Attorney General Doug Gansler said Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown picked Howard County Executive Ken Ulman as his running mate for governor because of his “dowry” in a recording obtained by the Washington Post.
Gansler made the comments during a July 15 meeting with campaign volunteers for his own gubernatorial campaign, according to the Post.
“[Brown] picked up Ken Ulman for the dowry," said Gansler in the recording. "He got the $2 million dowry. And Ken Ulman is a nice guy… I like him. He’s a very good guy and a competent guy. Anthony picked him and got the $2 million dowry, but he doesn’t do anything for him electorally because nobody’s heard of him outside of Howard County.”
Doug Thornell, a Gansler strategist, said in an email Gansler’s comments came from an “illegally taped conversation between Doug and a small and diverse group of volunteers.”
Brown announced Ulman as his running mate in Columbia on June 3. The Brown/ Ulman campaign did not respond to a request for comment about Gansler’s remarks on Wednesday.
Brown said he chose Ulman because of the county executive’s innovation, leadership and vision at the June announcement.
Ulman reported having $2.1 million in his campaign account as of January 2013, while Brown reported having $1.6 million.
In the recorded comments, Gansler also commented on Anthony Brown. He said that Brown’s campaign slogan is, “Vote for me, I want to be the first African American Governor of Maryland," and added, “That’s a laudable goal, but you need a second sentence: ‘Because here’s what I’ve done, and here’s why I’ve done it.”
Brown addressed the comment on Tuesday, saying that Gansler was focused on his race rather than his record, according to the Washington Post. Brown’s campaign manager asked Gansler to apologize, but Gansler said “I said absolutely nothing wrong. I said what I think people believe, which is that we should not be talking about race,” according to the Post.
A Gansler campaign response provided by Thornell stated that Gansler “believes that candidates running for office should be judged on their record and ideas and not on their race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation.”
The statement went on, “[Gansler] understands that taken out of context, as it was, his words could be misinterpreted by some and for that he is deeply disappointed. The Brown Campaign will most likely try to mount a personal attack against Doug, and that is deeply troubling, as is their focus on dirty tricks over discussing real issues and innovative solutions that will improve the lives of Marylanders.”
For local political pundits the comments provided fodder for conversation in what has been a relatively uneventful campaign so far.
“My take on these comments is that, while kinda stupid, they're not the worst things to be said,” wrote local blogger Bill Woodcock, on The 53, “and frankly, both ring with some truth. But these sorts of comments are for the campaign spinmeisters. Not for the candidate.”State Democratic blog Maryland Juice had readers weigh in on the statements, one wrote, “What’s remarkable to me in addition to the content of the remarks is that they may be an omen for Mr. Gansler’s campaign if he doesn’t adopt a more disciplined approach to what comes out of his mouth from here through next June.”