Photo by Gage Skidmore, via Wikimedia Commons

The Maryland Democratic primary is eight months away, but one gubernatorial candidate has taken a commanding lead of sorts in the race to challenge popular incumbent Gov. Larry Hogan in 2018.

In the race for political endorsements there is a clear favorite in the Democratic primary. Former president and CEO of the NAACP Ben Jealous has accrued a dominating 12 endorsements. Among his seven declared primary opponents, only former Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III has any to his name, with four.

Jealous, a first-time candidate, enjoys the public support of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, the executive director of the National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund, National Nurses United, the National Capital Baptist Convention, the Service Employees International Union, and others.

According to an article in the Washington Post, the benefit of gaining endorsements, particularly in a crowded race, is primarily an aura of viability. If you are seen as a “serious” candidate, it’s that much easier to raise funds for your campaign. Turning those funds into votes, of course, is another thing entirely.