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Election 2022

Political Notes: Jill Kamenetz’s Message for Democrats, Pelosi’s Pitch for Perez, and MPT Interviews With Republicans

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) flanked by Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Perez and his running mate Shannon Sneed at a fundraiser in Bethesda Thursday evening. Photo courtesy of the Perez campaign.

In his long political career, state Comptroller Peter Franchot (D) has made many friends and allies. But he’s also made some enemies.

One of them is Jill Kamenetz, the widow of the late Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz (D), who died of a heart attack at the age of 60 while he was campaigning for governor in May of 2018.

Kevin Kamenetz and Franchot had epic battles through the years, mostly over the physical condition of Baltimore County Public Schools, and Franchot often used Kamenetz as a punching bag as he railed against the Democratic establishment.

Now, as Franchot wages his own campaign for governor, Jill Kamenetz is calling him out in harsh and extraordinary terms, which became the talk of the Maryland political world on Friday afternoon. This week she released a 36-second video on Facebook about Franchot as she sits on a sofa, with a framed photo of her late husband on a side table.

“I’ve been thinking a lot about the election for governor,” Jill Kamenetz says in the video. “Peter Franchot constantly lied and misrepresented my husband’s record. He caused my husband, Kevin Kamenetz, constant stress and anxiety. He had the nerve to show up at Kevin’s funeral and sit in the front row, as if they were best friends. I will never forget that. That is the Peter Franchot I know. I encourage all Democrats of Maryland to vote for anyone but Franchot.”

The Franchot campaign declined to comment. Chances are, if the July 19 primary were held today, he’d finish far out in front in Baltimore County.

Pelosi promotes Perez

Speaking of famous politicians from Baltimore, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who grew up in Baltimore’s Little Italy, returned to her home state Thursday evening for a fundraiser for former Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez.

The event, at a private home in Bethesda, attracted about 200 people, including several state lawmakers, like state Sens. Cory McCray (D-Baltimore City) and Sarah Elfreth (D-Anne Arundel), and Dels. Lesley Lopez (D-Montgomery), Vaughn Stewart (D-Montgomery), and Luke Clippinger (D-Baltimore City), the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, who ran Perez’s short-lived campaign for state attorney general in 2006.

“Tom is a compassionate leader, a great listener, and someone who isn’t afraid to do the hard work governing requires,” Pelosi said when she endorsed Perez in December. Pelosi is, of course, the daughter and sister of former Baltimore mayors.

U.S. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D), Maryland’s own and a member of Pelosi’s leadership team, is backing author and former nonprofit CEO Wes Moore in the Democratic gubernatorial primary.

A Perez spokesperson said the Pelosi event brought in “six figures (and counting).”

3 of 4 GOP candidates on MPT

Maryland Public Television, which televised a forum for eight Democratic gubernatorial candidates earlier this month, recorded interviews with three of the four candidates seeking the Republican nomination for governor during a special episode of “State Circle” on Friday night.

Interviews with candidates Kelly Schulz, Robin Ficker and Joe Werner are included in the half-hour episode of MPT’s weekly news and public affairs program. Candidate Dan Cox did not appear, but according to MPT he “also has a standing invitation to be interviewed for an on-air segment.”

The interviews can be seen on MPT’s YouTube channel or on the “State Circle” webpage.