The three-way Democratic race for attorney general might be the tightest — and most bitter — contest in the state as voters head to the polls Tuesday.
Del. Jon S. Cardin — nephew of U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md. — enjoyed a 16 percentage point lead over state Sen. Brian E. Frosh in February, according to a Washington Post poll. But Frosh had closed the gap to 6 points in early June with 40 percent of Democratic voters undecided, the Post reported on June 11.
Del. Aisha Braveboy, who chairs the Legislative Black Caucus, came in third — 13 points behind Cardin.
In recent weeks, Frosh has stepped up his criticism of Cardin’s judgment for enlisting the aid of Baltimore police in his 2009 marriage proposal, and for missing nearly 75 percent of committee votes this past legislative session. Frosh has also questioned Cardin’s acceptance of a $100 campaign contribution from a Baltimore singer Ski Money, who has been indicted on prostitution-related and human-trafficking charges.
Cardin has acknowledged the use of police was a mistake and said he missed the votes to care for his pregnant wife, adding that his vote would not have affected the fate of any bill.
Cardin, who also returned the contribution upon learning of the indictment, has assailed Frosh’s opposition to legislation calling for mandatory minimum sentences for sex offenders. Frosh said he has opposed mandatory minimums because they have a disparate impact on minority convicts.
The rancor of the Cardin-Frosh conflict has often left Braveboy as the odd person out during debates. But she does not seem to mind.
“I’ve run a positive race,” Braveboy, D-Prince George’s, said late Monday. “My campaign is about the bread and butter issues, on foreclosure and women being paid a dollar on the dollar. You need an attorney general who will take on the insurance companies, who will take on big business.”
Cardin has focused his campaign on protecting Marylanders from online crime, including identity theft, cyberbullying and scams directed against the elderly. On the campaign trail, he has often cited his 2013 sponsorship of Grace’s Law, which makes it a misdemeanor to use a computer to repeatedly and maliciously bully someone under the age of 18.
On Monday, Cardin pledged “to keep Marylanders two steps ahead” of cybercriminals and to “protect the families, children and seniors” of the state.
“I am somebody who likes to bring people together and cooperate when necessary and fight against bullies and people who prey on vulnerable populations,” added Cardin, D-Baltimore County. “I have vowed to run on a platform of consumer protection, environmental protection, civil rights protection and public safety.”
Frosh, D-Montgomery, credits a bevy of endorsements from Democratic leaders in the state, including Gov. Martin O’Malley, law-enforcement and civil-rights groups, and environmental organizations with helping him rally from the early deficit in the polls.
The veteran legislator has trumpeted his 27 years in the General Assembly, including the past decade as chair of the influential and controversial Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee. In recent years, Frosh has sponsored and helped shepherd through the Senate measures calling for strict gun control, abolishing the death penalty, permitting same-sex marriage and prohibiting discrimination against the transgendered.
“I have a track record of getting big things done, of protecting Marylanders in their home and neighborhoods,” Frosh said Monday.
The winner of the Democratic primary will face off in the general election Nov. 4 against Jeffrey N. Pritzker, a Republican, and Leo Wayne Dymowski, a Libertarian, both of whom are lawyers in Baltimore County.