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Duncan Ads Go Negative

Montgomery County Executive Doug Duncan put up two new television commercials in the Baltimore media market today, bashing Democratic primary rival Martin O'Malley for Baltimore's crime rate and its failing schools and taking on Republican Gov. Bob Ehrlich for his opposition to an assault weapons ban.

Duncan was the first gubernatorial candidate to buy air time earlier this month with ads introducing himself, as he walked past cardboard cutouts of O'Malley and Ehrlich. The cardboard cutouts are back in these new, 15-second ads, but this time Duncan's remarks are slightly more pointed.

"With many Baltimore schools failing, these guys have spent all their time fighting for political advantage," he says in one ad. In another he refers to alleged discrepancies in the city's crime rate reporting.

Even as he launched the ads, Duncan took umbrage at some remarks O'Malley made on the air in the Washington media market yesterday.

On NewsChannel 8's NewsTalk, O'Malley told host Bruce DePuyt that Montgomery schools suffer "from challenges like having kids lined up three deep in learning shacks when they should be in better classrooms."

O'Malley also took on Duncan's vaunted revitalization of Silver Spring, criticizing Duncan for saying "I understand urban blight, look what I've done for Silver Spring.".

"Well, with all due respect, he does not understand urban blight," O'Malley said. "Silver Spring was not urban blight."

Duncan's campaign lashed back in a news release saying that O'Malley had reneged on his promise not to attack his fellow Democrat in the campaign for governor.

"Today, the Mayor attacked Doug Duncan's leadership on education, despite Montgomery County's undisputed reputation as one of the best minority school districts in the nation," campaign manager Scott Arceneaux said. "This is a strange line of attack from someone who has schools on the state takeover list and allowed his system to nearly go bankrupt."

O'Malley aides characterized the release as laughable.

"Maybe it's time for the Doug Duncan campaign to take a deep breath and act a little more maturely," said O'Malley campaign manager Jonathan Epstein

By Phyllis Jordan  |  May 12, 2006; 9:33 AM ET
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Duncan has the benefit of schools in Bethesda and Potomac, where the household median income exceeds $300,000. What would the County's public school systems look like if Churchill, WJ, and Richard Montgomery were pulled from the list? Would Duncan want to brag about Kennedy's graduation rate or Wheaton's AP placement?

Duncan has had the luxury of some of the nation's richest zip codes that have been the central part of the county's school success. My family moved to Silver Spring from New York 19 years ago because of the schools. When Duncan started his second term, the schools in Silver Spring were so neglected that my parents pulled us from the public system and sent us to Catholic school.

If Duncan is going to be the education governor he better be willing to also support schools where the students don't have the luxury of driving their new Volvo to class.

Posted by: Mike | May 12, 2006 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Duncan is finally being seen for what he is, a loud mouthed opportunist. Doug is a perfect example of how a politician goes down for the third and hopefully final time.

Posted by: Steve | May 12, 2006 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Duncan certainly does have his favorite areas of MoCo. Is this someone that we want as Governor of Maryland. I don't think so.

Posted by: WL | May 12, 2006 12:12 PM | Report abuse

O'Malley better take the gloves off -- it's time!

These 15 second ads should be a wake up call to O'Malley's opposition research team that it needs to do a better job of exposing Duncan's mediocre record.

But my tip to O'Malley's consultants is to look at other sources for the dirt on Duncan other than past Washington Post stories.

The reason?

Because for the last 12 years, the Post has made it company policy to only portray Duncan in a positive light while silencing all of his critics . . .

In truth, this means that the Post's coverage of Duncan has been what I like to call crappy journalism, but it is what it is.

Posted by: Duncan campaign still losing, but . . . | May 12, 2006 12:16 PM | Report abuse

I am finally glad that the Mayor has countered the "revitilization" of Silver Spring argument that Mr. Duncan is always bragging about. With all due respect but I never really noticed that Silver Spring was in all that bad of shape. I mean it was certainly no urban was an older suburb that got some sprucing up. I am already very tired of Duncan's attacks on Baltimore. I think the one thing he consistently fails to understand that Baltimore region residents have a very personal relationship to the city and his attacks are often felt like attacks on us. He further rubs salt in those wounds by having Kurt Schmoke as a big backer and Stu Simms as a running mate--two people who fiddled while Baltimore burned in the late 80s and 90s. If Mr. Duncan does when the nomination there will be a lot of Baltimore voters that will vote for him only grudgingly if at all.

