Ruppersberger denounces Holt's Senate campaign ad Suggested endorsement prompts flurry of calls to county executive

October 31, 1998|By Joe Nawrozki | Joe Nawrozki,SUN STAFF

Firing the latest shot in an extremely tight race on the east side, Baltimore County Executive C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger sharply denounced Republican Del. Kenneth Holt yesterday for a paid advertisement indicating he was endorsed by Ruppersberger in Tuesday's election.

"Ken Holt is an outright liar," Ruppersberger said. "I continue to support Mike Collins for the state Senate. I never expected anything like this from Holt."

Ruppersberger's anger was directed at a half-page ad in the Oct. 29 Essex Times showing his picture with three other prominent politicians -- Republican gubernatorial candidate Ellen R. Sauerbrey, 2nd District Republican Rep. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and Democratic county Councilman Louis L. DePazzo -- who have endorsed Holt.

The ad says, "For all the right reasons elect Ken Holt state senate." Holt is challenging Democratic incumbent Michael J. Collins.

"This unauthorized ad, my picture used and placed without my permission, is a distortion of reality," Ruppersberger said. "This tactic by Holt makes it clear he is desperate."

The ad also sparked dozens of calls to the executive's Towson office Thursday and yesterday, county officials said.

"The ad was a ploy, clear and simple, in the last local paper before the election," said Eileen Harris, a White Marsh caller. "They want to get Democrats to believe they should vote for Holt. It was awful."

Holt, a freshman delegate, called the ad "appropriate, reflecting something Dutch has said about me for years, both in press releases and in public. Dutch admires me.

"They can condemn me if they want," Holt said. "But I stand behind the ad. I worked hard to be an effective member of the legislative team in Annapolis."

Said Collins: "I'm disappointed my opponent would deliberately deceive the voters into thinking Ruppersberger supports him when he knows the executive supports me."

The race in the 6th Legislative District -- a sprawling region of waterfront communities, rural areas and a southern sliver of Harford County -- has been marred by hate mail, bootleg ballots and smear tactics.

Craig Chesek, a paid campaign worker for Holt, confirmed this week complaints by the Collins camp that Chesek and another Holt worker followed the senator and Ruppersberger and took pictures while the Democrats campaigned door-to-door in Perry Hall and Oliver Beach.

Chesek, an attorney in Pennsylvania, said following the "Ruppersberger team" allowed Holt and his strategists to better plan their work in precincts.

Some voters have questioned Collins' use of his legislative secretary to staff his campaign phones. Others have criticized the nearly $8,000 in various contributions to Holt from backers of a proposed motor speedway, pushed hard by Holt but defeated. Collins initially backed the Middle River motor speedway but later opposed it.

Pub Date: 10/31/98

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