Ben Jealous
Maryland Democratic gubernatorial nominee Ben Jealous speaks at the grand opening of the party's state campaign headquarters in Largo on Aug. 30. (William J. Ford/The Washington Informer)

Dozens of Maryland Democrats celebrated the grand opening of the state coordinated campaign headquarters in Largo.

State and county leaders will help make phone calls, organize rallies and conduct other activities with less than nine weeks left until the Nov. 6 general election. One reason Prince George’s County was the chosen site because the jurisdiction has the state’s most registered Democrats.

“It’s a strong indicator on how important Prince George’s County is to the state of Maryland,” Malcolm Augustine, the Democratic candidate for state senator in legislative district 47, said inside the campaign office Thursday, Aug. 30. “We want to make sure we energize our neighbors [to vote] and they will do the same thing we’re doing.”

Augustine stood alongside five other well-known Democrats including Rep. Anthony Brown, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh and gubernatorial nominee Ben Jealous.

Rep. Anthony Brown (right) chats with Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh inside the Democratic Party’s state campaign headquarters in Largo on Aug. 30. (William J. Ford/The Washington Informer)

Besides the criticisms of President Donald Trump’s recent decision to freeze federal workers salaries and continued plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act, each speaker encouraged those in attendance to make sure everyone votes in November and, most importantly, chooses Jealous over Republican incumbent Larry Hogan.

“He’s very enthusiastic,” Alexis Hill, a federal worker who resides in Bowie, said of Jealous after seeing him for the first time in person last week. “He’s different because he has never held an elected office.”

The state Democratic Party announced Aug. 29 it has $1.6 million cash on hand with at least a dozen campaign offices statewide. Jealous said another eight are slated to open in the next several weeks.

Party officials reiterated that $500,000 more cash is on hand than was available about the same timeframe in 2014 when Brown unsuccessfully ran against Hogan.

However, the state’s Republican Party released a memo last week to illustrate it made more than 140,000 voter contacts in the last 30 days. In addition, the GOP has 25 field offices in a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans by a 2-to-1 ratio.

It also helps that Hogan and Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford has $9.4 million still available, compared to $386,000 for Jealous and running mate Susan Turnbull.

Although both Hogan and Jealous received out-of-state financial support, Hogan garnered more from Marylanders, according to campaign finance reports filed last week, with money donated between June 11 and Aug. 21.

The major contributors for Hogan include a combined total of $15,875 from Ted Lerner, owner of the Washington Nationals, his wife, Annette, and their son, Mark.

Several contributions of $6,000, the highest amount a candidate can receive, came from Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh; Thomas Bozzuto, chairman and founder of the Greenbelt-based Bozzuto Group real estate firm; and Jessica Bronfein, whose husband, Michael Bronfein, who oversees a medical cannabis company. The couple chose to donate to Hogan although they have supported prominent state Democrats in the past.

As for Jealous, he plans to pick up some major support from Maryland Together We Rise, an independent super PAC comprised of organizations from the state and country. It reports having nearly $380,000 cash on hand.

Those who contributed to Jealous for this campaign cycle are Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland) at $6,000; former Democratic gubernatorial opponent and Baltimore attorney Jim Shea’s campaign committee at $6,000; and $3,000 from Elizabeth Bagley, former ambassador to Portugal during the Clinton administration.

Maryland Democratic leaders stressed that money helps, but doesn’t guarantee a victory.

“This is the year of the people,” Jealous said. “This is the year voters are standing up and saying, ‘We’re going to go where our hope is.’ We’re running a positive campaign to inspire voter turnout. That’s how I won the primary and that’s how we’re going to win this general [election].”

Coverage for the Washington Informer includes Prince George’s County government, school system and some state of Maryland government. Received an award in 2019 from the D.C. Chapter of the Society of...

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