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Eye on Annapolis

The Daily Record's Maryland state government blog

Jealous sends regrets to Md. counties’ convention

An expected forum in Ocean City between Republican Gov. Larry Hogan and Democratic challenger Ben Jealous is off.

Benjamin Jealous. (The Daily Record / Bryan P. Sears)

Benjamin Jealous. (The Daily Record / Bryan P. Sears)

The forum, which was to close the annual Maryland Association of Counties summer conference, will now feature only Hogan after Jealous declined the invitation, citing a scheduling conflict.

The association noted the change Wednesday in a two-page announcement of events that would be part of the Aug. 15-18 event. Hogan was named the closing speaker and Jealous was conspicuously absent.

“We receive numerous requests and unfortunately are not always able to participate in every event,” said Steven Hershkowitz, a spokesman for the Jealous campaign. “We worked very hard to accommodate this one but unfortunately we have other commitments in Western Maryland at that time.”

Hershkowitz noted that the association of counties event “is just a speaking opportunity. They would not have been on stage at the same time.”

The candidate forum only dates back to 2014, when the association invited Hogan and then-Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown.

Typically, the group invites the governor or a surrogate to address the association on the closing day. But changes in the election calendar with a primary in June instead of September opened the door to bringing in the party nominees for governor.

Hogan and Brown, who did not appear on stage together, were given equal time to answer identical questions from a moderator on issues that concern local governments.

Association officials believed they were close to securing both candidates this year before Jealous said no.

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