Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown is being accused of ducking a debate by two of his Democratic gubernatorial opponents.
The gubernatorial campaigns for Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler and Del. Heather R. Mizeur issued a rare joint statement Wednesday accusing Brown ducking a televised debate in a statement his campaign issued earlier that day.
At issue is whether or not the three campaigns agreed to televised debates in March when they announced they would participate in debates in the Baltimore and Washington markets and a third to be broadcast statewide.
Brown’s campaign, in a statement issued early Wednesday morning, announced three debates. The first is a May 7 event at the University of Maryland and scheduled to be televised in the Washington and Hagerstown television markets. A second debate is scheduled for June second on Maryland Public Television.
The third debate is scheduled for an as yet to be determined date on WOLB radio and moderated by former Sen. Larry Young.
But the Gansler and Mizeur campaigns balked at the Brown announcement and said it was misrepresented as an agreement by the three campaigns when it was not.
Katie Hill, a Ganlser campaign spokeswoman said the original agreement between the campaigns was for three televised debates.
“We look forward to the two scheduled television debates and the addition of a radio debate. We hope Lt. Governor Brown and his campaign will reconsider their decision to back out of a third televised debate,” said Katie Hill, communications director for the Gansler-Ivey campaign.
Hill, in the joint statement from the Gansler and Mizeur campaigns, said the two candidates “will participate as planned in a third televised debate with Fox 45 in Baltimore. We hope Lt. Governor Brown will join us as we believe that the voters deserve to see and hear the candidates in as many venues as possible.”
Justin Schall, Brown’s campaign manager, said the Gansler and Mizeur campaigns are not accurately remembering the agreement.
An email provided by the Brown campaign shows the agreement between the three candidates agreed to three broadcast debates—one each in the Washington and Baltimore markets and a third broadcast statewide. The agreement used the word “broadcast” generically and does not specify whether the debates would be on television or radio.
“Regrettably the Gansler and Mizeur campaigns have a strange view of history,” Schall said in an emailed statement. “They agreed to three debates and we have scheduled three debates. If they now want to change the agreement they should at least have the courtesy to be up front about it and explain which of the three debates on the current schedule they want to cancel: NBC4, Larry Young, or Maryland Public TV— to replace with a Fox Sinclair debate. The Brown-Ulman campaign will continue to honor its commitment to the three original organizations to host the three debates.”
Ralph Jaffe, Charles U. Smith and Cindy A. Walsh are also seeking the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.