Dems in early attack against Steele
Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele's assertive campaign for U.S. Senate since the Sept. 12 primary has prompted national Democrats to start running attack ads sooner than they had planned.Steele frightens the Democrats because he threatens their hold on the black vote and without a 90 percent vote from blacks the Democrat party cannot win. Steele has sought to preempt the Democrats campaign with a clever ad saying that he expected them to charge him with putting puppies in a blender, but he in fact likes puppies.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee originally bought $1 million worth of TV time for the two weeks leading up to the Nov. 7 general election, then decided to start running ads Tuesday, according to the Steele campaign.
"This is a clear indication of the national Democratic Party bosses' scramble to maintain control over Maryland," said Michael Leavitt, campaign manager for Mr. Steele, a Republican.
Mr. Steele, the first black person elected to statewide office in Maryland, says the Democrats' strategy against him was revealed as early as last spring when an internal party memo was leaked to the press.
The memo called Mr. Steele, 47, a "unique threat" to black voters' loyalty to Democrats and advised Maryland Democrats to begin a "persuasion campaign ... as soon as possible to discredit Steele as a viable candidate for the community."
"Connecting Steele to national Republicans ... can turn Steele into a typical Republican in the eyes of voters, as opposed to an African American candidate," the memo stated.
Mr. Steele also points to the illegal theft of his credit report by a Democratic committee staffer a year ago, before he had declared his candidacy. The staffer pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor in federal court and was sentenced to community service.
"The fact that they had to steal it speaks to the fear that they have of my campaign," Mr. Steele said recently. "Quite frankly, the only way they think they can beat me is to, as they said in their own memo, denigrate and demonize me."