A bunch of the boys were whooping it up recently at a fund-raiser for Smith. The affair was held April 22 at a restaurant in the heart of Arbutus, the community where Ehrlich grew up and which he still cites proudly as evidence of his working-class, character-building background.
The sponsors of the event included many who had crossed party lines to support both Smith and Ehrlich in 2002, when Smith quit his Circuit Court judgeship for his successful Baltimore County race and Ehrlich left Congress to be elected Maryland's first Republican governor in 36 years.
Many in attendance that night belong to a coalition loosely referred to as The Round Table, a group of the area's political activists and former and present officeholders.
Two of the leading organizers were Democrat Sal Anello, an Arbutus lawyer, and Jim Temple, a Republican and Anello's former law partner.
A third sponsor was Clem Kaikis, who once ran for a seat on the Democratic Central Committee and now operates Paul's, the popular restaurant where members of the Round Table regularly gather.
The April 22 event drew an estimated 200 and was pronounced a great success by all, especially in light of the fact that Smith is not a son of Arbutus but lives in far-off Reisterstown.
But a strange report circulated that night among those in attendance. According to the report, the governor was so displeased by the very idea of an event honoring Smith in Ehrlich's own back yard that he earlier had unsuccessfully urged that it be canceled.
The reason given in this account was that Smith had angered the governor by publicly criticizing Insurance Commissioner Al Redmer's handling of claims filed by eastern county residents for losses incurred from Hurricane Isabel.
Smith had called Redmer, an Erhlich appointee, "aloof" and responsible for insurance company delays in processing the claims were processed. Many policyholders are still incensed over their treatment by the companies.
Asked whether he had tried to derail Smith's fund-raiser, Ehrlich acknowledges that he was "extremely displeased" by Smith's criticism of Redmer. But he says he absolutely did not try to interfere with plans for the event honoring Smith.
Anello, Temple and Kaikis agree with the governor's account and reaffirm their support of him - and of Smith.
If Ehrlich himself had walked into Paul's that night, says Anello, "he'd have been welcomed and applauded." Temple and Kaikis echo this remark.
Ehrlich sums up his position by noting reports that Redmer is considering a run for county executive in 2006.
The governor says prospects for such a decision are 50-50, even though Redmer "loves his job and is doing very well at it."
"But if he decides to run" Ehrlich concludes, "of course, I'll support him."