Md. Democrats raise dough, hoping to ride a #BlueWave

Md. Democrats raise dough, hoping to ride a #BlueWave

At the Democratic #BlueWave Unity Celebration Saturday: Front row: Krish Vignarajah, the only other candidate for governor who attended; behind her, her running mate Sharon Blake; Congressman Elijah Cummings; former U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski; behind her, former Vice President Joe Biden; Jesse Colvin, Democratic nominee for U.S. House, 1st Congressional District; Luwanda Jenkins, lieutenant governor candidate with Sen. Rich Madaleno; Baltimore City Councilman Brandon Scott, LG candidate with Jim Shea. Back row: Elizabeth Embry, LG candidate with Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker; Howard County Councilmember Calvin Ball, Democratic nominee for Howard County Executive; Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger; Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh; U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin; Democratic Party Chair Kathleen Matthews; Susan Turnbull, nominee for lieutenant governor; Steuart Pittman, Democratic nominee for Anne Arundel County executive; Ben Jealous, Democratic nominee for governor. Photo by Maryland Democratic Party.

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By Len Lazarick

Former Vice President Joe Biden, looking fit, trim and gearing up for a possible run in 2020, headlined a Democratic Party #BlueWave Unity Celebration at the Camden Yards warehouse in Baltimore hosted by the Angelos Family Saturday evening.

Biden, the former long-time senator from neighboring Delaware with long ties to Baltimore, emphasized all the ways that President Trump has been bad for the country. The other speakers emphasized how Republican Gov. Larry Hogan has been bad for Maryland.

About 250 people attended the event which raised $150,000, according to the Maryland Democratic Party, principally from major sponsors: AFSCME, the Angelos Family, Stewart and Sandra Bainum, BGE, Comcast and other unions.

That begins to fill some of the Democrats’ fundraising hole compared to Hogan’s $9 million campaign stockpile. Ben Jealous, the party’s new nominee for governor, suggested Hogan’s edge won’t last.

“We have the message, we have the organization, and while Hogan has the money right now, something tells me we’re going to find that too,” Jealous said. By the end of the primary campaign, Jealous had outraised his six major opponents with an influx of out-of-state money.

National Democratic Party Chairman Tom Perez, a former Montgomery County Council member who was President Obama’s Labor Secretary, also promised help from the national party. Democrats are anxious to reclaim some of the governor seats lost in the last decade, leaving them in control of only 16 of the 50 states.

Perez wasn’t officially on the program but loudly sounded the rally’s constant themes: Hogan is bad for Maryland and won’t stand up to Trump; Ben Jealous will turn things around in education, jobs and help for working families.

“Thank God Larry Hogan wasn’t around when they built the Fort McHenry tunnel, because he wouldn’t have built it,” Perez said, due to a lack of vision. It was an unusual charge since Democrats constantly complain that Hogan favors funding roads and highways over mass transit.

Perez lambasted the “debacle” in which the state Motor Vehicle Administration failed to send the State Board of Elections address changes for over 90,000 voters, causing many to use provisional ballots.

“Across the country, Republicans are trying to make it harder for people to vote,” Perez said. There were only two explanations for the apparent computer programming error, “They were either incompetent or they were sinister, and both those explanations are terrible.”

Jealous effusively thanked his opponents, particularly the late Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, who died of a heart attack May 10.

Jealous promised a campaign that hearkens back to the 2010 victory of Gov. Martin O’Malley over former Gov. Bob Ehrlich in a comeback bid. Jealous’s running mate Susie Turnbull was chair of the state party at the time and his campaign manager, Travis Tazelaar, was executive director of the state party back then.

“We’re going to fight for every vote in every county in every corner of this state,” Jealous promised.

About The Author

Len Lazarick

Len Lazarick was the founding editor and publisher of and is currently the president of its nonprofit corporation and chairman of its board He was formerly the State House bureau chief of the daily Baltimore Examiner from its start in April 2006 to its demise in February 2009. He was a copy editor on the national desk of the Washington Post for eight years before that, and has spent decades covering Maryland politics and government.

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