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Election 2022 Government & Politics

Political Notes: Franchot to Join Clyburn at Bowie State, Hogan Picks a Dem in City Race, McIntosh Blesses a Successor, and More

U.S. House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) played a pivotal role in the election of President Biden. Could an appearance in Bowie with Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot (D) be a boon to Franchot’s campaign for governor? Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

Strictly speaking, it isn’t a campaign event, but state Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot, a Democratic candidate for governor, is scheduled to tour Bowie State University on Friday afternoon in the company of U.S. House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) and state Del. Darryl Barnes (D-Prince George’s), the chair of the Legislative Black Caucus.

According to a news release from the comptroller’s office, the three officials will receive a tour of the campus from Dr. Aminta H. Breaux, the Bowie State president, that will feature visits to the Student Center and the Entrepreneurship Living Learning Community complex. They’ll then hold a discussion with students about the future of Historically Black Colleges and Universities in Maryland and the U.S.

How was this event put together?

Susan O’Brien, a spokeswoman for Franchot, said the comptroller and Clyburn are friends; the veteran congressman wanted to visit Bowie State, so Franchot’s office made the arrangements.

And no, this isn’t a political event, but pictures of Franchot with one of the most powerful Black elected officials in the country are sure to be valuable for the comptroller on the campaign trail, as he battles three strong Black candidates (and five candidates of color) in the 10-way Democratic primary.

We also can’t help but wonder whether Clyburn’s close colleague, House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D), whose district includes Bowie State, was made aware of this tour, and what he thinks about it. A spokeswoman for Hoyer said the majority leader had a series of meetings scheduled and a colloquy on Capitol Hill during Clyburn’s visit to the university.

“It is not surprising that Mr. Clyburn is heading down to Bowie State, he is a champion for HBCUs nation-wide and is one of the founding members of the Bipartisan Congressional HBCU Caucus,” the spokeswoman, Maya Valentine, said in an email. “We hope he has a great time in the district!”

Hogan wades into Democratic primary

Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) on Thursday made a rare endorsement in a Democratic primary, backing Thiru Vignarajah for Baltimore City state’s attorney.

Vignarajah, who also ran for the job in 2018, is trying to oust two-term State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby (D), a Hogan nemesis. Vignarajah, who only recently entered the primary, is the rare Democratic politician to fully embrace Hogan’s anti-crime package currently under consideration in the General Assembly.

“As governor, there is nothing more important to me than the safety of our communities,” Hogan said in a statement. “Thiru Vignarajah will restore trust, hold violent criminals accountable, and make our streets safer. He has the experience, integrity, and unwavering commitment to get the job done.”

Hogan has promoted himself as a bipartisan politician, and enjoyed support from many Democratic politicians and voters in 2018. But this appears to be the first time that he has openly endorsed a Democratic candidate for office since becoming governor.

“In a moment of crisis like this, public safety must come before partisan politics,” Vignarajah said.

Hogan has been withering in his criticism of Mosby, describing her as too lenient as a prosecutor and blaming her for the number of repeat offenders committing violent crimes in the city. Since running unsuccessfully for state’s attorney in 2018 and for mayor in 2020, Vignarajah has been on the airwaves frequently, decrying the city’s crime wave.

“Fighting violent crime is supposed to be the job of local leaders,” he said Thursday. “For eight years, the governor has done his best to support the city in its battle against violent crime. But Governor Hogan knows that without leadership at the local level this fight is infinitely harder than it needs to be.”

Ivan Bates, who also ran unsuccessfully against Mosby in 2018, is trying again in this year’s primary. On Thursday, he unveiled endorsements from former Mayor Sheila Dixon (D), Gregg Bernstein, who was Mosby’s predecessor as state’s attorney, and other figures in criminal justice and law enforcement.

“I remain laser-focused on providing the accountability, leadership, and experience to end the gun violence epidemic in Baltimore,” Bates said.

Roya M. Hanna had also launched a campaign for the Democratic primary but has since announced she will run as an independent in November.

McIntosh’s designated successors

We’ve written a lot lately about legislative District 43 in Baltimore City, because with two of the three House incumbents retiring and the district pushing into new territory in Baltimore County, there are a lot of interesting political crosscurrents on display.

One of those departing incumbents, House Appropriations Committee Chair Maggie L. McIntosh (D), endorsed a would-be successor on Thursday in the newly-drawn District 43A, the city portion of the district. In an email to supporters, McIntosh said she wants attorney Elizabeth Embry to succeed her.

“I am not one to look back — I’ve always preferred to keep my eyes firmly focused on the future,” McIntosh wrote. “When I contemplate who will take up the baton of leadership in my beloved 43rd District, my sights are forward thinking, clear-eyed and enthusiastic, indeed. Earlier this month I endorsed my teammate, Delegate Regina T. Boyce. She is a gem. And now I am extremely excited to announce that I am endorsing Elizabeth Embry to join Regina to represent the 43rd District in Annapolis as a member of the House of Delegates.

“No one knows better than I do how vital it is to have strong, effective and proven leaders to champion Baltimore and to be our voice for the 43rd. There may be a number of folks running in the election, but there is no stronger-willed, better prepared and more capable leader than Elizabeth.”

Embry is an assistant state attorney general and lifelong Baltimorean who has also worked for city government. She was a candidate for lieutenant governor in 2018 and for mayor in 2016. Boyce endorsed Embry earlier this week.

But the district’s senator, Mary L. Washington (D), has opted to support Logan Endow,  an economist, health policy expert and community activist, for one of two House seats up for grabs in District 43A. In District 43B, the new Baltimore County portion of the district, Del. Cathi Forbes (D) is so far running unopposed for a full term.

Of course, the district lines could be thrown out in court at any minute…

MSEA endorsements coming — or not

One of the most highly anticipated events of the Democratic primary for governor is taking place Saturday at the Marriott Hotel and Conference Center in College Park. It’s the gathering of 400 delegates of the Maryland State Education Association, who will make recommendations for endorsements for the statewide Democratic primaries to the union’s 76,000 members.

Candidates have already filled out lengthy questionnaires from the teachers’ union, and on Saturday, nine of the Democratic candidates for governor are scheduled to address the assembly: Rushern Baker, Jon Baron, Peter Franchot, Doug Gansler, Ashwani Jain, John King, Wes Moore, Tom Perez, and Jerome Segal. Comptroller candidates Tim Adams and Brooke Lierman and attorney general candidates Anthony Brown and Katie Curran O’Malley have already addressed the delegates virtually.

Republican candidates for statewide office were invited to participate in the endorsement process, but declined, the union said.

An MSEA endorsement requires a 58% majority vote of the delegates. With so many Democrats running for governor, it’s entirely possible that the teachers will opt to stay on the sidelines for the primary — though they would almost certainly back the nominee in the general election. We should know how they’ve voted by early or mid-Saturday afternoon.

Editor’s note: This story was updated to include a comment from Congressman Steny Hoyer’s office.


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Political Notes: Franchot to Join Clyburn at Bowie State, Hogan Picks a Dem in City Race, McIntosh Blesses a Successor, and More