Baltimore County executive candidates Vicki Almond and Jim Brochin are trading barbs over sources of past campaign donations.
Almond called on Democratic rival Jim Brochin to donate the money he has accepted over the years from gun-related groups to gun violence prevention efforts.
"The next Baltimore County Executive needs to focus on making our schools and communities safer and preventing gun violence," Almond said in a statement. "The National Rifle Association and other gun lobby organizations' attempts to buy influence for their agenda has no place in Baltimore County."
Almond's campaign says Brochin, a state senator from Cockeysville, has accepted nearly $13,000 from "gun lobby organizations." That includes more than $2,000 from the National Rifle Association's Political Victory Fund, $6,500 from Marylanders for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership as well as donations from the Associated Gun Clubs of Baltimore and the Mt. Washington Rod & Gun Club.
Brochin has not accepted campaign donations from any of those groups since 2012.
Brochin responded, saying Almond, a county councilwoman from Reisterstown, should make a donation to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation in an amount equivalent to the thousands of dollars he says she's received in campaign donations from developers and development attorneys.
Brochin has made a campaign pledge to end "pay to play" politics he says results in developers having too much influence in Baltimore County politics. He failed in an attempt to pass a state law that would have banned developers from making campaign donations when they have projects under review.
Brochin said the money he accepted from gun-related groups is just a small portion of the more than $2 million he has raised over his political career. And he said he took key votes against the interest of the gun lobby, voting for a 2013 law that banned most assault weapons and for another law that requires people subject to protective orders to give up their guns.
"They didn't get their money's worth … I looked them in the eye and said: 'No, I'm not doing your bidding," Brochin said.
Almond defended the campaign donations she's received, and noted that Brochin has taken some money from developers, too. She said he's trying to deflect from his record on gun control.
"The idea of equating NRA contributions to legitimate businesses is ridiculous and offensive," Almond said in a statement.
Almond and Brochin are leading contenders for the Democratic nomination for county executive, along with Johnny Olszewski Jr., a former state delegate from Dundalk. Carney resident Kevin Marron also is running.
Two Republicans also are running for their party's nomination: Del. Pat McDonough and state insurance commissioner Al Redmer Jr.