"Having botched the job of rolling out Maryland's Health Exchange, Lt. Governor Brown owes a full explanation of why it's not working and what is he doing to fix it," Ivey said in a statement.

Brown's campaign and his state office declined to comment Wednesday. Brown's campaign had said that providing affordable care to Maryland residents was worth working through any obstacles to get the exchange working.

Gansler also said Brown defended insurance companies dropping policyholders when he said recently, "Let's be clear: These are not cancellation notices." Brown went on to say the notices were letters informing people they couldn't renew plans in 2014 that are considered substandard.

Typically, insurance companies offer to renew or discontinue polices annually, sometimes with different benefits or increased premiums.

Don Norris, chair of the department of public policy at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, said Brown is just as responsible for the lackluster state system as Obama is for the failed federal exchange.

"In my opinion, there's no excuse whatsoever for any of the websites ... to have failed in the way they have failed, because we know about IT and government, and we know what it takes to make a website or any other large project a success," said Norris, who has studied the use of technology in government. 

While most Marylanders connect the troubled health exchange to Obama, Norris said the Gansler campaign's attacks could link Brown's political ambitions to the troubled system in Maryland.

"There's a potential there for this to do some serious damage," Norris said, adding that Brown "needs to get out in front of it and address it."

Baltimore Sun reporter John Fritze contributed to this article.

meredith.cohn@baltsun.com

ecox@baltsun.com