Monday, September 13, 2010

'Tis The Season for Phantom Endorsements

Question: When is a political endorsement not an endorsement? Answer: When the person announcing it has made it up completely.

Over the weekend, allegations of two different phantom endorsements were brought to my attention. The first involves Harford County Councilman Joe Woods, running for election in his own right to the Councilmanic District B seat.

On September 21, Woods announced on his website that Bob Ehrlich had endorsed his candidacy. This prompted a Harford County voter – “Abe Lincoln” – to contact Ehrlich’s Annapolis campaign office to check the veracity of Woods’ claim. “After a few minutes, the guy came back to the phone and said that he had just spoke with Craig (sic) Massoni who told him that the ‘GOVERNOR HAS NOT AND WILL NOT MAKE ANY ENDORSEMENT’ in the Council race,” Lincoln reported.

Lincoln confronted Woods with his findings in an email, and apparently bcc’ed most of the Harford County political universe. “I am disgusted with politicians who constantly lie and deceive the people that they are sworn to represent,” Lincoln opines. “Your slogan is Integrity, Dedication and Honesty. You might be dedicated to getting yourself elected, but you clearly have no integrity or honesty.”

It’s hard to say what’s really going on here. Woods’ website shows a picture of Ehrlich wearing a “Keep Joe Woods” sticker, and claims that Ehrlich endorsed him at a rally in Harford County. This, along with the fact that Ehrlich usually endorses GOP incumbents running for reelection in primaries – unless their name happens to be “Wayne Gilchrest” – seems to give credibility to Woods’ belief that Ehrlich endorsed him, at least informally.

If Greg Massoni’s denial is true, then it begs the question of why Ehrlich broke his longstanding policy and chose NOT to endorse this incumbent councilman, even after wearing a “Keep Joe Woods” sticker at a public event. If Ehrlich – a popular figure in Harford County - is not endorsing Woods, then maybe there are specific reasons behind his decision which should be communicated to voters in Councilmanic District B.

It sounds to me that the redoubtable Massoni may have answered a question without asking a few necessary questions of his own. Egos are fragile things, especially in politics, so when it comes to making and communicating endorsements, there’s no room to monkey around.

The other incident occurred this weekend in Baltimore County. On Friday, a mailing appeared claiming that congressional hopeful Dr. Andy Harris had endorsed Dr. Jack Gordon in the 42nd legislative district primary. On Saturday, a second mailing appeared, this one claiming that Bob Ehrlich had endorsed Gordon as well.

It is common knowledge to anyone involved in local politics that Harris and Ehrlich have both endorsed the 42nd district slate which includes Kevin Carney for state senator, and incumbents Sue Aumann and Bill Frank and candidate John Fiastro for delegate. Apparently a phone call has been placed to the state Attorney General’s office inquiring as to the legality of Gordon’s mailings.

Strange things can happen in the waning moments of a campaign. That does not make these kinds of shenanigans acceptable or appropriate. Before you vote tomorrow, make sure the candidates bombarding you with last minute mailings aren’t trying to pull a fast one on you.


  1. I received both these mailings and I did raise an eyebrow when it mentioned that Dr. Harris had endorsed Dr. Gordon. That being said, I'm fairly certain that Gov. Ehrlich did NOT endorse the 42nd slate (what is your source) and Gordon's second mailer does NOT say that Gov. Ehrlich endorsed Gordon.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Oh wow! But didn't the Governor throw a fundraiser for Jack Gordon in the Poitin Stil and none for the slate?

  4. Does protecting the people of the district include voting against the most important womens protective legislation of our time HB 700, killing it in committee leading the battery and DEATH of hundreds of Maryland women. THANKS BILL FRANK

  5. These are the quotes issued by both Bob Ehrlich and Andy Harris.

    The second piece says TEAM EHRLICH endorsed. The Ehrlich endorsement is implicit and to someone less familiar with politics and its related vocabulary it could be certainly misleading.

    The campaign has followed up with the Maryland Attorney General's office. There was legislation passed in 2007 by Delegate Sandy Rosenberg relating to false endorsements on campaign material. The Harris endorsement is certainly fraudulent.

    "We need senators and delegates in Annapolis that want to protect tax payers from backroom deals, unnecessary spending and increase taxes because of the fiscally-irresponsible majority in the General Assembly. I support the 42nd District slate because they know how to make Maryland better" Gov. Bob Ehrlich

    "I am proud to endorse Team Ehrlich in the 42nd District! Please cast your vote for Kevin Carney for State Senate, Delegate Bill Frank, Delegate Susan Aumann and John Fiastro for Delegate." Andy Harris

    Julianne Grim
    Campaign Coordinator
    42nd District Slate

  6. what he voted against the Amy Castillo legislation?

    I literally know 3 women who have been beaten by their bf's because they couldnt get protective orders because of assholes like this Frank guy!

    Wonder if FRANKS a woman beater?

  7. Could you repeat those quotes again? You seem to be so proud of them... :)

  8. I would love to find a quote where Frank spoke out on behalf Maryland women...oh wait I can't...only a vote where he voted against the protection of women and children

  9. I dont care who he's endorsed by or isn't i dont think Dr. Gordon would vote against the protection of women

  10. “As a physician, Dr. Jack Gordon will bring to
    Annapolis his decades of experience of
    delivering health care to families in the 42nd
    District. ” - Senator Andy Harris

  11. I substituted the image above with one which shows the word "endorsement" was actually used in the mailing.

  12. where is the word endorse/support in "“As a physician, Dr. Jack Gordon will bring to Annapolis his decades of experience of delivering health care to families in the 42nd District. ” - Senator Andy Harris