National Insider Ben Jealous on the Outside in Maryland

Ben Jealous is the latest in a long line of national political figures with little to no experience running for office who try to parachute into Maryland politics and find the landing rocky.

Republicans often tried this strategy in the past due to the dearth of local talent. Barbara Mikulski easily dispatched Linda Chavez to win her Senate seat in 1986. Paul Sarbanes defeated Alan Keyes with little trouble in 1988 and Mikulski trounced him in 1992.

More recently, Democrat Kathleen Kennedy Townsend lost to Bob Ehrlich. While Townsend had developed Maryland roots, her strong links to the Kennedys undermined perception of her as a local. Moreover, her only successful previous run for office was as lieutenant governor on Parris Glendenning’s ticket.

Though many Marylanders hail from elsewhere, especially in the DC area, Maryland identity remains strong. Candidates perceived as having stronger national than local ties don’t do well.

The relatively unknown Jealous smartly likes to tout his Maryland roots. His bio page on the campaign web page states he “has lived in Maryland throughout his career as a civil rights leader and businessman.”

Unfortunately, it’s a four Pinocchio. Jealous only began voting here in 2012. He was touted as a candidate for mayor of Oakland (California not Maryland) in 2008, and voted in California in 2006 and 2008. Even when Jealous headed the Baltimore-based NAACP, he lived in DC, where he voted from 2000 to 2004, and in 2010 to 2011.

His running mate, Susie Turnbull, has been active in Maryland much longer, including as head of the Maryland Democratic Party. Like Jealous, she has not run previously for local office. Instead, she was Vice Chair of the DNC and worked for Members of Congress.

It didn’t help when Jealous began his campaign by talking about removing Larry Hogan from “the White House” and Turnbull spoke about when she moved to “Washington” and meant Maryland.

Jealous’s primary campaign had far more backing from national than local Democratic officials. He touted endorsements from Sens. Bernie Sanders, Corey Booker and Kamala Harris, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, and New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio.

Meanwhile, he did not tout a single endorsement by a local official during the primary on the endorsement page on his web site. Jealous’s primary campaign benefited heavily from an independent expenditure campaign by one-percenter Californians.

As the Democratic nominee, Jealous now has the backing of most elected Democrats, though many expect him to lose and are not heavily invested in his campaign. Jealous’s tendency during the primary campaign to make Sanders-like attacks on the Annapolis Democratic establishment yet simultaneously take credit for so much of their work, understandably grated and hasn’t been forgotten. Comptroller Peter Franchot and Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett have not endorsed him.

Jealous has felt lots of love from the national political establishment and from ultra-progressives. Not so much from Maryland officials or Maryland general elections voters.

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Floreen Claims More Than 20,000 Signatures

By Adam Pagnucco.

Council Member Nancy Floreen is claiming that she has obtained 20,343 signatures in her effort to get on the ballot as an independent candidate for Executive.  That count far exceeds the 7,255 signatures required for ballot access but the county’s Board of Elections will now go through its verification process.  That could take a little while.  On August 8, 2016, Robin Ficker submitted roughly 18,000 signatures to get his term limits charter amendment on the ballot.  On August 23, the Board of Elections verified 12,573 of them, enough to qualify.  So this is not over yet.

We reprint Floreen’s statement below.

*****

MONTGOMERY COUNTY FOR NANCY FLOREEN

www.NancyFloreen.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 6, 2018

Contact: Sarah Van De Weert

Sarah@NancyFloreen.com

FLOREEN SUBMITS 20,343 SIGNATURES TO MONTGOMERY COUNTY BOARD OF ELECTIONS

Councilmember Will Offer Voters a Unifying Choice for County Executive in November

GARRETT PARK, MD – Montgomery County At-Large Councilmember Nancy Floreen submitted signatures to the Montgomery County Board of Elections today to appear on the ballot in November as a County Executive candidate. She issued the following statement:

“I am pleased to announce that, in the past 25 days, we have collected 20,343 petition signatures and are submitting them today to the Montgomery County Board of Elections for verification. This should give us a comfortable margin above the 7,255 verified signatures we need to qualify to appear on the ballot as an unaffiliated candidate for County Executive in this year’s general election on November 6th.

