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Election 2022 Government & Politics

Political Notes: Moore Calls Out Franchot Supporter’s ‘Divisive’ Post, Governor Candidates Release New Ads

The Maryland State House. Photo by Danielle E. Gaines.

Gubernatorial hopeful Wes Moore (D) called on rival Peter Franchot (D) to cut ties with a prominent supporter because of a social media post that appeared to call Baltimore residents “animals.”

In a press release on Wednesday, the Moore campaign demanded that Franchot “denounce” the Facebook message posted by Wayne Frazier, Sr., head of the Maryland Washington Minority Companies Association. The association advocates for minority contracting firms.

The posted showed a mock highway sign that read, “Welcome to Baltimore City: Stay in Your Car! Windows Up — Doors Locked. Do Not Feed the Animals.”

The Moore campaign called the post “hateful and divisive.”

“I don’t know how you can have any claim that you will care about Baltimore while your biggest supporter is out there calling its residents ‘animals,’” said campaign spokesman Brian Jones.

Frazier has made four contributions, totaling $950, to Franchot’s campaigns since 2016. His most recent donation was $250 in 2021.

Baltimore is in the midst of a spike in crime and the recent shooting by a young man cleaning windshields at a downtown intersection has intensified the debate over the causes and possible solutions to the city’s safety crisis.

Franchot and Moore are among nine Democrats running in the July 19 Democratic primary. Most polls have them at the front of the back, along with former U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez. Moore is a best-selling author who led a poverty-fighting non-profit. Franchot has served as comptroller since 2007.

On Friday, Frazier and Del. Darryl Barnes (D-Prince George’s) are slated to appear as “special guest” at a Franchot campaign “meet and greet” in Windsor Mill. The Moore campaign called on Franchot to cancel the event and return Frazier’s contributions.

Franchot’s campaign declined to comment Wednesday night.

Several Facebook users expressed disapproval with Frazier’s post.

“That’s not funny at all…we are not animals,” wrote Pless Jones Jr.

“Please take this down!,” added Robbin Smith. “You know this isn’t funny at all. It is flat out racist!!!”

Said Marshall C. Bell: “I respect you and I appreciate the work you do for the black business community. But this meme is not cool, my brother. I expect better.”

Frazier spared with the critics, defending his statement.

“I’m through with my birthright city,” the Baltimore native wrote. “Conditions must change now or all the hard work will be for nothing. Dirt biker gangs and corner beggers [sic] have captured our city and our leaders are clueless!”

Hollingsworth, King in new ads

Candace Hollingsworth, a candidate for lieutenant governor, says in a new ad that she and former Attorney General Doug Gansler are the best candidates to defend abortion rights in Maryland.

“I had an abortion, and Doug Gansler defended our right to one,” Hollingsworth says at the open of the ad.

She goes on to highlight her work as the first Black mayor of the city of Hyattsville, saying that she “led a growing city out of dysfunction and into a brighter future.”

“But like so many other women, my life would be dramatically different without the access to safe, legal abortion,” Hollingsworth continues. “Right now, with inflation and everyday expenses out of control, baby formula impossible to find, and our choice on when to start our families taken away from us, we need leaders with experience fighting for us.”

Hollingsworth adds that Gansler, as state attorney general, fought the Bush administration when it tried to roll back abortion rights through the federal rule-making process.

“With our right to choose under attack, the choice for Maryland couldn’t be more clear: Gansler-Hollingsworth for governor,” she says as the ad concludes.

Also out with a new ad this week is former U.S. Education Secretary John King.

In that ad, King riffs on a recent by Republican gubernatorial hopeful Kelly Schulz, who stands out as she walks through a maze of cardboard cutouts of Democratic governor candidates, all male.

In his new ad, King stands next to a cardboard cutout of Republican candidate Dan Cox and begins listing far-right stances including support for abortion bans and unrestricted gun laws — seemingly describing Cox — and then steps away to reveal a cutout of Kelly Schulz who he is actually speaking about.

He goes on to say that Schulz’ priorities are too extreme for Maryland.

In a morning memo, Schulz’ communications director Mike Demkiw responded that “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, or something…”