Thursday, August 19, 2010

King Campaign Responds to Slate Push Poll Story

Senator Nancy King’s (D-39) campaign sent us the following email in response to our story on possible financing of a push poll against Saqib Ali by Senate President Mike Miller’s slate.

Dear Adam,

You made an offensive and unsubstantiated accusation about Senator King this afternoon. The purpose of this email is to provide you with basic information that you overlooked in building your argument.

You wrote: “No member of the slate other than King had a competitive race at that time, and therefore had need of a poll.” The critical words in your sentence are “at that time” - because Senator King was not a member of the slate “at that time.”

Attached you will find copies of documents from the Maryland State Board of Elections that show that Senator King did not join the slate until nearly two months after the expenditures you referenced.

Senator King would have appreciated a phone call or an email before you launched this scurrilous attack. She would gladly have given you this information, if you had extended the basic courtesy of contacting her before you published these malicious claims.

You are aware that several candidates have quoted your blog on their campaign literature. To avoid a situation where this post is used to attack Senator King in anyone's campaign literature, we request that you retract it and notify your readers that you retracted it. In the absence of a retraction, we request that you explain to your readers how your theory is valid in light of these facts.


Amy Hartman

Amy Yockus Hartman
Campaign Manager
Friends of Senator Nancy King

Our Response:

My, what a strong tone in this email! We have long maintained cordial relations with Senator King, whom we have praised in the past. For example, on July 16, we wrote of King:

Nancy King is a better public servant than a politician. She draws considerable respect from other elected officials and the educational community, which she served as a school board member for two terms. In person, she is an easy-going, gracious lady from upstate New York who is a good listener and never comes across as a self-promoter. She is also not the conservative knuckle-dragger that Ali is trying to define her as.
We will attribute the use of terms such as “scurrilous attack” and “malicious claims” by King’s campaign manager to the stress of the election season. Such rhetoric by staff tends not to reflect well on the candidate.

The documents prove to our satisfaction that King did not join the slate prior to the push poll. In fact, we ran King’s on-the-record denial of involvement back in May and we have no reason to doubt her word. Despite Saqib Ali’s contentions, there is no evidence that King was responsible for the poll and we never claimed that she was. Our problem is not with King, but rather with Mike Miller.

The facts are troublesome here. The slate is under Miller’s direct control. Its payments to the polling firm occurred right before the push poll went out and no other slate members were vulnerable. Furthermore, Miller’s antipathy towards Ali – whether justified or not – is well known. The nexus between timing, circumstance and motivation is too close to be mere coincidence. And the use of tobacco money makes the story that much more compelling. If King did not run the poll, who else besides Miller – whose Deputy Chief of Staff once drafted an email from King to Ali – would have the money and the incentive to do it?

It is time for whoever was responsible for the poll to step forward. Otherwise, we will be discussing this issue again.