Hundreds of people from all over the County volunteered to help in this effort, and I am deeply humbled by the outpouring of support we’ve seen. Despite the incredible amount of rain we’ve had over the past couple of weeks, we still prevailed with the help of our dedicated volunteers and canvassers. I really can’t thank them enough. It shows there’s a real desire among voters, one that cuts across all party lines, for a unifying choice for County Executive this fall. People are tired of the extreme partisanship and polarization we see nationally. The last thing we want is more of that at the local level. Voters are looking for a broader, more inclusive vision for this County’s future, and for leaders who can unify us around practical solutions, so everyone can feel like they are being represented. That’s the kind of leadership I can offer.

We will now await the Board’s determination as to whether or not we have met the requirements to qualify as a candidate, and we will have a lot more to say then. Thank you again.”

About Nancy

Nancy Floreen is completing her fourth term as an At-large Member of the Montgomery Council, where she has served as Council President, chaired the Council’s Transportation and Environment Committee, and helped lead successful County initiatives on economic revitalization, school funding, environmental protection, transportation, affordable housing and smart-growth re-development, among other things. Previously, she served two terms as a member of the Montgomery County Planning Board, in the Civil Division of the US Department of Justice, worked for US Senator Barbara Mikulski, and is a former Mayor of Garrett Park.

Nancy has been married to writer/attorney David O. Stewart for 44 years and has three children and two grandchildren. Nancy is a breast cancer survivor and an avid bicyclist having biked through nearly every county in Maryland. Her full bio can be found here.

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Authorized by: Montgomery County for Nancy Floreen | Joyce Fuhrmann, Treasurer

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Floreen to Deliver Petition Signatures Today

By Adam Pagnucco.

Council Member Nancy Floreen, who is trying to get on the ballot as an independent candidate for County Executive, will be delivering her petition signatures to the Montgomery County Board of Elections today.  Following is her press release.

*****

MONTGOMERY COUNTY FOR NANCY FLOREEN

www.NancyFloreen.com

MEDIA ADVISORY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 6, 2018

Contact: Sarah Van De Weert

Sarah@NancyFloreen.com

Nancy Floreen to Deliver Signatures to Montgomery County Board of Elections

GARRETT PARK, MD – Later today, Montgomery County Councilmember Nancy Floreen will deliver signatures collected over the past 27 days to the Montgomery County Board of Elections, as required by law, to be listed on the ballot as an unaffiliated candidate for County Executive in this year’s general election.

Who: Nancy Floreen, At-large Member of the Montgomery County Council

When: Monday, August 6, 2018 at 1:00pm (for approximately 30 minutes)

Where: Montgomery County Board of Elections

18753 N. Frederick Ave, Suite 210, Gaithersburg, MD 20879

Why: At least 7,255 valid signatures must be submitted to the Board of Elections by 5:00pm on Monday, August 6, in order to quality to be listed on the ballot as an unaffiliated candidate. Nancy Floreen would like to run for the office of County Executive to offer voters a unifying choice this November.

For more information visit www.NancyFloreen.com

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MoCo Gubernatorial Primary: Precinct Results

By Adam Pagnucco.

Former NAACP President Ben Jealous won every county in Maryland in the Democratic primary except Prince George’s and Calvert, where Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker outpolled him.  In MoCo, Jealous received 35.6% of the vote and Baker received 32.5%, a difference of 3.1 points.  The precinct results we show below only include election day votes, which accounted for 68% of the votes cast for gubernatorial candidates in MoCo.  Still, they show the patterns of voting for Jealous and Baker as well as for Senator Rich Madaleno (D-18), who finished third in the county, and former Michelle Obama aide Krish Vignarajah, who finished fourth.

