Yesterday Accokeek, Md.-based firearms manufacturer Beretta USA announced that it would shut down its plant in Maryland and move all manufacturing operations to Gallatin, Tennessee. Beretta cited the state's hostile anti-gun politics as a reason for the move, although the Italian company will keep its white-collar executive jobs in the Old Line State.
This is a gubernatorial election year in Maryland and the Washington Post-endorsed Democratic nominee for governor, Anthony Brown, lives in Prince George's County, which will lose 160 jobs thanks to the plant's relocation. So surely the Post's coverage of the move included some attention to Mr. Brown and his thoughts on the matter, right? Not a chance. Nowhere in Michael Rosenwald's 12-paragraph page B3 story -- yup, it was buried three pages deep in the Metro section -- was either Brown or Republican gubernatorial nominee Larry Hogan asked for comment.
For his part, Hogan did go on the record in a press statement released shortly before 8 a.m. Wednesday:
ANNAPOLIS, MD – Gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan this evening offered the following statement on Beretta’s announced closing of its Accokeek, Md. manufacturing plant.
"I am saddened to learn that the hard working women and men I met at Beretta’s factory in Accokeek in May will now lose their jobs as a direct result of the O’Malley-Brown administration’s high taxes and punitive regulations.
The dedicated workers at Beretta’s Accokeek factory proudly manufactured the primary sidearm carried by our nation’s servicemen and women around the world. The loss of these several hundred jobs will tear through the local community, as millions of dollars in economic activity and tax revenue evaporate and numerous small businesses that supported this factory and its employees also suffer.
Under O’Malley and Brown, Maryland has lost 8,000 businesses and unemployment has nearly doubled. In fact, 26 percent of our manufacturing base, and with it 25,000 jobs, has disappeared; today, Maryland is dead last in the nation in manufacturing. (Bureau of Economic Analysis)
Maryland’s working families can’t afford a third term of O’Malley-Brown; it’s time to bring integrity and common sense fiscal restraint to Annapolis so we can restore Maryland’s once strong economy.”
A visit to Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown's official campaign website yielded no reaction to the Beretta announcement.
For his part, Post scribe Rosenwald did quote a spokeswoman in Gov. O'Malley's office as well as Scott Peterson, "a spokesman for County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D)," who said, "We are disappointed to learn that Beretta will be moving their manufacturing out of Prince George's County. They have been a county business and employer for almost 40 years."
Brown and Hogan were tapped by their respective parties' primary voters back on the June 24 primary. Since then, however, coverage of the governor's race in the Post has been paltry. Brown is likely to win this November given the heavily Democratic breakdown of the state's voter registration, and as such there's probably little appetite on the part of his campaign for making a bigger splash in the media than he has to. Keep his head down, rely on the benefit of incumbency and the state's Democratic leanings, and avoid making any gaffes. Of course, a press corps that is diligent to avoid drawing him out to comment on relevant controversies and happenings in the state makes that strategy all the more tenable.