PoliticsWilliam J. Ford

Jealous, Hogan Agree to Lone Debate

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Democratic nominee Ben Jealous agreed Thursday to a lone debate this month before the Nov. 6 general election, compromising after weeks of haggling over how many there should be.

According to a joint statement, voters from across the state will be able to hear both candidates discuss a variety of topics at 7 p.m. Sept. 24.

The debate will air on Maryland Public Television and WBAL-TV in the Baltimore region and WJLA-TV in the Washington metropolitan area.

Jealous, former NAACP president and longtime activist, publicly said he wanted at least five debates. Hogan’s campaign announced in July that Republican governor would participate in two debates this month — Sept. 17 and 24.

Larry Hogan
**FILE** Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (William J. Ford/The Washington Informer)

“The governor very publicly accepted invitations to two different debates,” Hogan spokesman Scott Sloofman said in a statement Thursday. “If the Jealous campaign wanted more debates, they could have taken yes for an answer. It is self-evident that it was the Jealous campaign that preferred fewer debates.”

Jealous spokeswoman Jerusalem Demsas disagreed, adding that the campaign wanted at least five debates to ensure more voters throughout the state could hear from both candidates.

“Ben was very clear he wanted Marylanders to have as many opportunities as possible to hear from both candidates to hear about solutions for health care, education and the economy,” she said. “It is clear Larry Hogan did not feel the same way.”

The announcement of only one debate sparked public ire on social media, especially toward the GOP incumbent with more than $9 million cash on hand in a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans 2 to 1.

Jealous has pushed a progressive agenda with teacher union endorsements and a proposal to increase teacher salaries by 29 percent.

“What a loss for the voters of Maryland,” Mileah Kromer, political science professor at Goucher College in Towson, tweeted Thursday. “A missed opportunity to demonstrate the importance of spirited, civil, and thoughtful debate in American democracy.”

Todd Eberly, a political science professor at St. Mary’s College in St. Mary’s, recalled the last time one gubernatorial debate took place was when former Gov. Parris Glendening held the office 20 years ago.

Ever since the 2000s, there’s always been at least two gubernatorial debates, Eberly said.

“If I’m advising [the Jealous] campaign, I’m saying that Hogan and the [Republican Governors Association] have spent millions defining you over the last two months,” he said. “You want to get on a debate stage as early as possible. Debates are pretty important.”

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William J. Ford – Washington Informer Staff Writer

I decided I wanted to become a better writer while attending Bowie State University and figured that writing for the school newspaper would help. I’m not sure how much it helped, but I enjoyed it so much I decided to keep on doing it, which I still thoroughly enjoy 20 years later. If I weren’t a journalist, I would coach youth basketball. Actually, I still play basketball, or at least try to play, once a week. My kryptonite is peanut butter. What makes me happy – seeing my son and two godchildren grow up. On the other hand, a bad call made by an official during a football or basketball game makes me throw up my hands and scream. Favorite foods include pancakes and scrambled eggs which I could eat 24-7. The strangest thing that’s ever happened to me, or more accurately the most painful, was when I was hit by a car on Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia. If I had the power or money to change the world, I’d make sure everyone had three meals a day. And while I don’t have a motto or favorite quote, I continue to laugh which keeps me from driving myself crazy. You can reach me several ways: Twitter @jabariwill, Instagram will_iam.ford2281 or e-mail, wford@washingtoninformer.com

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