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Simms's Instant Campaign

Baltimore lawyer Stu Simms launched his campaign for state attorney general yesterday with a big boost from former running mate Doug Duncan.

It's not just the name recognition that came with the Montgomery County executive's decision in April to tap Simms as his lieutenant governor candidate

When Duncan dropped out of the race for governor last week, he left Simms with a campaign apparatus in place and, possibly, a big chunk of money. (If you Google him, the first hit is still the Duncan campaign website.)

Several staffers now on the Simms campaign worked until last week for the Duncan campaign, including campaign manager Antwaun Griffin, political director Ashlie Bagwell, finance director Lindsey Reynolds, press secretary Jody Couser and field director Gary Rodwell. Some of them had been brought to Duncan's campaign by Simms.

Duncan could also transfer a portion of the approximately $700,000 he had left over to Simms. The state Board of Elections has issued an opinion saying such a transfer would be legal, said Couser, speaking for Simms' campaign.

That could be key in the Democratic primary race, where Montgomery State's Attorney Doug Gansler has already amassed as much as $1.5 million and Montgomery County Council member Tom Perez has about $250,000.

A fourth Democratic candidate, Baltimore lawyer J. Wyndal Gordon, just entered the race this week. Republican Scott Rolle, Frederick County's prosecutor, is seeking his party's nomination.

By Phyllis Jordan  |  June 30, 2006; 9:51 AM ET
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A far more interesting question is whether Duncan will do what he did in 2002. Then he ran for Governor for months and raised money to do so. He decided not to run against Townsend and spent the money he raised for a Governor's race on local races in Montgomery County.

Posted by: montgomery monty | June 30, 2006 11:38 AM | Report abuse

And what are the plans of Jerry Pasternak and David Weaver, Duncan's versions of Karl Rove? Rumor has it that they are going to work behind the scenes for Steve Silverman, whose County Executive campaign is struggling. Looks like we may be in for another smear campaign like the one they masterminded against Blair Ewing in 2002.

Posted by: "Clarksburg" | June 30, 2006 12:58 PM | Report abuse

And the hate filled Merlin reemerges

Posted by: Ellen | June 30, 2006 2:50 PM | Report abuse

I heard Perez has a bit more cash than that, I read that he was around $600-700K. Also, I heard that Simms could only get $10K for Duncan. I don't see how he can put together a winning campaign with just two months left til election day.

Posted by: Montgomery Dem | June 30, 2006 2:52 PM | Report abuse

No; I'm not Merlin. Let me fill you in. If you are a registered Democrat in Montgomery County, then a few weeks ago you probably got a phone call asking who you were supporting in the County Executive race. That call wasn't from a regular pollster; it was from a company that Steve Silverman's campaign hired to call every likely Democratic voter in the County. The purpose was to compile a list of undecided voters who could be targeted with direct mail. Unfortunately for Silverman, the numbers he got back indicate that he is falling farther behind his main opponent, Ike Leggett. And that's after outspending Leggett by 10 to 1. So Silverman has decided to go negative, just like Duncan did in his attempt to catch O'Malley. You don't have to take my word for it; just watch what comes out of the Silverman campaign during July and August.

Posted by: "Clarksburg" | June 30, 2006 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Steve "Clarksburg" Silverman,
I changed your handle to just "Clarksburg" above, since you're not allowed to post in someone else's name.

Posted by: Phyllis Jordan | June 30, 2006 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Clarksburg: what's the basis for your poll numbers claim? Can you produce the poll for us?

I'm very curious.

Posted by: Marc | June 30, 2006 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Sorry; I didn't mean to violate the rules. In response to Marc, no, I can't produce the numbers. Only the Silverman campaign can do that and they won't. But I do know that if the numbers had been favorable to Silverman, he would be crowing about them. If I'm not still in the doghouse for violating the Post's rules, maybe someone from the paper will ask Silverman's campaign for the numbers. How about it, Ms. Jordan?

Posted by: Clarksburg | June 30, 2006 5:25 PM | Report abuse

We'll ask

Posted by: Phyllis Jordan | June 30, 2006 7:41 PM | Report abuse

Thank you.

Posted by: Clarksburg | June 30, 2006 8:08 PM | Report abuse

I regularly read Merlin's blogs...he was never hateful.

