Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler (D), who is running in a competitive primary to succeed Gov. Martin O'Malley (D), continued to attack one of his rivals for the Democratic nomination this week over the troubled roll-out of the state's online health care exchange.
Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown was O'Malley's point person implementing the health reform law in the state. The website has been beset with structural problems since its October launch.
In an ad that could be mistaken for one released by a Republican attacking a Democrat, Gansler questions why Brown hasn't released emails between him and state workers developing the insurance exchange.
"Anthony Brown refuses to release his emails on the failed health care website," reads the ad's text. "He's running out of excuses."
The ad offers a number of excuses for Brown, including "The dog ate my emails."
A Baltimore Sun editorial last week noted that the emails were "withheld under an executive privilege exemption."
“[On Monday], Lt. Governor Brown skipped the second straight meeting of the oversight committee investigating the exchange,” Bob Wheelock, Gansler's communications director, said in a release on Tuesday. “He still refuses to release his emails about why he failed to oversee the launch or to suggest any solutions. He claims ‘executive privilege,’ but why should he have the privilege of covering up his failure when Marylanders have been harmed by his ineffective leadership?”
On Sunday, Maryland terminated its contracts with Noridian Healthcare Solutions, the company hired to build and operate the state’s online health exchange.
A Washington Post poll released last week found that Marylanders remain supportive of the Affordable Care Act despite the problems with the state's online marketplace. Just 5 percent of the poll's respondents blame Brown, though 24 percent said his role implementing the law will influence how they vote for governor.
Maryland Del. Heather Mizeur, who is considered the most progressive candidate in the race, called the roll-out of the online exchange a "failure of leadership" in January, taking an implicit shot at Brown.
A Baltimore Sun poll released earlier this month shows Brown with a sizable lead in the primary, though 40 percent of likely Democratic voters in Maryland remain undecided.
Maryland's Democratic gubernatorial primary is scheduled for June 24.