Campaign analysts and lawmakers from both partiesare calling Republican Bob Ehrlich's choice for a running mate, Mary Kane, an "unknown" and questioning whether she has enough experience to be governor.
"She's virtually unknown on the Maryland political scene and has no political accomplishments to speak of," said Paul Herrnson, director of the nonpartisan Center for American Politics and Citizenship at the University of Maryland. "Every campaign selection is meant to deliver some kind of message. I don't know what the message is here. That speaks to the shallowness of the Republican bench."
Kane unsuccessfully ran for a seat on the Montgomery County Council in 2000 and lost a bid for the House of Delegates in 2002.
Del. Brian Feldman, D-Bethesda, who spoke highly of Kane, said the "threshold question" for voters would be whether she has the political experience to be governor.
If voters are asking that question, then Kane isn't a strong choice, Herrnson said. The capability to fill a lead role in a campaign is typically the majorfactor when selecting a lieutenant governor, he said.
Del. Luiz Simmons, D-Rockville, said he met Kane while she served as Maryland's secretary of state from 2005 to 2007, but has no "vivid recollection of her."
"Mary Kane is probably as well known a Republican as any other," he said. "But there are just so few Republicans that have any type of cachet statewide."
According to Del. Steven Schuh, Mary Kane is the kind of running mate who could sway independents to vote Republican.
"She's a fabulous selection," said Schuh, a Republican serving Anne Arundel County. "Kane will appeal very much to moderate and conservative Democrats, and she will appeal to Montgomery County, which is critical in this race."
Ehrlich has touted every angle of Kane -- the wife and mother, the Annapolis politico and Montgomery prosecutor, the daughter of Irish immigrants who calls Potomac home -- to prove she has what it takes to "turn Maryland around."
He has not responded to questions about Kane's husband, John, who is facing a federal lawsuit for allegedly underpaying his moving company's employees and submitting false documents saying he was in compliance. John Kane, former chairman of the Maryland Republican Party, denies the accusations.