**FILE** Former Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III speaks May 26 at an annual gala hosted by the Maryland Democratic Party at Camelot by Martin’s in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. (Robert R. Roberts/The Washington Informer)
**FILE** Former Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III speaks May 26 at an annual gala hosted by the Maryland Democratic Party at Camelot by Martin’s in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. (Robert R. Roberts/The Washington Informer)

Former Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III announced that effective immediately, he will suspend campaign activities to seek the Democratic nomination for Maryland governor.

The former leader of the state’s second-largest and majority Black jurisdiction said in a brief phone interview Friday, June 10 he didn’t have enough financial resources to pay staff in the final weeks of primary election.

Early voting begins July 7 and runs until July 14 with the primary election on July 19.

“For me, probably as I am getting older, you are making decisions based on other people who you will be affecting,” he said. “I [wasn’t] able to pay my staff. The people who helped us out.”

Baker’s running mate, Montgomery County Council member Nancy Navarro, participated in a lieutenant governor candidate’s forum June 8.

On that same day, according to the state Board of Elections, their campaign reported nearly $12,000 cash on hand.

Baker and Navarro also represented the only gubernatorial ticket to use the state’s public financing system. The campaign couldn’t accept individual donations that exceed $250.

One of Baker’s pledges remains “getting corporate money out of politics.”

The first independent outlook for this year’s primary election shows Baker in fourth place among 10 candidates, according to a Baltimore Sun/University of Baltimore poll released June 5. The poll notes Baker garnered 7% among the 562 likely Democratic primary voters surveyed by telephone and online May 27 through June 2.

Baker waged an unsuccessful bid for the Democratic nomination for governor in 2018 against civil rights leader Ben Jealous, the current president of People For the American Way.

During that contest, Jealous received about 40% of the vote as nine candidates sought to unseat Republican Gov. Larry Hogan.

Political observers noted the top candidates in this year’s primary include state Comptroller Peter Franchot, author and military veteran Wes Moore and former Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez. All three men ranked in the top three of the Baltimore Sun/University of Baltimore poll.

After Baker’s announcement Friday, a few of those opponents praised him as “a friend” and “a class act.”

“Prince George’s County has become the safer, stronger and thriving community it is today because of his dedication, passion and steady leadership,” Perez posted on his Twitter page. “I am confident he will continue to play a critical role in building a more inclusive and accomplished Maryland for years to come.”

Franchot served alongside Baker during their time in the House of Delegates.

“It was clear from the beginning that he was a leader among leaders,” Franchot said in a statement. “His constituents knew they could count on him to bring about solutions that they could feel and see. I’m grateful for his candidacy…”

Franchot’s running mate, former Prince George’s County Council member Monique Anderson-Walker, called Baker a family friend for nearly 30 years and a “pillar in the county’s community.”

“Rushern restored a sense of integrity and professionalism to the Prince George’s County government,” she said. “He led with compassion and conviction to make sure Prince Georgians were not neglected and that our issues were being met with tangible solutions.”

Moore said in a statement Baker’s campaign reflected his character of love for public service and his family.

“We saw it in how he restored honor and economic prosperity to Prince George’s County as county executive,” he said. “It is why I am certain his voice will continue to push the public debate forward.”

In the meantime, Baker said he will take some time off. But he said he will remain committed to finding solutions to the recent increase in crime in Baltimore City and improving health care.

Baker offered a message to his supporters about the other Democratic nominees.

“I will make sure they have enough time to assess the other candidates,” he said. “And I will indicate who I think will win in November and who is the best person to lead the state.”

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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