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Government & Politics

Rushern Baker’s Surprise Party: He’s Raising Money

Former Prince George’s County executive Rushern L. Baker III is holding a fundraiser next month. File photo

He’s turning 61 next month, and he hopes to celebrate with a few hundred check-writing friends. But what is former Prince George’s County executive Rushern L. Baker III (D) really up to?

Baker ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2018, falling short despite the enthusiastic backing of U.S. Rep. Steny H. Hoyer, former Gov. Martin J. O’Malley and many other prominent Maryland Democrats.

Sluggish fundraising contributed to his disappointing finish.

Former NAACP president Benjamin Jealous won the Democratic gubernatorial primary in an upset, though he was shellacked that November by incumbent Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R).

An invitation to Baker’s “birthday bash” promises “a night of great food, drinks, and wonderful company” but is skimpy on further particulars.

In a brief interview, Baker said he will use proceeds from the event to pay down campaign debt — and he said that he’s “keeping his options open.” He did not elaborate.

The party — Nov. 14 at Denizens Production House and Taproom in Riverdale — runs $125 per person for “Friends” up to $1,000 for would-be “Sponsors.”

Checks can be made payable to “Friends of Rushern Baker.”

The next statewide elections in Maryland aren’t until 2022.

Is Baker contemplating a return to politics? If so, it’s not clear what office he might seek.

Hogan is term-limited, so he could be considering a second run for governor. Jealous has indicated he’s thinking about running again, too.

If Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot (D) runs for governor (and polls suggest he’d enter the race the frontrunner), Baker could run for the open tax-collector job. If Rep. Anthony G. Brown (D) seeks statewide office in ’22, the 4th district House seat would open up — though Baker would have to create a federal campaign account to compete in that election.

So many options.

Baker ran for governor on a ticket with Elizabeth Embry, a high-ranking lawyer in the state attorney general’s office. Their campaign account had no money in it, according to the latest campaign finance report. Baker’s own account had $982 as of mid-January.

Earlier this month Baker launched a leadership institute for newly-elected local officials in partnership with the University of Maryland School of Public Policy and the National Association of Counties.

He said he also intends to start a consulting firm to help local leaders navigate crises and forge “innovative” policy decisions.

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Rushern Baker’s Surprise Party: He’s Raising Money