Simms critical of rival's remarks

September 07, 2006|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,Sun reporter

Maryland attorney general candidate Stuart O. Simms ratcheted up criticism of Democratic primary opponent Douglas F. Gansler yesterday, saying Gansler should withdraw remarks he made about his 2003 reprimand by the state's highest court.

Speaking outside the State House, Simms said that Gansler, the Montgomery County state's attorney, insisted in two radio debates last week that the Maryland Court of Appeals was wrong in censuring him for statements about pending murder cases.

"He should indicate he's going to withdraw his comment, Number 1, and that, Number 2, he would follow the rule of law," said Simms, a former Baltimore state's attorney.

Simms' remarks came as he was endorsed by former Gov. Parris N. Glendening, whom Simms served as juvenile services secretary and public safety secretary. Glendening called Simms a man of "quiet leadership" and integrity.

Gansler's spokesman, Mike Morrill, said Simms "mischaracterized" Gansler's remarks in the recent debates. "He has never said he is not living by the ruling. He has said the public deserves more information," Morrill said.

Gansler has long maintained that he disagrees with the court's ruling but would abide by it.

The court reprimanded but did not punish Gansler for out-of-court remarks about three cases. Among them, Gansler said one defendant confessed, and he spoke about a potential plea deal for another, which the court said could have jeopardized fair trials.

"We are disappointed that our opponent has chosen a campaign of negativity and hypocrisy," Morrill said.

Simms' Web site includes an "about Gansler" section.

"He is running his campaign like he ran his office, believing that all that matters is getting his face on television," Simms' campaign manager, Larry S. Gibson, said yesterday.

With longtime Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr. retiring, Gansler and Simms are vying for the Democratic nomination. The winner of the primary will run against the presumptive Republican nominee, Frederick County State's Attorney Scott Rolle.

Both candidates are pushing for votes in this last week of the campaign, with a flurry of endorsements as part of that activity.

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