The acrimony between Del. Jon Cardin, D-District 11, and Sen. Brian Frosh, D-District 16, escalated during the June 9 attorney general’s debate at the University of Baltimore, while Del. Aisha Braveboy, D-District 25, mostly stayed above the fray and focused on the issues.

From the opening moments of the forum at the school’s John and Frances Angelos Law Center, Frosh went in on Cardin about the widely reported assertion that the delegate missed 75 percent of his committee votes during the most recent legislative session.

“I will show up to work hard for you every day,” Frosh said. “That’s in sharp contrast to Jon Cardin.” Cardin shot back at Frosh about anti-child predator legislation, votes from which Frosh allegedly abstained.

“Why do you duck these votes?” Cardin asked.

The first official question of the evening came from the AFRO’s Roberto Alejandro, one of three journalists selected to query the candidates. Alejandro asked them to explain how their experiences in the Legislature and as attorneys would inform their decisions in the attorney general’s office.

“I’m the only attorney here who has stepped up on a pro bono basis and helped families facing foreclosure,” Braveboy said. “I practice what I preach; I practice what I legislate,” she added.

The issue of the candidates’ priorities sparked more fireworks between Frosh and Cardin. The Baltimore County delegate took aim at Frosh over a proposal to automate the state’s bail review system, suggesting his Montgomery County colleague would allow robots to determine people’s freedom. “That’s a comic book answer to a complex issue,” Frosh fired back.

Meanwhile, Braveboy brought up the issue of state healthcare providers gaming Maryland’s newly implemented and troubled version of the Affordable Care Act and the importance of the attorney general’s office in protecting consumers. She also stated – as she has throughout her candidacy – her opposition to the state’s position on the HBCU discrimination lawsuit.

“The state of Maryland has been defiant and arrogant in its treatment of Black colleges,” Braveboy said. Later during the forum, in response to a specific question about the plight of the state’s HBCUs and the segregative effects of duplication, Braveboy referenced a conversation she had with Gov. Martin O’Malley.

“Mr. Governor, the state is wrong here, we’re going to lose this lawsuit,” Braveboy recalled saying.

The Prince George’s County delegate and attorney also suggested the skirmishing between Frosh and Cardin obscured the important issues the next attorney general faces. “I think the people of this state deserve a discussion on substantive issues,” Braveboy said.

The contentiousness between Frosh and Cardin was perhaps exacerbated by a new poll released the day of the University of Baltimore debate by The Baltimore Sun. According to the poll, Cardin leads Frosh 26 percent to 16 percent with Braveboy getting 7 percent of the vote. However, an eye-opening 42 percent of voters were undecided with less than two weeks left before the primary election on June 24.

The issue of human trafficking was injected by Braveboy who wore a blazer anointed with a teal blue ribbon she said symbolized a stand against human trafficking and sexual abuse. The issue was brought to light in the attorney general’s race last week when Cardin was endorsed by Baltimore-based rapper “Ski Money,” who has been charged with human trafficking.

After listing his numerous high-profile endorsements, Frosh took another jab at Cardin. “You’ve been endorsed by Mr. Ski Money,” Frosh quipped.

Sean Yoes

AFRO Baltimore Editor