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Perez to Endorse Simms

This afternoon, for the first time since a court ruling ousted him from the state attorney general's race, Tom Perez will speak publically about the appeals court decision and about the race ahead.

And he will throw his support behind one of the remaining Democratic candidates: Baltimore lawyer Stuart O. Simms, the Perez campaign confirmed this morning.

Simms and Montgomery County State's Attorney Douglas F. Gansler appeared in a televised debate last night, each laying out what they would do with the state's top law enforcement office.

Gansler emphasized crime-fighting initiatives and a systematic approach to prosecuting those who pollute the Chesapeake Bay. Simms, while agreeing that environmental issues needed more attention, said the attorney general should focus on "being a good lawyer for the state."

Simms's campaign chairman, Larry S. Gibson, said yesterday, before the endorsement was confirmed, that he expected his candidate would strongly benefit from Perez's departure from the race.

"I am very optimistic that almost all of the supporters and organizers of the Perez campaign are shifting to the Simms campaign," Gibson said.

Gansler also said yesterday that he expected to pick up some of Perez's backing: "Lots of his supporters have been calling in and offering to help."

Montgomery County Sheriff Raymond M. Kight, who had endorsed Perez, was among those who appeared yesterday with Gansler at an event in Rockville where the state's attorney outlined an initiative to fight gangs with a proposed state racketeering statute.

Steve Vogel

By Phyllis Jordan  |  August 28, 2006; 10:52 PM ET
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Next: O'Malley: Party Couldn't Have Orchestrated Exit


Has anything been determined regarding Gansler's eligibility for the ballot?

Posted by: Marylander | August 29, 2006 10:55 AM | Report abuse


Word on the street is the Perez and Larry Gibson, Simms' campaign manager, have spoken a number of times in the past few days and Simms has offered Perez the top deputy spot in the office, a commitment to some, but not all, elements of Perez' policy goals (healthcare, etc.) and a commitment to serve just one term, if elected. That was the lynchpin in securing Perez' endorsement.

Have you heard the same?

Posted by: Interesting | August 29, 2006 12:37 PM | Report abuse

I'm shocked that Perez would endorse Simms, given that Simms seems to have no real agenda for the office. Perez seemed to take a real engergetic view of what the AG could/can do and Gansler seems to be closest in line to that thinking. That is why I think I will now be voting for Mr. Gansler.

Posted by: Matt in Baltimore | August 29, 2006 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Apparently Harvard connections and baked beans are more important to Perez than Montgomery County connections and human beings.

Posted by: observer | August 29, 2006 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Interesting --

I haven't heard anything like this (not that I'm in a position to hear such things), but I'm not sure that Perez would want a Simms commitment to serve only one term. If Court of Appeals based its ouster of Perez on the notion that one needs 10 years of Maryland bar membership to be AG, then Perez will not qualify until late 2011. The next AG election will be in 2010.


Posted by: Mark Phillips | August 29, 2006 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Has anybody considered Gansler's qualifications. Gansler has only practiced law in Maryland for 8 years -- his prior years were spent practicing in DC. While nobody is likely to challege at this late stage, Governor Ehrlich would theoretically have the right, under Article V, Section 2 of the Maryland Constitution, to strike Gansler as unqualified if he wins the election and appoint Rolle. Not that I'm a conspiracy theorist, but perhaps Abrams really did have a plan when he challenged Perez -- that may be the only way that the Republicans can win that position in the long run.

Posted by: legalstar | August 29, 2006 2:32 PM | Report abuse

...But We Got the Copier Fixed! GET BACK TO WORK!

Posted by: No Windows/War Room | August 29, 2006 3:03 PM | Report abuse

I am excited about the Simms endorsement. I don't know why Gansler is running in the first place. I understand that it's a good career move but that doesn't motivate me to vote for him.

Simms is better prepared. He has more experience. With Simms one gets a sense of his values. With Gansler I merely feel his personal ambition.

Simms' parents were steel workers. He knows what it means to struggle from pay check to check to make the mortgage.

If I am up against a big corporation that hurt my kids then I am much more comfortable with Simms as the people's attorney than with Gansler.

The press conference was packed with SEIU folks. They will call 20,000 members by themselves. That's huge in a primary.

Perez said that he has already bought ads in Takoma Park and Silver Spring papers. If Gansler wants to get five votes in Takoma Park then he better start door knocking today.

African Americans in Prince Georges will be with Simms (Al and Jack will woe the day they dropped him. They are in no position to help Gansler). Perez and Ivey will organize the progressive activists. There will be a lot of white folks voting for Simms in Prince George's.

