House Environment and Transportation Committee Chairman Kumar P. Barve offers his thanks and condolences to Josie Hollingsworth after her testimony. Josie Hollingsworth, mother of Lauren Grzywacz, who died in 2014 when she was struck on Duke of Gloucester Street, testifies about the dangers of older drivers. The Americans for Older Driver Safety sponsored a briefing for the House Environment and Transportation Committee Thursday.
House Environment and Transportation Committee Chairman Kumar P. Barve offers his thanks and condolences to Josie Hollingsworth after her testimony. Josie Hollingsworth, mother of Lauren Grzywacz, who died in 2014 when she was struck on Duke of Gloucester Street, testifies about the dangers of older drivers. The Americans for Older Driver Safety sponsored a briefing for the House Environment and Transportation Committee Thursday. (By Paul W. Gillespie / Capital Gazette)

Two Democratic candidates for Maryland's 8th Congressional District are in a dust up over an ad that claims only one them has crafted laws to reduce the state's carbon footprint.

State Sen. Jamie Raskin began airing a series of ads late last month in the competitive race, including one that trumpeted his endorsement from the Sierra Club.

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"They all talk about climate change," the narrator says over a picture of the Democratic candidates. But, it goes on, "only Raskin wrote laws to reduce our carbon footprint." The ad points to a law he crafted in 2010 that required state agencies to buy 90 percent recycled paper and to set other green-friendly purchasing standards.

Not so fast, rival Del. Kumar P. Barve has argued. Shouldn't a 2009 law that required Maryland to reduce statewide greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent by 2020 count as legislation to reduce the carbon foot print? Barve, who was the Majority Leader in the House of Delegates at the time and is now chair of the Environment and Transportation Committee, was the lead sponsor of that measure.

The latest development in the dispute came this week when a third-party -- a fact checking effort led by Ballotpedia -- sided with Barve. The claims in Raskin's ad "do not square with the legislative record," the organization found.

On Sunday, Barve called for Raskin to take the ad down.

The Raskin campaign sees the sentence in the ad differently, arguing that it is not implying Raskin is the only candidate to write carbon laws but that he is the only candidate to do that and also "lead the fight" on fracking. But that raises additional questions, given that a 2015 moratorium on fracking approved by the General Assembly moved through Barve's environmental committee.

The distinction, Raskin argues, is that he proposed an outright ban on fracking, whereas Barve only championed a two-year moratorium.

"I am categorically opposed to fracking in our state and he is not, which is why I think I am justified in saying that I am the one leading the fight against it (not him)," Raskin said in a statement on Sunday. "The way to fight fracking is to ban it or, at the very least, to impose strict liability on fracking corporations so they can't escape the costs of paying for damages they cause through contamination of the water table, earthquakes, and leaks."

Barve and Raskin are running in a competitive race for the Montgomery County-based seat that will be left open next year because incumbent Rep. Chris Van Hollen is running for Senate. Other candidates seeking the Democratic nomination include former WJLA anchor and Marriott executive Kathleen Matthews, businessman David Trone, Del. Ana Sol Gutierrez, former Obama aides William Jawando and Joel Rubin, David M. Anderson and Dan Bolling.

The primary is April 26.

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