By Josh Kurtz
Today’s political potpourri: Behind a mysterious “help wanted” ad; Hogan gets closer to Trump; Muslims mobilize.
MANNO MYSTERY SOLVED: This “help wanted” ad on a Google message board recently caught our eye.
The ad begins: “Top-tier congressional campaign in Mid-Atlantic (DC Metro Area) seeks experienced campaign manager for highly competitive 2018 primary and general elections.”
The ad invites interested applicants to contact the Beytin Agency, a D.C.-area political consulting firm. Go halfway down the company’s home page and there are pictures of a handful of the firm’s clients. One of them is state Sen. Roger Manno (D), who is contemplating running for Congress in the 6th District if Rep. John Delaney (D) moves on.
So is Manno – who is essentially in a holding pattern, like the handful of other candidates eyeing Delaney’s seat – actually advertising for a campaign manager?
Sources have confirmed that this is in fact an ad to run Manno’s campaign, and that it was placed by Aaron Beytin, the president of the consulting firm – possibly without Manno’s prior knowledge. Beytin has worked for Manno’s prior campaigns and will work for him in 2018, regardless of which office he seeks.
But, the sources said, the ad does not mean Manno is absolutely running for Congress. Delaney probably holds the key there — as he does for everybody else.
Dels. Bill Frick (D) and Aruna Miller (D) have opened fundraising accounts with the Federal Election Commission, enabling them to raise federal money for a congressional race. Dels. Andrew Platt (D) and Kirill Reznik (D), businessman David Trone, and Andrew Duck, who was twice the Democratic nominee for the seat when it was held by Republican Roscoe Bartlett, may also run.
HOGAN AND TRUMP Gov. Larry Hogan (R) continues to try to keep his distance from President Trump, but he’ll get a little closer this week.
The governor’s official schedule says he will be attending the Republican Governors Association “Corporate Policy Summit” from Monday through Wednesday in Miami. What it doesn’t say is that the event is taking place at the Trump National Doral hotel, according to two Florida newspapers. Confirmed attendees include Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, the RGA chairman; Florida Gov. Rick Scott, the RGA vice chairman; and Govs. Doug Ducey of Arizona, Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, Matt Bevin of Kentucky, Paul LePage of Maine, Eric Greitens of Missouri, Doug Burgum of North Dakota and Henry McMaster of South Carolina.
The governors, according to a copy of the invitation published on The Miami Herald website, will have “regional parlors” in Ivanka Room A, Ivanka Room B and Ivanka Room C.
MUSLIMS MOBILIZE There are only two Muslims serving in the Maryland General Assembly – Del. Jay Jalisi (D) of Baltimore County, and Del. Bilal Ali (D) of Baltimore city, who was appointed to his seat earlier this year. There are four Muslims serving in Maryland municipal governments.
A new political action committee aims to change that. The Pluralism Project is training 30 Muslims who are progressive Democrats to run for state and local offices in 2017 and 2018.
“Muslim Americans are some of the most targeted citizens of our country now that the alt-right and white supremacists have free range in the White House. By training Muslim candidates in the skills they need to run for and win political office, we intend to empower Muslims to take back control of their narrative in the American experience,” said Hamza Khan, executive director of The Pluralism Project.
Fifteen percent of the candidates in the program are Indian-American and 15 percent are Arab-American; 13 percent are Latino, 13 percent are Pakistani-American, 13 percent are African-American, and 13 percent are Iranian-American; 8 percent are Turkish-American, 8 percent are Armenian-American, and 2 percent are Native American.
Khan, president of the Muslim Democratic Club of Montgomery County and a member of the Maryland Matters steering committee is the first candidate in the group to publicly declare his candidacy. He’s running for a House of Delegates seat in Dist. 39, where there will be at least one vacancy, with five-term Del. Charlie Barkley (D) running for County Council in 2018 and Reznik pondering a congressional race. Khan enters the wide-open primary with endorsements from state Dels. Pam Queen (D), Angela Angel (D) and Jocelyn Peña-Melnyk (D). He initially had Ali, Sen. Will Smith (D) and Del. Eric Luedtke (D) on the endorsement list, but they were there prematurely.
Separately from the group going through the Pluralism Project program, Sean Stinnett, a former president of the Maryland Muslim Council, is seeking a House seat in Baltimore city’s 41st district.
Khan said the candidates in the Pluralism Project are unlikely to begin campaigning until Ramadan ends on June 26.