Merlin exposed Duncan and his corporate pals who benefited during the last 12 years in Montgomery County.

Posted by: Victor | July 1, 2006 11:10 AM | Report abuse

I'd love to see Stu Simms become Attorney General, but I just don't see any way he can raise the money. I'm familiar with the campaign finance laws, and it's very clear that he can't use more than $6000 of Duncan's money -- if he does he would be running a real risk of getting the attention of the State Prosecutor, or Joe Curran. I hope he can keep the high ground and raise the money he needs for himself.

Posted by: Former Curran guy | July 1, 2006 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Why not just put the elective office on ebay and open the race wide open to the highest bidder;)

Posted by: MCer | July 1, 2006 7:42 PM | Report abuse

I guess there hasn't been any response from the Silverman campaign about those poll numbers? On Silverman's campaign website they announced that this past Saturday (July 1) was going to be the date of a "Yard Sign Blitz", an all-out effort to get yard signs up all across the County. I haven't noticed many. Maybe the other readers of this blog can let us know if they spot any. Kind of like playing "Where's Waldo". Silverman keeps claiming he has lots of supporters, so where are they? Was the blitz a "bust"?

Posted by: Clarksburg | July 3, 2006 4:43 PM | Report abuse

There are Silverman signs up all along Georgia Avenue in Aspen Hill, in Bethesda, Silver Spring and Takoma Park. And those are just the ones I saw driving around the last day or two.

Posted by: A reader | July 3, 2006 10:30 PM | Report abuse

anyway I'm skeptical that lawn signs really indicate support. Ficker is great at getting lawn signs up but he loses every election.

Posted by: A reader | July 3, 2006 10:31 PM | Report abuse

I had an interesting talk with one of Silverman's campaign workers at the Takoma Park parade this morning. Turns out that the majority of the people you see wearing Silverman shirts at events like the parade are PAID members of his campaign staff. He's hired a throng of high school and college students to work for his campaign during the summer, apparently because he isn't able to get volunteers like the other candidates do. Don't take my word for it; ask the people you see wearing his shirts. What does it say about Silverman that he has to pay for support, other than the obvious fact that his developer cronies have contributed generously to him.

Posted by: Clarksburg | July 4, 2006 4:34 PM | Report abuse

I guess we have to assume that Steve Silverman refused to give the poll numbers to the Post. That seems to confirm just how bad they must be. And his campaign took another hit with the Post story detailing how he tried to delay the implementation of the smoking ban for two years. Ironically, that very same day the Post ran an editorial calling for smoking bans to be the law in all jurisdictions. Of course, Silverman says the fact that his campaign treasurer was a lobbyist for the cigarette manufacturers wasn't a factor. Sure, Steve, sure; we believe you.

Posted by: Clarksburg | July 5, 2006 2:29 PM | Report abuse

If Sims is going to make moves in the Attorney General race then he sure is going about it the wrong way...he had hand written signs at the Dundalk would figure with his credentials, law firm money, and prior experience he would have seen this as a real opportunity to impress the voters...sad that that he felt the people of Maryland only deserve a homemade signs.

Posted by: Sims Attorney General Update | July 6, 2006 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Come on, cut the guy some slack! He'd been in the race less than a week. No one cares about signs.

Posted by: Reality Check | July 6, 2006 9:29 PM | Report abuse

The AG race is shaping up into some interesting match ups. I like Perez because he has a broad progressive view of the office and not a simpple law and order platform. Also, he is the only one who has actually been an AG (in the Clinton administration.) I also believe that Gansler, with the unnecessary sniper trial, and Simms with the Juvenile detention Scandal on his record have high negatives to overcome.

Posted by: TakomaBoy | July 7, 2006 3:02 PM | Report abuse

The AG race is shaping up into some interesting match ups. I like Perez because he has a broad progressive view of the office and not a simple law and order platform. Also, he is the only one who has actually been an AG (in the Clinton administration.) I also believe that Gansler, with the unnecessary sniper trial, and Simms with the Juvenile detention Scandal on his record have high negatives to overcome.

