Cardin says he didn't endorse Almond in council race
U.S. Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin is refuting a claim made in a campaign flier that he has endorsed Baltimore County Council District 2 candidate Vicki Almond.
A statement released by Cardin’s office Friday afternoon says that he endorsed the four candidates for the Maryland General Assembly who are listed and shown on the flier with Almond in a group photograph of the “11th District Team,” but as to the open seat in the 2nd council district, "I have not endorsed a candidate.”
Cardin could not be reached for further comment.
Asked on Friday evening why Cardin would feel the need to issue such a statement, Almond said “I don’t know. I have the deepest respect for him. Maybe there’s some pressure, I don’t know.”
Almond said she did not speak with Cardin personally about an endorsement, which was handled by other members of the 11th District team, which includes state Senator Bobby Zirkin and Delegates Dan K. Morhaim, Dana Stein and Jon S. Cardin, who is the senator's nephew. All four are Democratic incumbents.
Zirkin stood by the accuracy of the flier. He provided an e-mail dated Aug. 29 and headed “quote from b.c.” sent by Del. Jon Cardin to Zirkin, Stein and others, that included the Sen. Cardin quote used in the flier: “The 11th district team has done an excellent job representing the community. I am proud to be their constituent.”
Two of Almond’s five rivals for the Democratic nomination in the district that includes Reisterstown, Pikesville, Ruxton and parts of Owings Mills said that if Sen. Cardin didn’t really endorse Almond, the flier is misleading.
Candidate Sherrie Becker, executive director of the Pikesville Chamber of Commerce, said she considered the flier "very deceptive...I think this demonstrates the importance of this race to the incumbents."
Alan P. Zukerberg of Pikesville, a lawyer and community activist running for the seat, said the flier appears to be a "misrepresentation...I think they should have known better."
Cardin is listed as making the endorsement along with four other community leaders:
Congressman Elijah Cummings, Baltimore County Executive James T. Smith, the Rev. Dr. Frank M. Reid III and former state delegate Arthur Alperstein. The flier includes quotes from each man praising the team.
Zirkin said the five candidates have been working together since the spring. Almond, a longtime community activist from Reisterstown, had served for four years as Zirkin’s chief of staff and also has managed Stein’s campaign.
Zirkin said Sen. Cardin gave the quote to his nephew, who then conveyed it to members of the team. Given the fact that Sen. Cardin and his nephew talked frequently about the team, he said it would be “preposterous” to suggest that Sen. Cardin didn’t know that the group included Almond when he approved the quote used in the flier.
Zirkin said the quote from Cardin “was given with full knowledge of what it was being used for. Vicki is a major teammate of the 11th District team. To suggest anything else is simply untrue.”
An ad for the 11th District team in this week's “Baltimore Jewish Times” includes mention only of the endorsements from Smith and Alperstein. Zirkin said Cardin's name was not used because "Jon (Cardin) said Ben's people did not want to put Ben's quote in the Jewish Times." He said the ad focused on Smith and Alperstein because they were well known in the district and would be most effective in that publication.
The four legislators — none of whom faces a tough race for their own seat this year — put their endorsement and their financial support behind Almond months ago. The four have contributed $115,800 to a slate that includes Almond, who has raised nearly $83,000 on her own, the most of the five Democrats in the primary race.