With early voting in Maryland kicking off Thursday, Democratic gubernatorial nominee Wes Moore is going into overdrive, calling on the highest levels of Democratic royalty to lend a hand.
On Tuesday alone, Moore began airing a 30-second TV spot featuring former President Obama. He picked up the endorsement of former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), a hero to gun control advocates. And he appeared at an online fundraiser with Hillary Clinton, discussing the topic of leadership.
On Wednesday afternoon, Moore and the rest of the statewide Democratic ticket will appear with Democratic National Committee Chair Jaime Harrison and other party leaders at a get-out-the-vote rally at the University of Maryland campus in College Park.
Moore’s GOP opponent, Del. Dan Cox (R-Frederick), used the recently-released national report card on student test scores to blast COVID-19 mandates on Tuesday.
But Moore has been far and away the most visible of the five candidates for governor this week — Libertarian David Lashar, Green Party nominee Nancy Wallace and Working Class Party nominee David Harding are also running.
The hour-long Zoom conversation Tuesday night between Moore and Clinton, viewed by about 130 donors and supporters, began by spotlighting Clinton’s role as a historic figure and international stateswoman. But the most salient moments came when she recounted her husband’s 12-year tenure as governor of Arkansas, and offered practical advice about helming a state government.
Her recommendations included: Hiring good people and holding them accountable, getting to know veterans of government deep in the state bureaucracy, preparing for unforeseen disasters to take place on day one, keeping in touch with real people and their everyday problems, and being forthright with voters about your administration’s plans and actions.
“Unfortunately, the campaign continues, Wes,” Clinton said sympathetically, suggesting that campaign-style activities need to take place even when the administration is deep into the business of governing.
Clinton also warned about the Republican attacks to come, which, she noted, Moore has largely been able to avoid.
“Because they nominated an extremist — someone who the governor of his own party has disavowed — they haven’t really figured out ways to go after you yet,” she said.
Clinton also warned that Cox, like his hero, former President Trump, might not concede the election, even though Moore is favored to win.
“I’m sure he’ll continue to deny the outcome of the election no matter how much you beat him by,” she told Moore.
Moore called Clinton’s suggestions about life in a state capital “a master class.”
It was up to another trailblazer, retired Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D), to offer marching orders to the virtual crowd.
“We cannot be complacent,” she said. “Wes is ahead but we need to keep him ahead.”
Obama’s spare and simple ad endorsing Moore essentially carried the same message. It begins with the ex-president addressing the camera and eventually segues to pictures of Moore on the campaign trail. Obama speaks for the entire 30 seconds.
“You’re about to elect a new governor,” Obama says as the ad begins. “And, the choice couldn’t be clearer. My friend, Wes Moore, is the leader Maryland needs.
“Now, at a time when so much of our politics is about tearing people down, Wes Moore is working to bring people together and lift them up. He wants to build an economy that works for everyone and schools that are second to none. Because Wes knows that Maryland is strongest when no one is left behind. But he only wins if you vote. Let’s do this, Maryland.”
Giffords, the former Arizona congresswoman who has become an iconic figure in the national gun control movement after being shot in the head at a community meeting, said Moore “understands that a top priority for any governor is to keep their constituents safe. As a veteran, he knows the value of responsible gun ownership and protecting the lives of children and families. If elected, Wes Moore will support necessary gun safety measures like implementing child access prevention legislation to ensure the safety of Marylanders.”
Beyond all the Democratic celebrities, Moore and his running mate, former Del. Aruna Miller (D-Montgomery), spent some time Tuesday afternoon at the annual fundraising lunch for the Montgomery County Business Hall of Fame, which has become a regular stop for aspiring political leaders beyond Montgomery County’s borders. Their ticket mates, U.S. Rep. Anthony Brown, the Democratic nominee for attorney general, and Del. Brooke Lierman (D-Baltimore City), the candidate for comptroller, were also on hand.
That same quartet will be part of the get-out-the-vote rally Wednesday at the University of Maryland’s Stamp Student Union, which will be headlined by Harrison, the Democratic National Committee chair. Also expected to appear: U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D) and Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks (D), who are up for reelection this year, and Maryland Democratic Party Chair Yvette Lewis.
Meanwhile, Cox on Tuesday used Monday’s release of the Nation’s Report Card by the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), which showed a decline of Maryland students’ proficiency scores, to reiterate his opposition to certain public health mandates.“The recent report indicating Maryland students’ decline in proficiency in mathematics is an indictment of the destructive policies government officials forced upon the public during the COVID lockdowns,” Cox said. Maryland’s decline in reading and math scores fell significantly more than the national average, Cox pointed out, with Baltimore City’s math scores showing the second largest decline of all major cities across the country. “If it weren’t for our fight these last two years alongside concerned parents standing against these unlawful executive orders, these officials would have continued to enforce these harmful practices which were some of the worst in the nation,” Cox said. The Republican’s campaign cited analysis suggesting the statistics show that Maryland students missed the equivalent of one year of learning. “Maryland can never do this to our students again,” Cox said. “Maryland’s youth may never fully recover. It’s an utter travesty, and my pledge to Maryland is that while I am governor, I will never allow schools and society to be shut down by executive order again, nor will vaccine or mask mandates be required under my watch.”