Posted by: TakomaBoy | July 7, 2006 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Not unlike his supporters Tom "I have only practiced law in Maryland for a few years" Perez needs to learn how to read. Whether it is figuring out the mystery of posting only one time on a blog or reading the Maryland State Constitution's requirements for Attorney General (ummm you need to have practiced law for 10 years buddy not worked as a Beltway liberal) you need to do a little more if you want to be the state's highest ranking prosecutor. Bottom line how can you question someone like Stu when he has actually prosecuted cases in Maryland, as opposed to Perez who wants to build on his long record in Maryland as an adjunct law school Prof and Montgomery County Council member. Here is a news flash all your Ivy League degrees don't mean much if you don't actually take the time to read the requirements for the AG job!

Posted by: Perez Needs to Learn How to Read | July 9, 2006 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Two weeks have gone by, and the Silverman campaign won't divulge those poll numbers. I'd like to suggest to the Post that there is another source that will show just how far behind Silverman has fallen. My understanding is that Duchy Trachtenberg, a candidate for County Council, has some poll numbers showing that Silverman's "unfavorable opinion" rating has now climbed close to 50%. I hope that the Post will check that out. Thank you.

Posted by: Clarksburg | July 13, 2006 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Clarksburg,
I passed that on to our Montgomery politics reporter.

Posted by: Phyllis Jordan | July 13, 2006 3:56 PM | Report abuse

I heard a rumor that some Republican has filed a lawsuit against Perez claiming that he hasn't practiced law in Maryland long enough to be eligible for Attorney General, i.e., the point that the post-er "Perez Needs to Learn to Read" makes above. Does anyone know whether this is true or any more information? This would really make an already interesting race much more interesting . . . .

Posted by: Perez Out of Race? | July 13, 2006 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Yes, we have it in a story running tomorrow. I'll try to post before I leave.
Basically, Steve Abrams, a R running for comptroller, has filed suit. Perez has an AG's opinion saying he's in the clear.

Posted by: Phyllis Jordan | July 13, 2006 7:45 PM | Report abuse

Why would Steve Abrams, who is running for Comptroller stick his oar in the AG's race unless he is a proxy for someone else running for AG.
This is a simple political drive by shooting on behalf of another candidate.
The AG's opinion is clear that Perez is qualified. The interest in this race has more to do with substantive issues like healthcare , the environment and crime and consumer protection. If Abrams want's to debate them he should run for the AG's office himself instead of playing on the sidelines.

Posted by: takomaboy | July 14, 2006 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Is there any place to get a copy of the lawsuit. I found the Attorney General's opinion on the Curran website. I'd like to see what the complaint says.

Posted by: Perez Out of Race? | July 14, 2006 6:01 PM | Report abuse

In response to "Clarksburg"'s comments regarding the Silverman campaign, I can only wish that I discovered these gross inaccuracies earlier. In all fairness, I have worked on Mr. Silverman's campaign as a volunteer. It is absolutely incorrect to characterize Mr. Silverman's campaign staff as "PAID members". The VAST majority of people out on parade routes and at events on July 4th were people like myself - unpaid volunteers working hard for a man who will effectively represent the people of Montgomery County. Of course, Mr. Silverman does employ some paid staff members to see to his campaign, and a few of these staff members are high school and college students. I'm not quite sure what the issue is with hiring such people, and I beleive that if you check, Mr. Leggett also has paid campaign staff.

Mr. Silverman is running a true grass-roots campaign, as is evidenced by the wealth of yard signs springing up around the county. It is highly inaccurate to just reach into thin air and find some poll numbers to support an idea.

Posted by: Aaron Gross | July 18, 2006 10:18 PM | Report abuse

If you look at arguments from Leggett supporters referencing poll numbers, they never ACTUALLY have the numbers, nor can they provide the source.

They think of a good number, then they think of a source that sounds legit, and then they spread it around the blogs.

Don't be fooled.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 20, 2006 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Your negative comments about Silverman are not true at all. He has the entire Indian-Asian Community behind him. We held several "Meet and Greet" events for Silverman. We believe in his standings on issues. He is assertive and we need that in a leader to bring in the changes. Under his leadership there will be more jobs in the Montgomery County. Do your research and talk to his suppporters before you write things that you heard from Leggett's campaign. Your newspaper must be neutral and it is not. All the articles I read is one sided.

Posted by: Shree Pillai | August 9, 2006 10:39 AM | Report abuse

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