Muse flyer questioned over religious message

March 28, 2012|By John Fritze, The Baltimore Sun

Updated with additional response from Muse campaign. 

The head of the Baltimore Jewish Council raised questions Wednesday about a campaign flyer from Democratic Senate candidate C. Anthony Muse that notes that there are no African-Americans serving in the U.S. Senate but that there are 12 Jews.

Muse, a state senator from Prince George's Countyis black. He is running against incumbent Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin, who is Jewish. The primary takes place Tuesday.

"I'm not happy with it," said Arthur C. Abramson, the council's executive director. "I would ask the candidate why the only religion he identified is Jewish."

The flyer, which carries an authority line from Muse's campaign and is being distributed at early voting centers, has a picture of President Barack Obama and Muse with the words "making history together."

Obama has actually endorsed Cardin in the race and recently campaigned with the senator in Prince George's County.

The back of the flyer includes a list of the racial composition of the Senate and notes that there are no black members. Then, it lists the number of Jewish members as 12.

It's a contrast the campaign has drawn previously. Earlier this year Muse used his Twitter account to highlight a link to an article that discussed the number of Jews in the Senate. The campaign later deleted the tweet after it was noted by reporters.

Asked about the flyer, Muse campaign spokeswoman Brandi Calhoun said in an e-mail that it is "misleading and inaccurate, therefore we will have a response to that at the appropriate time."

The campaign did not respond when asked to clarify whether the Muse campaign had actually distributed the flyer or whether a third party was involved.

Muse's campaign, meanwhile, has never filed a campaign finance report with the Federal Election Commission as other candidates did last week. Calhoun said that Muse was not required to do so because he established his candidacy in February, late in the cycle.  

It's not clear why Muse's February entrance would exempt him from filing the pre-primary report, which was due March 22. The campaign did not respond to a follow up question seeking clarification. 

Update: In an e-mail Thursday, the Muse campaign said Calhoun's comments were directed at the line of questioning from The Sun -- not the flyer itself. The campaign also released the following statement, which was not attributed to any one individual.    

"The purpose of our campaign has been to give voice to those who HAVE no voice in our community and within the U.S. Senate.

"And what we have attempted to do in all of our campaign materials and messages is highlight that there are segments of our community that have no representation in the Senate.

"This has nothing to do with who IS in the U.S. Senate.

"It's about who isn't.

"It's just unfortunate that anyone would take any of this message out of context."

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