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Comedian Dave Chappelle backs childhood friend Jealous for Md. governor

FILE - In this July 18, 2015, file photo, comedian Dave Chappelle speaks at the RUSH Philanthropic Arts Foundation's Art for Life Benefit in New York. Chappelle celebrated therelease of a pair of Netflix comedy specials on Tuesday, March 21, 2017, with some high-profile friends at a Hollywood club. (Photo by Scott Roth/Invision/AP, File)

WASHINGTON — A Maryland gubernatorial hopeful recently secured the rare endorsement from a comedian who was born in D.C. and grew up in Maryland.

Comedian Dave Chappelle is throwing his name behind longtime friend and Democratic candidate for Maryland Governor, Ben Jealous. This marks the first time that the Chappelle Show star and stand-up comedian has officially endorsed any political candidate.

Chappelle told WTOP that his history with Jealous gave him confidence that the gubernatorial hopeful would make a good leader for the state of Maryland.

“I’ve known Ben since I was 17,” Chappelle said. “I knew of him all my life, but when I was 17 we became really good friends — and since that time he has been a committed community servant. A guy with his resume could have done a lot of things to make a lot of money, and he stayed committed to the things that were important to him. And he made a difference.”

The actor and comedian had a response for those who might say that entertainers should not get involved in issues of politics, as well.

“Those people can say whatever they want. Actors are gonna get involved in politics because American life allows anyone to say whatever they feel like they need to say,” Chappelle said. “And, I don’t go out here and say everything every time I see something wrong or feel some kind of way, but in this particular election there is somebody that I personally know that is very inspiring and very exciting and they’re running for an office for a state that I was raised in the first 10 years of my life, and I think he’s in a position to make a palpable difference.”

Jealous is lagging behind Republican incumbent Larry Hogan in the polls, though he tells WTOP that the numbers are not shaking his belief in the viability of his campaign.

“Back on June 26, the polls all said we would lose the primary for months — literally we lost every poll until we won the election by ten points,” Jealous said.

“If you go back four years ago, Larry Hogan was in the same place I am right now. What we know is that it’s not the polls that decides who wins and it’s not money that decides who wins — it’s the people of our state and the people of our state have shown themselves time and time again to defy the prognostications of pollsters and pundits,” Jealous said.

Chappelle had a parting message to everyone ahead of the upcoming election cycle.

“Try to get out and vote — no matter what you believe — because that’s the only way this is gonna work.”

WTOP’s Kate Ryan contributed to this report


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