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Question 7 anthem wins at ‘Oscars of political advertising’

Gov. Martin O’Malley strolled up to a press conference just before Election Day singing a song that had become a ubiquitous advertisement on Pandora Internet radio.

“Maryland cash, bring it back,” O’Malley sang, urging Maryland voters to support Question 7 — the expanded gambling measure that Maryland’s casinos are now enjoying.

Question 7 was approved by voters in November. On Wednesday, the Baltimore public relations firm that dreamed up “Maryland Cash” announced that it had received two first place awards for the song, which was also viewed more than 300,000 times on YouTube.

The team — composed of Kearney O’Doherty Public Affairs LLC, Tim Maloney of Joseph Greenwald & Laake P.A., guitarist and singer Dillon O’Brian and others — won two Pollie Awards for “best use of Pandora” from the American Association of Political Consultants.

O’Brian — the guitar-playing singer who performed “Maryland Cash” while strolling Baltimore’s Inner Harbor in the song’s music video — is the uncle of Damian O’Doherty, principal and co-founder of KO Public Affairs. O’Brian, whose real name is Brian O’Doherty, wrote the theme songs for television shows “The Office” and “My Name is Earl.”

“Damian and some of his friends had the idea of having a song and video, he called me, and I thought ‘this is a great idea,'” O’Brian said in an October interview. “I’m always trying to have those kinds of conversations with people, thinking out of the box in thinking how to use music.”

O’Brian said at the time that he’d like to do more political songwriting, too.

“I think it’s a lot of fun and I would like to get more involved,” he said. “I think its such an interesting way to approach things.”

The song said that out of state casinos — particularly Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races in West Virginia — were benefiting from Maryland gamblers traveling across state lines to play blackjack and the like.

Maryland Live Casino at Arundel Mills mall, the state’s largest commercial gambling site, began operating table games this month, and was the mid-Atlantic’s highest-grossing casino in March, generating more than $44 million.