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Md. House Democrats back Jealous; police union endorses Hogan

House Speaker Michael Busch (left) was among Maryland legislators who endorsed Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Ben Jealous on Thursday. (WTOP/Kate Ryan)

SUITLAND, Md. — Maryland’s governor’s race is heating up as August winds down.

Democrat Ben Jealous got the endorsement from dozens of Annapolis lawmakers—including leadership in the State House — while Republican Gov. Larry Hogan announced he’s won the endorsement of the Maryland Fraternal Order of Police.

Outside of Suitland High School in Prince George’s County, dozens of Annapolis lawmakers, including Senate President Thomas “Michael” Miller and House Speaker Michael Busch, rallied around Jealous.

With teachers holding up signs behind him, Jealous pledged to raise teacher salaries by 29 percent. A jump in pay is needed, he said, to attract and retain educators who otherwise can cross over into Montgomery County or D.C. for bigger paychecks.

Among those supporting Jealous is his former opponent in the Democratic primary, state Sen. Richard Madaleno.

“If you want a governor who’s going to go above and beyond for our young people — you have one choice to make in November — and that’s Ben Jealous,” declared Madaleno.

But Hogan’s deputy campaign manager, Doug Mayer, suggested that endorsements from State House leaders came late. In a statement, he noted that it’s been two months since the primary election, and “that says all you heed to now about the state of the Jealous campaign.”

Asked if the support coming now is, in fact, late in the campaign process, the House speaker said no.

“The election won’t even start until September, when people start getting back to the workplace, or kids start getting back in school,” Busch said.

Among those not yet endorsing Jealous: Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett. Montgomery County is voter-rich territory. And Leggett, an African-American and a Democrat, serves one of the largest counties in the state. Leggett spokesman Patrick Lacefield said the county executive continues to have concerns about Jealous’ positions on school funding, taxes, and incentives for luring Amazon’s second headquarters.

At the Jealous event in Prince George’s County, Del. Kathleen Dumais, whose district is in Montgomery County, said Leggett “has always been careful, thoughtful and methodical.” While he may be withholding an endorsement so far, Dumais said that Leggett “is a true Democrat, and I am quite sure he will rally and help us through.”


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