One distinct feature Maryland Democrats in the state’s crowded gubernatorial race continue to highlight: who’s supporting their candidacy with the primary election six months away.
Last week, author and former nonprofit CEO Wes Moore emphasized endorsements from former Gov. Parris Glendening, state Sen. Delores Kelley of Baltimore County and Baltimore City Council member Robert Stokes Sr.
On the same day, Dec. 15, former U.S. Education Secretary John King Jr. announced endorsements from two aldermen with the Annapolis city council and former Del. Alice Cain from that city.
Two days prior, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) said in a video the best choice to lead Maryland will be Tom Perez, the former chair of the Democratic National Committee.
“I saw how he stood up for voting rights and vigorously enforced our civil rights law while at the [U.S] Department of Justice,” Pelosi said in a video Dec. 13. “We need a partner in Maryland, a state that I care very much about, who will work to deliver for working families . . . I believe that partner is Tom Perez.”
Todd Eberly, political science professor at St. Mary’s College in St. Mary’s, Maryland, said he wasn’t surprised by Pelosi’s support for Perez because of his work in the national Democratic Party.
With the General Assembly’s special session ending two weeks ago and health officials continuing to battle the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, it been difficult for one candidate to break away from the pack.
“I think more than anything it’s probably a reflection . . . you have strong candidates that for the most part have the finances they need to stay in the race,” Eberly said.
Although Baltimore City entrepreneur Mike Rosenbaum planned to fund most of his campaign, he bowed out of the Democratic race last month and decreased the list of candidates to eight.
On Thursday, Dec. 17, Jerome Segal brought the total back up to nine with his announcement to seek the Democratic nomination for governor.
Segal, 78, founded the Bread and Roses Party more than two years ago to establish socialist and progressive policies in Maryland. On Thursday, the party officially disbanded.
A few policy proposals from the former philosophy professor and author include incorporating a four-day work week, eliminating taxes for the bottom third of households and increasing gas taxes to pay for free or new forms of public transportation.
“It is much harder to build a third party. Voters, given the stakes involved, often see voting for a third party as throwing away their vote,” Segal, who currently works as a director of a non-profit organization called The Peace Consultancy, said in a statement. “And even in a safe election, if there is a Democratic victory in the offing, progressive voters want to be part of it.”
The other Democratic candidates include former Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III; former nonprofit executive Jon Baron; former Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler; Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot; and former Obama Administration official Ashwani Jain.
The four Republican candidates include Del. Daniel Cox, who represents portions of Carroll and Frederick counties; perennial candidate Robin Ficker; state Commerce Secretary Kelli Schultz; and Joe Werner of Baltimore County.
David Lashar of Annapolis represents the Libertarian Party and the 14th gubernatorial candidate.
Candidates have until Feb. 22 to declare their candidacy.
Besides the $2 million from his campaign reported early this year, Eberly said Franchot has one major advantage leading up to the June 28 primary: name recognition.
“In many respects, there are few things that can quite compare to someone going in to vote and seeing a name on the ballot that they recognize and for whom they voted for in the past,” he said. “The office may change, but the familiarity with the candidate doesn’t.”