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Former legislators pan Jon Cardin run for attorney general

Three former elected officials and a councilwoman from Baltimore City issued a letter critical of Jon S. Cardin and his campaign to become the next state attorney general.

Del. Jon S. Cardin speaking about his revenge porn bill at an Oct. 30, 2013 news conference at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law in Baltimore. (The Daily Record/Bryan P. Sears)

Del. Jon S. Cardin speaking about his revenge porn bill at an Oct. 30, 2013 news conference at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law in Baltimore. (The Daily Record/Bryan P. Sears)

The email, signed by former Sens. Barbara A. Hoffman and Paula C. Hollinger, former Sen. and Lt. Gov. Melvin A. “Mickey” Steinberg and Baltimore City Councilwoman Rochelle “Rikki” Spector, criticizes Cardin for “a lackluster career in the state legislature.”

Cardin, in turn, issued a statement dismissing the letter as “political theater.”

“It’s my opponent’s supporters desperately scrambling to help their candidate who lags in the polls,” Cardin wrote in a response.

Hoffman, Hollinger, Steinberg and Spector have all previously endorsed Sen. Brian E. Frosh, who along with Del. Aisha N. Braveboy, is running for the Democratic nomination against Cardin.

Hollinger represented the same Baltimore County legislative district as Cardin for two terms. She and Hoffman also served in the Senate with Frosh.

“We are writing this letter because we feel the public may be confused about the name and credentials of one of the candidates for this office. That person is Jon Cardin, who is the nephew of U.S. Senator Ben Cardin. Jon Cardin has had a lack luster career in  the State legislature,” the emailed letter states.

“It is our opinion that (Jon Cardin) is counting on voters not being that familiar with the office and pulling his lever thinking they are voting for the very respected and popular Senator [Ben] Cardin. Don’t be fooled,” the four wrote in their email.

The email goes on to criticize Jon Cardin for his attendance record on voting sessions in the House Ways and Means Committee. A Baltimore Sun review of committee records for the 2014 session found that Jon Cardin missed 75 percent of the votes on bills in that committee.

Days after the story, Jon Cardin released a statement defending his attendance record. In that statement, the three-term delegate said he had “nearly 100% attendance record in both committee and on the house floor. He went on to say he missed voting sessions so that he could be home with his pregnant wife and accused his opponents of engaging in political attacks.

“As my opponents find themselves down in the polls and anxious for attention, I fully expect these political attacks to continue,” Cardin wrote in his statement.

“It just shows how my opponent and his “Good old boy” network needs to focus on sullying the Cardin name instead of focusing on the issues,” Cardin said in his statement.

That explanation fell short for Hoffman, Hollinger, Steinberg and Spector.

“The State legislature only meets for three months a year. What will he do if elected to the office of Attorney General, which is a full-time, 52-week position?” the four officials wrote.

Here are both statements in full:

One of the most important offices on the ballot is Attorney General. Unfortunately, an overwhelming number of voters are not familiar with that office. The Attorney General is the State’s lawyer – representing the Governor and the Legislature, as well as all state agencies – and enforces the state’s consumer protection laws, which protect us, the citizens of Maryland.  

We are writing this letter because we feel the public may be confused about the name and credentials of one of the candidates for this office. That person is Jon Cardin, who is the nephew of U.S. Senator Ben Cardin. Jon Cardin has had a lack luster career in the State legislature. It was recently revealed that he missed 75% of the votes in the committee on which he sits. His only explanation was that he had family obligations. The State legislature only meets for three months a year. What will he do if elected to the office of Attorney General, which is a full-time, 52-week position? 

 It is our opinion that he is counting on voters not being that familiar with the office and pulling his lever thinking they are voting for the very respected and popular Senator Cardin. Don’t be fooled. As C. Fraser Smith (senior news analyst at WYPR-FM and writer for the Daily Record) commented, “It’s a shame really, if not a joke, to think a guy can vault out of nowhere and suddenly leads the field in a race for an important job — if there is a chance to take advantage of a famous last name, some people will try to jump the line.” 

Mr. Smith then went on to comment about a candidate in that race who we feel is eminently qualified on his own record. This is State Senator Brian Frosh. Said Fraser Smith: “Frosh has been a leader in the assembly almost from his first days there. His skill as a consensus-builder, his maturity and professionalism should have made him the pre-emptive favorite in this race.” 

