SILVER SPRING, Md. - It is political campaign season and things got a bit nasty in one race in Maryland. A campaign manager was fired after he was caught on camera trashing opponents' campaign literature.
At the Silver Spring Civic Building, candidates were allowed to store their campaign materials inside a storage room in the building. However, on Sunday evening, security cameras captured Will Smith, who is running for the Maryland senate, along with Lorig Charkoudian and David Moon, two state delegate candidates, putting away a box of filled with their campaign literature. They are all running on the same ticket along with Maryland State Del. Jheanelle Wilkins.
They said that box had about $600 worth of fliers, stickers and buttons.
A few minutes later, the cameras capture the campaign manager for one of their opponents, Darian Unger, walking into the storage room and look into their box. He then leaves and comes back.
But this time, he is seen peeking out the back door before picking up the box and walking it outside to the loading dock to throw it into a dumpster.
The candidates who lost their materials said they thought they had just misplaced the box at first. But when they couldn't find it days later, they asked the civic building to take a look at the surveillance footage. To their shock and dismay, they recognized the man throwing out their campaign materials as John Rodriguez, Unger's campaign manager.
"As you know, we work really hard to raise money from constituents, from voters, from family, from our friends in order to raise money to purchase those," said Wilkins. "It was just very troubling for that to literally go into the trash."
"What is more important than criminal charges is public accountability and commitments to positive clean campaigning going forward," said Charkoudian. "A few more days on this one, but hopefully in all campaigns in the future."
Unger did not immediately return our request for comment, but he did post on his Facebook page that he has fired Rodriguez and reached out to the affected candidates to apologize. He called his campaign manager's behavior completely unacceptable.
In the Facebook post, Unger also offered to pay for the cost of the materials. However, Wilkins and Charkoudian said they have not gotten any money from Unger.
Maryland's primary is next Tuesday.