Area Democrats de­fend Clin­ton over con­tro­ver­sies

The Avenue News - - Front Page - By BRAD KRO­NER bkro­ner@ches­pub.com

Crit­i­ciz­ing the tem­per­a­ment of Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Don­ald Trump, politi­cians from Bal­ti­more County and from around the state ral­lied for Demo­cratic can­di­dates down the ticket at the Bal­ti­more County Demo­cratic Cen­tral Com­mit­tee’s Unity Din­ner on Oct. 20.

At the din­ner, mem­bers of the party voiced their

sup­port for Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Hil­lary Clin­ton, ar­gu­ing that her ac­com­plish­ments out­weigh her con­tro­ver­sies and that Trump lacks the tem­per­a­ment to be pres­i­dent.

Con­tro­ver­sies have sur­rounded Trump’s cam­paign since its start, as the mil­lion­aire real es­tate de­vel­oper has faced fre­quent al­le­ga­tions of sex­ism, racism, and xeno­pho­bia for his neg­a­tive rhetoric dur­ing his cam­paign.

Clin­ton has also been a light­ning rod for crit­i­cism, par­tic­u­larly for her in­volve­ment in her email scan­dal and the 2012 at­tack on a U.S. em­bassy in Beng­hazi.

Clin­ton has been heav­ily crit­i­cized for her use of a pri­vate email server while serv­ing as Sec­re­tary of State. After an in­ves­ti­ga­tion, the FBI de­clined to press charges against Clin­ton in the mat­ter.

For their part, lo­cal Democrats con­tend that her ac­com­plish­ments out­weigh her down­sides.

Bal­ti­more County Coun­cil­woman Cathy Bevins (D-6), who is a del­e­gate for Clin­ton and at­tended the Demo­cratic Na­tional Con­ven­tion, said Clin­ton has owned up to her con­tro­ver­sies.

“She doesn’t run from it,” Bevins said. “She ex­plained it. She apol­o­gized for it.”

Trump, she said, has not apol­o­gized for his con­tro- ver­sies.

Ben Smith, a re­gional lead for Clin­ton’s cam­paign, said that there’s a “great im­bal­ance” when com­par­ing Clin­ton’s con­tro­ver­sies to her “tremen­dous suc­cesses.”

Smith said that other high rank­ing gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials, in­clud­ing for­mer Sec­re­tary of State Colin Pow­ell, have con­tained emails on pri­vate servers, as Clin­ton did.

He added that seven con­gres­sional in­ves­ti­ga­tions — mostly led by Repub­li­cans — have found no ev­i­dence of ad­min­is­tra­tive wrong­do­ing by Clin­ton. Only two of the seven in­ves­ti­ga­tions — by the Se­nate Select Com­mit­tee on In­tel­li­gence and by the Se­nate Com­mit­tee on Home­land Se­cu­rity and Gov­ern­men­tal Af­fairs — weren’t led by Repub­li­cans.

Smith ques­tioned how Trump was qual­i­fied for the pres­i­dency. He ar­gued that Trump’s only cre­den­tial is his record as a busi­ness­man, but he has filed for bank­ruptcy six times. In one year, 1995, he lost nearly $1 bil­lion, en­abling him to avoid pay­ing fed­eral in­come tax for 20 years, ac­cord­ing to re­port­ing by the New York Times.

Oth­ers spoke against Trump’s neg­a­tive rhetoric.

“We have 19 days left to make sure Bal­ti­more County stands up and re­jects the pol­i­tics of hate,” said Bal­ti­more County Ex­ec­u­tive Kevin Kamenetz, who sharply crit­i­cized Trump and com­pared him to Ben­ito Mus­solini, a fas­cist Ital­ian dic­ta­tor who led his coun­try from 1922 to 1945.

U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-8) said Trump is “run­ning against the very idea of what it means to be Amer­i­can, be­cause what it means to be Amer­i­can is the idea that we can come to this great coun­try from dif­fer­ent places re­gard­less” of wealth, eth­nic­ity, or re­li­gion.

U.S. Rep. John Sar­banes (D-3) said that it is “our obli­ga­tion to elect Hil­lary Clin­ton as our next pres­i­dent.”

The lat­est polls show Clin­ton is ahead 48 per­cent to Trump’s 41 per­cent na­tion­ally.

At the third pres­i­den­tial de­bate, Trump sug­gested that he might not ac­cept the re­sults of the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

At the din­ner, Van Hollen said, “I will ac­cept the re­sults” of the Se­nate elec­tion. The con­gress­man is run­ning against Del. Kathy Szeliga (R-7) for Mary­land’s open se­nate seat, which will be va­cated by Sen. Bar­bara Mikul­ski (D) when she re­tires at the end of this term.

Van Hollen cur­rently holds a sub­stan­tial lead in the polls.

Many at­ten­dees re­ferred to Van Hollen as “our next Sen­a­tor,” in­clud­ing Kame- netz and Sar­banes.

U.S. Rep. C. A. Dutch Rup­pers­berger, who has worked with Van Hollen in the Mary­land del­e­ga­tion since 2003, said he was the first Demo­crat to en­dorse Van Hollen in the pri­mary elec­tion.

Johnny Ol­szewski Jr., who rep­re­sented Mary­land’s 6th Leg­isla­tive Dis­trict for two terms from 2006 to 2013, en­cour­aged vot­ers to sup­port Demo­cratic can­di­dates down the bal­lot.

“As Democrats, we need to con­tinue speak­ing to is­sues fac­ing work­ing fam­i­lies,” he said, not­ing that his party’s strength is its sup­port for work­ing fam­i­lies.

He ex­pressed frus­tra­tion that the elec­tion has “drifted away from the is­sues” and be­came “focused on per­son­al­i­ties.”

“My hope is that in the fi­nal weeks, cov­er­age will shift to the is­sues,” he said.

Rup­pers­berger echoed those com­ments, say­ing that what mat­ters to vot­ers are the is­sues.

“This is one of the more neg­a­tive cam­paigns I’ve seen,” he said. “I try to stay to the is­sues. That’s what peo­ple want.” Fol­low me on Twit­ter @brad­kro­ner.

PHOTO BY BRAD KRO­NER

Democrats stumped for can­di­dates up and down the ticket at the Oct. 20 Unity Din­ner.

PHOTO BY BRAD KRO­NER

U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen, a can­di­date for the U.S. Se­nate, spoke at the Unity Din­ner.

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