State Republican Party Orchestrating Ad Campaign Targeting Aruna Miller in Congressional Race

State Republican Party Orchestrating Ad Campaign Targeting Aruna Miller in Congressional Race

Mailers and Facebook ads criticize her for supporting an immigration-related bill

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Even though a Democratic candidate won’t be selected until the June 26 primary, the Maryland Republican Party is already targeting state Del. Aruna Miller in her bid to win the 6th District Congressional seat.

The state Republican Party is distributing mailers and buying Facebook ads that point to Miller’s sponsorship of a state bill that would prevent local and state police officers from inquiring about a person’s citizenship status.

Detractors of the policy have described it as a “sanctuary state bill.” In 2017, when the bill was first introduced in the legislature, state Senate President Mike Miller said his chamber would not pass it. The bill has not moved forward during this year’s General Assembly session, which ends Monday.

The Republican Party’s mailers accuse Miller of prioritizing criminals over Maryland citizens and one says “Delegate Aruna Miller is rolling out the red carpet for criminals coming to our city.” The ads also suggest Miller is supporting gangs such as MS-13 through her support of the bill and the party added a petition opposing Miller to its website.

The back and front of a mailer being distributed against Del. Aruna Miller in the 6th District Congressional race. Provided photos.

Miller described the ads in a statement as “dog-whistle rhetoric used by Trump Republicans to be despicable. They are not just attacking me, they are attempting to demonize all immigrants.”

Lauren Zehyoue, a spokeswoman for Miller, said Friday that Miller received one of the mailers at her home in the Germantown area. The mailers also are being distributed to voters in western Maryland, Zehyoue said.

The state Republican Party would not say where it’s distributing the mailers.

“Maryland voters deserve to know about Delegate Aruna Miller’s voting record,” Republican party Chairman Dirk Haire said in a statement about the ads. “It’s unfortunate that Delegate Miller resorts to name calling instead of explaining why she supports sanctuary state legislation that even the Democratic Party leadership opposes. This is yet another example of the civil war going on in the Democratic Party between progressives who don’t care about community safety and main-street Democrats who are willing to work with Republicans to keep our streets safe.”

A screenshot of the sponsored Facebook ad

The state bill is sponsored by 58 delegates, including a majority of Montgomery County’s House delegation. It’s similar to the county’s own policy of prohibiting local police officers from asking people about their citizenship status in the course of their normal duties.

The state bill would prevent state or local law enforcement from transferring an individual to federal immigration authorities for the purpose of immigration enforcement, but doesn’t prevent officers from providing information to federal immigration authorities about a person’s criminal record through a subpoena process.

Miller is running in a competitive campaign for the Democratic nomination in the district that includes Potomac, parts of northern Montgomery County, portions of Frederick County and western Maryland. She’s facing Total Wine & More co-owner David Trone of Potomac, state Sen. Roger Manno (D-Silver Spring), Army veteran Andrew Duck of Frederick, retired federal economist George English, pediatrician Nadia Hashimi of Potomac, and aerospace executive Christopher Hearsey.

Several Republicans also are running for the party’s nomination. The primary is June 26.

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