Franchot-Washington Alliance on Full Display With Campaign Hire

    It’s hardly a secret that much of state Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot’s political team is full of admirers of state Sen. Mary L. Washington (D-Baltimore City): They are cheerleading for her fledgling bid for mayor of Baltimore all over social media.

    Now, the relationship has just gotten a little stronger: Samantha Igo, the communications and social media manager in the comptroller’s office for the past 14 months, has taken a leave of absence to go work for Washington’s campaign.

    Washington’s campaign apparatus for the April 2020 Democratic primary is just being assembled. Besides Igo, Mark McLaurin, the former political director of the Service Employees International Union Local 500, is helping out, but the team is still very much in its nascent stages.

    Igo does have a prior political relationship with Washington: As an undergraduate at Johns Hopkins University — which is substantially in Washington’s Senate district — Igo did outreach for the lawmaker on campus, and the two connected over their shared opposition to the proposed private police force for the Hopkins.

    Meanwhile, Washington announced Tuesday that James DeGraffenreidt, a prominent Baltimore businessman, will serve as chairman of her campaign.

    DeGraffenreidt retired in 2009 after 11 years as chairman and chief executive officer of WGL Holdings, Inc. He currently serves as president of the Walters Art Museum Board of Trustees and served as a member of the Maryland State Board of Education for two, four-year terms, ending in June 2016.

    “I have long-admired the tireless passion and talent Mary has brought to public office, and there is no one more prepared to lead Baltimore during such a tumultuous time than her,” DeGraffenreidt said. “Baltimoreans need a mayor they can trust, and Mary will restore that faith.”

    Washington is just starting to make her way in a crowded Democratic primary for mayor that includes Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young, City Council President Brandon M. Scott, former assistant attorney general Thiru Vignarajah, and former Baltimore Police Department spokesman T.J. Smith. Former mayor Sheila Dixon is expected to make her political plans for 2020 known in the next few days, but she could try to get her old job back.

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    Josh Kurtz
    Co-founder and Editor Josh Kurtz is the leading chronicler of Maryland politics and government. He began covering the State House in 1995 for The Gazette newspapers, and has been writing about state and local politics ever since. He later became an editor at Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, and spent eight years at E&E News, an online subscription-only publisher of news websites covering energy and environmental issues. For seven of those years, he led a staff of 20 reporters at E&E Daily, which covers energy and environmental policy on Capitol Hill and in national politics. For 6 1/2 years he wrote a weekly column on state politics for Center Maryland and has written for several other Maryland publications as well. Kurtz has given speeches and appeared on TV and radio shows about Maryland politics through the years.