On the Campaign Trail - April 9

April 09, 2012

Dueling polls

In the stretch run before the recent 6th District primary elections, a few candidates proclaimed that polls had them in or near the lead.

Republican Joseph T. Krysztoforski cited a TelePoll showing him with 37.8 percent and incumbent Roscoe G. Bartlett at 38.94 percent, a “statistical dead heat” when the margin of error is 3 percent. State Sen. David R. Brinkley was next with 13.27 percent.

Brinkley’s campaign announced an poll it commissioned showing “a virtual dead heat” between Bartlett (34 percent) and Brinkley (31 percent). The margin of error was 4 percent.

Actual results were markedly different. Bartlett won with 43.6 percent, followed by Brinkley (19.8 percent), Del. Kathryn L. Afzali (10.2 percent) and Krysztoforski (7.6 percent).

Democrat John Delaney’s campaign said shortly before the primary that a new poll by Fred Yang of Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group had Delaney at 49 percent and state Sen. Robert J. Garagiola at 23 percent.

In that case, the predicted results were close to the actual results. Delaney won the race with 54.2 percent. Garagiola was second with 29.1 percent.

Last-minute link to 911 call

A few days before the Republican primary, a group calling itself “Victory for Bartlett” sent an email with a link to 911 calls involving state Sen. David R. Brinkley and his then-wife in 2008, a domestic dispute that was covered in news stories at the time.

Roscoe G. Bartlett’s campaign said it wasn’t responsible, and pledged to say who was if it finds out.

GOP candidates Joseph T. Krysztoforski and Robin Ficker denounced the attack. Ficker called it “sleazy.”

But another GOP candidate, Del. Kathryn L. Afzali, encouraged her followers to be aware of the “disturbing” 911 calls and pointed them to a blog where a link to the calls was posted. She called the tape “a liability” for Republicans if Brinkley won the nomination.

A day later, Afzali apologized to supporters “furious” about her decision to “highlight how disgusting the race had become,” calling it “a big mistake on my part.”

Afzali said in an interview that some people accused her of “hateful tactics,” even though “I was just passing on the information. Certainly, I was not the perpetrator.”

Groomed to run

During campaign forums and interviews, Del. Kathryn L. Afzali took jabs at most of her 6th District GOP opponents, but had nice things to say about one: Robert Coblentz.

On a radio show called “Good Morning Tri-State,” Afzali said of Coblentz: “Great kid. Just not ready. A lot of potential. I’m trying to recruit him to run for delegate.”

Coblentz, who lives near Williamsport, is currently in Republican Del. Andrew A. Serafini’s subdistrict. Under redistricting taking effect in 2014, Coblentz’s delegate would be Republican LeRoy E. Myers Jr.

Told about that, Afzali said, “Oh, it is? Oh, no. Well, we don’t want to lose the Republicans we have, certainly.”

But she reiterated that Coblentz has potential. “It’s incumbent on me in a position of leadership here to look to that next generation of people with passion,” she said.

Coblentz said he and Afzali have talked informally about his future, but he’s pleased with his representation in Annapolis and isn’t planning to run for delegate. “I certainly will remain active,” he added.

— Andrew Schotz

“On The Campaign Trail” will run periodically. Send campaign news and tips to Andrew Schotz at

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