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Election 2022

Political Notes: Mastriano to Rally With Cox, AFL-CIO Backs Perez, Baker Is Almost Broke

Doug Mastriano, the GOP nominee for governor in Pennsylvania, at a gun rights rally in Harrisburg in 2020. Photo by Stephen Caruso/Pennsylvania Capital-Star.

Fresh off his victory Tuesday in the Pennsylvania Republican primary for governor, Trump-aligned state Sen. Doug Mastriano is coming to Maryland next month to rally for this state’s Trump-aligned candidate for governor, Del. Dan Cox (R-Frederick).

The Cox campaign announced in an email Thursday that Mastriano will keynote a late morning “freedom rally” at a farm in Hampstead on June 25. The email invitation comes with pictures of Cox and Mastriano with their spouses, and a 45-second video of patriotic music and images.

“Come rally with the patriots of Maryland,” one of the images on the video says.

In addition to Mastriano and Cox, speakers at the event will include Gordana Schifanelli, Cox’s candidate for lieutenant governor; Dr. Leland Stillman, a Florida-based physician billed as an “America-first frontline doctor”; former Marine Lt. Col. Stu Scheller, who was court-martialed last year for criticizing his superiors after the fall of Afghanistan; and former Army Capt. Seth Keshel, a one-time intelligence officer who asserts he has developed statistical models that prove the 2020 election was stolen from President Trump.

Cox is running against Kelly M. Schulz, the former state Commerce secretary and protégé of Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr., a Trump foe, in the July 19 Republican primary.

“My opponent is raising money and running fake news ads to smear me and Democrats are also reeling in the cash,” Cox writes in the email invitation for the Mastriano rally. “I need your immediate donation to get out our positive and winning message of Freedom for all Maryland.”

Perez, Brown, Lierman get AFL-CIO endorsements

The Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO this week endorsed Tom Perez, the former state and Obama administration Labor secretary, in the Democratic primary for governor.

It takes two-thirds of the regional AFL’s executive board to endorse a statewide candidate. Perez was the choice of 87%, according to his campaign.

“Tom Perez stands on a solid lifetime of working to strengthen the rights of workers, build our communities, and fight against injustices and discrimination,” said Donna S. Edwards, president of the Maryland State and D.C. AFL-CIO.

Four years ago, the local labor federation did not endorse anyone in the Democratic primary for governor.

For Perez, this is good news: The AFL has about 700 locals in Maryland, whose unions represent more than 150,000 households in the state.

Perez has gotten several other labor endorsements in the primary — though not all of them. His union backers include the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, United Food and Commercial Workers, 32BJ SEIU, SEIU Local 500, Amalgamated Transit Union, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, and the Communications Workers of America.

“When unions succeed, workers succeed. And when workers succeed, Maryland succeeds,” Perez said in a statement.

The state AFL-CIO also handed out several other endorsements in key races. For comptroller, the federation went with Del. Brooke E. Lierman (D-Baltimore City), and for attorney general, it’s backing U.S. Rep. Anthony G. Brown (D).

The AFL endorsed all the Democratic members of Congress in the state who are seeking reelection, and is backing former Rep. Donna F. Edwards — no relation to the AFL-CIO chief — in the Democratic primary to replace Brown in Congress. In the 1st District, the AFL endorsed former Del. Heather R. Mizeur, who is seeking to unseat Republican Rep. Andy Harris. (Mizeur also picked up the endorsement of the Service Employees International Union Maryland and D.C. State Council this week.)

The AFL-CIO additionally endorsed dozens of candidates for state legislature this year, including most — but not all — Democratic incumbents seeking reelection.

Click here for a full list of the federation’s Maryland endorsements.

Baker running out of cash, seeks replenishment

One of Perez’s opponents in the 10-way Democratic candidate for governor is running out of cash.

In a filing with the Maryland State Board of Elections, former Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III reported on Tuesday that he had just $15,440 in his campaign account.

Because Baker is the only top-tier contender for governor participating in the state’s public financing system for candidates, which provides matching funds based on a complex formula, he has to file campaign finance reports far more frequently than the other candidates. He’s also limited in the amount of money he can raise; contributions can only come from individuals and can’t exceed $250.

In his latest filing, Baker indicated that he is applying for another $34,854 in public funds based on the money he’s raised recently. All told, he’s collected $775,073 in matching funds this election cycle.

After briefly airing a campaign ad in Baltimore, with the message that too many young Black men are being gunned down, Baker is scratching for funds and his campaign has gone dark. $15,000 isn’t going to get him back on the air for very long, and neither is the forthcoming $34,000.

But Baker’s team insists that he’s still plugging away, raising money and living off the land, and that even a slow but steady influx of contributions will lead to greater matching funds and greater spending at critical moments in the campaign. Other candidates for state and local office won’t have to submit their updated campaign finance statements until mid-June.