FREDERICK — The Maryland Republican Party says it sponsored a robocall targeting a Democratic candidate for the Frederick County Board of Aldermen.
The Frederick News-Post reports that the calls programmed to reach 10,000 home the night before Tuesday’s election urged people not to vote for former Alderwoman Donna Kuzemchak, saying she had unpaid personal property taxes. Kuzemchak has paid what she owed, according to county officials.
“Now Donna K. wants to spend our hard-earned tax dollars, when she can’t even pay her own taxes,” the call stated. “After 12 years in office and unpaid city taxes, it is time to vote no on Donna K.”
Kuzemchak said she was disappointed by the call.
“I think it was low,” she said.
Still, unofficial results show Kuzemchak won the fifth spot on the board.
Republican aldermanic candidate Phil Dacey’s brother, Ted, says he told the state party about a May story about Kuzemchak’s taxes and suggested the robocall, noting that she was in a position to knock Republicans out of the race. Phil Dacey said he knew a robocall was in the works, but he did not know about the content.
The party assumed his request was made on behalf of Republican candidates and the taxes were still unpaid, said party Chairwoman Diana Waterman.
“If we knew what we know now, we probably would not have made the call,” she said.
However, Joe Cluster, the state party’s executive director, said he stands behind the call, calling it a cheap and effective way to target voters. It cost $200 and went to registered Republicans, independents and “soft Democrats” who register as Democrats but sometimes vote Republican, Cluster said.
The context of the call was in poor taste and the party didn’t coordinate with the Frederick County Republican Central Committee, according to Vice Chairman Lonnie Ropp.
“That type of phone call is not reflective of the vast majority of Republicans within the party,” Ropp said.