Former President Barack Obama endorses Ben Jealous for governor

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Photo by Gage Skidmore, via Wikimedia Commons

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous, who would be the first African-American governor of Maryland if elected, today received the endorsement of former President Barack Obama, the first African-American to win the White House.

While still trailing in the polls, the Jealous campaign has laid out a path to victory that relies on a large Democratic turnout from voters angry with President Donald Trump; a co-sign from Trump’s beloved predecessor no doubt helps with that message. Here in Maryland, Democrats outnumber Republicans 2 to 1, and Obama carried the state with ease in both the 2008 and 2012 elections.

Last month, Obama, the architect of the Affordable Care Act to expand medical insurance coverage, sometimes referred to as Obamacare, came around to support one of the key planks of Jealous’ campaign, Medicare for all.

In a longer statement released by the Jealous campaign, Obama praised Jealous’ record as the president of the NAACP and his support of progressive causes.

“Ben Jealous is an accomplished civil rights leader, businessman, and advocate for working people,” Obama said in a statement. “His exemplary work as national President of the NAACP and as a leader in Maryland fighting for the DREAM Act, marriage equality, voting rights, and the abolition of the death penalty make him the best candidate for Governor.

“As a social impact investor, Ben has worked closely with small businesses, creating jobs and building a more inclusive economy. He has the vision, experience, and courage to move families forward, which is why I ask all Marylanders to stand with me in supporting his election as Maryland’s next Governor.”

Obama also endorsed Courtney Watson, a candidate for the House of Delegates in District 9B, which covers parts of Howard County and is currently held by Republican Robert L. Flanagan, and House Speaker Michael E. Busch.

In his own statement, Jealous said he would work to extend the accomplishments of Obama’s two terms in the White House.

“Across the country, progressive candidates are seeking to build on the successes of his Administration and continue to deliver real solutions for working people. As governor, I’ll build on the Affordable Care Act as well as President Obama’s progressive economic agenda to pass serious healthcare reform as well as expand economic opportunity for all Marylanders.”

Jealous has rounded up a number of Democratic rock stars to throw their support behind his bid for governor, a list that includes Sens. Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand and Elizabeth Warren, as well as Obama’s former vice president, Joe Biden.

According to the latest poll, Jealous still has a way to go before reaching Obama-like results in the upcoming November election. Mason-Dixon Polling surveyed 625 voters and found that Gov. Larry Hogan still holds a comfortable lead, 52 to 37. Nine percent of voters remain undecided.

Brandon Weigel

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