A look at who’s in the race
By Ben Bjork
With political tensions rising all around the country, the field for Maryland’s 2018 Gubernatorial Election is filling up, with a diverse array of democratic candidates coming to challenge incumbent Governor Larry Hogan. Here are a few highlights of who has entered the race:
Larry Hogan, Incumbent (R): For a republican governor in a traditionally blue state, Larry Hogan is doing surprising well for himself- according to a poll by Morning Consult, he is the second most popular governor in the country. Hogan has managed to maintain some bipartisan support through some of his more moderate actions, such as symbolically distancing himself from President Donald Trump and enacting a popular executive order for the school year to begin after Labor Day. This isn’t to say that Hogan has gone without criticism, especially after controversial decisions to cancel the Red Line Metro program and to deny the entrance of Syrian refugees into the state. In fact, studies show that voters are less likely to approve of Governor Hogan when they consider the option of voting for a democrat in 2018- a weakness that his opponents will likely try and exploit in the months to come.
Rushern Baker, Prince George’s County Executive (D): Rushern Baker has been involved in Maryland politics since he was elected to the State House of Delegates in 1994. Baker was elected County Executive of Prince George’s County in 2014, where he boasts an increase in graduation rates and median income. Baker supports a $15 minimum wage, increased funding to hospitals and clinics, and a revival of the Red Line Metro project. Favoring a mild-mannered approach to campaigning, Baker has so far refused to run a negative campaign against the incumbent Governor Hogan.
Benjamin Jealous, Former President and CEO of the NAACP (D): A popular choice from the progressive side of the Democratic Party, Benjamin Jealous began his campaign last July with a public endorsement by Vermont Senator and former Democratic Presidential Nominee Bernie Sanders. Jealous was the youngest ever president of the NAACP, where he led a successful campaign to end the death penalty in Maryland. A vocal critic of both Governor Hogan and President Trump, Jealous has a bombastic attitude that could translate into grassroots support from progressives. However, he has to fight an uphill political battle against Rushern Baker, who has more experience in political office.