Overall, MoCo saw a two-man race between Jealous and Baker.  Madaleno was a distant third; he finished first in Kensington but no higher than third anywhere else, including in District 18.  Vignarajah was fourth overall but finished third in Council District 2, State Legislative District 39 and several areas mostly located in Upcounty.  Generally speaking, Baker did well in white, wealthy areas in the southwest while Jealous won almost everywhere else.

Jealous’s Five Best Local Areas

  • Brookeville: 48% (first)
  • Takoma Park and Damascus: 46% (first)
  • Montgomery Village: 43% (first)
  • Silver Spring East County: 43% (first)

Jealous’s Five Worst Local Areas

  • Bethesda: 31% (second)
  • Leisure World: 31% (second)
  • Potomac: 28% (second)
  • Kensington: 28% (third)
  • Chevy Chase: 25% (second)

Baker’s Five Best Local Areas

  • Cabin John: 41% (first)
  • Bethesda: 39% (first)
  • Leisure World: 39% (first)
  • Potomac: 39% (first)
  • Chevy Chase: 38% (first)

Baker’s Five Worst Local Areas

  • Glenmont/Norbeck: 25% (second)
  • Clarksburg: 24% (second)
  • Poolesville: 24% (second)
  • Brookeville: 24% (second)
  • Damascus: 21% (second)

The racial differences in voting between Jealous and Baker can be easily seen in the demographic splits.  Baker won majority white precincts and the size of his advantage grew as the white percentage rose.  Jealous won “majority minority” precincts by 14 points.

One more factor to consider is the Washington Post, which endorsed Baker and attacked Jealous.  In a forthcoming blog post, we will compare the performance of Council At-Large candidates endorsed by the Post to those who were endorsed by MCEA.  The Post candidates’ performance was strongest compared to those supported by MCEA in Chevy Chase, Cabin John, Bethesda and Potomac – many of the same places where Baker performed best and Jealous performed worst.

We show the full splits below.

  

While Jealous won MoCo, he lost in the wealthy areas that tend to have disproportionate numbers of campaign contributors.  That’s an important fact to note since Jealous is trailing Governor Larry Hogan badly in fundraising from MoCo.  Jealous should tap into any MoCo surrogates he has, especially in Chevy Chase, Bethesda, Potomac and Kensington, to help him fortify those areas and raise money from them.  If they don’t come around to the Democratic nominee, Jealous’s path to Government House will be that much harder.

Next, we will begin looking at the County Executive candidates.

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MoCo Democratic Turnout: Precinct Results

By Adam Pagnucco.

Data Christmas has arrived as precinct results from the primary are now available from the State Board of Elections! We have been busy crunching them and will now begin rolling them out for our beloved readers.  Let’s start today with turnout among MoCo Democrats.

Overall, MoCo Democratic turnout was 35% in the 2018 primary, higher than the state average of 29%.  MoCo ranked second to Talbot County among the state’s 24 jurisdictions on this measure.  MoCo’s rate of 35% was higher than it was in 2010 and 2014 (26% each time) but lower than 2006 (40%) and 2002 (45%).  Still, being second in the state after being in the middle of the pack in the last two gubernatorial cycles is a good thing for MoCo.

Looking inside the county, there were vast differences in Democratic turnout between local areas.  Here are the five highest rates and the five lowest.

Highest Democratic Turnout Rates

Leisure World: 52%

Chevy Chase: 49%

Cabin John: 47%

Kensington: 45%

Takoma Park and Bethesda: 44%

Lowest Democratic Turnout Rates

Burtonsville and Damascus: 28%

Montgomery Village: 27%

Clarksburg: 27%

Germantown: 26%

Glenmont/Norbeck: 24%

These differences were reflected in state legislative and council districts.  Council District 1 led with 45% while Council District 2 was last with 28%.  State Legislative District 16 led with 44% while District 39 was last with 26%.  In the Democratic Crescent – the areas inside and near the Beltway that sent Jamie Raskin to Congress – turnout was 44%.  That compares to turnout rates of 29% in Upcounty and 34% in the rest of the county.

