Nancy King Denies Darker “Direction” to WaPo

In a Washington Post article about the challenges of being a Muslim candidate for office right now (fasting for Ramadan on a campaign schedule? Difficult.), we find an update to the Saqib Ali/Nancy King story we blogged about this week.  On the question of whether her campaign materials used an image of her opponent, State Delegate Saqib Ali, which had been altered to make his complexion darker, Maryland State Senator Nancy King elaborated on the denial her campaign provided to us on Wednesday:

…there was “absolutely no offense meant by it.”

“I’m not sure what happened with it. It could have been an error in our proofing. It could have been a printing error,” King said. “He infers that I did that to make his skin look dark. That’s not what this campaign has been about from the get-go. We live in a very diverse district and we don’t even need to go in that direction.”

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Saqib Ali: “It’s plain for anyone to see.”

This afternoon, I wrote about a piece of campaign literature from Maryland State Senator Nancy King, which featured a picture of King’s opponent, State Delegate Saqib Ali sporting a noticeably darker complexion. I wondered if the picture had been photoshopped, but the King campaign denied editing the image in any way.

I called Ali to tell him about his opponent’s denial. This was his response:

It’s plain for anyone to see, if you put them next to each other. It’s very obvious. I don’t know why they did it, it doesn’t make sense. I wouldn’t expect this kind of behavior from any Montgomery County Democrat. I think she owes everyone a real explanation, not just an evasion. Voters should wonder why they are doctoring photos in this way and why she won’t come clean.

King Campaign Denies Darkening Ali

The questionable image I asked about...

Earlier today, I wrote about a piece of campaign literature currently circulating in Maryland from State Senator Nancy King, featuring what looks like a photoshopped picture of her opponent, State Delegate Saqib Ali. In it, Ali’s skin looks visibly darker. I contacted the King campaign to ask about it and this is what they had to say:

First off, at no time, in any way whatsoever, did we, or would we, alter photos or attempt to insinuate anything about Delegate Saqib Ali other than the verified facts we have consistently laid out through this campaign — the fact that he fell asleep and missed a crucial vote on education funding, and the fact that he broke his promise to reject special interest funding and then accepted $50,000 in corporate and PAC money.

That’s interesting, and I’m grateful they took the time to respond, but if they didn’t alter photos, then why does the picture of Ali look like it’s a recolored, mirror-image of the other photograph in the mailer? Curiouser and curiouser…

The Color of Campaigns

I spy, with my brown eye…some photoshopping.

UPDATE: We reached out to both campaigns for their reactions. Here is a statement from the King campaign and here’s a response from Saqib Ali.


We’re in the thick of campaign season and while I tend to focus on the Mayoral race or candidates with confusing names here in the District, last night I saw something eye-catching from Maryland, where State Delegate Saqib Ali is challenging State Senator Nancy King to represent the 39th district.

What you see to the right is a mailer that King sent out to potential voters about Ali. I saw it and had flashbacks to O.J. Simpson’s infamous mug shot, on the cover of Time magazine. I thought of that moment in magazine history because of the striking change in Ali’s complexion. Now, it is entirely possible that in four years, Saqib Ali got some sun. Also possible? That whoever designed this flier used the same photograph, but flipped it directionally, recolored the suit…and Saqib’s face. There’s only one way to find out– I just reached out to the King campaign for comment. Continue reading