday as he considers a run for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination and NH1 is first to report on his busy schedule.
Ehrlich will kick off his trip with a GOP meeting at Halligan Tavern in Derry Monday evening. Tuesday morning he'll meet with customers and staff at the Friendly's in downtown Concord before heading to New England College, where he'll speak and take questions from students at a forum. That evening he'll be the main attraction at Rockingham County Republican Committee Reception that's being held at the Sheraton in Portsmouth. Ehrlich will also fit in a bunch of interviews with New Hampshire media, including NH1.
Next week's visit will be Ehrlich's fourth to the Granite State since last summer.
"I remark to everyone around me how much New Hampshire reminds me of the 2nd Congressional District of Maryland, my old district," the former four-term congressman told NH1 last month, "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."
"I do think they've responded to my style," which Ehrlich described as straight forward, blunt and unscripted.
If he does launch a presidential campaign, Ehrlich will be considered a very long shot to win the GOP nomination. But he said he'll have "the ability to raise some money."
Ehrlich was elected governor in blue state Maryland in 2002, becoming the first Republican to run the Democratic dominated state in more than three decades. But Ehrlich was defeated in his 2006 re-election bid by Democratic Mayor Martin O'Malley of Baltimore. Ehrlich also lost a 2010 gubernatorial election rematch with O'Malley.
But Ehrlich views not holding office for more than eight years "as an advantage, not a disadvantage."
"If you've been detached from politics, it would be a disadvantage. But I've written two books, I've run around the county, not only on my book tours but on my criminal justice speeches. I've worked for one of the largest law firms in the world. So it's not like I've been detached," he told NH1.