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McDonough bill seeks to bounce opponent out of Baltimore County executive's race

State Del. Pat McDonough is sponsoring a bill that, if passed, could impact the campaign of his political opponent for Baltimore County executive.

McDonough’s bill would require state cabinet secretaries and anyone who is “head of a governmental unit” — including the state’s insurance commissioner — to resign if they wanted to campaign for office.

The bill would affect McDonough’s opponent in the Republican primary for county executive, Al Redmer Jr., who serves as the state’s insurance commissioner.

“He is Maryland’s biggest state government regulator and he’s asking people for money and votes,” McDonough said. “That is clearly a conflict of interest.”

Redmer shrugged off the bill as “just Pat being Pat.”

Redmer said he’s insulating himself from influence from insurance companies and agents by declining to accept campaign donations from them.

Redmer’s campaign website includes a notice to potential donors that he won’t take money “from individuals or businesses regulated by the Maryland Insurance Administration.”

In 2017, Redmer returned $3,800 in campaign donations because the donors were part of the insurance industry, including $2,500 from the State Farm Agents and Associates Political Action Committee, according to his most recent campaign finance report.

McDonough said Redmer’s policy isn’t good enough, because it still leaves room for him to accept donations from spouses or children of people who work in the insurance industry. He made his pitch to a General Assembly committee earlier this month. The odds of his bill passing are uncertain as a key procedural deadline looms on Monday.

McDonough said his bill reflects good public policy by eliminating possible conflicts of interest. He wonders whether it might get more traction in a non-election year.

“If the Democrats were smart, they’d put it through the pipeline,” McDonough said. “If I were not running for office and Redmer were not running for office, I would think this would be a good government bill.”

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