POLITICS

Republicans take swipe at O'Malley in new ad

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Politics,Local,Maryland,Hayley Peterson

The Republican Governors Association is trying to turn Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley's record on raising taxes into a political albatross for North Carolina Democrat and gubernatorial candidate Walter Dalton.

The RGA, which is headed by Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, released a Web video linking the two Democrats' records on taxes Thursday while O'Malley was in North Carolina campaigning with Dalton.

"No one is better qualified to amplify Walter Dalton's legacy of tax increases than Gov. O'Malley," said RGA spokesman Mike Schrimpf.

"Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley is in North Carolina to campaign for Walter Dalton because Dalton supports tax hikes, just like O'Malley," the RGA ad says. "But why in the world would North Carolinians want THAT?!"

News articles taken from Maryland and North Carolina papers flash across the screen with headlines that read: "O'Malley builds on tax-raising legacy" and "N.C. among highest tax increasers in the Southeast."

In the background, a band sings, "Say goodbye to Maryland."

O'Malley, head of the Democratic Governors Association, presided over one of the largest tax increases in Maryland history in 2007 when he raised the sales tax to 6 percent from 5 percent. He has raised taxes and fees roughly 20 times in his two terms on items such as alcohol, tobacco and toll roads. Most recently, O'Malley raised income taxes on residents earning more than $100,000. O'Malley says the tax increases were needed to close annual budget gaps and to keep Maryland's education system and triple-A bond rating strong through the recession.

This isn't the first time that the RGA has gone after O'Malley.

The group cut a similar ad in May when O'Malley was campaigning in Wisconsin for Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett's bid to replace Gov. Scott Walker. The ad said Barrett was "bringing O'Malley's tax-raising legacy to Wisconsin" while a blues singer howled in the background about the income taxes he owes. Schrimpf wouldn't say whether the group plans to tie O'Malley to any other candidates.

O'Malley's office deferred questions on the latest ad to the Democratic Governors Association, which didn't respond to a request for comment.

Dalton, currently the Tar Heel State's lieutenant governor, has a history of supporting both tax increases and tax cuts while he was a state senator.

Dalton is running against Republican nominee Pat McCrory, the former mayor of Charlotte, to maintain Democratic control of the governor's seat. North Carolina hasn't had a Republican governor in two decades.

hpeterson@washingtonexaminer.com

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