When the Baltimore Sun reported that Del. Jon Cardin, leading candidate for Maryland attorney general, had missed 75 percent of his House Ways and Means Committee votes for this year’s legislative session, his rivals seized on the news. And after a day went by without an explanation from Cardin, the Sun ran an editorial with the unequivocal title “One-Quarter of a Job Done.”
But today, Cardin issued a statement confirming that he had missed 121 of his 164 committee votes to attend to his pregnant wife and his daughter, and they were all, again according to him, times when his vote wouldn’t “have affected the outcome of a bill.” “I don’t regret making that choice,” he said.
In the statement he claimed to have “a nearly 100% attendance record in both committee and on the house floor” in his 12 years as a delegate. He also took the opportunity to tout the many pieces of legislation he has been responsible for this session.
As easy as it is to be up in arms about such a sensationally low attendance record, mud slung by his rivals is not terribly credible. Even the Sun‘s outrage should be taken with a grain of salt. It’s a story they enterprised, after all. And I’m sure they’d like it to go somewhere. And it’s rarely unpopular to give a politician a stern public lecture with a heavy dose of hey-buddy-I-pay-your-salary indignation.
And let’s even say those committee votes were missed not due to family obligations but due to Cardin’s campaigning for attorney general. “Cardin the Do-Nothing Legislator” is still a hard sell.
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