Del. Rick Impallaria said Thursday that calls from his legislative office to reporters reminding them of his congressional campaign kick-off announcement were "an honest mistake."
The aide, who didn't identify herself, did acknowledge to a reporter that she was not campaign staff and did work for the legislative office.
When asked why she was making the calls from the delegate's legislative office on a state phone she replied "I'm just doing what I was asked to do."
Impallaria is running in a five-way Republican primary for the right to challegen five-term incumbent Democratic Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger in the 2nd Congressional District.
In an interview 30 minutes later at state Republican headquarters in Annapolis, Impallaria acknowledged that the calls came from his staff but said any violation of legislative ethics was unintentional.
"Delores must have picked up the state phone by accident," Impallaria said. "Normally we would use the cell phones for a call like that."
"It was an honest mistake," he added.
Using state offices and staff for campaigning is a violation of legislative ethics though such violations typically result in little more than a hand slap.
Last month Del. Kathy Afzali, a Frederick County Republican who is running for congress in Western Maryland, apologized for sending an email to supporters from her state account. In that email she asked for donations to her congressional campaign, according to a story published in The Gazette.
Impallaria's announcement in Annapolis comes less than 30 days before the April 3 Republican primary. He informally announced his candidacy in January after filing on the last day.
Since then, the delegate said he's "been laying the ground work" for his campaign including calling voters in the district, creating a campaign website, and doing a little fundraising.
A recent report for Impallaria was not available and the delegate said he didn't know how much he had raised.
In the end, the reminder calls didn't have the desired effect. Only one reporter attended the briefing along with a legislative intern.
After it was over, Impallaria offered the intern a chance for a photo but the intern didn't have a camera.
"So who do you work for?" Impallaria asked the intern.
Wait for it.
"Actually, Sen. Jacobs," he replied as he walked out the door.