The gubernatorial campaign of Democrat Anthony G. Brown called out Larry Hogan Wednesday, charging that their Republican rival wouldn't let his running mate debate Brown's choice for lieutenant governor.
The Brown camp issued a press release Wednesday morning reiterating its challenge to Hogan to agree to schedule a televised debate in which his choice, Boyd Rutherford, would be matched again Brown's running mate, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman.
The Brown campaign released a statement from Ulman throwing down the gauntlet.
"Marylanders deserve the opportunity to hear from the Lt. Governor candidates in a debate, and see the clear choice between Lt. Governor Brown’s vision to fight for working families and Larry Hogan’s conservative Republican agenda,” Ulman said. “Larry Hogan’s entire strategy has been to hide his right-wing views from voters, and he's afraid that his backward agenda will be further exposed during this fall's debates.”
Brown' manager, Justin Schall, recalled that the Democratic ticket had proposed a Rutherford-Ulman debate as far back as July.
"For a campaign that claims to want to debate, it's interesting we haven't heard a peep out of anybody about a Rutherford debate," Schall said.
For the Brown campaign, the challenge to Hogan and Rutherford represents a bit of a turnaround. For months, Brown has been on the receiving end of taunts from Hogan about the lieutenant governor's preference for fewer face-to-face meetings than the Republican would have liked.
On Tuesday, WBAL said and the campaigns confirmed that a third televised campaign would be held Oct. 18. The campaigns had previously agreed to an Oct. 7 debate in Baltimore and an Oct. 13 match-up in Washington.
While lieutenant governor choices traditionally have had a limited impact on gubernatorial races, the Brown campaign believes it has a clear edge in a matchup of Ulman and Rutherford -- especially on a debate stage.
Ulman is a an experienced elected official who won two terms as the chief executive of a metropolitan county, the first of them in an especially tough race in 2006. Rutherford served as a relatively obscure Cabinet post, secretary of general services, in the Ehrlich administration. Rutherford, a lawyer, later served as an assistant agriculture secretary in the George W. Bush administration, but has never held elected office.