Gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous responds to Gov. Larry Hogan campaign ad mocking Jealous’ speaking gaffes. (Algerina Perna/Baltimore Sun video)
A new online video from Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s campaign mocks several instances in which his Democratic challenger, Ben Jealous, said he was running for other offices — including one over the weekend in which Jealous said he was running for governor of Virginia.
“What exactly is @BenJealous running for?” Hogan posted Monday on Twitter with a link to the video. “President? Governor of Virginia? We're not entirely sure.”
The Hogan campaign video plays several clips in which Jealous either states or implies he’s running for U.S. president — not governor — followed by a clip from a union rally last weekend at which Jealous said: “Just give me your all for the next 31 days and you will be looking at the next governor of Virginia.”
Since childhood, Jealous has struggled with a stutter that has at times been on display at big moments in the campaign — including the first televised debate in the primary. His campaign says the stutter sometimes makes him avoid certain words and substitute others.
According to the National Stuttering Association, “some who stutter will also try to avoid stuttering by pausing before words, substituting words and interjecting phrases.”
Jealous held a news conference Tuesday in Baltimore in which he objected to what he described as the governor mocking his speech impediment. The former NAACP president decried what he calls negative tactics used by Hogan and his supporters, including the Republican Governors Association, which is spending millions on ads attacking Jealous.
Jealous said Hogan’s latest video could encourage bullies to pick on children who have a speech impediment.
“I need to draw a line. He’s gone beyond the pale and he needs to stop,” Jealous said. “These ads are bullying. While I can take it, it encourages the bullying of young people, and that’s not OK.”
Jealous said he urged Hogan to stop using negative campaign tactics and put forth positive plans for how to improve the lives of Marylanders.
Hogan’s campaign responded by referencing additional gaffes made by Jealous, including a time he cursed at a Washington Post reporter.
“Whether it was dropping the f-bomb to a reporter, saying he is running for governor of Virginia or promising to raise taxes, Mr. Jealous can’t simply disown his words every time he gets in trouble with voters,” Hogan campaign spokesman Scott Sloofman said.