 We have had the honor and privilege of serving in elective office in Maryland for cumulatively over a century. We are proud to be Maryland citizens. We only want to see the most qualified person become the next attorney general. That person is Brian Frosh, who over the past 12 years as Chair of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, has dealt directly with the issues and challenges that will confront the next attorney general of Maryland. 

Sincerely, 

Mickey Steinberg, former Lt. Governor, former state senator 

Paula Hollinger, former state senator 

Barbara Hoffman, former state senator 

Rikki Spector, Baltimore City Council 

###

This is all political theater. It’s my opponent’s supporters desperately scrambling to help their candidate who lags in the polls.  I was working hard everyday in Annapolis during the 90-day session, on the issues important to Maryland families, and I have an over 90% voting attendance record in committee and on the House Floor over my twelve year career.  I cast over 2700 votes this session alone and attended 100% of my subcommittee meetings where we did all the work, marked up the bills and voted on ALL amendments.  I missed these 119 committee votes, which were nearly all unanimous and with the consent of my chairman, to tend to the health needs of a pregnant wife.  It just shows how my opponent and his “Good old boy” network needs to focus on sullying the Cardin name instead of focusing on the issues.

What is amazing to me is that 2014 was the most successful session of my career.  We passed my bills to go after cyber harassment, protect small business from patent trolls, protect children from domestic violence and make teenagers true lifesavers with Breanna’s Law just to name a few of the issues that are making Maryland a better place for all of us.  It’s curious that neither my opponent nor this good old boy network of former senators want to discuss the issues that are important in protecting Maryland’s families.  I have been the only candidate to highlight a platform of important issues that my opponent fails to discuss.  What these shortsighted [former] legislators are missing is that we have serious issues like protection of consumers, of children and of the environment that should be discussed for the sake of the state’s well being and NOT the private concerns of my wife and her rocky first trimester of pregnancy.

Del. Jon S. Cardin

3 comments

  1. rcmorgan@morgancarlo.com

    I live in the district Jon Cardin represented so Hollinger used to be my Delegate and Senator. I have followed all this closely and feel that this indeed an example of the old boy network trying to get their has been candidate Brain Frosh in over a lawyer who I think will make a great Attorney General. I don’t and never did care who his uncle is. I think Lt. Governor Steinberg, Senators Hollinger and Hoffman and Councilwoman Spector are showing disrespect and disdain for the voters to suggest that they so stupid they think they will be voting for U.S. Senator Ben Cardin to be attorney General.

  2. Jessica's Law Supporter

    Grade A Bologna. The Attack Dogs are out in force trying to discredit Jon Cardin’s reputation using anything they can dredge up. Stick to the Issues.

    Jon Cardin is an ardent supporter of Jessica’s Law and received the Endorsement of Pro-Jessica’s Law and Groups who are in favor of toughening Sexual Assault and Rape laws on the Books. Frosh’s history of treating Rape and Sexual Assault Legislation as Second-Rate is inexcusable and a disqualified him in the minds of many who are familiar with him.

  3. Another Jon Cardin Constituent

    I, too, am a constituent of Jon Cardin, however, unlike the other Jon Cardin constituent, I can’t say I’m particularly impressed. Jon lost my vote a long time ago, when he made it absolutely clear to me that as a constituent with a real issue, with… the Attorney General’s office, that required legislative assistance, I was a lower priority than his “day job.”

    I think its hilarious that he thinks Steve Sachs and Joseph Curran are part of the “Old Boys Network”, as are Martin O’Malley and the 27 of 46 senators who have all whole heartedly endorsed Brian. Mr. Sach’s message is simple: I was attorney general for 8 years, I know what’s involved in the job, and I know Brian is the man for the job. He believes this so much, that at 80 he stands out in front of the Randallstown Community Center informing early voters in 90+ degree heat. Joe Curran was AG for 20 years, and he also know who’s the right man for the job.

    The fact is pretty simple, Jon Cardin wouldn’t have been elected over Dana Stein without his last name, he doesn’t have the maturity or experience of either Stein or Frosh, and he doesn’t deserve to displace Brian Frosh for AG just as he displaced Dana as delegate.

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