If there was any doubt that Montgomery County will play a huge role in the June 26 Democratic gubernatorial primary, Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III is going on the airwaves next week with a 30-second TV ad geared toward Maryland’s largest jurisdiction.The ad, set to debut on Memorial Day, features footage of U.S. Sen. Christopher Van Hollen (D) endorsing Baker at a news conference, interspersed with excerpts of the recent Washington Post endorsement of Baker in the primary.“I am supporting Rushern Baker because he will be a great governor,” Van Hollen says during the news conference. “Rushern Baker took the helm in Prince George’s County at a time of great turmoil and economic distress. With his leadership, he has transformed this county.”Baker has been leading the seven-candidate Democratic field in public polls – though trailing “undecided” in many cases. He has a big lead on his home turf, but is also doing well in neighboring Montgomery County, where other candidates in the primary – principally state Sen. Richard S. Madaleno Jr. and former Montgomery County Councilwoman Valerie L. Ervin – also need strong showings.Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (left) confers with former Gov. Martin J. O’Malley at an event last fall. Photo by Samuel W. Manas Former NAACP president Benjamin T. Jealous is also making a play for Montgomery County support. His running mate, former state Democratic chairwoman Susan W. Turnbull, is a longtime party leader from Bethesda.In addition to Van Hollen, Baker has been endorsed by Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett, and another Democratic icon from the county, Attorney General Brian E. Frosh. A Post endorsement also plays better in Montgomery than it does in most other places.The Baker campaign said it would also release an ad geared to the Baltimore media market next week.[email protected]
Founding Editor Josh Kurtz is a veteran chronicler of Maryland politics and government. He began covering the State House in 1995 for The Gazette newspapers, and has been writing about state and local politics ever since. He was an editor at Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, for eight years, and for eight years was the editor of E&E Daily, which covers energy and environmental policy on Capitol Hill. For 6 1/2 years Kurtz wrote a weekly column on state politics for Center Maryland and has written for several other Maryland publications as well. Kurtz regularly gives speeches and appears on TV and radio shows to discuss Maryland politics.