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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.

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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.

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Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan denies that he would ever endorse fellow Republican John Grasso, an Anne Arundel County Councilman running for state senate who made headlines this week for posting anti-Muslim material on his Facebook page. Yet Hogan appears on a Grasso campaign flyer endorsing him.

“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.

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An outside group group tries to come to the rescue of Democrat Ben Jealous' outgunned media campaign with a TV ad linking Republican Gov. Larry Hogan to the policies of U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Maryland Together We Rise says it plans to spend $1 million on ads in support of Jealous.

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.

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