Rapper's Cardin endorsement adds to storied history of rejected political nods
By By Doug Donovan and The Baltimore Sun
Jun 07, 2014 | 2:08 PM
Most political endorsements touted by candidates typically elicit yawns.
Until they garner gasps.
Del. Jon Cardin, a Democratic candidate for Maryland attorney general, rejected an impromptu endorsement he landed last week from a rapper with a rap sheet.
At a fundraiser, Cardin posed for a photo with Ski Money — aka Lawrence S. Christian — without knowing of the 37-year-old's criminal record. The rapper posted the photo to Instagram and Twitter with a note encouraging his followers to vote for Cardin.
The candidate briefly retweeted the message but later took it down after learning that Christian has several convictions and faces charges of human trafficking — charges that Christian's lawyer calls "unfounded."
Two candidates for Maryland governor in 2006 — incumbent Republican Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and Democratic challenger Doug Duncan — returned campaign contributions from convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
At last week's fundraiser, former Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon said Christian was telling candidates he could rally the support of young voters from a fan base that appears to include 107,000 Twitter followers.
It's easy to see the allure of such a promise, says one political expert. But there's also peril.
"In the era of social media, politicians who are eager to move at the instant pace of retweeting something from a celebrity figure (with many Twitter followers) face the risk of 'accepting an endorsement' from someone they hardly know, or even know anything about," Johns Hopkins University political science professor Samuel A. Chambers wrote in an email.