The gubernatorial campaign of Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown on Tuesday called on Democratic rival Douglas F. Gansler to apologize for disparaging remarks he made about Brown during a secretly recorded meeting with volunteers last month.
Justin Schall, Brown’s 2014 campaign manager, said that Gansler, the state’s attorney general, had “used race to divide people” and personally attacked Brown.
“He’s belittled the record of a war veteran who served in Iraq,” Schall said. “Gansler should apologize so we can all move on.”
Advisers to Gansler said that no apology was necessary and that Gansler’s words had been misinterpreted.
“I mean, right now his campaign slogan is, ‘Vote for me, I want to be the first African American governor of Maryland,’ ” Gansler said at the July 15 meeting in Annapolis, according to a recording obtained by The Washington Post. “That’s a laudable goal, but you need a second sentence: ‘Because here’s what I’ve done, and here’s why I’ve done it.’ ”
Doug Thornell, a strategist for Gansler, said the attorney general was arguing that Brown’s record as lieutenant governor was bereft of accomplishments and that he was not running a campaign based on ideas for the future.
“Doug strongly believes that candidates running for office should be judged on their record and ideas and not on their race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation,” Thornell said. “These are beliefs that Doug has fought his entire career to uphold and are central to who he is as a person.”
Thornell said that Gansler’s comments were directed at Brown’s tenure as lieutenant governor and had nothing to do with his military service, which Gansler respects.
“To conflate the two is disingenuous and just trying to play politics,” Thornell said. “We’re going to keep talking about issues and solutions to real challenges that Marylanders face, while they are desperately working to manufacture controversy.”
In the 30-minute recording obtained by The Post, Gansler also disclosed that he plans to name an African American running mate from Baltimore or Prince George’s County and argued that he is better positioned to win than Brown because no lieutenant governor of Maryland has ever been elected governor. Gansler also played down the significance of a string of endorsements Brown has received from prominent Democrats.
Gansler’s campaign did not dispute the authenticity of the recording but alleged that Brown’s campaign had illegally recorded the meeting — a charge Brown aides strongly denied.