Jealous Questions Veracity of Gonzales Poll As He Accepts Anthony Brown Endorsement

Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Benjamin T. Jealous sought Tuesday to discredit a recent poll that showed him trailing Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) by a wide margin, telling reporters that the firm that conducted the survey failed to predict his larger-than-expected win in the primary. “Two weeks before the primary, the Gonzales poll came out and they were wrong on my support by 17 points, and they had me losing when I won overwhelmingly,” Jealous said.  “The Gonzales report is like some weathermen. They just happen to be wrong more often than they’re right.” On Monday, Gonzales Research, an Anne Arundel County firm, released the results of a survey that found Hogan with a strong 52 percent to 36 percent lead. The survey, of 831 likely voters, was the first independent reading of the electorate since the June Democratic primary, a contest Jealous won by 10 points over his closest rival. U.S. Rep. Anthony G. Brown, the last man to lose to Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr., endorses the man who is trying to defeat Hogan now, Benjamin T. Jealous. Brown headlined a group of Prince George’s County politicians who came out to Hyattsville to support Jealous. Photo by Bruce DePuyt  A poll taken for Jealous in mid-July showed him trailing by 9 points, 49 percent to 40 percent.  Gonzales, who has been polling in Maryland since 1984, defended his work. “I think I have a pretty good track record,” he said in an interview. “I had Ben Jealous leading in every jurisdiction in this state except for Prince George’s County… and the [results] ended up with Ben Jealous winning in every jurisdiction except Prince George’s County.” Jealous offered his criticisms of Monday’s survey at a campaign event as he toured Hyattsville businesses and picked up endorsements from a small group of Prince George’s elected officials, including U.S. Rep. Anthony G. Brown (D), the former lieutenant governor who ran unsuccessfully against Hogan in 2014.  “What I know as somebody who is a socially-minded venture capitalist, is that we can build a more robust economy if we open the doors of our economy to everybody,” Jealous said.  Brown accused Hogan of “breaking his promise” to grow the state’s economy.   “The question is: Is Maryland’s economy growing at the rate that it should? And the answer is no,” Brown said. “You look at the growth of our GDP, we’re not only below the national average, we’re below our competition, the states we always compare ourselves with — Virginia, Pennsylvania and Delaware. We’re lacking.”  In addition to Brown, Jealous was endorsed by Delegates Joseline Pena-Melnyk, Darryl Barnes, Jazz M. Lewis, and Angela M. Angel, state’s attorney nominee Aisha N. Braveboy, and Ron Watson, who is expected to win a House seat in the Bowie area in November. A campaign statement listed 20 state and local Democrats endorsing their party’s nominee.  After speaking with reporters, Jealous and Brown walked Route 1, popping into Vigilante Coffee, Arrow Bicycle and Franklin’s Restaurant to speak with the owners.  To have any hope of victory in November, it is widely believed that Jealous must win Prince George’s overwhelmingly. Among the poll numbers attracting significant attention on Monday were those showing the longtime civil rights leader under-performing in two majority-black subdivisions, Prince George’s and Baltimore City.  Asked if he was worried that the Gonzales survey would hurt his ability to raise money, Jealous, who faces a $10 million juggernaut in Hogan, said he is not.  “We’re hiring organizers across the state, we’re opening offices across the state. Quite frankly our supporters know exactly what I did in this primary.” In response to the comments from Jealous and Brown, the Hogan campaign released data showing that labor-force participation in Maryland leads the region and that the state’s unemployment rate has dropped 22 percent, to 4.3 percent, since the governor took office. In addition, the state’s “small business friendliness” rating is on the rise, according to a website that tracks consumer activity.  Scott Sloofman, spokesman for the Hogan campaign, said: “The only way this press conference could have been better for the Hogan campaign is if Martin O’Malley had joined Anthony Brown in endorsing Ben Jealous today. But still, when the guy running against Larry Hogan is reduced to having to tout an endorsement from the last guy who ran against Larry Hogan, you know it’s been a bad couple of months.”

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Bruce DePuyt
Bruce DePuyt spent more than two decades on local television, including 14 years as host of News Talk on NewsChannel 8 in the D.C. metro region. He has served as reporter, anchor and producer/host of 21 This Week in Montgomery County, as well as a reporter/anchor at NBC affiliate WVIR-TV in Charlottesville, VA. Bruce also is the host of the weekly The Bruce DePuyt Podcast.

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