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Delaney and Garagiola at it again in 6th District race

The latest round of allegations between two Democratic candidates for the 6th District Congressional primary has been labeled “ridiculous” by both sides.
This week, state Sen. Rob Garagiola’s campaign released information and supporting documents that paint his opponent, Potomac businessman John Delaney, as a man whose lending company, CapitalSources, buys tax liens in bulk from local governments, attaches interest and fees, and forces homeowners into foreclosure for profit. Delaney’s campaign manager Justin Schall scoffed at the allegations.
The Garagiola campaign has stretched the truth out of proportion, Schall said. CapitalSource lent money to a company, Aeon, that is involved in such practices. Because of the lending relationship, he said, CapitalSource is listed on legal documents on the tax liens and foreclosure activities.
“It’s a complicated, and they are counting on CapitalSource’s name showing up in legal documents,” Schall said. “That is such a stretch, it’s ridiculous,” Schall said.
What’s really “ridiculous,” according to Garagiola’s camp, is Delaney claims to want to represent the same type of average American upon which his company preys.
“No one who made his money this way should be representing people in Congress,” said Sean Rankin, Garagiola’s campaign manager. “... He’s already taken their homes, now he wants to take their votes? It’s pretty ridiculous”.
Delaney fired off some ammunition himself last week that bloodies Garagiola’s record as a lobbyist with Greenberg-Traurig before being elected to the state senate in 2002. Delaney’s campaign issued a press release and documents revealing a working relationship between Garagiola and Rick Berman, a Washington, D.C.-based lawyer dubbed “Dr. Evil” for his efforts to hinder groups such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving, animal rights organizations and unions.
In his defense, Garagiola’s spokesperson Andrew Platt said his candidate “doesn’t recall lobbying for Rick Berman,” and does not share his views, as evidenced by his voting record in the Maryland General Assembly.
“For John Delaney to equate Rob to Rick Berman is outrageous,” Platt said. “Rob has been a champion of expanding health care access to families. As a state senator, he passed the strongest statewide smoking ban in the country. Rob’s grandfather was killed by a drunk driver, at which point Rob became deeply committed to anti-drunk driving advocacy and became president of Students Against Drunk Driving. And so he’s personally offended by John Delaney’s fabrications, especially this one.”
Both campaigns promise more damaging information will come out in the weeks leading up the primary election on April 3.
kheerbrandt@gazette.net

Given a choice, some top Republicans would rather go head-to-head with a veteran state senator than a novice politician in the 6th District race for the U.S. House of Representatives.

“No one should underestimate John Delaney, not only the Democrats, but the Republicans,” said Blaine R. Young (R), Frederick County Commissioners’ president and co-chairman of incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett’s campaign for re-election. “As a Republican, I’d much rather run against Rob Garagiola than John Delaney.”

He went on to describe Delaney as a “business person who can self-finance his campaign, while Garagiola has a work record of being a lobbyist.”

Eight Republicans and five Democrats are vying to represent the 6th District. Once a heavily Republican district, it was reconfigured last year to give Democrats, specifically Garagiola, the advantage in November.

But Delaney, a Potomac businessman who made millions as a lender to small businesses, is making major strides in an increasingly vicious primary contest. He’s racking up high-level endorsements — former President Bill Clinton and Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot (D) — and has put Garagiola on the defensive with well-timed attacks on his ethics, experience and voting record.

Local pundit and publisher/editor of FrederickPolitics.com, George Wenschhof, said it is doubtful Bartlett will emerge as the winner in November.

“In light of redistricting, Maryland 6th District Republican voters who say they favor facing one Democratic candidate over another are exercising wishful thinking,” Wenschhof said. “[They are] hoping for a result similar to what took place in the 2002 Maryland gubernatorial election,” when Republican Robert L. Ehrlich defeated Democratic candidate Kathleen Kennedy Townsend despite statewide voter registration numbers that heavily favored the Democrats.

“This should serve as a reminder for Democratic candidates and voters to keep their eyes on the prize,” Wenschhof said.

The Delaney campaign seems to have inspired some Republicans, despite the fact they don’t want to compete with him in the general election.

“Delaney has the most compelling record,” said Bud Otis, former chief of staff for Bartlett. “He’s been very successful in business, and we need more candidates like that. Garagiola has no real-world experience. He’s been a state senator and worked at a lobbying firm in Washington.”

Garagiola is not concerned Republicans say he would be easier to beat than Delaney. Campaign spokesperson Andrew Platt will not acknowledge the possibility that Delaney will claim victory April 3. Republicans, he said, will “face Rob in the fall.”

“And, yes, Rob is pro-marriage equality, pro-choice, pro-Dream Act and pro-green jobs, and Rob is running on his record,” Platt said. “And Rob is going to win on his record.”

The voting record, amassed during his 10-year career as a state lawmaker, does make Garagiola more of a punching bag for Republicans than Delaney, who has not served in public office, said Del. Justin Ready (R-Dist. 5A) of Westminster. But, according to Ready, Republicans have plenty of fodder to use against either candidate.

“While Delaney does not have a voting record, he has a lot of money and lots of big-money ties to liberal causes,” he said. “There’s a lot on both of them, both good and bad.”

In the most recent Federal Election Commission finance reports, released Jan. 31, Garagiola had raised $344,261 to Delaney’s $118,000, a sum he donated to his own campaign. The next reports are due April 15, after the primary.

On the plus side for Garagiola, Ready said, he has a solid base in the 6th District, and Delaney’s a wealthy businessman.

“That may not go over so well in this climate,” Ready said.

State Sen. David R. Brinkley, Garaiola’s colleague and a top challenger to Bartlett in the Republican primary, thinks the Democrats can work this one out for themselves, but his campaign would relish a race between himself and Garagiola.

“Candidates without voting records can, and do, say anything to win. That said, we'll let the Democratic voters figure this one out on their own,” said Don Murphy, Brinkley’s campaign manager.

He used the phrase “ideological street fight of the decade” to describe a would-be race between the two legislative leaders.

“Two, 10-year Senate veterans, on opposite sides of the political spectrum, mixing it up on issues they have been debating and voting on during the past two-and-a-half terms would finally settle the question of left versus right, more spending or less spending, tax cuts or tax increases, [Nacny] Pelosi or [John] Boehner,” Murphy said.

kheerbrandt@gazette.net