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Garagiola Campaign Responds to @FakeGaragiola

Campaign manager calls parody tweets ‘despicable.’

The snarky tweets have been circulating since November, when state Sen. Rob Garagiola announced plans to run for U.S. Congress.

But now Garagiola's campaign team says parody tweeter @FakeGaragiola has gone too far.

The spoofer described Garagiola as a "smarmy," "philandering lobbyist" with "zero" accomplishments and characterized the lawmaker as a dirty politician, questioning his integrity by making claims about his personal life — infidelity, as of late.

The account has amassed more than 100 followers and published more than 50 tweets since Nov. 4, around the time Garagiola (D-District 15) started campaigning for the 6th District congressional seat.

Garagiola, 39, of Germantown, declined Patch's request for an interview, but campaign manager Sean Rankin responded on his behalf through email.

"Rob's children and family are off limits in the campaign," Rankin wrote. "Rob thinks it's despicable that someone would hide behind a computer screen and lob false accusations. This is Maryland, not Mississippi."

Rankin said Garagiola's campaign team believed someone who worked for Maryland Republican Party Chairman Alex X. Mooney was behind the spoof. He did not give a specific name and said he "can't be for sure" whether a Mooney staffer was actually involved.

Mooney, a former state senator, considered entering the 6th District race but is now throwing his support behind the Republican incumbent, U.S. Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett.

When reached by Patch on Wednesday, Mooney said he didn't know anything about the account and said he hoped whoever was behind it was in compliance with the law.

"I don't think I've ever looked at the site," Mooney told Patch.

Twitter permits parody accounts as long as they aren't intentionally deceptive or misleading.

Whether Twitter is the next logical space for political satire in a Web 2.0 world (remember @MayorEmanuel?) or blurs the lines of ethical discourse is still ripe for debate. Nonetheless, the tweeting public seems to be OK with them as long as it's obvious they're fake. It's doubtful, for example, that @Jesus_M_Christ's followers actually believe God is the one parsing wisdom in 140-character spurts.

And it isn’t as though politicians are oblivious to the power of social media — many of the 6th District candidates have a presence on Twitter. Garagiola, from his real account, and Democratic opponent, financier John Delaney have been hurling tweets — Garagiola goading Delaney to release income statements and Delaney accusing Garagiola of skirting financial disclosure rules.

Both candidates have posted blog entries at Germantown Patch ( and ).

But Rankin said the parody account's commentary on Garagiola's personal life was "out of bounds."

"When it's used in a respectful manner, Twitter can be a great tool to engage citizens," Rankin wrote. "But what matters most are the candidates' records."  

Jason Jasonson March 02, 2012 at 03:42 PM
Matthew Hurtt ought to be ashamed of himself for some of the vile things he has tweeted from the @FakeGaragiola account. He is a Republican though, so I can't be surprised. I really think Maryland Republicans are a sad sad bunch. The have lost so many elections, and have no chance in hell of winning a gubernatorial or senatorial race anytime soon. Hurtt's former boss Alex Mooney jumped in the 6th District race on the Republican side, but was one of the first to drop out, bc his campaign was an utter disaster. MD Republicans are so used to losing, that I guess they feel that spewing vile things via social media is the route to take. SAD!!
BaronVonMikard March 02, 2012 at 04:13 PM
But...is there any truth to the infidelity accusation? Has anyone bothered to ask?
Billy the moderate March 03, 2012 at 05:37 PM
I don't think many Democrats care about infidelity in their candidates so long as they think that they will be getting more of whatever they want more of: more money for schools, more support for illegal aliens, and now free contraception to 30 year old law students at Georgetown U who should really be looking into the Wilt Chamberlain scholarship for horizontally accessible women to subsidize their after hours activities.
Bob March 04, 2012 at 01:40 AM
What is really funny is the intellectually and factually dishonest tone you take. Talk about a sad bunch, you really need to look at yourself. Here in the one party state of Maryland, I find it laughable and rather sad that people like you throw false accusations at others and continue to blame the "other side" for all the woes that your laughable side creates. Who's paying you or are you just a closed minded blind left wingnut democrat? To laugh at the right during their "eating their young" is as funny as the left doing the same with the bull from both sides. keep blaming the right, like a child, those in the middle are sick of the dishonesty and outright lies of the left. It must be hard to be someone as petty and full of hate as you. Pity, ignorance seems to be your mantra and the ugliest people seem to always blame, as you so professionally seem to do. You fit the part, "you can't fix stupid". Wear it well. .
jnrentz1 March 04, 2012 at 10:40 PM
Interesting comments. Little did one know that there are those in Montgomery County who are interested in a different viewpoint, than the same old Democratic blather.

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