Tag Archives: Ben Jealous

Susan Turnbull is Running for Office. Is it Lt. Gov. with Ben Jealous?

Former national DNC member and Maryland Democratic Party Chair Susan Turnbull established a state-level campaign committee on November 22.  Her committee filing does not list the office for which she is running.  Her campaign chair is former Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee Chair Karen Britto and her treasurer is federal lobbyist Matthew R. Schneider.

It may not be a coincidence that gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous just sent out a blast email stating that he will announce his pick for Lieutenant Governor tomorrow. Indeed, private reports indicate that Turnbull has agreed to be Jealous’s running mate.

We have asked Turnbull about the office for which she is running.  When (if?) she replies, we will update this post.

If nominated, Jealous-Turnbull would be the first Democratic ticket with no white male on it. I imagine Jealous is hoping that Turnbull will help in Montgomery County, Turnbull’s home. She also has a lot of connections as a former state party chair that could prove useful in raising money and building support around the state.

At the same time, Turnbull’s status as a party insider cuts against Jealous’s effort to campaign as an outside challenger to the establishment. In that sense, opponents can easily cast Turnbull as the ultimate insider despite her lack of experience in public office.


The Jealous Campaign Responds

Today, I am pleased to present a response to yesterday’s post by Adam Pagnucco from Travis Tazelaar, the campaign manager for Ben Jealous’ Campaign for Governor and the former Executive Director of the Maryland Democratic Party.

I was a little disappointed today to read Adam Pagnucco’s Post on the Seventh State, “Is Jealous Claiming Credit for the Achievements of Others?” The post claims that Ben Jealous was not a “key player” in passing “the DREAM Act, marriage equality, death penalty repeal, voting reform and gun safety.” Adam’s post gives credit where credit is most certainly due: to the long list of legislators and other elected officials who fought, and passed legislation. Adam’s characterization that Ben Jealous is either taking credit for the achievement of others, or that he didn’t play a big enough role worth talking about, is false and misleading to Seventh State’s readers and to the progressive community.

Many people played a role in all the progressive victories outlined in the post, including Ben Jealous. I’d point special attention to former Governor Martin O’Malley, whose role in all these victories is unequivocal, who said of Ben Jealous in the Baltimore Sun:

Maryland is a better state — and ours is a more perfect union — because of Ben Jealous and his commitment to justice, equality, and the dignity of every child’s home… Here in Maryland, he was an indispensable part of repealing the death penalty, passing the Maryland Dream Act, ensuring civil marriage equality and expanding access to voting.

The Sun has also written:

The effort to end capital punishment in America epitomizes Mr. Jealous’ ability to combine on-the-ground organizing with strategic thinking. A year ago, the effort to ban the death penalty in Maryland appeared out of steam. Gov. Martin O’Malley‘s passionate advocacy on the issue had failed to sway the state Senate, and all indications were that Mr. O’Malley would not put the issue on his agenda again. Then he met with Mr. Jealous, who assured the governor he could provide vote counts showing majority support for a repeal in both chambers of the legislature. He did, and a month later, Mr. O’Malley stood by Mr. Jealous’ side to announce he would make another all-out push for a repeal. This time, he would succeed.

As the campaign manager for the DREAM Act referendum in 2012, I can express to you unequivocally Ben Jealous’ assistance in winning that campaign too. Were many others involved? Absolutely. Would he claim sole credit? Never. Nor has he tried to do so.

I could walk through the other victories too. I could go point, counterpoint as to what he did, when he did it, and who else was involved. I could pull more quotes from people on the ground thanking Ben Jealous for bringing the NAACP into the Maryland fights when he was President and CEO. But our energy right now shouldn’t be pointed inward, progressives on progressives, in the manner in which Adam is attempting. What Ben Jealous’ message is about, and is clearly written in the email referenced in Adam’s post, is about Maryland coming together. Adam is correct when he says the operative word here is “we.” WE should be coming together as progressives to do big things in this state again, we should be focused on what we can do for the next generation, not tearing down fellow progressives with misleading arguments about the past, especially when he’s clearly going to support another potential candidate.

Adam asks at the end of the post: “Here’s a question for the veterans of all these progressive wins: how do you feel about that?” As a veteran involved in many of these fights myself, especially once they reach the ballot, I can tell you that I’ve always been grateful to have Ben Jealous right there on the front lines with so many of us, and it’s one reason I’m enthusiastically running his campaign now. I would challenge Adam to discard divisive rhetoric and replace it with words affirming our progressive conviction for a brighter future in Maryland, especially when we all work together.


Is Jealous Claiming Credit for the Achievements of Others?

By Adam Pagnucco.

Former NAACP President and CEO Ben Jealous is running for Governor on a progressive message.  That’s a good thing for both the Democratic Party and the state.  But part of his message appears to be a claim that he was a big player in progressive achievements that were actually accomplished by others.  That’s a problem.

In a blast email dated May 31 and titled “Unlocking the American Dream,” Jealous recites his history as a community organizer, his ties to the City of Baltimore and his parents’ efforts to desegregate the city’s schools and downtown business district.  Jealous has a compelling story that deserves respect and consideration, especially by progressives.

After discussing his parents’ civil rights activism, he wrote this.

It was that tradition of fighting for a better life for your neighbors and yourself that motivated this campaign.

In 2012, Maryland had a bounty of civil rights ambitions; we were going to pass the DREAM Act, abolish the death penalty, pass marriage equality, expand voting rights and pass sensible gun safety reform. It was quite the undertaking, but that didn’t stop Maryland.

We went for it, and we won all of them. Because we know our individual movements are stronger together.

That’s the spirit this state needs. A spirit to make our existing movements stronger by combining efforts, to defend our communities, our healthcare, our environment, our working families, students, and seniors.

The operative pronoun here is “we.”  Readers of this email might think that Jealous was a key player in passing the DREAM Act, marriage equality, death penalty repeal, voting reform and gun safety.  But he wasn’t.  Jealous was head of the national NAACP at the time.  He was not a leader in state politics.  In fact, other than residency and family history, Jealous has few ties to politics and government in Maryland.

Many, many people worked together to accomplish the progressive victories listed in this email.  Most of these wins took years to get done.  Elected leaders who worked hard on these issues include former Senator and now Congressman Jamie Raskin (marriage equality and the death penalty), former Senator and now Attorney General Brian Frosh (guns), Senators Victor Ramirez and Paul Pinsky (the DREAM Act), Senator Joan Carter Conway (voting rights), Delegate Kathleen Dumais (guns and the death penalty), Delegate Luke Clippinger (marriage equality and guns), Delegates Maggie McIntosh, Anne Kaiser, Kumar Barve and former Delegate Keiffer Mitchell (marriage equality), Delegate Sheila Hixson (the DREAM Act and voting rights), former Senator Lisa Gladden and Delegate Sandy Rosenberg (the death penalty) and former Governor Martin O’Malley, Speaker Mike Busch and Senate President Mike Miller (all of the above).  Lots of others in elected office and in progressive advocacy groups played critical roles.  One key leader on many of these issues, Senator Rich Madaleno (D-18), is planning on running for Governor.  (Disclosure: if Madaleno declares, your author will support him.)  None of these people did it alone.  Politics is a team sport, as everyone who did the nuts-and-bolts work on all of these issues knows.

Jealous could have written, “Progressives in Maryland passed the DREAM ACT, marriage equality and gun safety.  They did the right thing and I applaud them.  Our campaign is about returning our state to a progressive path.  Join us.”  But he didn’t.

Here’s a question for the veterans of all these progressive wins: how do you feel about that?