When most of the Maryland gubernatorial candidates meet up for a reception Thursday, Oct. 14 in Anne Arundel County, they will be asked a central question: “What is your Black agenda?”
Del. Darryl Barnes, chair of the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland, said each candidate should present their platforms on how they will help the Black community in education, transportation, economics, health care and the environment.
“Regardless of the color of your skin, I want to make sure that the substance and the rhetoric you’re speaking is substantive to the impact of our community,” he said. “This is the reason for the reception. To give an opportunity not just to look at a candidate based off of relationships or popularity but they’re speaking truth to power in saying what are they going to do for the Black community.”
More than 300 people have registered to see if these candidates will highlight their agendas at The Westin Baltimore Washington Airport Hotel. All nine Democratic candidates plan to be in attendance at the reception hosted by the Maryland Black Caucus Foundation and Verizon.
Joining the Democrats are two Republicans — perennial candidate Robin Ficker and Del. Daniel L. Cox, who represents parts of Carroll and Frederick counties and remains an avid Donald Trump supporter. J. David Lashar of Annapolis, representing the Libertarian Party, confirmed his attendance to join the discussion.
Maryland Commerce Secretary Kelly Schulz, who resides in Frederick County, became the first candidate in April to announce her intentions to seek the Republican nomination. Meanwhile, former lieutenant governor Michael Steele continues to contemplate seeking the Republican nomination.
Republican Gov. Larry Hogan will complete his second four-year term in January 2023.
In the meantime, Democratic candidates continue to campaign and present their platforms across the state.
Former Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III became the first Democratic candidate to announce his running mate, Wednesday, Oct. 13. His choice: Montgomery County Council member Nancy Navarro, a native of Venezuela and the council’s first Latina and immigrant member.
State Comptroller and Democratic candidate Peter Franchot summarized his Black agenda labeled “A Level Playing Field” that includes supporting to expand Metro’s Green Line from Branch Avenue into neighboring Charles County.
During an interview Friday at a community fish fry in District Heights, Franchot provided one example. If elected governor, he would push to incorporate within labor agreements to require at least half of the residents who reside in a particular county or Baltimore City are hired to work on projects in their respective jurisdictions.
“The state of Maryland, like other states, discriminated against African Americans but generally poor people,” he said. “It touches Black businesses. Black homeownership has suffered.”
Franchot’s campaign finance report filed in January showed he had $2.2 million cash on hand. But his opponents have fared well in fundraising efforts as well. Former Attorney General Doug Gansler submitted a campaign report in January at $428,000. The campaign for John King Jr., former U.S. education secretary during the Obama administration, announced in June he raised more than $1 million in less than two months when he announced his candidacy.
The 2022 gubernatorial campaign reports aren’t due until January which should reveal updated figures from the candidates. Each candidate plans to showcase its lists of supporters.
Former Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez announced Friday his updated slate of endorsements to 22 which includes former Montgomery County Executive Isiah “Ike” Leggett, state Sen. Cory McCray (D-Baltimore City) and 13 labor unions.
The first Democrat candidates forum of the 2022 primary election held last month and hosted by the Montgomery County Renters Alliance focused on housing insecurity and protection for tenants. Six Democrats participated in the forum, included Franchot, King, Perez, Gansler, former Obama official Ashwani Jain and author and former nonprofit CEO Wes Moore of Baltimore.
Baker didn’t attend due to the death of his wife Sept. 18.
Organizers mistakenly didn’t invite the other two Democratic candidates, Jon Baron, a former nonprofit executive and official under former President Bill Clinton’s administration, and Baltimore businessman Mike Rosenbaum.
Another six of the nine Democrats participated in a candidate’s forum Thursday, Oct. 7 hosted by the Anne Arundel County Democratic Central Committee. The topics included health care, education and police reform. Those who participated: Baker, Baron, Franchot, Jain, King and Rosenbaum.