Annapolis confrontation adds tension to Montgomery County Council race -- Gazette.Net







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A confrontation in a Maryland delegate’s Annapolis office on the last day of the General Assembly session has links to two candidates running for the Montgomery County Council’s 5th District seat.

Del. Tom Hucker, one candidate, has accused a friend of Christopher Barclay, the other candidate, of entering and photographing his Annapolis office while he was on the House floor in the final hours of Maryland’s legislative session.

Hucker and Barclay are among five candidates running for the open council seat this June.

Exactly what transpired that evening is unclear, as three of the four men there that night offer varying accounts.

The only thing that is clear is that a man named Herbie Smith, who knows Barclay, was in Hucker’s office.

“I feel very violated, and I can’t imagine why I was targeted like this or what he was doing in my office,” Hucker (D-Dist. 20) of Silver Spring said. “I don’t know what to make of it. I hope it is not a sign of things to come.”

Barclay called the accusation “suspect.”

“I’m a little perplexed. This is out of nowhere,” said Barclay, a member of the Montgomery County Board of Education, on Tuesday.

According to a report filed by Maryland Capitol Police, three men — Smith of Columbia, Rahsheim Wright of Hyattsville and Nicholas Charles of Forestville — entered Hucker’s office just before 11 p.m. on Monday and were asked to leave by a staffer, Alex Rodriguez.

Rodriguez is the chief of staff for Del. Doyle L. Niemann (D-Dist. 47) of Mount Rainier, who has a nearby office in the Lowe House Office Building.

At the time, Hucker was on the floor of the House of Delegates.

Rodriguez said he and Charles, a Democratic candidate for the House of Delegates in District 25, were in Hucker’s office when Smith entered. Smith said Rodriguez invited all three men into the office.

Rodriguez claimed Smith was intoxicated, that he sat in Hucker’s chair and began taking pictures of various things in the office. But Smith said he was not intoxicated, that he remained standing the entire time and only took one photo, of his friends.

“Truth be told, Herb didn’t rummage through his [Hucker’s] desk like this is Watergate or something,” Charles said. And while Rodriguez said Smith refused to leave, Smith said that as soon as Rodriguez asked, he left.

“It was just weird,” Rodriguez said.

“It’s just another reason why people get tired of politics,” Smith said. “I know it’s politics, but, you know?”

In an interview on Tuesday, Barclay referred to Smith as a campaign adviser for him, but changed that on Thursday, calling Smith a friend who has given advice.

Smith said he is not connected to Barclay’s campaign.

Hucker said he can’t imagine that Smith being in his office was merely a coincidence.

According to Maryland Capitol Police spokeswoman Michelle Parker, the case has been sent to the Maryland State Police legislative security division for follow-up. No charges were filed as of Thursday.