ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Two Democratic gubernatorial candidates are clashing over the implications of the verb "to prance."

State Sen. Richard S. Madaleno Jr. has accused tech entrepreneur Alec Ross of engaging in dog-whistle politics by implying a state senator "prances around Annapolis talking" instead of getting things done. Madaleno is the only gay gubernatorial candidate.

He told The Washington Post that he thought the word choice was "interesting," and his campaign put out a statement calling it "poor and insensitive."

Ross maintains that he wasn't taking about Madaleno's sexuality. Ross' running mate, Julie Verratti, is the only other gay candidate in a crowded Democratic executive race field.

On Twitter, she said Ross was a good person who "made a poor language choice," and accused Madeleno of launching a "smear campaign."

___

Information from: The Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com