In precincts where support for term limits in 2016 was less than 65%, turnout was 42%.  In precincts where support for term limits was more than 80%, turnout was 31%.  This suggests confirmation of a post we wrote before the primary: Democrats who voted for term limits were less likely to vote in the primary.

Another factor that stands out is the differences among precincts based on their racial composition.  We have been matching precincts to racial data from Census tracts since the 2006 cycle.  (We have redone this numerous times since then to accommodate the 2010 Census and shifting precinct borders.)  Among majority white precincts, Democratic turnout was 41% and turnout rose as white percentage increased.  Among “majority minority” precincts, Democratic turnout was 29% and that rate fell as the white percentage declined.  Precincts that were more than 33% Latino had a combined turnout rate of 26%.

We show the full splits below.

These patterns of higher turnout in white areas, wealthy areas and the Democratic Crescent and lower turnout in Upcounty, areas with lots of people of color and lower income areas had a powerful impact on the races for Governor, County Executive and County Council At-Large.  We will begin looking at those races soon.

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Who is Paying for RGA’s Campaign?

By Adam Pagnucco.

As we have previously written, the Republican Governors Association (RGA) has launched a TV and mail campaign promoting Governor Larry Hogan and attacking Democratic nominee Ben Jealous.  RGA is a 527, not a PAC or a federal political committee regulated by the FEC, and since the Citizens United decision it is free to advocate for and against candidates.  However, in Maryland, it is registered as an Independent Expenditure (IE) Committee and must disclose its contributions and expenditures.

Below are the 21 entities (17 organizations and 4 individuals) who have contributed to RGA’s Maryland IE account.  They have combined to contribute $1,037,500 to the campaign.  All but one (Gary Mangum of Bell Nursery) are from out of state.

The four healthcare and pharmaceutical companies contributed $300,000, which is interesting considering that Jealous is known for advocating single payer healthcare.  Indeed, one of RGA’s TV ads slams Jealous’s healthcare proposal over its alleged cost.  The $100,000 contribution by student testing firm Data Recognition Corporation is also noteworthy.  Is it seeking contracts in Maryland?

One more item from the IE filings stands out: the vendors collecting its money are all based out of state.  Are there no consultants based in Maryland who are capable of doing political work?  So far, the IE has spent $1,648,663 on TV, online ads, mail and consulting fees.  Compare that to the $2.9 million raised by Jealous’s campaign for the entire cycle.

RGA’s last IE report was dated July 11.  If the campaign continues, there will be more reports.  Who knows how much they will spend by the time they are done?

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RGA Hits Jealous on Taxes

By Adam Pagnucco.

The Republican Governors Association (RGA) is up with a second TV ad, this one claiming that Democratic nominee Ben Jealous would raise taxes and “would blow a Chesapeake Bay-sized hole in the state budget.”  That latter quote comes from a Washington Post editorial opposing Jealous’s proposal to offer free tuition for Marylanders at public colleges.  RGA’s campaign, which also includes mail to Democrats, may be early but the risk is that it will define Jealous before Jealous gets to define himself.

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David Blair’s Concession Email

Dear Friends –

Yesterday afternoon the Board of Elections concluded their recount of the Primary Election.  The outcome did not change.  While we ran a dynamic campaign that pushed the status quo . . . at the end we came up 77 votes short.

Last night I congratulated Marc Elrich on winning the Democratic nomination for County Executive.  I encouraged Marc and offered my support to enhance critical programs such as early childhood education, affordable housing and access to healthcare, as well as pursuing initiatives to foster business growth. Our message clearly resonated with residents all across the County and I will remain engaged to ensure our voices are heard.

I also want to thank you again for your support and commitment over the past year. Together we ran an incredible campaign and we generated many innovative ideas to make Montgomery County an even better place to call home. I am proud and humbled by all the support I received and truly grateful for the many new friendships made along the way.

