Saturday, August 21, 2010

Correcting the Record in District 39

The Mike Miller slate push poll in the District 39 Senate race has sparked all-out war between Senator Nancy King and her challenger, Delegate Saqib Ali. Both sides have mischaracterized our work. It is time to set the record straight.

On May 28, we reported that a push poll had been conducted in District 39 spreading negative allegations about Ali. At the time, we said, “We cannot assign blame for the poll to King, Big Daddy or any other particular individual without more evidence,” and we ran an on-the-record denial from King.

On August 17, we reported that Senate President Mike “Big Daddy” Miller had formed a slate that included part of the Senate leadership plus two Senators thought to have potentially significant challenges: Baltimore County’s Kathy Klausmeier and Montgomery County’s Nancy King. Because the GOP was unable to field a credible opponent against Klausmeier, King was the only remaining slate member to face a serious challenge. We noted, “Mike Miller will do whatever must be done to keep Saqib Ali out of his chamber.”

On August 19, we reported evidence that Miller’s slate had used tobacco money to finance the push poll in May. We said, “If Mike Miller indeed used tobacco money to run a push poll against any Democratic candidate, that is a shameful act that stains the entire party.” We never said that King was directly responsible for the poll. Indeed, our blog post was titled, “Big Daddy Smokes Saqib Ali,” not “Nancy King Smokes Saqib Ali.”

In a screeching email sent to your author, King’s campaign manager accused us of making a “scurrilous attack” and spreading “malicious claims” because we supposedly accused King of responsibility for the poll. But the charge by King’s manager is unsupported by our actual work. We never accused Nancy King of commissioning the poll. Our suspicion is not directed at King, but rather at her supporter, Mike Miller. King’s campaign manager repeated the allegation in a mass email even though it is not grounded in reality.

As for Saqib Ali, he immediately blamed King. On Facebook, he said:

Wow. It never ceases to amaze me. My opponent Nancy King used money from Tobacco behemoth Phillip Morris to fund a campaign to spread lies about me: This is unnacceptable and dishonorable. Our politics should be better than this.

But this allegation has the same problem as the claims made by King’s campaign manager. We never said King took tobacco money and we never said King ran the poll.

Both campaigns are now mischaracterizing our work in pursuit of their efforts to destroy each other. We can’t stop them, but when they cite this blog in their future communications, let this post stand as our statement on this issue.