Brown goes after Hogan on economic issues in first TV ad of fall campaign in Md.

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Anthony G. Brown launched his fall television advertising campaign Friday with a spot claiming that Larry Hogan, his Republican opponent, “would take Maryland families backwards” on a range of economic issues.

The 30-second ad continued Brown’s strategy of seeking to define Hogan for general-election voters in heavily Democratic Maryland before he has a chance to do so himself.

After telling viewers that Brown, the state’s lieutenant governor, has “never stopped fighting for middle-class families,” the ad takes Hogan to task for opposing an increase in the minimum wage and a major expansion of pre-kindergarten programs and for favoring a cut in the corporate income tax.

The ad also criticizes Hogan for “massive” tuition increases at public universities during the tenure of Maryland’s last Republican governor, Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (Hogan served in the Ehrlich administration as appointments secretary, a position that did not involve setting higher-education policy.)

Hogan aides said Friday that his general-election television ads will begin Monday with the re-airing of a spot used during the Republican primary. It outlines Hogan’s priorities of creating jobs and helping middle-class families and criticizes the current administration for a series of tax increases.

Hogan spokesman Adam Dubitsky said he was not surprised that Brown chose to go negative in his first ad, saying Brown’s initial strategy “of laying low and ignoring Larry has clearly failed. Now they’re going on the attack.”

Dubitsky said the reference to Hogan’s support of tuition increases was “dishonest” because Hogan “had nothing to do with it.”

A Washington Post poll this spring showed Brown with a strong lead over Hogan in a theoretical matchup, but recent internal polls have suggested that the race could be significantly tighter. In an interview this week, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) predicted that Brown will win, but Miller said he believes that the race will be close, with Hogan appealing to blue-collar Democrats anxious about economic issues.

“People feel it in their pocketbooks, and they don’t know who to blame,” said Miller, who has endorsed Brown.

Brown’s ad debuted on the major network affiliates in Baltimore, according to documents that stations are required by the federal government to post online. The ad did not appear to be airing in the more expensive Washington market. Dubitsky said Hogan’s ad would air in both markets.

Also on Friday, the Maryland Democratic Party distributed to reporters the first in a series of memos detailing Hogan’s “same old backward Republican agenda.” The memo focused on Hogan’s opposition to abortion dating back to the 1980s, when he served as an aide to his father, then the Prince George’s County executive.

Brown has sought to highlight Hogan’s views on other social issues in recent weeks, including his opposition to same-sex marriage. Hogan says that those issues are “matters of settled law” in Maryland and that the fall campaign should focus on which candidate is better positioned to create jobs and expand the economy.

Hogan’s campaign has made several Web ads, including one released this week that mocks Brown as “Lt. Gov. Obvious.”

John Wagner has covered Maryland government and politics for The Post since 2004.
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