Baltimore ministers group endorses Gansler for governor

An influential coalition of Baltimore ministers endorsed Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler for governor Thursday, saying he's an experienced leader with a strong record on civil rights issues.

At a news conference at Friendship Baptist Church, the Rev. Alvin J. Gwynn Sr., president of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance of Baltimore, cited Gansler's "expertise and longevity" in public service.


"He understands the problems that are confronting the state of Maryland and the city of Baltimore," Gwynn said. "He's extremely sensitive to the minority members of the state of Maryland and the problems they are having. Having looked into his record, we decided that he is our man."

The alliance represents about 50 churches in Baltimore and Baltimore County and more than 20,000 churchgoers, Gwynn said.

Gansler, a Democrat, is running against Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown and Del. Heather R. Mizeur in the June 24 party primary. The Baltimore electorate is overwhelmingly Democratic.

Gansler told the group he would increase funding for the state's historically black colleges and wants to build up Baltimore's neighborhoods.

"The Inner Harbor is doing great," he said. "The Inner Harbor doesn't need a new governor."

He called the endorsement important, noting the group's role in electoral politics going back several decades.

"The alliance launched Kurt Schmoke's campaign and many other campaigns," Gansler said of the former Baltimore mayor. "They look in depth at who's done more for the city and the community."

The group also endorsed Del. Jon Cardin for attorney general and Marilyn Mosby for Baltimore state's attorney.

"She is passionate, concerned, hands-on, in-the-street," Gwynn said of Mosby, who is challenging incumbent State's Attorney Gregg L. Bernstein. "She's not fine with the status quo."

Mosby said she was honored. "When I started this journey, I never would have imagined that I would receive a public endorsement from the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, an organization with the legacy of fighting on the forefront of civil rights for decades," she said.

Others endorsed by the ministers group include: Rep. Elijah Cummings; Circuit Court Clerk Frank Conaway; state Sens. Joan Carter Conway, Catherine Pugh and Nathaniel J. McFadden; and state Dels. Curt Anderson, Maggie McIntosh, Mary Washington, Adrienne A. Jones, Keith E. Haynes, and Shirley Nathan-Pulliam.

The ministers also endorsed Jay Jalisi, Marvin "Doc" Cheatham, Shirley Hettleman and Aaron J. Barnett for state delegate, and Belinda Conaway for Baltimore's register of wills.

In response, Brown's campaign released a statement from two influential Baltimore-area pastors.

"Over the past seven years, we've welcomed Lt. Governor Brown into church nearly every Sunday as he's visited congregations across Maryland more than 120 times," says the statement from Bishop Frank M. Reid and the Rev. Donte L. Hickman. "That's powerful evidence about Anthony's commitment to the faith community, and because of his strong character and values, many ministers throughout our State are firmly behind him."


Reid is the pastor of Bethel AME Church with 11,000 members; Hickman is the pastor of Southern Baptist Church with 3,000 members, the campaign said.

Mizeur's campaign declined to comment.