The political action committee of Maryland's branch of the National Organization for Women gave Democratic gubernatorial candidate Anthony G. Brown its unqualified endorsement Monday, bolstering Brown's efforts to make women's health a top issue in his race against Republican rival Larry Hogan.
The decision by Maryland NOW PAC came as no surprise, but Hogan made the call easy for the group by declining to answer its questions on abortion rights and contraception, the group said. Libertarian candidate Shawn Quinn also declined to answer, according to the NOW PAC.
Brown answers to the five questions the feminist group posed last week were entirely in line with NOW's political agenda. The lieutenant governor pledged to defend women's abortion and birth control rights against any attempt to curb them and to appoint officials who share his commitment.
Sara Wilkinson, president of Maryland NOW, praised Brown as a "strong and effective leader on issues critical to protecting women's and families' well-being" and criticized what she called Hogan's "long and frightening record" on women's health issues.
"We feel that Mr. Hogan hopes to disguise his positions and his record of legislative efforts to ban a woman's right to choose. Also, his hostility to birth control is a troubling anachronistic stance," Wilkinson said.
The NOW PAC's endorsement falls squarely in line with Brown's current strategy of portraying Hogan as out of step with Marylanders' views on social issues, pointing to stands the Republican took three decades ago. Hogan, meanwhile, has been trying to keep his message focused on economic issues.
A spokesman for the Hogan campaign could not immediately be reached to comment.