Political advertisements for Maryland Acting Gov. Blair Lee III broadcast for two days by two Washington-area radio stations mentioned a "gubernatorial endorsement" by the Baltimore Evening Sun and quoted a flattering passage about Lee from it.
The commercial ended with the exhortation: "Good for you, evening Sun, and good for us, Blair Lee."
The ad failed to point out that the newspaper editorial quoted endorsed one of Lee's rivals, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Harry R. Hughes, rather than Lee. Hughes campaign workers to pull the ad off the radio stations.
"Harry was incensed," said Mike Canning, campaign manager for Hughes. "We had to make sure that there was not going to be a continuation of these misleading and deceptive statements."
Hughes, who is considered an underlog in the race for the Democratic nomination in next Tuesday's primary, received early endorsements from both the Evening and Morning Sun papers, his most noteworthy endorsements to date.
A Lee spokesman admitted that a mistake had been made but said it was due to a mix-up at the radio stations. Pat McGrath, the Lee campaign press secretary, said that the advertisement had been rejected by his candidate but had run nonetheless.
"It was a slip-up at the radio station," McGrath said. "These would be no point in trying to get an ad like that through."
Canning said the advertisement had run on WTOP and WINX in Rockville yesterday and Monday and that he could not believe it was "an honest mistake."
"We were called by people in Prince George's and Montgomery counties saying that they heard an ad that implied that Lee had won the Baltimore Sun endorsement . . . "It's a case where it's what you don't say that leads to the wrong conclusion," he said.
Yesterday, the News American, an afternoon Baltimore paper, endorsed Venetoulis, citing his record as Baltimore County executive as a reason for its support.