By Stephen Neukam
Capital News Service — Former Anne Arundel County Executive Laura Neuman, the only woman in a crowded Democratic primary field for Maryland governor, dropped from the race Thursday and endorsed Comptroller Peter Franchot, a front runner, according to recent polling.
“Peter has been a life-long advocate for working families, from fighting for better infrastructure and educational outcomes in our public schools, to being a champion for minority and women-owned businesses,” Neuman, a former Republican and entrepreneur, said in a statement announcing her endorsement of Franchot and his running mate, Monique Anderson-Walker.
Neuman is the first to fall from the primary contest and shift support to another candidate. The Franchot campaign hailed her endorsement as a broadening of its coalition.
“In the weeks ahead, I am excited to campaign alongside Laura and discuss the local issues and solutions-based leadership needed to get results that people can see and feel,” Franchot said in a statement.
The Neuman endorsement comes as rival campaigns have picked up important backings in the past month. Wes Moore, an Army veteran and former nonprofit CEO, received the coveted endorsement of the Maryland State Education Association, which represents over 75,000 members.
Last month, Tom Perez, former Democratic National Committee leader and U.S. Secretary of Labor, landed two more endorsements from state labor unions, including two local chapters of the Service Employees International Union. His campaign touts support from unions representing over 120,000 workers.
The Franchot campaign last week also notched the endorsement of state Del. Jay Walker, D-Prince George’s.
The Franchot, Moore, Perez and John King campaigns are also up with television ads as the race heats up before the July 19 primary.
The campaign of former Obama administration Education Secretary King launched its TV push this week with a six-figure cable and broadcast buy across Baltimore and Washington, according to the campaign.
The campaigns face an April 19 quarterly fundraising deadline, the first public reporting of their financial success since last year’s numbers were released.