MD GOPers Didn’t Expect “Strong Reaction” from Homeless Stunt

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Which nefarious election stunt from 2006 will live on in greater infamy, the NRCC’s robo calls, or Maryland Gov. Bob Ehrlich and Lt. Gov. Michael Steele’s recruitment of out-of-state homeless men to hand out misleading campaign literature in African-American neighborhoods?

The Washington Post makes the case for Ehrlich and Steele (who made an apparently unsuccessful bid for chairman of the Republican National Committee) in today’s paper, even including a picture of the now-famous fake ballot that the men were handing out, which showed Ehrlich and Steele as Democrats. So check it out.

A highlight:

On the eve of this month’s election, the mailers began landing in Prince George’s mailboxes. One was a glossy red, black and green flier — the colors that represent African American power — sporting pictures of County Executive Jack B. Johnson, his predecessor, Wayne K. Curry and past NAACP president and former U.S. Senate candidate Kweisi Mfume.

Above the pictures of the three Democrats the flier read, “Ehrlich-Steele Democrats,” and underneath it announced: “These are OUR Choices.”

None of the three candidates had endorsed the governor, and only Curry had declared his support for Steele.

There were other fliers, too. A similar “Democratic” guide with Ehrlich’s and Steele’s photo on the front appeared in Baltimore. Another distributed in Baltimore County identified the Republican candidate for county executive as a Democrat.

An Ehrlich aide who agreed to discuss the strategy on the condition of anonymity said the purpose of the fliers was to peel away one or two percentage points in jurisdictions where the governor would be running behind. No one inside the campaign expected a strong reaction.