Gov. Larry Hogan and his Democratic challenger, Ben Jealous, spent Thursday touting competing endorsements they’ve received in the gubernatorial campaign.
Hogan, a Republican, announced that the statewide Fraternal Order of Police endorsed him, four years after the organization supported Democratic nominee Anthony Brown. It’s the type of shift that Hogan’s campaign has pointed to as evidence of weak support in Jealous’ own party.
But Jealous gathered with a couple of dozen Democratic lawmakers at Suitland High School in Prince George’s County to announce the endorsements of the leaders of the General Assembly.
Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller said the former president of the NAACP would be the best choice for improving Maryland’s schools.
“People are coming together and we are here to say education and Jealous in November,” Miller said. “We can make it happen.”
House of Delegates Speaker Michael E. Busch also joined Jealous to support him and criticize Hogan.
“Let’s get back to the issues. What’s going to make Maryland great? Who has the better vision for this state?” Busch said. “I think, at the end of the day, the citizens of Maryland will think it’s Ben Jealous.”
Delegates and senators from Prince George’s and Montgomery counties and Baltimore also spoke at the event in support of Jealous. Angela Alsobrooks, the Democratic nominee for Prince George’s County executive, also joined the gathering to back Jealous.
Jealous returned the praise, saying he’s “eager” to work with lawmakers, especially to improve Maryland’s public schools.
Asked what is special about Democrats supporting their own party’s nominee, Jealous responded: “Unity is an important thing.”
“I’m so proud to have the support of my party and its leaders,” he added.
Hogan’s campaign has stressed that they think Democratic support for Jealous is lackluster, issuing a press release Thursday that characterized the speeches by Miller and Busch as “tepid.”
A poll conducted earlier this month by Gonzales Research & Marketing Strategies found Hogan had a 52-36 advantage over Jealous, with 11 percent undecided.
Other leading Democrats have not offered their support of Jealous.
Comptroller Peter Franchot, who is close to Hogan, has said he’s staying neutral, while Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett so far has not endorsed Jealous. State Sen. Jim Brochin, a Democrat who unsuccessfully ran for Baltimore County executive this year, crossed party lines to endorse Hogan.
The Hogan team on Thursday touted the support the governor picked up from the 21,000-member state Fraternal Order of Police.