A Republican state Senate candidate from Annapolis has admitted he falsely claimed to hold a college degree, saying he hasn't yet graduated.
Don Quinn, who is running against longtime Democratic Sen. John C. Astle, said he's been taking online courses from Washington State University for about four years, but is 12 credits shy of earning his degree.
Quinn's LinkedIn profile and an online biography he submitted to The Baltimore Sun claim he holds a degree from Washington State. His campaign website does not mention academic achievements.
"I'll take the heat for that one, because I wasn't paying attention," Quinn said Wednesday.
Quinn said he expected to finish his degree in political science this year, but campaigning, work and family commitments led him to decide to stop taking classes.
"I fully plan to finish it within a quarter or two of the election being over," said Quinn, who runs an online marketing company with his wife.
After speaking with The Sun on Wednesday, Quinn changed his LinkedIn profile to say his degree is "expected" in 2015. Underneath, he notes the item was changed "to reflect my new degree year which is still pending due to taking time off to run."
Washington State confirmed Quinn has been a student there but has not earned a degree.
Quinn's lack of a degree has been circulating among activists and was first reported on the Quinton Report blog.
Astle said the false claim of a degree raises "a big issue of integrity." Astle also has disputed some of Quinn's campaign literature, which claims the incumbent senator owns more than 400 guns, goes on annual African safari hunting trips and has a reserved booth at a restaurant.
Astle says those claims are exaggerated: He said he has 33 guns and has gone on hunting trips in Africa, but not every year.
"What's the deal? I've got guns," said Astle, a retired Marine helicopter pilot. "My home wouldn't fit 400 guns."
Astle also said he and his wife are regulars at Osteria 177 on Main Street in Annapolis, where management installed his name on their favorite booth. He said, however, he still has to call and make a reservation.
Quinn has said he'll correct any information Astle says is incorrect.
Quinn and Astle are running in District 30, which includes the Annapolis area and southern Anne Arundel County. Astle has held the seat since 1995; before that, he was a member of the House of Delegates.