While no doubt we are disappointed in the outcome of the election, I suggest to you that this is not the end, but rather just the beginning of our journey together.  Looking forward, let’s continue to drive the conversation on the issues that matter most and support Democratic nominees across the state.

Again, a heartfelt thank you.

Best wishes,

David Blair

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Samir Paul’s Concession Statement

By Samir Paul, teacher and former candidate for Delegate in District 16.

The recount is over, and we came up short by just 12 votes out of over 56,000 cast. I am unbelievably proud of the campaign we ran. We built thoughtful, progressive policy proposals that sparked conversations across the district. We discussed those plans together on 31,543 doorsteps over eight months. And we inspired 11,287 voters to take a stand for the public schools our children deserve.

While it’s tough to lose so narrowly, the truth is that candidates like me – a young, middle-class, public school teacher and immigrant son with a funny name – aren’t supposed to come this close when running in a race like this. And in the end, we have a team of outstanding advocates for transit, women and families, and civil liberties representing us in Annapolis. Congratulations to Marc, Ariana, and Sara and to fellow candidates Marc, Joe, Nuchhi, and Jordan on a great campaign.

It’s actually hard to call this a loss. As we awaited results on election night, I looked around the room and was stunned by how young the room was. Outside of friends and fellow teachers, this campaign was was powered by high-school and college students, most of whom were working their first campaign. I can guarantee that a bunch of them are going to run for office themselves someday. I just hope it’s sooner rather than later. (Standing offer: I will come knock on doors for any of you when you decide to take the plunge.)

“Mr. Paul goes to Annapolis” would have been a satisfying civics lesson for my students, but “Mr. Paul showed me how to fight for what I believe in” is a pretty good second choice. To all of those young people: please please please continue to assert yourselves in our public life. You are light years ahead of where I was at your age, and if I could make your votes count double, I would. Thank you for blessing me with the gift of your time and trust and sweat and belief. When young people learn how to take take a stand, how to be part of a community, and how to fight for the future they’ll someday inherit, we all win.

For every old friend who wrote a check, for every new friend who hosted a meet-and-greet, for every young person who knocked on doors — it’s impossible to overstate the gratitude I feel in my heart right now. I have spent almost a year asking everyone I know to help me in some way or another, and it’s been amazing to see people answer the call even right up until the very end. And, of course, I am deeply grateful to my parents, who left everything and everyone they knew to come to a country where this kind of thing is even conceivable within one generation.

It was incredibly difficult to run this campaign while teaching, and I am more tired than I’ve ever been in my life, including my first year in the classroom. So I’m going to take a break for a little while and reflect on what exactly the next phase of my advocacy should look like. But Maryland STILL has a once-in-a-generation overhaul of our school funding next year; young people are STILL being gunned down in our schools and on our streets; climate change STILL hangs over us like a guillotine; immigrant families STILL struggle to survive and to see themselves reflected in public leadership; and our economy is STILL oriented toward the past rather than my students’ future. So even though I won’t be the one casting votes in the House of Delegates next session, there’s plenty of work for all of us if we want to make this place more just, inclusive, and abundant.

I don’t know where this train stops next, but I will forever be grateful for the ride we’ve been on together.

#PaulAboard,

Samir

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RGA Runs Hogan as a Democrat

By Adam Pagnucco.

Below is the latest mailer by the Republican Governors Association (RGA) on behalf of Governor Larry Hogan.  It was sent to a Democratic household in MoCo.  Check out how it says that Hogan is “protecting what matters most” and promotes his record on “record funding for education,” “supporting the Paris climate accord,” “protecting Maryland’s environment” and “making Maryland’s schools world class.”

The RGA is running Hogan as if he was a Democrat.

This is the kind of mailer that will make Democratic officials and activists howl at the moon, but it’s savvy as hell.  Let’s see: Hogan is pro-environment and pro-education but he won’t raise taxes.  Simple, yeah, but effective.

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