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Jealous' use of F-word spills over into Baltimore County executive's race

Al Redmer Jr., the Republican nominee for Baltimore County executive, is calling on his Democratic opponent to declare whether he supports that party’s gubernatorial nominee, Ben Jealous.

Jealous caused a stir in political circles Wednesday, when he used a swear word during a press conference. Asked by a reporter if he identifies with the label of “socialist,” Jealous responded: “Are you f--ing kidding me?”

Jealous later apologized for using “inappropriate language.”

Redmer said Jealous’ behavior is “reprehensible and unacceptable.”

“I’m demanding that my opponent, Johnny Olszewski Jr., clarify — today, and beyond a shadow of a doubt — whether he supports Ben Jealous, a man who clearly does not have the temperament to lead our state,” Redmer wrote on his social media accounts Wednesday afternoon.

Sean Naron, a spokesman for Olszewski, said the candidate and Jealous have a meeting planned in the coming days to discuss issues including education and job growth.

“Johnny has been and will be focused on the race for Baltimore County executive, first of all,” Naron said. “The language today was inappropriate and it’s important for leaders to acknowledge when they’ve made a mistake, and he appreciates that Mr. Jealous has already done so.”

Naron added: “Johnny hopes and expects the race will focus on the issues that matter to Baltimore County. That’s what voters deserved.”

While Olszewski hasn’t come out in support of Jealous, the candidates both have advanced progressive policy platforms. Olszewski has touted plans for universal pre-kindergarten, free community college and lobbying for an increase in the state minimum wage to $15 per hour.

Olszewski and Jealous both have been supported by Our Revolution, a group that grew from the 2016 Bernie Sanders presidential campaign.

Hannah Marr, a spokeswoman for Redmer, was not impressed by the Olszewski campaign’s response.

“Ben Jealous’ policies would be disastrous for Baltimore County and Maryland,” she said. “It’s a simple question: Do you support Ben Jealous and his platform or not? The voters of Baltimore County want to know.”

Redmer has endorsed and is a close ally of Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, who is seeking re-election.

pwood@baltsun.com

twitter.com/pwoodreporter

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