National Republican group targets 15 Democrats running for Maryland House of Delegates

A national Republican group just poured nearly $90,000 into mailing flyers that oppose more than a dozen Democrats running for the General Assembly.

The mailers were sent the same day the Washington-based Republican State Leadership Committee formed as an independent expenditure committee in Maryland, according to documents filed with the State Board of Elections.

David James with the RSLC described the mailings as “an initial investment this cycle that targets the clearest path to defeating the Democrat supermajority in the House of Delegates.” Democrats hold a veto-proof majority in the legislature.

He declined to say how much the group has budgeted for Maryland races or how the targeted candidates were selected.

The group says on its website that it spent $40 million on state-level races in 2015 and 2016.

As an independent expenditure committee, the committee is not allowed to coordinate its activities with any candidates’ campaigns. It must file a report each time it spends at least $10,000 on campaign activities.

The House of Delegates candidates targeted by the committee range from powerful House Speaker Michael Busch in Anne Arundel County to Democratic newcomers and challengers.

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One flyer mailed Friday targets Jon Cardin, who is seeking to return to the House of Delegates representing northwestern Baltimore County, after losing a bid four years ago to become state attorney general. The mailer uses common Republican themes, saying Cardin would support “out of control spending” and voted for tax increases when he was in the House of Delegates.

Cardin, an attorney, was in court Monday and unavailable for comment.

Anne Arundel has the most targets on the committee’s list: Busch, delegates Ned Carey and Mark Chang and candidates Mike Rogers and Sandy Bartlett.

In Baltimore County, in addition to Cardin, the committee is targeting delegates Eric Bromwell and Stephen Lafferty.

Other targeted candidates are Debra Davis of Charles County, Jessica Feldmark of Howard County, Del. Michael Jackson of Calvert and Prince George’s counties, Del. Sheree Sample-Hughes on the Eastern Shore, Del. Karen Lewis Young of Frederick and Harford County’s Del. Mary Ann Lisanti and Steven Johnson.

pwood@baltsun.com

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