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Election 2022 Government & Politics

Political Notes: Perez Hits the Airwaves With Obama Spot, Another Prince George’s Endorsement for Moore — and More

Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Aisha N. Braveboy (D). File photo by Danielle E. Gaines.

Democrat Tom Perez became the latest candidate for governor to hit the airwaves, with a TV ad that is beginning to air Thursday on cable channels in the Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and Salisbury media markets.

The 30-second spot is noteworthy because it appears to be narrated by President Obama. Perez served as secretary of Labor during Obama’s second term and headed the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division during Obama’s first term.

The Obama audio is not, however, a contemporaneous endorsement message; it was taken from a prior appearance toward the end of his administration in which he spoke glowingly about Perez.

“Tom Perez has been, I believe, one of the best secretaries of Labor in our history,” Obama is heard saying at the top of the ad, as images of Obama and Perez together flash across the screen. The ad goes on to feature Obama discussing Perez’s history as a son of immigrants who worked as a garbage collector to help pay for college, then pivots to a recitation of Perez’s professional biography.

The ad intersperses video of Obama talking at the White House with pictures of Perez at work and more recently, on the campaign trail.

“He is tireless. He is wicked smart,” Obama says. “If you look back at his body of work on behalf of working people, he has been extraordinary.”

The Perez campaign said it has made a six-figure ad buy and that the spot should be appearing for the next several weeks.

Two other Democratic candidates for governor — former foundation CEO Wes Moore and Comptroller Peter Franchot — are also on the air to one degree or another, as is a Republican candidate, former Maryland Commerce Secretary Kelly Schulz.

More for Moore in Baker’s home turf

Moore, meanwhile, has picked up another endorsement from a top Prince George’s County official.

State’s Attorney Aisha N. Braveboy (D) announced on Wednesday that she is backing Moore’s bid for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.

The duo discussed public safety issues during the taping of a podcast at Moore’s campaign office in Upper Marlboro.

“As the former CEO of one of the largest anti-poverty organizations in America, he demonstrates that he has the leadership skills and understanding to serve people,” said Braveboy, a former state delegate who served in Annapolis with his running mate, former Del. Aruna Miller. “His roots in our state have given him a great sense of the needs of our communities, and across the state as a whole.”

Earlier this month, Prince George’s County Executive Angela D. Alsobrooks (D) announced her support for Moore. Strategists say the two endorsements from top officials in Maryland’s second largest county — a majority-Black Democratic stronghold — could undercut former Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III’s bid for the Democratic nomination.

Although Moore has racked up far more endorsements and has vastly outraised Baker, a recent poll showed Baker outperforming all other Democrats in the race except Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot, the longtime frontrunner.

Two other Democratic candidates for governor rolled out endorsements this week: Former Obama administration Education Secretary John B. King Jr. said Wednesday he has won the backing of Salisbury City Councilmember Michele Gregory, who is also a candidate for state Senate; Takoma Park City Councilmember Kacy Kostiuk; and New Carrollton City Councilmember Briana Urbina. Former Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler was touting an endorsement from Harford County state Sen. Art Helton.

Crazy like a Foxwell 

Political strategist Len Foxwell has changed uniforms. Again.

After working with Gansler’s gubernatorial campaign for about a year, Len Foxwell has signed on with Baker’s campaign.

Foxwell joined the Baker team as general consultant last week. In an interview, he said he left Gansler’s camp “several weeks ago.” From 2008 until 2020, Foxwell served as chief of staff — and chief political strategist — to Franchot, yet another gubernatorial hopeful.

“I’m the Juan Beníquez of Maryland politics,” he joked, a reference to the former Baltimore Orioles center fielder who played for eight different teams during his 17-year career.

Foxwell called Baker a “genuinely good man who is capable of leading our state in a positive direction.”

A poll released by the Baker campaign on Tuesday showed him in second place, within striking distance of the frontrunner Franchot, despite being vastly outspent. Baker is participating in the state’s public-financing program, which prohibits him from raising money from corporations.

“Rushern has managed his money wisely, hasn’t overspent in the early phases of the campaign, and is consequently in the position to marshal his resources for the coming weeks, when voters are actually beginning to pay attention,” Foxwell said.

He insisted that he left Gansler’s campaign on excellent terms. “It was a very friendly and amicable decision,” he said. “I’ll never have an unkind word to say about Doug Gansler.”