Maryland House Minority Whip Kathy Szeliga (R-Baltimore County) is receiving some backlash for comments about Democratic gubernatorial candidate Maya Rockeymoore Cummings that some critics have characterized as petty and divisive.
Szeliga wrote on her Facebook page: "Elijah Cumming's wife running for MD gov. - she likes fancy words - 'minutiae' to let us know how smart she is - 'I have a Ph.D. in political science with an emphasis on public policy,' she said. 'I am confident on mastering any minutiae when it comes to government and policy.' "
Rockeymoore Cummings, a policy consultant who is married to U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), is the eighth Democratic candidate vying to unseat popular Gov. Larry Hogan (R). She announced her campaign on Thursday morning.
Szeliga's post received nearly 150 responses. Almost 95 laughed at it; three dozen liked it.
While the majority of those who commented on the post cheered Szeliga on, others were offended by what they saw as an attack on an educated black woman.
One follower called the post "petty" and said she was disappointed in Szeliga, who last year ran for U.S. Senate as a moderate Republican.
"Generally I like Kathy, but this statement was in poor taste," said another.
Others encouraged Szeliga to refrain from "mud slinging" and to not get "drawn into this 'war of words.' There's enough of that going around."
One poster told Szeliga that it was "not necessary to use someone's education as a way to divide. It actually makes you look smaller."
"So being intelligent and educated is a problem for you?" another asked. "Or is it a problem that she's an intelligent and educated BLACK WOMAN?"
Szeliga said in an interview that she has posted about all of the Democratic candidates who have entered the race. She dismissed the criticism on Facebook.
"Don't judge me by what someone posts on my page on Facebook," she said. "I was just quoting her. . . . She's telling us her qualifications to be governor and that she has a PhD. I wasn't opining on that; I was just putting what her words were."