Shenanigans in the First: Sign, sign, everywhere a sign
Driving out to Salisbury on Sunday to watch congressional candidate Frank Kratovil working to get out the vote, I spied some new addenda to the roadside political signage along Route 50.
The large yellow signs for Andy Harris, the Republican candidate in the First Congressional District, now sport smaller blue cards boasting: “Endorsed by Ehrlich.” The Harris campaign has touted the support of the former governor in a district that voted 2-1 for Ehrlich two years ago.
The large yellow signs for Kratovil, meanwhile, have been fixed with green cards advising “Endorsed by O’Malley.”
That would be an odd connection for Kratovil, given O’Malley’s unpopularity in the district, which includes the Eastern Shore and parts of Baltimore, Anne Arundel and Harford counties.
Kratovil’s spokesman says he doesn’t know who is responsible for the signage – but he has an idea.
“Andy Harris is trying to take things that he thinks are politically inopportune for us and he’s trying to take advantage of them,” said Kavin Lawlor, who has accused the Harris campaign of “dirty political tricks” in the state’s most competitive House race this year.
He says that he and Kratovil were in Bel Air last week when he saw a group of “seven to 10” people” waving signs for Kratovil and for gay marriage. Neither he nor Kratovil recognized the supposed Kratovil supporters, Lawlor said, and Kratovil does not support gay marriage.
Harris is "not trying to make it about the issues,” Lawlor said. “He’s not trying to make it about the real, established differences between the two men, the two candidates. He’s trying to make it about other things where he thinks he can try to pick off a few points here and there, because at this point it’s clear that he’s lost faith in his own ability to win this race on his record.”
Harris campaign manager Chris Meekins says the Harris campaign is responsible for the “Endorsed by Ehrlich” signs, but not the “Endorsed by O’Malley” signs. He calls any suggestion that the Harris campaign is behind the supposed Kratovil supporters waving signs for gay marriage “simply untrue.
“Why are they making false accusations?” Meekins asked in an e-mail. “They want to hide from the truth that Frank Kratovil is a tax and spend liberal. Any time someone talks about Kratovil’s liberal record his campaign tries to distract voters from the truth.
“Frank Kratovil is just another Martin O’Malley tax and spend liberal. In contrast, Andy Harris understands the struggles of Maryland families, which is why he has called for lowering taxes and decreasing wasteful government spending to stimulate economic growth.”