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O'Malley, McDonnell Split Hairs Over Regional Job Creation

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There's a debate brewing between Maryland and Virginia on job creation. Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, a Democrat who is also the head of the Democratic Governors Association, is claiming his state is enjoying faster job growth than Virginia. But Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell isn't buying that. 

As chair of the Republican Governors Association, McDonnell, and his Democratic counterpart O'Malley, often have partisan disputes. But O'Malley's claim that Maryland is better for private sector job growth has sparked a regional spat. Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) is a political ally of O'Malley, but he disagrees with him on this one.

"Northern Virginia has done very well," he says. "We've been steering as much in the way of defense contracting and contracting in general to Northern Virginia." 

In reality, both states have been neck and neck when it comes to job growth. Politifact researcher Nancy Madsen says the numbers debunk O'Malley's claim that Maryland has a more attractive business climate than Virginia.

"From Dec 2010 to Dec 2011 Maryland added jobs at a rate of .9 percent, whereas Virginia added jobs at a rate of 0.97 percent," Madsen says. "So they were almost identical."

But Moran points out one large commonality -- proximity to the District.

"They both do a good job of running quite prosperous states in this recession," Moran says. "Both are doing quite well and primarily because of the presence of the federal government."

A Gallup index that rates states on job creation gave Virginia a score of 17, and Maryland a score of 15. Rhode Island is at the bottom of that list with 4, and North Dakota at the top with 34.

WAMU 88.5 intern Mallory Noe-Payne contributed to this story. 

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