Mitchell campaign lists nonsupporters as backers

March 20, 2007|By John Fritze | John Fritze,sun reporter

In an early campaign gaffe that initially rankled some political insiders and fundraisers, City Councilman and Baltimore mayoral candidate Keiffer J. Mitchell Jr. distributed a list of financial supporters that included people who are undecided or who support his opponent in this year's election.

Mitchell, a three-term City Council member who officially announced his candidacy in January - and who appears to be Mayor Sheila Dixon's leading opponent - said the e-mail, which included several members of Dixon's transition committee, was a mistake.

The campaign quickly issued an apology.

"What happened is that it was an old list that we were using to vet through a lot of names," said Mitchell.

"When I sent the list out, we realized the mistake because a couple of people called and said `Hey, I was on this e-mail.' I apologized to everyone with a personal phone call," he said.

The list, obtained by The Sun, was supposed to include members of Mitchell's campaign fundraising committee but in reality included political insiders the campaign was courting.

One name on the list was that of John Reith, chief fundraiser for former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. Another was Baltimore County Executive James T. Smith Jr.

Donald I. Mohler, a spokesman for Smith, said that Smith was not involved in the Baltimore mayor's race.

"My understanding is that that was just a mistake on the Mitchell campaign's part," Mohler said.

Attorney Lisa Harris Jones was listed even though - as a lobbyist - she is prohibited from raising money for political campaigns.

"I honestly believe it was a mistake," Harris Jones said.

The e-mail was sent only to people on the list, Mitchell said.

Mitchell's campaign sent an apology last week: "The e-mail identified the recipients as members of Keiffer Mitchell's finance committee, when in fact the addressees were part of another contact list."

john.fritze@baltsun.com

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