Maryland’s attorney general is stumping for outgoing Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker in next year’s gubernatorial election.
“Rushern has the ability, the intelligence and the experience to make Maryland a better state,” Brian Frosh said in a brief video put out Wednesday by Baker’s campaign.
In the clip, Frosh touts trends showing Prince George’s County’s turnaround in terms of unemployment and crime since Baker took office in 2010 (numbers back this up). “Just look at what he did for Prince George’s County, and I think it tells you what he can do for the state,” the attorney general says, with shots from Federal Hill Park in view.
Frosh’s high-profile endorsement marks Baker’s second one in the last month, after Sen. Chris Van Hollen also backed him in November. Former NAACP president Ben Jealous has also drawn a number of high-profile endorsements, including that of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
It’s a step forward for the Prince George’s County politician, whose jurisdiction’s scandals with liquor board bribes and alleged grade-fixing in schools haven’t stopped him from emerging as a Democratic frontrunner early on. In an October Mason-Dixon poll, 28 percent of Maryland’s Democratic voters said they would pick Baker as their candidate to run against incumbent Gov. Larry Hogan in 2018, well ahead of Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz in second place (11 percent) and Jealous in third (10 percent).
Frosh and Baker both represented D.C. suburbs in the Maryland General Assembly in their early political careers, with Frosh serving as a state senator for an area of Montgomery County from 1995 to 2015 while Baker was representing a section of Prince George’s County in the House of Delegates from 1993 to 2004. Frosh was elected to the state’s top prosector position in 2015; Baker has since served as county executive for Prince George’s for two terms.
In addition to Kamenetz, another institutional Democrat, and Jealous, a social progressive and civil rights leader, Baker’s competition also includes former Michelle Obama aide Krishanti Vignarajah, state Sen. Rich Madaleno, policy consultant Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, tech entrepreneur Alec Ross and Baltimore defense attorney James Shea.
[Read Baltimore Fishbowl’s “Big Fish” interviews with Kamenetz and Ross here.]
The Democratic primary for the governor’s race is June 26, 2018.