Maryland Democratic Party Chairwoman Kathleen Matthews speaks during a state central committee meeting at the IBEW Local 26 headquarters in Lanham on May 31. (William J. Ford/The Washington Informer)
Maryland Democratic Party Chairwoman Kathleen Matthews speaks during a state central committee meeting at the IBEW Local 26 headquarters in Lanham on May 31. (William J. Ford/The Washington Informer)

Unify. Rally. Beat Republican Gov. Larry Hogan.

That’s the essential theme Maryland Democrats will display throughout the year, even while nine candidates fight for votes in this month’s primary election.

To encourage unison among the more than 1,300 Democrats in primary contests statewide, party Chairwoman Kathleen Matthews said the gubernatorial campaigns agreed to immediately endorse the winner of the Jun3 26 primary and participate the next day in a unity press conference in Annapolis “at Larry Hogan’s doorstep.”

“We’ve got hotly contested primaries, but we have to get unity afterwards,” Matthews said Thursday, May 31 during a Democratic Party State Central Committee meeting in Lanham. “We need you to rally around our winners.”

That will happen, said Sharon Blake, running of gubernatorial candidate Krish Vignarajah.

“We believe that Democrats should govern this state,” Blake said after the nearly 90-minute meeting. “We know that any Democrat is better than who we have in office right now.”

The Democratic Party organized four televised debates with Vignarajah and the other eight candidates — Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III, former NAACP President Ben Jealous, former Montgomery County Councilwoman Valerie Ervin, state Sen. Richard Madaleno Jr. of Montgomery County, Baltimore attorney Jim Shea, tech entrepreneur Alec Ross, James Hugh Jones II, a chaplain for the Baltimore City Police Department, and Ralph Jaffe of Baltimore County.

Maryland Democratic leaders listen to party Chairwoman Kathleen Matthews during a state central committee meeting at the IBEW Local 26 headquarters in Lanham on May 31. (William J. Ford/The Washington Informer)

Two more televised debates are scheduled for June 13 in Baltimore and June 25 at WRC-TV (Channel 4) studios in Northwest.

Baker has led in various polls, but at least 30 percent of Democratic voters remain undecided.

Although Democrats outnumber Republicans in Maryland by a 2-to-1 margin, Hogan’s campaign has about $9 million and polls have shown high approval ratings in his bid for a second four-year term. His war chest more than doubles all nine Democratic candidates’ cash on hand combined, according to campaign finance reports.

Hogan released his first campaign ad Monday that claims he provided $1.2 billion in tax, toll and fee relief and four straight years without no tax increases. The ad also shows Hogan shaking hands with Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., the state’s longest-tenured Democratic lawmaker.

“From day one, working across the aisle. Setting Maryland in a new direction,” the narrator says. “Together, we’re stronger than ever. Maryland strong. Larry Hogan. Governor.”

Meanwhile, the Democratic Party produced a colorful chart titled “Hogan Shortchanges Maryland, but Democrats Have Your Back,” which takes Hogan to task for policies and deficiencies they said are harmful to the state, including his silence on President Trump’s health care cuts, his cozying up to wealthy donors, and three straight years of declining rankings for the state’s public schools.

“He’s going to get beat this next election. We’re going to beat his a–,” Miller said of Hogan to the more than 100 faithful Democrats. “I have not seen this [much] enthusiasm in the Democratic Party for quite some time. It’s going to be a sweep for the Democrats. I can promise you that.”

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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