Hours before the Democratic candidates for governor were set to square off in their first televised debate, the Maryland Republican Party released an online video mocking the entire field.
Called “Uninspired,” the video depicts the Democratic candidates for governor — a crowded field that includes Ivy League grads, accomplished lawyers, veteran lawmakers and a Rhodes Scholar — as boring bumblers.
“These debates should come with a viewer warning message; ‘Be advised prolonged exposure will result in extreme boredom and likely deep sleep,’” Maryland Republican Party Chairman Dirk Haire said in a news release.
The ad takes particular aim at three candidates: Krish Vignarajah, a former policy advisor to Michelle Obama, for allegedly not living in Maryland long enough to run for governor; Ben Jealous, the former president of the NAACP, for drawing a relatively small turnout to a rally with Sen. Bernie Sanders; and author Alec Ross, for his opening comments at a previous forum.
“The candidates will be forced to contend with the toughest questions like, ‘Where do you live?” the ad says, cutting to Vignarajah. “’How many Bernie Sanders supporters does it take to fill the corner of a basketball court?’” it adds, cutting to Jealous. “Who the heck are you anyway?” it says, showing Ross struggling through an opening statement at a forum.
The ad relies, in part, on material from a Washington Post article depicting apathetic voter response thus far to the Democratic field.
Monday is the first of five scheduled debates in the Maryland Democratic primary race.
The hour-long WBAL-Maryland Public Television debate is to be taped in the morning and aired at 7 p.m. Monday. Candidates will have 90 seconds to introduce themselves and then field questions in a moderated debate.
The crowded field is scheduled to have one televised debate per week over the next five weeks until the June 26 primary.
The winner will face incumbent Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, who has raised more money than all the Democratic combined in the field.
Kathleen Matthews, chairwoman of the Maryland Democratic Party, responded in a statement saying Republicans must be scared of her party’s candidates.
“Clearly Larry Hogan and his Republican Party are running scared because the strong Democratic field is highlighting all the ways he has shortchanged Maryland and energized voters are listening,” she said.