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Jealous gets backing of Maryland’s top Democratic legislative leaders

Hogan endorsed by Md. State Fraternal Order of Police

Senate President Thomas V. Mikel Miller Jr. endorses Democrat Ben Jealous for governor. (The Daily Record / Bryan P. Sears)

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. endorses Democrat Ben Jealous for governor. (The Daily Record / Bryan P. Sears)

SUITLAND — Maryland’s two major party candidates for governor touted endorsement announcements as the campaign prepares for the post-Labor Day sprint to the voting booth.

Gov. Larry Hogan, the Republican seeking a second term in office, announced he received a unanimous endorsement from the state Fraternal Order of Police. Meanwhile, Ben Jealous, the Democratic nominee held a long-anticipated rally in which House Speaker Michael E. Busch and Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. threw their support behind their party’s standard bearer.

“Let’s get back to the issue of what’s going to make Maryland great? Who’s got the better vision for this state? I believe at the end of the day the citizens of Maryland will believe it’s Ben Jealous,” said Busch.

Busch highlighted concerns about education, the environment, health care and transportation. He also decried what he called the Republican Governors Association’s “demonization of our candidate” in television commercials. Those ads portray Jealous as a socialist and someone whose ideas on health care and education are budget busters.

“What this is about is identifying the person to lead our state and guide our state and to make Maryland No. 1 in terms of education,” said Miller, who spoke for nearly three minutes but mentioned Jealous only once, at the end of his remarks: “Education and Jealous in November. We can make it happen.”

A month ago, Miller raised questions about his party’s nominee calling Jealous, in a Washington Post interview, “a California commodity” and “not a known quantity here in the state of Maryland.”

The endorsements by Maryland’s two longest-serving presiding officers was part of a series of endorsements of Jealous from Democratic lawmakers and other officials from across Maryland.

The backing from Busch and Miller comes nearly two months after the June primary election, although Miller and Busch and others in attendance have attended unity rallies with the Jealous.

A spokesman for the Hogan campaign characterized the endorsements as “embarrassing, chaotic.”

“If it’s two months past the Democratic primary and a week before Labor Day, and you’ve only just secured the support of the two highest-ranking members of your own party, that says all you need to know about the state of the Jealous campaign,” Doug Mayer, a spokesman for the Hogan campaign, said in an emailed statement. “If you were watching carefully, half the people forced to attend this press conference were blinking S.O.S. in Morse Code – and who can blame them. No one gets on a sinking ship voluntarily.”

The Hogan camp announced that is has secured the unanimous endorsement of the state Fraternal Order of Police after the police union held meetings in Western Maryland earlier this week.

“Every single day, law enforcement officers in Maryland put their lives on the line to protect and serve their communities — and when we put on our badge in the morning, we know that our governor, Larry Hogan, has our back,” said Vince Canales, president of the Maryland State Fraternal Order of Police. “Our work is dangerous, but it is critical to the countless people we serve, and it’s vital to have a governor who understands and supports that. The governor’s leadership on the issues that matter most to us has been nothing short of incredible, and we are proud to unanimously endorse and unequivocally support his re-election. There is no better person to continue leading our great state.”

Jealous during the primary called for police reform efforts including changes to the Law Enforcement Officer’s Bill of Rights related to the investigation of police brutality charges.

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