Photo above: Attorney general candidates debate at University of Baltimore law school. From left, Aisha Braveboy, Brian Frosh, Jon Cardin
By Jeremy Bauer-Wolf
A debate in the Democratic race for attorney general Monday night turned tempestuous as Sen. Brian Frosh and Del. Jon Cardin threw accusations at one another, dominating much of the hour-long discussion.
The third Democrat in the race, Del. Aisha Braveboy of Prince George’s County, escaped the men’s criticism.
Frosh, a Bethesda senator, fired the first salvo early, condemning Cardin from Baltimore County for missing a significant number of House Ways and Means Committee votes during this year’s legislative session — nearly 75%, according to the Baltimore Sun.
A tagline for Frosh’s answers at the debate was “I will show up every day” in continuing with the theme that Cardin’s leadership is spotty.
Worse voting record, Frosh claims
“The fact is he has the worst voting record in committee of any member of the House of Delegates,” Frosh said.
Cardin shrugged Frosh’s comments off as “disingenuous,” saying his absence did not affect the outcome of any bill’s passage.
“I did 100% of the work for the citizens of my district, and went home to address the concerns of a pregnant wife during a rocky first trimester,” he said.
Cardin rebutted Frosh, accusing him of abstaining on multiple issues during votes in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, which Frosh chairs.
Pusuing health care exchange contractor
Later, Cardin attacked Frosh for statements Frosh made regarding the contractor on the failed Maryland health insurance website, Noridian Healthcare Solutions. Cardin said if he were attorney general, he would have pursued aggressive legal action against the company, and accused Frosh of not doing the same.
Frosh admitted he would not investigate Noridian because no crime was committed, but promised to sue and recover the state funds invested in the project.
Braveboy allowed extra time
The battle between the two men overtook so much of the debate at the University of Baltimore law school that Braveboy was allowed extra time simply to discuss her positions
Braveboy did not explicitly discourage her opponents’ attacks, but said in an interview after the debate that she felt glad to have shared her views on relevant subjects.
“We came here to hear about the issues that are important to Marylanders and they got a little too much back-and-forth,” she said.
Braveboy’s blazer was adorned with a teal blue ribbon that she said was a stand against human trafficking and sexual assault, a possible jab at Cardin’s endorsement last week from a Baltimore-based rapper “Ski Money” who has been charged with human trafficking.
The three candidates also addressed how they would alleviate Maryland’s gun violence and cut down on illegal gun sales — all three promised to place public safety as a priority, along with environmental justice.
Cardin emphasizes hazards of cyber crime
Cardin in particular emphasized the cyber component of certain crimes, and touted his success in “understanding the limits of technology.”
This devolved into another argument between him and Frosh, in which Cardin lambasted Frosh’s support of computer software that would replace part of Maryland’s bail system in response to a court ruling demanding lawyers at all bail hearings.
“It’s Orwellian and un-American,” Cardin said, referring to the software.
Poll standings and endorsements
Cardin currently leads the attorney general race, garnering 26% of the Democratic support in the primary, according to a poll published Monday by the Baltimore Sun. Frosh is in second with 16% of the votes, and Braveboy had 7% of the votes. Cardin’s lead may be insecure because 42% of voters are as yet undecided.
Frosh, from Montgomery County, has earned endorsements from Gov. Martin O’Malley, Senate President Mike Miller, and Rep. Chris Van Hollen, among other elected officials, and enjoys a hefty campaign finance account of more than $860,000, according to the most recent filing.
Cardin is nephew to U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin, who endorsed him again Monday as did U.S. Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, and has a campaign account of more than $485,000.
Braveboy is chairwoman of the legislative Black Caucus and member of the Economic Matters Committee, and most recently reported having just under $70,000.
The Attorney General functions as the state’s chief lawyer, managing the state’s largest law firm offering counsel to state agencies and the branches of government as well as serving as “the people’s lawyer.