Gansler camp dismisses early Brown poll as ‘costume jewelry’


Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown spoke as his running mate Ken Ulman looked on at a pizza party they hosted in Largo this month.(Mark Gail/For The Washington Post)

The two leading Democrats in Maryland’s gubernatorial race are sparring over the significance of a poll being circulated by Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown’s campaign that shows him with an early lead over Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler.

According to an e-mail sent to Brown supporters Thursday, the poll showed Brown ahead of Gansler, 37 percent to 20 percent, among likely Democratic primary voters in the 2014 race. Forty-three percent were undecided, and the poll question did not include Del. Heather R. Mizeur (D-Montgomery) or any other potential candidates.

The survey, the e-mail said, was conducted in March by Jef Pollock of Global Strategies, the pollster retained by Howard County Executive Ken Ulman (D), whom Brown announced this month as his running mate.

In the e-mail, Justin Schall, Brown’s campaign manager, acknowledged the large percentage of undecided voters but called the results “very encouraging” and said “they show that we continue to have strong support from across the state.”

The Gansler camp was decidedly less impressed.

Gansler strategist Doug Thornell called the three-month-old results “about as valuable as costume jewelry.”

“The fact is this race is wide open and will be determined by the candidates’ record of accomplishments and ideas, not campaigns that push around ancient polls covered in dust,” Thornell said.

Gansler is not expected to make his bid official until this fall, though he has already hired a campaign manager and a team of consultants. He is also starting the race with a significant fundraising advantage over Brown.

In his e-mail, Schall referenced the importance of raising money, urging Brown supporters “to remain vigilant and continue to push forward organizationally — and with fundraising — to ensure we have the resources [we] need to win come next year.”

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