REVISED AND UPDATED: Phil Dacey and the Robocall in Frederick Alderman’s Race
Update # 3
[updated by Brian]
Please scroll down to see the full length of this story.
I had a lengthy conversation with Maryland Republican Party Chairman Diana Waterman this afternoon about the robocall organized by the Phil Dacey Campaign in the Frederick Alderman’s Race; this conversation contradicts some of the sources both in my original story as well as streiff’s update
Chairman Waterman was called last week by Ted Dacey to do the call against Donna Kuzemchak. Ted Dacey asked the state party to do the call “against this Democratic candisate who hadn’t paid her taxes.” Dacey did not share the back story on Kuzemchak, nor did Waterman ask Dacey for additional details or if there were extenuating circumstances about her inability to pay. Since the party is often asked to play the role of bad cop during this races, and since the story streiff links to from the Frederick News-Post was reported on back in May, she saw no harm in bringing this up as an issue.
State party officials did see what she assumes was a copy of the script. It said that Kuzemchak did not pay her taxes and had a lien place on her home; is this the kind of persona you want running your government, and to vote no on her.
What Ted Dacey did not tell Waterman however was the fact that he had pitched the idea of the robocall to the other candidates as well as the Frederick County Central Committee. All others involved said no. While Dacey didn’t share it, Waterman noted that she did not ask Dacey, nor did she follow up with the other candidates or the Central Committee to see if they were in agreement.
Chairman Waterman says that she made a mistake in assuming that the call was on behalf of committee, and for assuming that Ted Dacey was presenting all of the information.she needed to make an informed decision without looking into the facts and looking into Kuzemchak’s circumstances or to see if the bill had been paid. She promises not to make that mistake again…
[updated by streiff]Brian’s post from last evening got quite a bit of attention, including from some who claimed the story was incomplete.
The actual story is substantially different that he original story.
The Dacey campaign did launch an robocall against the Democrat candidate Donna Kuzemchak. The robocall was based on this May 13 article from the Frederick News Post which pointed out that Ms. Kuzemchak’s home was on the verge of being sold for arrearages in property taxes:
A former Frederick alderwoman now seeking a return to office saw her property go to tax sale Monday because she did not pay her property taxes.
Donna Kuzemchak was among 856 property owners in Frederick County on the list. She owes $3,860.27 in unpaid taxes and a fine for her house on Frederick Avenue, according to Diane Fox, Frederick County’s director of treasury.
Personally, I don’t have an issue with the call. I think having your home on the verge of foreclosure when you are running for public office calls into question your fitness to serve and your reasons for serving.
According to the Dacey campaign and reliable sources inside the MDGOP, the Dacey campaign and the MDGOP not only agreed upon the robocall but they agreed upon the attack on Kuzemchak. It appears that the Frederick GOP and other candidates in the race may have been in the dark about the call but the call does not appear to have been inappropriate or made under false pretenses.
Then the question becomes why the Frederick GOP wasn’t told. It could have been a missed communication. However, it was widely rumored that two of the GOP candidates for alderman, Dave Schmidt and Katie Nash, had entered into some kind of a Survivor-like alliance where Schmidt and Nash would ask their supporters to vote for Kuzemchak and vice versa. The robocall blew this alliance up and hence the epic levels of butt-hurt now being expressed. So maybe the call wasn’t announced for a reason. Who knows? My experience with the MD GOP makes me believe it was a case of one hand not knowing what the other was doing.
Bottom line. The Dacey campaign did the robocall. The robocall was cleared by the appropriate authorities in the MD GOP in regards to content. The Frederick GOP seems to have been out of the loop.
Last night The Quinton Report reported on robocall shenanigans in the Frederick City Elections last night. While the original reports were discussing incorrect polling places, the call was actually much more sinister than that.
What makes this worse is the fact that the Dacey campaign involved the name of the Maryland Republican Party in their robocall. Sources confirm that Phil Dacey’s brother Ted Dacey contacted the state party and asked for permission to use the Maryland Republican Party authority line on a robocall. State Party officials were under the impression that the call was going to be in support of the Republican ticket in Frederick; instead, the authority line was used in the attack call against Kuzemchak.
I have confirmed that none of the other candidates for Alderman were aware of or approved this line of attack. Multiple Republican officials and candidates at the Frederick Victory Party expressed their disgust at the Dacey campaigns methods.
More on this story as this develops. I can tell you, as somebody who donated to Dacey’s general election campaign and somebody who has known Phil Dacey since we were in college, I am disgusted.