Outside supporters of Ben Jealous’ bid for Maryland governor are pouring nearly $1 million into the final two weeks of the Democratic primary campaign.
The Maryland Together We Rise political action committee spent $399,030 on television ads that are scheduled to start Tuesday and run until the June 26 election.
Separately, a coalition of unions and progressive groups that back Jealous say it is spending $500,000 on a get-out-the-vote effort in the four Maryland counties with the most Democrats.
Both efforts are aimed to sway young voters, African-Americans and left-leaning progressives.
The television ads, paid for by the political action committee, will air on cable and broadcast stations in the Baltimore region and the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C. Pat Lippold, chair of Maryland Together We Rise, said the spot is meant to reach voters in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties — a region dominated by his chief political rival, Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker.
Baker and Jealous are tied as front-runners in the crowded Democratic field, according to recent polls from both The Baltimore Sun-University of Baltimore and The Washington Post-University of Maryland. Baker’s stronghold is in his home base of the D.C. suburbs, while Jealous leads in Baltimore and its surrounding counties.
The coalition of progressive groups and unions have hired six professional organizers to recruit and deploy volunteers in Baltimore, and Prince George’s, Montgomery and Baltimore counties, said Stacey Mink, a spokeswoman for the progressive group Working Families Party.
Mink said the coalition hopes to reach a quarter million households. The group is managed by three political committees and eight advocacy groups, including Our Revolution Maryland, an offshoot of Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential bid.
The seven major candidates running for the Democratic nomination are Jealous, Baker, labor organizer Valerie Ervin, state Sen. Richard S. Madaleno, tech entrepreneur Alec Ross, lawyer Jim Shea and Krish Vignarajah, a former policy director for Michelle Obama.
Early voting starts Thursday and continues for a week. The winner of the primary will face incumbent Republican Gov. Larry Hogan in November.