Pat McDonough, a former Maryland state delegate, has been charged with misdemeanor theft after allegations he stole the campaign sign of a rival in the Republican primary race for Baltimore County executive.
McDonough, 78, was charged by summons Tuesday, court records show. He is accused of stealing a campaign sign of candidate Darren Badillo on East Joppa Road in May, and faces one count of theft under $100.
McDonough, of Middle River, said he was unaware of the criminal charge when contacted by a reporter Thursday, but added that he looked forward to his day in court. A trial is scheduled for Aug. 29.
“It’s a smear campaign against me, and it’s a big lie,” he said.
McDonough said he had found the Badillo sign on top of one of his own signs, which was damaged and on the ground, so he “impounded” it to use as evidence.
Earlier this week, the Baltimore County Republican Central Committee released a statement saying that on June 13, its members “formally voted to condemn candidate Pat McDonough for the theft of an opponent’s campaign sign.”
“If we don’t stand up to dirty politics within our own party, we have no right to stand up to it by Democrats,” Ray Boccelli, chair of a subcommittee on administration and ethics, said in a statement. “This wasn’t just an assault on a campaign, this was an assault on the First Amendment.”
According to charging documents, someone sent Badillo photos of a man identified as McDonough taking one of his signs.
Badillo said he didn’t want to “tarnish the Republican Party,” but sought criminal charges because he felt McDonough needed to be held accountable.
In addition to Badillo and McDonough, four others are running in the July 19 Republican primary: Henry Ciezkowski, Thilo August Albert Gluck, A. Scott Pappas and Kimberley Stansbury.
In 2018, McDonough unsuccessfully ran in the primary for county executive against former state insurance commissioner Al Redmer, who lost the general election to now County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr., a Democrat.