Hecht signs 'code of conduct'

Democrat Sue Hecht said she signed the pledge in hopes of turning around a Senate campaign against Alex X. Mooney that has been

Democrat Sue Hecht said she signed the pledge in hopes of turning around a Senate campaign against Alex X. Mooney that has been

June 27, 2002|by LAURA ERNDE

FREDERICK, Md. - In an attempt to change the tone of a state Senate race she says has been marred with charges of deception and insults, Democrat Sue Hecht signed a campaign "code of conduct" Wednesday and urged her opponent to follow suit.

"I owe it to all of our citizens who feel disenchanted with politics and turned off to the point they're not involved," Hecht said during a press conference in front of Frederick City Hall.

Without mentioning Sen. Alex X. Mooney's name, Hecht called on him to join her in running an honest campaign for the District 3 race, one that focuses on the issues.


"We're spending too much time talking about things that are not issues. Let's put it down and let's move on from this," she said.

Hecht, who was elected to the House of Delegates twice, said she has always run her campaigns ethically. She declined to discuss specific reasons why she is now signing a code of conduct.

Mooney, a Republican, said Hecht had not contacted him about signing the pledge.

"I certainly can't sign something I've never seen. I guess she's desperate right now because she's not happy with the new redistricting lines," he said.

Hecht said she doesn't think a Maryland Court of Appeals legislative redistricting plan, which swapped Sharpsburg and Fairplay for more of southeastern Frederick County, will hurt her chances of unseating Mooney in the general election.

Mooney said Hecht has been personally attacking him for three months. He cited a "Mooney Toons" graphic on her Web site,

"I haven't been teased like that since grade school," when classmates called him "Looney Mooney," he said.

Hecht has removed the graphic, which she used to introduce his voting record, but said it wasn't because of the pledge.

"We're not putting out anything that is not true. If we do it with a little bit of a smile, I don't think that's bad," she said.

One of the principles in Hecht's code of conduct, "I will not attempt to infiltrate or harm my opponent's campaign by deceptive practices," seemed to be directed at something Mooney's campaign manager did last month.

Erin DeLullo was caught sending e-mail to a Hecht campaign volunteer under a fake name. Mooney said what DeLullo did without his knowledge was wrong and has apologized for her.

Several other candidates signed Hecht's pledge at the press conference. Among them was Republican Tim Brooks, who is running for the House of Delegates in District 3A.

Among other things, Hecht pledged to:

n Respect the political process.

n Emphasize the facts of her and her opponent's record and background.

n Be able to support factual claims.

n Abide by all relevant campaign laws and regulations.

n Not make false accusations against her opponent.

n Not use or promote the use of deceptions or disrespectful behavior against her opponent.

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