Good call, Tom. I will campaign for you again!

Posted by: Yockel | August 29, 2006 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Get your heads out of the sand. Simms has no chance. None.

Posted by: Gansler Wins | August 29, 2006 6:04 PM | Report abuse

this race is Simms' for the taken.

Posted by: wyse | August 29, 2006 6:28 PM | Report abuse

I went to the Perez news conference today and it was one of the most memorable political events that I've ever attended. Perez was eloquent; Simms was eloquent and the audience was totally energized by both of them. This was an enormously important endorsement for Stu Simms.

Posted by: Silver Spring | August 29, 2006 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Who cares whether Doug Gansler gets any votes in TAKOMA PARK? He is running throughout the entire state of Maryland! These idiots from Takoma Park who dominate these blogs ought to get out more.

Posted by: Get over yourself | August 29, 2006 6:51 PM | Report abuse

You're right. The Perez endorsement has an immeasurable value for Stu Simms. If Simms gets the support of the labor, environmental, Hispanic, women's, progressive, and Montgomery downcounty communities that were supporting Perez, he wins going away. The endorsement is huge. Good for Simms. By the way, I don't think that Stu Simms would offer a deal to Tom Perez or that Tom Perez would accept one. Whoever wrote that doesn't know either of these men. There is no word on the street. What there is is in your head, and unfortunately for us, in this blog.

Posted by: Jack Russell | August 29, 2006 6:53 PM | Report abuse

That endorsement is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to Simms. If Perez campaigns for him AND O'Malley, watch out.

Posted by: MoCo | August 29, 2006 6:58 PM | Report abuse

I was planning to vote for Perez because I thought he was the best of the three -- and because we need a MoCo statewide official!!!!!!!!

So what does Perez do after he's disqualified? Turns around and supports a Baltimore City politician -- so we may have O'M, Cardin/Mfume, Schaeffer, and Simms -- 4 Baltimore City guys on the ticket!

Perez just stabbed me and all his other constituents in the back. I'm going to vote for Gansler and hope that the guy I used to like pays the political price he deserves. We MoCo voters need to get our act together. Perez is a disgrace.

Posted by: Disgusted Former Perez Guy | August 29, 2006 8:10 PM | Report abuse

I agree with the above comment. I was really hoping that Perez would endorse the fellow candidate from MoCo, rather than a Baltimore City guy. I just hope Gansler kicks Simms' ass and represent MoCo.

Posted by: MoCo voter | August 29, 2006 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Perez is going to be the first ever to lose twice in a primary!

Posted by: Perez is a loser | August 29, 2006 9:05 PM | Report abuse

O'Malley, Ehrlich, Mikulski, Cardin/Mfume, Schaeffer, Simms. The Baltimore viewpoint controls the state, controls the funding. Forget the Purple line, forget extending Metro to Germantown, forget a new Potomac bridge. If Metro is going anywhere it is towards BWI. Baltimore City has had two U.S. Senators since l987. The Post has done us a great disservice by saying they should have two for six more years.

Posted by: Robin Ficker Independent for County Executive | August 29, 2006 9:27 PM | Report abuse

I am surprised by the vehement regionalism expressed by several posters. I was a strong Perez supporter (still am) and I too live in the D.C. suburbs, yet I do not feel obligated to switch to Gansler now he is from this area and Simms is not. Indeed, Perez himself used to say that the race is not about zip codes but about the state as a whole. (Hence the title, "Maryland" Attorney general.) Undoubtedly some regional balance would be ideal, but surely it cannot outweigh overall candidate quality. In any event, will a D.C.-area attorney general really adopt policies markedly different from those of a Baltimore-area one? Robin Ficker, for example, talks about the Purple Line, a new Potomac Bridge, and extending the Metro to Germantown, but how much sway does the AG have on any of those? I feel I must cast my vote for the candidate I believe will do the best job as AG, regardless of where he calls home.

Posted by: Mark Phillips | August 29, 2006 9:44 PM | Report abuse

the last post has a word missing in line three: should say "... now *because* he is from this area ..."

Posted by: Mark Phillips | August 29, 2006 9:46 PM | Report abuse

Perez's endorsement of Simms was a courageous move -- and the right thing to do. The AG is an incredibly important office for which Gansler does not have the ethics or temperament. It may not be short-term popular among parochial Montgomery Countians, but will have long-term positives. And if Perez gets his agenda moved forward via Simms, then Perez is the real winner in all of this. Steve Abrams be damned!

