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Tyro U.S. Senate Candidate Blunders When Asked About Governor

When you’re an under-funded challenger running against a name-brand politician who has been in public service for more than half a century, it’s a good idea to make the most of the few free-media opportunities that come your way. That was not the playbook that Antonio Wade “Tony” Campbell was working from on Sunday, when he appeared on WTTG-TV’s “Fox 5 News on the Hill” program, in Washington, D.C. Campbell, a political newcomer, won the Republican Senate primary in June, and is now running against two-term incumbent Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (D).   Republican U.S. Senate nominee Antonio Campbell Rather than align himself with the state’s popular governor, in the manner of 6th District GOP congressional hopeful Amie Hoeber and other Republicans around the state, however, Campbell expressed public irritation with Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R).  It came in response to a question from host Tom Fitzgerald, who asked about Hogan’s decision to sign independent Senate candidate Neal Simon’s nominating petition. “You have to ask Gov. Hogan that,” Campbell said. Fitzgerald pressed.  “Do you have any reaction to it?” Campbell hesitated. Then, after an audible sigh, he said, “It’s difficult to be the Republican nominee when you have your governor sign a petition for an independent.” Hogan’s decision to sign Simon’s petition, at the Tawes Crab and Clam Feast in Crisfield, was an innocuous act that Campbell should have turned to his advantage. “I’m sure the governor, in the privacy of the voting booth, will vote for me, just as I wholeheartedly support him,” would have been a fine answer. Followed up with: “It just proves what people know: Hogan is a regular guy, not a politician.” Downplaying the matter would have made all the sense in the world. Hogan’s ratings are in the stratosphere and — if he ends up with some free time this fall — he could easily swing by a Campbell fundraiser were he so inclined.  (The same goes for Lt. Gov. Boyd K. Rutherford, who also signed Simon’s petition, Bethesda magazine reported.) But Campbell, a political science and religion professor at Towson University, decided, for unknown reasons, to trash the head of his party on live TV. Speaking of money, Campbell’s campaign is running on fumes.  While the incumbent has raised nearly $4.3 million this cycle and had in excess of $3 million in his account as of the last report, Campbell had just $6,423, a number that looks like a typo but is not.  (If you’re wondering, that’s about 1/10 of a penny for every man, woman and child in the state.)   Simon, a millionaire financial planner from Potomac, by contrast, has raised $1.2 million and reported $661,089 cash on hand.   Campbell’s gaffe came at the tail end of a six-minute interview that could only be described as a wasted opportunity.   He stumbled when asked about his background, fumbled a description of a talk he gave at a Department of Defense-Veterans Administration conference, and bumbled his way through repeated questions about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.  He also claimed, without evidence, that the justices “shut down the presidential election in 2000.”  “The founders never dreamed of having nine people who are unelected, unaccountable, shutting down a presidential election.” The Hogan campaign declined comment. [email protected]


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Tyro U.S. Senate Candidate Blunders When Asked About Governor