How long did it take for the first attack ad of the fall campaign for governor to surface? Seventeen hours after the polls closed Tuesday.
How long did it take for Democrats to counterattack? Another four hours. And for the Republican candidate’s campaign to volley back? Four hours more.
And this was just the first day of the 133-day run-up to the general election, which is likely to be as negative as the primary battle on the Democratic side.
Republican nominee Larry Hogan released his first attack video on Brown the day after the primary, lambasting his management of the health care exchange and multiple job killing tax increases.
Democrats immediately attacked the attack ad for using a rather goofy image — the last of several goofy images — of Ulman and Brown with arms in the strongman pose that came to be known as “Zaching” in support of the late Zach Lederer, a young man who died of recurring brain cancer and was the grandson of Del. Liz Bobo. The Hogan video made no mention of Zach or the cancer, but the state Democratic Party said it was “politicizing a cancer victim’s struggle.” The photo stays on the screen for about four seconds.
“It’s very upsetting that Larry Hogan would stoop to using an image of Anthony and Ken supporting Zach in his battle against cancer for a political attack,” said Maryland Democratic Party Chair Yvette Lewis in an email. “Zach used this pose as a symbol of hope for not only himself, but also for cancer patients across the world. I can’t understand how Mr. Hogan could actually think that it’s appropriate to exploit Zach’s message of hope for his own political gain.”
The Democratic statement said the image from Hogan’s ad was taken on March 21 which was declared “Zaching Day” shortly after Zach passed away from his battle with cancer. In response to Zach’s passing, the party said, there was an outpouring of support across the country as people posted pictures of themselves “zaching” in commemoration of Zach’s life.
In an email, Hogan spokesman Adam Dubitsky called it a ” wildly off base reaction.”
“That was the part of our ad with which they took issue?,” Dubitsky said. “Our use of a May 10 Facebook photo of Brown and Ulman flexing for the camera that lacked any caption whatsoever indicating what it was for?
“We thought the Lt. Governor might have at least wanted to respond to the ad’s critique of his administration’s forty consecutive tax hikes, or his botched $125M health exchange roll-out, or perhaps the doubling of the unemployment rate under his watch.”
The Hogan campaign provided a screenshot and link to the May 10 posting on Anthony Brown’s Facebook page.
And the campaign has just begun.