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Election 2022 Government & Politics

Franchot Poll Shows Him Leading Democratic Primary for Governor

State Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot (D) addressing the business group Maryland Free. Photo by Glynis Kazanjian.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct the name of the firm that sponsored the poll.

During a week when some of his Democratic opponents for governor are claiming they raised more money than he did in the past year, Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot (D) is offering a reminder of why he may be so formidable in the June 28 primary.

Franchot on Tuesday released a poll showing him with a clear lead against five of his Democratic primary opponents.

In the poll of 580 likely Democratic primary voters, Franchot, who is in his fourth term as state comptroller, was preferred by 23% of those surveyed; former Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III, the runner-up in the 2018 Democratic primary, was at 16%. He was followed by author and former foundation CEO Wes Moore at 12%, former U.S. and Maryland Labor Secretary Tom Perez at 10%. Former state Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler was at 7%, and former U.S. Education Secretary John B. King Jr. took 6%. Twenty-four percent of those surveyed said they were undecided, while 1% named another candidate.

The poll was conducted Jan. 6-10 for Tidemore Public Affairs, a Baltimore firm, by Christine M. Griffin, a political consultant who is also chief of staff to state Sen. Mary L. Washington (D-Baltimore City). It had a 4-point margin of error.

In a news release, the Franchot campaign noted that the number of undecided voters in the poll — 24% — was less than half of what it had been in the only two prior publicly released polls on the Democratic primary, one taken last June for former state Sen. Douglas J.J. Peters (D-Prince George’s), the other in September for Moore’s campaign.

“Our message of results-oriented leadership is resonating with voters, and our extensive grassroots outreach is working,” Franchot said in a statement.

The pollster did not ask Democratic voters about four other candidates currently in the race: former nonprofit leader Jon Baron, former Obama administration official Ashwani Jain, former Anne Arundel County Executive Laura Neuman, and Jerome Segal, founder of the Bread and Roses Party. Neuman entered the primary on Jan. 10, the last day the Franchot survey was in the field.

Notably, Tidemore Public Affairs, the firm that commissioned the poll for the Franchot campaign, is co-owned by Ben Smith, the candidate’s campaign manager.

Candidates are required to submit their annual campaign reports to the Maryland State Board of Elections by midnight Wednesday. Moore last week announced he had raised $4.8 million since becoming a candidate; Perez pulled in $2.7 million, while King had raised $2.5 million and Baron had brought in about $2 million — though much of that likely came from his own pocket.

Franchot’s campaign last week did not say what he had raised in the past year — only that his $3.3 million cash on hand was tops in the field.