Ad watch: Republican Governors continue attack on Maryland's Ben Jealous, calling him 'Too Divisive'

The Republican Governors Association this week continued its multimillion-dollar attack ad campaign against the Democratic nominee for Maryland governor, Ben Jealous.

With the airing of a new $1 million ad called “Too Divisive,” the RGA will have spent around $3.2 million to attack Jealous on Maryland TV screens. That far outpaces what Jealous and a political action committee supporting him have been able to muster thus far.

What the ad says: The 30-second RGA spot highlights negative comments about Jealous by other Democrats, including quotes from former House of Delegates Majority Whip Bill Cox, former Baltimore City Councilwoman Rochelle “Rikki” Spector and former Maryland House Speaker Casper Taylor.

All of these former elected officials have categorized Jealous as too far to the left and prefer incumbent Republican Gov. Larry Hogan.

“Even fellow Democrats know Ben Jealous is too extreme for Maryland,” the ad says.

The facts: Although negative in tone, the ad accurately quotes Maryland Democrats who have endorsed Hogan over Jealous.

A favorite of progressive Democrats, Jealous has struggled to gain support of the centrist wing of his party. Comptroller Peter Franchot and Montgomery County Executive Isiah “Ike” Leggett, among others, have declined to endorse him.

The RGA ad does not mention, however, that there are many Maryland Democratic leaders who strongly support Jealous’ election, including U.S. Reps. Anthony Brown, Elijah Cummings, and John Sarbanes.

Analysis: Jealous this week began airing $150,000 of his own ads in the Washington market.

His three 30-second spots highlight three different supporters — a teacher, a nurse and a businesswoman — who support Jealous because of his plans to increase funding for Maryland’s schools, his proposal to convert the state to a single-payer health care system and his experience as a venture capitalist.

One of these ads overstates Jealous’ role in saying he helped create 1,000 jobs, but they otherwise accurately state his platform. (While at the venture capitalist firm Kapor Capital, Jealous invested in firms that have a total of about 1,000 employees, but those businesses had some staff prior to investments by Jealous and others at Kapor.)

The RGA’s continued negative ads against Jealous — combined with Hogan’s own high-dollar advertisements that have been running for weeks — are likely to drown out the Democrat’s much smaller advertising effort.

luke.broadwater@baltsun.com

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