Mfume Refutes Sobhani Ad Endorsement Inference “That is a Lie.”

Businessman Rob Sobhani, an Independent who is challenging Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) for the seat he has held since 2006, pulled a campaign ad that he was running featuring former Rep. Kweisi Mfume criticizing Cardin. He made the move after protests from Mfume and the Maryland Democratic Party, but later replaced it with a similar advertisement.

The radio ad, which was played on Black stations in Prince George’s County and Baltimore, featured a statement from Mfume taken from a debate between him and Cardin in 2006. At the time, Mfume and Cardin were running for the same Senate seat. Cardin, who has held elective office for 46 years, won the seat.

Mfume told the AFRO that the ad featured a short snippet from a 90-minute debate. He called its use “extremely misleading.” He said Sobhani, who did not seek his permission to use his voice, spent tens of thousands on the radio ads.

“It’s almost as if they are trying to pull a hoax on the Black community,” Mfume said. “I don’t know Mr. Sobhani. He never called me. I saw in the {Baltimore Sun} where they said they were pulling the ad, only to put it right back up.”

Mfume said he does not endorse Sobhani. “The inference is that he and I share values or are like minds or that I am supporting him and that is a lie,” he said. “Mr. Sobhani has run twice before, in ’92 and in ’96 as a Republican, so now he has recreated himself as an Independent and has spent millions attempting to buy a seat.”

Sobhani communications director Sam Patten said the ad was pulled after running for two days when state Democratic Party officials complained that it contained inaccuracies.

“There were some technical issues they raised,” he said.

The ad was not pulled because of Mfume’s opposition, Patten said. “In terms of former Congressman Mfume, he made the statements on the record as a public official.”

He said he did not believe any effort was made to contact Mfume. Of the errors in the ad, “a correction was made and a correct ad was put back on,” he said. “The changes were quite minor.” The {Sun} listed as inaccuracies Cardin’s salary and an assertion in the ad that Cardin will receive life-long health benefits when he leaves Congress.

“They’ve taken that out now and have put in stuff about prisons in our community, as if Mr. Sobhani is going to free us,” Mfume said.

The ad, again, features Mfume criticizing Cardin in the 2006 debate.
"You get in Washington, you get this Potomac fever. You just think that God put you there," Mfume is heard saying.

Mfume said he later endorsed Cardin for the Senate in 2006 and in January, joined President Obama in endorsing him again. He said he has taken out a “counter-ad” which is also currently playing on stations in Prince George’s and Baltimore that “sets the facts straight,” crediting Cardin for his work on minority business development, equal pay for working women and his establishment of the National Institute of Minority Health at the NIH. 

“I am very angry about it,” he said of Sobhani’s radio ad, “because I get tired of people trying to take advantage of our community for personal gain. This guy has come from nowhere…to try to buy a seat. Everybody wants to know where he’s been. Our community has been around forever, but where has Mr. Sobhani been?”

Patten said the Sobhani campaign stands by the ad. Cardin, he said, has been unresponsive to Blacks’ problems.

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Mfume Refutes Sobhani Ad Endorsement Inference "That is a Lie."


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