Almost two months after former NAACP President and CEO Ben Jealous secured the Democratic nomination for governor, Maryland’s top two legislative leaders have finally come out and endorsed the Democratic candidate.
Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller (D-27) and House of Delegates Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-30) have finally endorsed Jealous in speeches they gave at a rally in Suitland on Thursday.
“The leaders who stood up today for teachers and for all our kids, are the same leaders that have stood up repeatedly for working families. I’m proud to have their endorsements as we work to make sure teachers are respected more and paid better,” Jealous said about the endorsements from Miller and Busch.
While Miller and Busch have endorsed Jealous two months after he won the Democratic Primary, some of the state’s other key Democratic leaders have held back from endorsing him – something that Gov. Larry Hogan’s (R) campaign has repeatedly noted.
Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett said he has not endorsed Jealous yet, citing the need to iron out policy differences with him, particularly over taxes, before Leggett can give the Democratic nominee his endorsement.
Hogan’s campaign has highlighted several Democrats from around the state who have either chosen to not endorse Jealous, like Comptroller Peter Franchot, or Democrats who have endorsed Hogan’s reelection, like Senator Jim Brochin (D-42).
“I can’t thank Senator Brochin enough, I am very proud to have his endorsement,” Hogan said in a statement. “I can tell you that neither one of us cares much about party. It’s not really about Republicans versus Democrats for either one of us; it’s always been about Maryland’s future and trying to bring people together.”
While some Democrats have been slow to endorse Jealous, many progressive have been quick to back him. This week, People for the American Way, a progressive advocacy group, endorsed Jealous’ gubernatorial bid.
The group’s political director, Lizet Ocampo, cited Jealous’ promise to stand up to President Donald J. Trump as a key reason for its endorsement.
“Marylanders deserve a governor who will fight back against Trump’s assaults on their rights, and Ben Jealous has been defending the rights of all Americans for his entire career,” Ocampo said.
Meanwhile, Hogan has earned the endorsement of the Maryland Fraternal Order of Police this week, with the group’s leader citing his commitment to defending police as the reason. The group specifically mentioned Hogan’s support for the Hometown Heroes Act, a law that allows some police officers, firefighters and other emergency responders to deduct the first $15,000 retirement income from state taxes.
“Every single day, law enforcement officers in Maryland put their lives on the line to protect and serve their communities – and when we put on our badge in the morning, we know that our governor, Larry Hogan, has our back,” said Vince Canales, President of the Maryland State Fraternal Order of Police.