A look at Jim Brochin's radio ad in Baltimore County executive race

Democrat Jim Brochin hit the radio airwaves this week with the first broadcast ads in the race to become the next Baltimore County executive.

The 60-second spot has been airing on several Baltimore radio stations, including WBAL (1090 AM), Z104.3, Today’s 101.9 and 102.7 Jack FM. The ad buy cost about $175,000, Brochin said.

The ad is narrated by a woman who is Brochin’s neighbor saying he is “one of the really good guys.” She runs through a list of votes and policy positions Brochin has taken before concluding that Brochin is “the real Democrat for Baltimore County executive.”

“It’s a positive piece, but it shows the differentiation between me and my opponents,” Brochin said.

What the ad says: The ad has seven specific claims about Brochin, including:

  • He supports building and renovating schools “in every part of our county.”
  • He is the only county executive candidate to vote to ban assault weapons.
  • He is the only candidate who voted to “take guns away from domestic abusers.”
  • He “stands up to big developers” and “said no” to the $43 million in incentives for the proposed Towson Row project.
  • He “saved” Towson Manor Park.
  • He’s working to stop development at Lake Roland.
  • He wants to turn Spring Grove into a regional park.

The facts: Two of the claims state campaign promises: to build and renovate schools and to turn Spring Grove, a former state hospital in Catonsville, into a park.

Two claims relate to votes Brochin has taken as a member of the state Senate: banning assault weapons and voting to “take guns away from domestic abusers.”

Not all of the leading candidates had opportunities to vote on those bills, including Democrat Vicki Almond, who serves on the County Council, and Republican Al Redmer Jr., who is the state’s insurance commissioner.

In 2013, in the wake of the Sandy Hook school shooting, Brochin voted for the state’s Firearms Safety Act that banned many assault weapons. Democratic candidate Johnny Olszewski Jr. and Republican candidate Pat McDonough, both state delegates at the time, voted against the bill.

In 2009, Brochin voted for a bill that gave judges the authority to order people to surrender their guns when a protective order is placed against them. Olszewski and McDonough voted against the measure.

Olszewski has since said he made the wrong decision on those votes and that his views on gun control have evolved.

As for Towson Row and Towson Manor Park, Brochin was outspoken on those issues. He railed against the Baltimore County Council’s vote to give the financial deal to the Towson Row developers and he opposed then-County Executive Kevin Kamenetz’s plan to relocate a fire station to the park.

Kamenetz later abandoned the proposal to put the fire station at the park. The County Council — including Almond — voted to approve the financial deal for Towson Row.

Brochin was not in a position to take a vote or formal action on either proposal.

Likewise, Brochin has criticized a proposed development near Lake Roland Park, though he doesn’t have any official oversight or vote on the project.

Analysis: Brochin’s ad is generally factual, though it may overstate his role on some issues. It crams in a lot of information about the candidate in 60 seconds and serves to introduce Brochin to voters.

Brochin could benefit from being the first to go on the airwaves in the county executive’s race, though the other candidates are expected to follow suit as the election nears. The primary election is on June 26, with early voting starting June 14.

pwood@baltsun.com

twitter.com/pwoodreporter

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