SILVER SPRING – Two weeks after capturing 39.6 percent of the primary vote to win the Democratic nomination for Governor for the state of Maryland, former president and CEO of the NAACP Ben Jealous called out Republican Gov. Larry Hogan on his stance on women’s reproductive rights while collecting a key endorsement.
Hogan appeared on local radio station WTOP on July 3 to discuss the Capital Gazette shooting and state politics. He did not respond to a question about the current Supreme Court of the United States vacancy left by Anthony Kennedy’s retirement, stating he has no role in the nominating process. A follow-up was asked about “women’s rights and choice” in the state.
Regardless who the new member of the supreme court becomes, Maryland already has “laws that would protect those rights” and no changes would be made to the state, Hogan said.
Jealous, 45, released a statement following the radio interview, saying that the governor must affirm his position and pointed out Hogan’s past stances on abortion.
“Marylanders overwhelmingly do not trust Donald Trump and Senate Republicans to choose a justice that reflects our state’s values,” Jealous said in the statement. “We don’t need to wait and see as Larry Hogan suggests, we need him to reassure Marylanders that despite his own troubling past on women’s reproductive health, he will have the courage to protect Maryland’s values.”
Jealous captured the Democratic nomination for governor on June 26 after winning with over 170,000 votes. Despite losing Prince George’s County and narrowly winning Montgomery County against challenger Rushern L. Baker, III, Jealous swept up all the support in the remaining counties.
He will have to compete for more party and neutral votes if he plans to win the general election in November.
According to a Gonzales Research & Media Services poll released in June, 75 percent of Maryland voters polled approved of the job Hogan has done as governor with 64 percent have a “favorable” opinion for the Republican governor. Eight hundred registered voters took the survey.
Jealous is running on a campaign platform that will look to provide Medicare for all Maryland residents, increasing teachers’ salaries by 29 percent and would make community college free.
“Some will question if I have the experience to lead as governor become I am not a career politician,” Jealous said in his primary victory speech on June 26. “Well, I have managed complex organizations, been a CEO and a partner of a business since I was 26 years old. I think experience is a great thing but experience does not mean a thing if you cannot bring people together to get things done.”
While established state Democrats lent their support to Baker during the primaries, Jealous received endorsements from arguably larger, well-known names. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and comedian David Chappelle have been vocal of their support. Sanders made a campaign stop early in Jealous’ campaign while Chappelle called him his “god-brother” during a rally in Largo.
Jealous' fandom continues to grow with former Vice President Joe Biden who announced his support on July 3. The last time Biden lent his support to a gubernatorial nominee was for Democrat and former Lieutenant Governor Anthony G. Brown, who lost to Hogan in 2014.
“Ben Jealous has a proven track record of achievement when it comes to making sure government is on the side of working families,” Biden said. “As a civil rights leader, community organizer, and businessman, Ben knows how to build an inclusive economy that works for everyone.”
Meanwhile, Hogan’s attention has been focused on the investigation involving the Capital Gazette shooting in Annapolis, where five people were murdered. Hogan was present during for the evening press conferences after the attack and appeared in several media outlets to provide updates in the following days.
“The law enforcement that responded to the scene deserves a lot of credit,” Hogan said. “They got there within 60 seconds; they prevented further deaths.”
On July 3, Hogan’s campaign announced the endorsement of 25 “prominent Democratic leaders” including former Prince George’s County Sheriff Jimmy Aluisi.