Delaney, Garagiola trade barbs over campaign tracker

March 07, 2012|By John Fritze, The Baltimore Sun

Democratic congressional candidate John Delaney accused his leading opponent Wednesday of sending a campaign tracker to shoot video of him as he dropped off his elementary-age children at school, a move his campaign said "crossed the line."

Sean Rankin, campaign manger for state Sen. Rob Garagiola, who is locked in a bitter battle with Delaney for the Democratic nomination in Maryland's 6th Congressional District, denied the allegation.

A campaign aide for Delaney said the candidate noticed the tracker shooting video across the street as he dropped his children at a school in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. The aide said the tracker was the same person who confronted Delaney at a recent fundraiser.

Video from that earlier exchange became part of a web video the Garagiola campaign released this month.

"No campaign should ever use or exploit their opponent's children for political gain," Delaney campaign manger Justin Schall said in a statement, which called on Garagiola to apologize for the incident. "As a parent himself, Garagiola should know that."

Rankin immediately and repeatedly insisted the person did not work for Garagiola.

"We have not sent a tracker to take any photos of his wife or his family," Rankin said, calling the accusation "absolutely, totally false." The Garagiola camp also released a statement saying that "no one from our staff have or will approach John's family."

The tracker imbroglio is the latest in the tit-for-tat race, which has become increasingly negative in recent weeks. The primary is April 3. The district is currently held by Republican Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett, who is seeking an 11th term. 

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