Pica-Anderson story grows, from Pinocchio into imbroglio

September 07, 1994|By JoAnna Daemmrich | JoAnna Daemmrich,Sun Staff Writer

Months of tension in a closely watched state Senate race in Northeast Baltimore spilled over yesterday as both candidates fumed over political fliers and each accused the other of vicious campaign tactics.

Surrounded by several community leaders and supporters, state Sen. John A. Pica Jr. denounced his rival in the newly redrawn 43rd District. Mr. Pica charged that Del. Curtis S. Anderson had mailed out an inflammatory brochure calling him a liar over the weekend.

The oversize postcard features a caricature of Pinocchio and the words "Senator Pica is a liar" and "Throw the liar out" in red ink. Mailed individually instead of by bulk rate, the fliers contain no authority line, a violation of Maryland election laws, and repeat charges from four years ago that Mr. Pica had missed votes on key legislation.

For his part, Mr. Anderson denied any involvement in the mass mailing and quickly went on the offensive. He assailed Mr. Pica for using a photograph of homeless advocate Bea Gaddy without her permission in a campaign brochure.

Both men stepped up their attacks in the glare of television cameras at dueling news conferences yesterday. Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., a Prince George's County Democrat, and retiring Baltimore Sen. Nathan C. Irby Jr. were among those who came to the defense of Mr. Pica, while Ms. Gaddy appeared at Mr. Anderson's side.

"I guess the only thing that surprises me about all this is that I didn't see it earlier in the race," said city Councilman Martin O'Malley, who nearly defeated Mr. Pica four years ago.

Mr. Pica says he learned a lesson from his narrow victory in 1990 and reformed his attendance in the Senate to a perfect, four-year record. Now, he's copying Mr. O'Malley's campaign strategy and assailing Mr. Anderson's voting record in the House of Delegates.

Pointing to the unauthorized flier, Mr. Pica said he has called for an investigation by the state prosecutor.

"It states we have lied," he said. "We have painstakingly copied each and every roll call vote that Mr. Anderson has missed over the past four years. We stand by our statement that Mr. Anderson has the worst attendance record of any city legislator."

Mr. Pica, a 42-year-old lawyer, faces a tough challenge in the Sept. 13 primary from Mr. Anderson, a popular 44-year-old former television reporter who represented the old 44th District.

Mr. Anderson insists that he has been more than diligent and his record reflects it. Less than an hour after Mr. Pica accused him of sending the flier, Mr. Anderson responded, "I'm offended that it was sent out, and I'm offended that they said I did it. People do not like negative campaigning."

He appeared at the side of Ms. Gaddy, the 61-year-old activist for the homeless at a news conference at the law offices of Murphy & Gutierrez. Mr. Anderson works for the firm.

Attorney M. Cristina Gutierrez sat next to Ms. Gaddy, who demanded an apology from the Pica campaign for using her photo.

"The mail looked like it was from me. It was not," Ms. Gaddy said. "I will not allow myself or the people I work with and for to be politically prostituted by anyone."

Mr. Pica apologized for "any inconvenience or harm that was occasioned as a result of a mailing," but went on to say that Ms. Gaddy had agreed to be photographed specifically for campaign literature.

Ms. Gaddy said she never agreed to endorse anyone in the race.

The latest Pica brochure, the second one featuring Ms. Gaddy, has her photograph under a slogan, "I have one big reason why I will not support Curt Anderson."

Inside, the brochure continues, "Curt Anderson doesn't show up for work!"

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