Posted by: Baltimore voter | May 12, 2006 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Dear Scott, Duncan, Jody:

PLEASE stop distorting the facts. please. The schools are NOT on the verge of bankruptcy. In fact, read this week's papers and you'll see that thanks to the bailout from city hall, Baltimore City schools are now debt free. Where the hell are you gettig your facts?

Also, the crime thing is over. You thought you could challenge the city on its 40% crime reduction claim but you failed, miserably.

How you act during a campaign tells everyone a lot about how you will govern and frankly Doug Duncan has been nothing more than someone who will absolutely anything to get the nomination - lie to voters, distort facts, make up stuff - THAT IS NOT THE TYPE OF GOVERNOR PEOPLE WANT.

you would've had a better chance if you had acted respectably in this campaign but you haven't. Think Jerry Kilgore.

Posted by: Mike H. | May 12, 2006 12:51 PM | Report abuse

As a Montgomery County resident and Democrat, I've grown used to Duncan's scorched earth tactics against fellow Democrats. It's tiresome, counter-productive, and pathetic. In buddying up to Schaefer and now doing Ehrlich's dirty work by attacking his fellow Democrat, Duncan is only weakening the Democratic Party's hopes of defeating Ehrlich in the Fall. Why can't Duncan run on his own record? By the way, whatever happened to his vaunted promise to "End Gridlock"?

Posted by: Nathaniel | May 12, 2006 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Regardless of what Duncan or O'Malley does in this race srategically, this race will tighten up quite a bit as we move closer to the September primary.

So in other words, when the race appears to be getting more competitive, the goofy Washington Post reporters (with their embarassing journalistic bias towards Duncan) will mistakingly give credit to Duncan's team for making the race closer.

But, like their analysis of a lot of other political campaigns, the Post will get it wrong in the end.

Geez, this 12 year butt kissing fest between the Post and Duncan is such an affront to the field of journalism.

Posted by: Duncan's Bad Breath | May 12, 2006 3:06 PM | Report abuse

"three deep in learning shacks"? sounds like o'malley has gone negative too.

reconsider your article title.

Posted by: John | May 12, 2006 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Let the democrats duke it out. That makes Erlich's campaign very easy. Someone needs to knock Barbara Mukalski out of office for MD to get some good changes.

Posted by: SMarks | May 12, 2006 4:04 PM | Report abuse

As long as Erlich gets kicked outta that office, I really could care less if its duncan or omalley... I've only lived in this state for 9 months, and every last thing that bush-butt-kissin, big business loving, mass transit hating, ICC-sprawl inducing idiot has done has made me hate him a little more.

Posted by: Paul | May 12, 2006 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Because Duncan is a butt kissing developer wannabee who hate mass transit, loves overcrowded schools and road, and really loves the ICC.

Posted by: Paul should vote for Duncan | May 12, 2006 4:37 PM | Report abuse

It is pretty disgraceful that my county ever elected Doug Duncan. I hope this campaign spells the end of his political career.

Posted by: Wheaton, MD | May 12, 2006 5:51 PM | Report abuse

I think all these O'Malley staffers better get off the Post blog and start doing some real work.

Posted by: But it's MY Turn! | May 12, 2006 9:12 PM | Report abuse

even if they were on here, the omalley staffers are obviously doing a pretty good job if duncan has to resort to mudslinging

Posted by: MJ | May 12, 2006 11:08 PM | Report abuse

First off, how in the world can Duncan try spinning the Baltimore City schools problem on Ehrlich?! Ehrlich tried having the state take them over and the city rejected it. When the city schools had a huge deficit, he tried to help bailing them out, but Martin rejected it.

Now, those schools that you O'Malley staffers are gleeming about--have you looked at the ridiculously low proficiency rates? You are absolutely sick if you're going to make some argument about how doing nothing for a year is better than something.

Oh, right, how could I forget, the recommendation is to have more after-school activities--what a bleeping joke.

And with the city schools, does anyone remember in 2005 when the Baltimore Sun reported they were operating 1/3 of their buildings that they weren't even using paying millions a year to do so? Or how about the audit of the special education program that found millions of dollars being wasted and people taking thousands of sick hours they didn't have?

Need we even mention the federally ordered takeover of the Special Education programs?

