Gansler ad shows lectern bearing name of missing candidate Brown

The images of two Democratic candidates for governor debating  -- with the missing third candidate represented by a lonely lectern and a name tag – have quickly shown up in a new television ad.   

Democratic candidate and Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler has pounced on front-runner Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown’s absence at Tuesday night’s debate at the WBFF (Fox45) studios.

Gansler’s 30-second spot – to appear in the Baltimore market immediately – opens with Gansler and Del. Heather Mizeur smiling and being applauded by the debate audience.

The shot moves closer to a lectern bearing Brown’s name. “In Baltimore on Tuesday, Anthony Brown skipped a major, televised debate,” a caption says. “Here’s a question. If Anthony Brown won’t even show up in Baltimore to debate, how can we trust him to stand up for us as governor?”

Brown’s campaign said he didn’t attend because the debate violated an agreement among the candidates to hold three debates. The campaign says he kept to the deal by scheduling two televised debates -– the next one is Monday night on Maryland Public Television  -- and one on radio.  

But Gansler’s and Mizeur’s campaigns said the agreement called for three televised debates.

Fox45 made the decision to hold open its invitation to Brown until two hours before the debate. It said it planned to reserve the lectern for him – right in the middle of the stage – and keep it there whether the candidate showed up or not.

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