Nasty ads prevail at last minute

Robey `attack' spurs Schrader to respond in kind in Senate race

Howard County

Maryland Votes 2006

November 03, 2006|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,sun reporter

Stung by three attack ads assailing her votes on an emergency contraceptive - and an anti-GOP ad depicting the rear end of an elephant - state Sen. Sandra B. Schrader is assailing her Democratic opponent, Howard County Executive and former Police Chief James N. Robey, calling him a liar and "demeaning to women."

"I've got to try to clear my name. All I see are nasty pieces about me," said Schrader, who began airing ads Wednesday on Baltimore television - rare for Howard County politicians - attacking Robey, who is seeking to unseat the District 13 Republican representing southeastern Howard.

The 60-second television spot accuses Robey of lying about his involvement with the Maryland Democratic Senatorial Committee, which funded mailings attacking Schrader for her key "no" vote in a 24-23 defeat this year of a bill that would have allowed over-the-counter sale of the morning-after pill.

The brochures pictured packs of birth control pills and implied that Schrader had blocked their sale in Howard County. Schrader denounced the mailings as misrepresentations of her record and said she voted against the bill because it did not exclude minors.

"Obviously, Jim Robey doesn't care about the truth," the female voice in Schrader's television ad says. "Obviously, we don't need Jim Robey as our senator."

Robey at first said he knew nothing of the anti-Schrader ads or the senatorial campaign committee. After Schrader got state elections board copies of his Senate committee registration forms, which appear in the television ad, Robey said he had been confused but did not repudiate the Democratic attack ads.

Schrader's ad follows another hard-hitting mailing by her campaign depicting a crying, cowering young woman and accusing Robey of having a "history of disrespecting women," based on the Police Department's record.

The mailing refers to incidents during Robey's term as county police chief. In 1992, during his tenure, the department was accused of insensitivity toward a rape victim, and it was embarrassed by a 1995 episode in which police were allowed to pay for sexual contact in a failed attempt to attack massage parlor prostitution. Schrader also noted three sexual harassment suits lodged more recently against the department by female officers.

The first two charges came up in the 1998 campaign, when Robey beat Dennis R. Schrader, his current opponent's husband and now Maryland's homeland security director.

Robey, who has been endorsed by Maryland's chapter of the National Organization for Women and NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland, issued a statement that said, "My integrity has been attacked before by the Schrader family and their Republican strategists."

He called the attacks "a gross misrepresentation and distortion of the facts" - virtually the same charge Schrader made about the Democratic birth control ads.

Robey has denied knowing or approving of those ads, and Matt Patton, Robey's campaign manager, said he believes Schrader had prepared earlier to launch a negative campaign. He said she had $151,765 left as of her campaign finance report filed Friday.

"Why did she save all this money for the last week?" Patton said, adding that she paid $12,000 for a poll in October. "This is just her being desperate."

Robey reported having $48,213 left to spend.

The county executive, who was hospitalized briefly last week after a stone was removed from his bladder, moved to District 13 from Ellicott City in March. The district has 14,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans, and all three district delegates are Democrats.

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