The first debate of the Maryland gubernatorial race takes place today at 10 a.m. at WJZ studios in Baltimore. The Facts Machine will be looking at statements by incumbent Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley and former Republican governor Bob Ehrlich.
11:16 a.m. - And that's the end of the debate. We'll dive further in to some of these claims in the next few days.
11:15 a.m. - Ehrlich: "I'd love to debate you on federal housing policy." For a linebacker, the Republican can be a pretty huge nerd.
11:09 a.m. - Koch brings up another issue we haven't heard much about: immigration. Ehrlich is attacking Casa de Maryland, which is a big issue for the right-wing base. Says they've used state tax money to print booklets teaching illegal immigrants how to avoid law enforcement.
11:05 a.m. - Ehrlich says O'Malley passed the largest tax increase in Maryland history. In pure dollar terms, that's accurate. However, when you take inflation into account, there was an increase in the 1960s that was substantially larger.
11:02 a.m. - Ehrlich: O'Malley began running negative ads in March. He also calls Maryland the "bluest state in the country" twice. Massachusetts is highly offended.
10:57 a.m. - Ehrlich wants to take credit for eliminating the DNA backlog. The candidates are getting into over crime, which is a new issue in the campaign. He attacks some of O'Malley's crime-fighting strategies from his mayoral days.
10:55 a.m. - O'Malley talks about Baltimore's crime record over the past decade. I didn't get his direct quote, but he said the drop outpaced most other major cities.
10:54 a.m. - Ehrlich says O'Malley never served in a legislature. Doesn't the Baltimore City Council count?
10:52 a.m. - O'Malley says Ehrlich cut school construction funding.
10:51 a.m. - Ehrlich says the geographic cost-of-education index is not a part of Thornton.
10:49 a.m. - O'Malley says he's increased community college funding. Community college funding is generally thought to be the relative weak spot in his education record.
10:48 a.m. - Ehrlich: "I've never beat up on state employees."
10:45 a.m. - Candidates arguing about school construction. O'Malley spent more than Ehrlich did on school construction during his term, but he's only pledged $1 billion for his next term, which would amount to a cut.
10:44 a.m. - O'Malley: "In fact, as a state, we've cut the achievement gap in half."
10:41 a.m. - Ehrlich and O'Malley both taking credit for massive increases in state spending on K-12 education. Neither had much to do it. The increases were mandated by the Thornton education legislation, which was passed in 2002.
10:36 a.m. - Ehrlich says fewer Maryland students are attending University System of Maryland schools, which doesn't match numbers provided to us by the system at all.
10:35 a.m. - Ehrlich says the cost of attending the University of Maryland, College Park has increased by 35 percent. It has gone up, but not that much. And the governor has very little control over fees compared to tuition.
10:34 a.m. - Ehrlich says the governor doesn't set the property tax, the Board of Public Works does. That's right, except for the fact that the governor sits on the board, and that Ehrlich voted for the property tax increase when he was on the board.
10:32 a.m. - O'Malley pledges not to raise property taxes, won't do a blanket no-taxes pledge. Says Ehrlich increased small business filing fees by 300 percent.
10:31 a.m. - Ehrlich: "We brought BRAC here. That was an accomplishment of our administration."
10:29 a.m. - O'Malley says the state has created 33,000 net new jobs. That's since January, and after massive job losses in the middle two years of his term.
10:27 a.m. - O'Malley: "Two-thirds out of all jobs created in our state are created by small business."
10:25 a.m. - Ehrlich keeps addressing O'Malley as "Gov." He says Maryland's unemployment rate has doubled, which is accurate.
10:24 a.m. - O'Malley: "I have cut state spending more than any Maryland governor."
10:20 a.m. - Ehrlich delivers the first opening statement, spends most of it addressing the viewer at home. "Governors count," he says. O'Malley also thanks Maryland residents, says Maryland is dealing with the economic downturn better than most states.
10:19 a.m. - And we're off. Moderator Denise Koch is introducing the two candidates.
10:10 a.m. - Ehrlich has arrived, along with his wife and one of his sons. They are conversing (politely?) with O'Malley. Good preparation for tearing each other's heads off.
10:09 a.m. - OK, that was a mistaken assumption. O'Malley is kind of wandering around the debate stage, waiting for things to get going.
9:58 a.m. - An official from the Baltimore Jewish Council is introducing and thanking the two candidates, so we're probably about to start.