A Cardin-Steele debate - Who first invited whom?

Campaign Notebook

September 21, 2006

Instead of scheduling a time for their debut debate in Maryland's U.S. Senate contest, Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin and Lt. Governor Michael S. Steele are quarreling about who first approached whom to schedule a meeting.

Via a series of letters between their campaign staffs, Cardin and Steele both claim to have made the first move.

"In his letter yesterday acknowledging Michael Steele's desire for debates, Congressman Cardin wrote `We should let our staffs work out the details,'" Steele spokesman Doug Heye said in a letter.

"In fact, our campaign manager, Michael Leavitt, reached out to [Cardin campaign manager] Ken Morley for that very purpose on September 18th," Heye wrote. "To date, however, his phone call has not been returned,"

Cardin's camp replied with a call to launch a series of debates, starting today at a Catonsville retirement community. Morley told the Steele camp that Cardin has time tomorrow and Monday morning, as well, if today does not work.

"The Cardin campaign has made its negotiation process crystal clear: name a time, a place and an issue and Ben Cardin will be there to debate," Morley said in a statement.

"If Michael Steele wants to debate health care, Ben Cardin will be there. If Michael Steele wants to debate education, Ben Cardin will be there. If Michael Steele wants to debate the war in Iraq, Ben Cardin will be there.

"If Michael Steele insists on debating puppies, Ben Cardin will be there," said Morley, referring in jest to a Steele campaign ad. "With less than 50 days until the election, there is no time for a drawn out discussion process. Let's debate," Morley said.

Steele, the Republican nominee, declined to appear on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews last week, while the Democrats' Cardin showed. Both candidates were invited.

Meanwhile, Green Party contender Kevin Zeese is trying to get in on the debate action. Steele's campaign is lobbying for his participation, while Cardin's team has said they would like to focus on Steele.

Jennifer Skalka

Harford results final

The results of two close Harford County primary election races became final yesterday as the counting of all ballots was completed.

For the Republican nomination for sheriff, Norman R. Cochran, a former state trooper, edged another retired trooper, Joe Price. In the six-candidate race, Cochran captured 23.5 percent of the vote to Price's 22.9 percent - a margin of 109 votes.

In the Nov. 7 general election, Cochran will face L. Jesse Bane, a Democrat who stepped down in April after 34 years with the Harford County Sheriff's Office.

In the Republican race for register of wills, Harry L.W. Hopkins, a Democrat for 60 years who switched parties before the election, faced William G. Christoforo, the chairman of the Republican central committee. Hopkins hung onto his slim margin over Christoforo, winning 8,376 to 8,187. Hopkins will face Democrat Eric Roper in the general election.

Justin Fenton

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.