The back page features a close-up image of a woman, her head shaved and a bandanna over her nose and mouth, giving the peace sign. In the background, a woman holds up a sign with a quote paraphrasing Maya Angelou: “Each time a woman stands up for herself, she stands for all women.”
“Will you be voting this year? These folks definitely will,” the accompanying text reads.
It seems distinctly out of step with the messaging of Gov. Larry Hogan (R), who portrays himself as a moderate who scorns the partisanship of Washington — and who has amassed considerable Democratic support.
Hogan campaign spokesman Scott Sloofman said in a statement that the governor’s campaign “is focused on bringing people together, and this isn’t the sort of mailing that we would send.”
His opponent, Democratic nominee Ben Jealous, called on Hogan to denounce the “dangerous” mailer, citing a spate of bombs
mailed to elected Democrats and critics of President Trump over the past week.
“At a time when bombs are being mailed to political opponents, it’s critically important for leaders to be mindful of their words and rhetoric and speak out when clear lines of decency have been crossed,” Jealous said in a statement. “The Maryland Republican Party’s mailers, which appear to depict women who marched following Trump’s inauguration as radicals, cross a clear line of decency.”
Maryland GOP Executive Director Patrick O’Keefe said the mailers were printed more than a week ago, before the attempted bombings — which targeted former president Barack Obama and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, among others.
At the same time, he said, the mailing “concedes only what Democrats have been saying themselves for two years, which is their voters are going to turn out in high numbers.”
“In retrospect, this was an inartful way to do that,” O’Keefe said.
Maryland Democratic Party spokesman Fabion Seaton accused Republicans of “fearmongering.”
The state GOP is trying to use Hogan’s popularity — he leads Jealous in the polls by double digits — to flip five state Senate seats, which would break the veto-proof majority that Democrats have held for nearly 50 years.
Democrats say their strategy to beat Hogan and retain their supermajority in the General Assembly hinges on turning out more than 1 million voters.
On Thursday, the first day of early voting, 87,409 Marylanders cast ballots — more than double the 42,880 who did so on the first day of early voting in 2014, according to the State Board of Elections. Early voting continues through Nov. 1.