Candidates for Maryland governor unleashed dueling attack ads Monday, heightening a negative contest that has been marked by name-calling and hostility.
Republican Larry Hogan's ad plays off an attack Democrat Anthony G. Brown has already lobbed against him: the opponent would take the state "backwards."
Hogan's 40-second ad highlights the pocketbook issues that he has made the centerpiece of his campaign and charged that the O'Malley-Brown administration was responsible for the economic recession.
Brown's new 45-second spot also recycles an attack on Hogan, accusing him of "hiding" positions on women's issues. Hogan has said that he is personally against abortion but would not work to change Maryland's laws if elected. Brown's campaign contends that Hogan can not be trusted to keep his word.
With just six weeks until Election Day, both candidates have aggressively begun attacking each other in recent days. Hogan held a press conference last week to call his opponent a "liar;" Brown has stepped up attacks on Hogan's positions on social issues.
Both digital ads released Monday are designed to chase voters around the Internet. Hogan's campaign spokesman Hannah Marr said their spot will be featured on newspaper sites across the state. Brown's campaign spokesman Jerid Kurtz declined to discuss distribution strategy for its ad, but said the campaign would put significant resources behind it.
Separately, the Brown campaign announced Sunday it had raised $3 million since the June 24 primary. The figure doubles the cash raised since the campaign's last finance report in August and suggests Brown may have surpassed Hogan's cash advantage. Hogan opted into the state's public financing system, a choice that granted him $2.6 million in taxpayer funds in early July.
Maryland's public financing system prohibits Hogan from raising any additional funds for his campaign, but the state's Republican Party has stepped in to help. The group said it raised more than $400,000 during a single fundraiser with Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie last week.
Brown's team, meanwhile, has not limit on how much it can raise and has scheduled a Sept. 30 fundraiser with Hillary Rodham Clinton.