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Gansler rejects Brown counter-pledge

The Battle of the Pledges continued to rage in the 2014 campaign for the Democratic nomination for Maryland governor Friday as Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler's  campaign called Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown's proposed promise of a positive race a "political ploy."

Bob Wheelock, Gansler's communications director, charged that Brown's use of a "tracker" to videotape Gansler's public appearances has already violated the spirit of positive campaigning. He continued to challenge Brown to agree to Gansler's proposed pledge to keep third-party money out of the campaign.

"We aren't signing something whose 'positive' spirit has already been violated by the Brown campaign months ago," Wheelock said.  "Our campaign has been discussing issues and ideas that’ll make a difference to Marylanders for months. "We look forward to Lt. Governor Brown running on his ideas and record, he hasn’t yet."

Brown, under pressure from Gansler for more than a week to agree to discourage ourside groups from  running ads in the contest, countered Thursday night with a challenge to the attorney general and Del. Heather R. Mizeur of Montgomery County to agree to a "positive campaign pledge" under which each would agree not to launch attacks. The lieutenant governor's campaign contended that Gansler's proposed method of enforcing his pledge -- by requiring charity contributions from the campaign benefiting from third-party ads -- would run afoul of Maryland law. The state Board of Elections agreed with that contention.

Justin Schall, Brown's campaign manager, criticized Gansler's rejection of his side's preferred pledge.

"It's disappointing that it took less than three hours for Attorney General Gansler to dismiss out of hand our pledge to run a positive campaign and reject negative attack ads," Schall said. "I think it says a lot about the kind of campaign that Gansler plans on running."

Mizeur's campaign declined to take sides in the back-and-forth between her better-known rivals.

“Heather is already running a positive campaign on the issues and her record," said campaign manager Joanna Belanger.  "We are focused on ensuring Annapolis works for all Maryland families while our opponents have been engaged in an arms race of political infighting and insider jabs."

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