Duncan is right to criticizing O'Malley for spending all of his time and $300 million on getting a convention hotel when his schools were falling apart by the seams and he just stood by.

Posted by: Bryan | May 13, 2006 10:07 AM | Report abuse

I've worked with all three--Duncan, O'Malley and Ehrlich.

No question that Duncan is the guy who gets things done. He surrounds himself with good people to run his agencies and they all deliver.

My experience isn't the same with the other two guys. They sound good, but their hacks are all promise and no follow up.

Posted by: former lobbyist | May 13, 2006 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Right now Duncan has choosen to surround himself with Kurt Schmoke, Pat Jessamy, and Stu Simms. These are people who have proven themselves to be inept. Not people who get things done. Indeed, much of Doug's attempts to criticize O'Malley for the conditions found in Baltimore should be more accurately directed at Kurt and the gang. Under Schmoke, 1000+ people per month were moving from the City, murders were 300+.

Former Lobbyist, I think you need to think twice before calling anyone a "hack" if you consider Doug a good choice or talent.

Posted by: Baltimore Voter | May 13, 2006 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Baltimore Voter--when is O'Malley going to come clean with the crime statistics? How about those shady land deals (Barcoding, Duane Taylor's, etc)? And what's his connection to Sheila Dixon-UTECH-Mildred Boyer aside from the $4,000 Boyer gave to him?

Former Lobbyist-- Duncan's regulated everything to death in Montgomery County and driven my taxes through the rough, but I suspect you've already heard this from me.

Posted by: Bryan | May 14, 2006 12:22 AM | Report abuse

Excuse me, 'through the roof' my comment should read and not rough.

Posted by: Bryan | May 14, 2006 12:23 AM | Report abuse

Bryan, man I can smell the desperation from ya. Your praying that anything, anything will stop O'Malley's route of your man, Bobby. The 72% BGE hike was the final nail for the current administration.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2006 7:22 AM | Report abuse

Anonymous (afraid to post your name?), first off it is 'you're' and not 'your'. Sorry, but that is a pet peeve of mine.

Now, to address your concerns. I'm not praying for anything politically because I don't think Governor Ehrlich needs prayer to win.

Everyone in the state knows the 72% BGE Rate hike was the result of the deregulation passed by the democrat controlled legislature and Governor. In fact, Martin O'Malley's running mate voted for it, his brother-in-law who sat on the PSC voted for it, and O'Malley while on the city council supported it.

People also recognize Ehrlich took action when the legislature dropped the ball. What, the legislature really couldn't come up with a rate hike plan, but miracously they could override 37 vetos? Yah, right, that makes a lot of sense.

I'm not worried about MOM. Rock star mages work for a little while, but they fade fast. I'm more worried about Doug Duncan because his campaign as he rightly says isn't based on style. Martin's campaign is not the brightest for assuming the MD voters will be too stupid to look into his record.

Duncan is a regulator and taxer. Frankly, I don't think he can win the general election either, but I do think he can do better than Martin.

Posted by: Bryan | May 14, 2006 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Bryan has BGEhrlich's talking points down, even down to the lie that O'Malley supported dereg on the council (exposed by Sun as falsehood) or schools were bankrupt (are not, never were).

Fact, the Guv's PSC is loaded w industry hacks, put on a sham hearing and 72 percent stood. That is Ehrlich's failure. O'M exposed that and will get a shot to at least get an accounting of this rate hike, if not force a better deal. Of course Bryan likes DD, as an Ehrlich guy he wants a walkover, why else would he spend so much time bashing a guy he is "not worried" about?

As for the attack on DD as a taxer, how bout the flush tax, Ehrlich property tax, car registration tax, 42% increase in tuition tax, toll booth tax, and now 72% that will stand? How bout a bigger gov't than at anytime in the history of the state? Bigger spending than Glendening? Broken promises to reform Juvenile Justice system? Failed effort to save MD racing by advocating a reasonable slots bill?

Ehrlich's record on schools? He abided by Thornton, the state law as passed by Glendening, and wants credit for that. Hasn't put one dime beyond what the Glendening Admin's Thornton bill required. He took an oath to follow the law, he had no choice...that is not an accomplishment. Please Bryan, your attacks are as hollow as your boss's record of achievement.

Posted by: Rocket | May 19, 2006 4:24 AM | Report abuse

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