Balto. Co. candidates spar over mailer highlighting challenger's past

A Baltimore County Council candidate is crying foul over a campaign mailing by his opponent that highlights arrest records.

In a mailing delivered to voters this week, Councilwoman Cathy Bevins claims challenger Jeff Beard has a record of "committing crimes." The two face each other in the June 24 Democratic primary, vying to represent the district that includes Middle River and Essex.

The mailer from Bevins' campaign says Beard was arrested and pleaded guilty to DUI; was arrested on three counts of battery; and was charged with resisting arrest.

In a press release, the Beard campaign said the literature is misleading, and says Beard has "never committed a crime."

In 2007, Beard pleaded guilty to a drunken-driving charge in Ocean City, according to online court records. The campaign's statement says that case "was a teaching experience for him," and that he received probation before judgment, which is not a conviction.

Online court records also show prosecutors did not pursue battery and resisting-arrest charges against Beard stemming from a 1989 incident. Beard's campaign says the charges relate to an incident involving his late wife, and that Beard had called police to their home for assistance. The campaign claims there was a misunderstanding that led to Beard's arrest, and they note the charges were dropped.

Bevins said her campaign included accurate information in the mailing.

"It's all true – no misrepresenting anything," Bevins said.

The mailer also accuses Beard of "fiscal irresponsibility," saying he declared bankruptcy.

Beard told The Baltimore Sun the bankruptcy case was related to financial problems with a bar and restaurant business he owned with others.

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