Posted by: juvenile_hall | August 29, 2006 10:04 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand you guys and this argument that we need to support someone for Montgomery County for AG. No, we do't. What we need is an AG who will represent all the counties in the State, equally and fairly. There shouldn't be any difference between Montgomery County justice and Calvet Courty justice. Gansler's o.k., but we shouldn't vote for him just because he's from Montgomery. We should vote for him if he's the best candidate for the job. On the face of it, he doesn't have the legal and Annapolis experience of Simms. So I don't understand you guys. Gansler needs to make a better argument than "I'm a Montgomery County guy, vote for me!" And his supporters need to make a better argument as well. I started to read about Simms last week and discovered that he was Dartmouth and Harvard Law educated, and held two Glendening cabinet posts. I would love to have that experience. Either of these guys can do the job. Like his posters say, Simms is the best qualified. With the Perez endorsement, I don't think it will be a close primary election. Gansler's support is thin in MoCo, and can't be that deep in other parts of the state. I'm sure Simms will be a fine AG if he wins. But Doug Gansler would be a fine AG as well.

Posted by: Olney Fred | August 29, 2006 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Hello bloggers, I googled Simms and found the following article in something called the Baltimore Chronicle. It's a good profile of Simms, and he says good things about Joe Curran. I wonder if Doug Duncan, Brian Frosh and Ike Leggett are going to do something significant for the Simms campaign. That would be a big help! I wonder if Simms got Mike Miller's check yet?

Posted by: Evie from Rockville | August 29, 2006 11:04 PM | Report abuse

Perez's hyprocrisy is exceeded only by Gansler's intelligence. In the paper today Perez is quoted, "We saw the continuation of the troubling trend of elections being decided in the courtroom and not the ballot box." Yet, just last week Perez was present and supported a county council vote to keep a property tax relief question signed by l3,500 Montgomery Countians off the ballot, necessitating a decision about the question in the Courts Perez disdains. That same question was on the Montgomery County ballot in l994.
I have not had many cases in Court with Doug Gansler himself; however I've done thousands with his assistants. They say the smartest person picks the best brains. If that is true, Gansler is smart because the quality of his assistants has been outstanding.

Posted by: Robin Ficker Independent for Montgomery County Executive | August 30, 2006 5:32 AM | Report abuse

Please vote for Robin Ficker for Montgomery County Executive on

Posted by: Robin Ficker fan | August 30, 2006 6:08 AM | Report abuse

Why would anyone vote for Robin Ficker?

Posted by: Curious on Tuckerman | August 30, 2006 4:25 PM | Report abuse

This race is not going to be close. I'm in the legal community here and am also very involved in civic and political groups throughout the city and county. There's a lot of support for Simms in the legal community and in the city, but Gansler is also doing well in those arenas. In the more populous outlying areas, no one knows who Simms is. I ask people who they like, and they say Gansler -- they don't even know anyone else running. Everyone seems to have seen the Gansler ads and likes what they see. The MoCo-centric notion that the Perez endorsement matters is laughable. No one in the city, outside elite lawyers, has heard of Perez -- and no one in the County, lawyers or otherwise has heard of him. It's a complete joke to imagine that a Perez endorsement is going to be a blip on anyone's screen. It's a nobody endorsing a nobody. Gansler should win by 15-20 points. You heard it here first.

Just a few random thoughts from outside the city limits of Takoma Park!

Posted by: The View from Baltimore | August 31, 2006 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Dear View from Baltimore --

You may well be right that Gansler is going to win by a substantial margin, but you are surely wrong that the Perez endorsement is irrelevant. You say that few people know who Perez is, but Perez's name recognition has nothing to do with why his endorsement helps Simms. Perez had been endorsed by a wide range of unions (in addition to many prominent interest groups). Those unions' membership totals several hundred thousand, and if the unions follow Perez's lead and endorse Simms, it will likely provide a substantial boost in turnout for him, because many members will follow their union's lead whether or not they had ever heard of Perez. (This is particularly true with SEIU, which has a track record of turning out its members.) Given that this is a down-ticket race, that it's a primary, and that there's no presidential or even gubernatorial race to attract voters (though there is the Senate race), turnout will be critical. The endorsement may not end up making the difference, but with all due respect your position that it matters not at all is, well, laughable. I can only assume from your comment that you have little or no campaign experience of your own.

P.S. I don't live in Takoma Park or even Montgomery County.

Posted by: Mark Phillips | September 2, 2006 4:53 PM | Report abuse

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