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Ad watch: Democrat Rushern Baker makes big promises for Baltimore in governor's race

Erin Cox
Contact ReporterThe Baltimore Sun

Democrat Rushern Baker launched his television campaign in the race for Maryland governor this week, releasing two ads tailored to voters in Baltimore and Montgomery County.

Baker, the Prince George’s County executive, spent a modest $90,000 for spots that will run for one week. The Montgomery County ad, which will appear only on cable, features endorsements by U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen and The Washington Post’s editorial board. The Baltimore ad will air on both broadcast and cable stations in the Baltimore region — a much cheaper media market.

What the ad says:

The Baltimore ad opens with a fly-over of the city’s skyline and Baker narrating.

“This is a great city,” he says. “We should be rooting for every part of Baltimore to thrive.”

Baker explains programs he started in Prince George’s County to target struggling areas, offering help through a coordinated delivery of multiple public services. “We can do it in Baltimore, too.” Baker says.

While he speaks, images of Baltimore neighborhoods and people appear on screen. Baker suggests, without offering specifics, that the city should implement bias prevention training for police, reduce crime in hotspots and create new jobs.

“We’ve got to do it — block by block, street by street. Because every community deserves to thrive.”

The facts:

In Prince George’s County, Baker launched a program called the Transforming Neighborhoods Initiative that directed a concentration of public health, police, community and economic development resources into troubled neighborhoods. Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh has already borrowed the idea, rebranded it as Violence Reduction Zones and implemented it in seven areas of the city.

Baker’s campaign says, if elected, he would want more zones and would help provide more state resources to them.

The county executive’s call for bias prevention training is also redundant: The Baltimore Police Department consent decree overseen by the U.S. Department of Justice already calls for city officers to undergo racial bias training after a DOJ investigation found widespread discriminatory policing in the city. City officials say that training is already underway.


Baker’s ad conveys to Baltimore voters that he cares about the city and intends to be its champion. As an initial introduction, the ad effectively communicates that Baker plans to help Maryland’s largest and most troubled city.

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