Representatives of two of Maryland's printing and manufacturing trade groups are crying foul over the discovery of out-of-state union printing insignia on Democrat Kathleen Kennedy Townsend's campaign material - commonly called union "bugs."
"These jobs clearly could have been done in Maryland," said Art Stowe, president of Printing and Imaging Industries of Maryland, a group representing about 400 companies. "She's the lieutenant governor of Maryland. She's running for the governor of Maryland. This printing ought to be done in Maryland."
Townsend literature printed out of state includes a pair of full-color, four-page pieces handed out at most campaign stops. One is titled "Who's Fighting for Maryland's Future?" The other is "Who's Fighting for Maryland's Families?" The union bugs indicate that the material was printed in Pittsburgh.
An analysis of campaign finance reports shows that through the end of August, Townsend had paid $118,000 to companies outside Maryland for printing and campaign materials, and about $35,000 to in-state companies. About 40 percent of her campaign money has come from sources out of state.
Republican Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. paid about $181,000 to in-state companies and $8,600 outside of Maryland for printing, according to the reports. About 11 percent of his campaign dollars came from out of state.
Those numbers are likely to change today, when the campaigns are due to file finance reports with the state board of elections showing their expenditures through most of this month.
"If you're running for governor and you want to impress the business community, I'd say you want to do your printing in Maryland," said Mike Galiazzo, executive director of the Regional Manufacturing Institute, a group of 100 manufacturers and other business associations.
Neither the printing nor the manufacturing organizations have endorsed anyone in the gubernatorial campaign.
A spokesman for Townsend's campaign acknowledged yesterday that some materials are printed out of state - but emphasized that all of it is done by union workers. "We do a reasonable amount of our printing out of state," said spokesman Peter Hamm. "It has to do with cost and speed and other basic, bottom-line business reasons."
Hamm said keeping the price as low as possible on materials such as literature and bumper stickers "can make the difference between winning and losing a race in terms of how much money you have for television advertising."
But Stowe said that even if Maryland printing firms were more expensive, it's important to support in-state firms. He said his group has calculated that every $100,000 in printing expenses equates to one full-time job for a year in the industry.
Hamm said a major issue for Democratic candidates is the use of union workers, and he criticized the Ehrlich campaign for not using them. "I think it's typical of Republican campaigns to use nonunion shops," he said.
Ehrlich didn't deny that he relies on nonunion shops, as Maryland's largest labor union has endorsed Townsend and is running advertising on her behalf. "I think the appropriate thing to do if you're running for governor of Maryland is to print most of your materials in our state," Ehrlich said. "But her money comes from out of state, so why shouldn't the work?"