112 current and former Maryland elected officeholders endorsed Peter Franchot’s 2022 gubernatorial campaign, according to an announcement released Thursday by Franchot’s campaign.
“Today, I’m incredibly excited to announce that 112 current and former elected officials have just endorsed my campaign for governor. These hardworking servants hail from every county and jurisdiction within our great state, and I am grateful for their friendship and trust,” Franchot said.
Mr. Franchot, a Democrat, is the state’s elected comptroller, an office he’s held since 2007.
“As your next governor, I will work for all of Maryland and ensure that no one gets left behind,” Franchot said in a campaign email to supporters.
“Together, we’ll deliver bold solutions to the challenges we face and raise Maryland’s expectations for what a competent government can achieve, and what our people deserve.”
Franchot was the first Democrat to enter the 2022 gubernatorial contest. Ashwani Jain of Potomac, Md. is the only other announced Democrat in the race.
Gilchrest, a former Republican congressman, all in on Franchot
Amid the notable names of former elected officials standing behind Franchot’s gubernatorial bid is former U.S. Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest.
The longtime Republican who represented Maryland’s 1st Congressional District for 18 years left the Republican Party in 2019 and registered as a Democrat after bearing witness to a political mutiny, a hostile takeover of a political party he served for much of his life.
“I felt close again to Elijah’s deep courage and integrity, morality, and justice, and therefore compelled to leave the Republican Party, lacking in all four,” Gilchrest told Baltimore Sun columnist Dan Rodericks in February 2020.
While serving in Congress, Gilchrest operated as a political moderate – a centrist Republican of the sorts. Centrism today is a precarious place to operate politically if you’re a Republican – or a Democrat.
Former Republicans like Gilchrest grew more disillusioned by the day after the 2016 election, watching their Grand Old Party succumb to former Republican President Donald J. Trump’s untethered and freewheeling and always-changing, flavor-of-the-week cultural conservatism.
Whatever Republicanism is today, the Republican Party of 2010, or Republicans in the George H. W. Bush and even George W. Bush eras, is no more.
The current party is seemingly magnetically attracted to fringe figures (e.g., U.S. Rep. Marjorie Tayor Greene (R-Ga.) and dangerous conspiracy theories (see QAnon).
The GOP today seemingly eschews serious policy agendas in favor of begrudging Hollywood elites, targeting AOC, “owning the libs,” and bemoaning cancel culture (i.e., Mr. Potato Head reading a Dr. Suess book, munching on Goya cookies while resting his big potato head on a MyPillow).
American “conservatives” have now traded in William F. Buckley for… Daniel J. Bongino.
Washington County GOP political kingmaker green lights Franchot
Another unforgettable name amid Franchot’s list of supporters is former state Del. Paul D. Muldowney, a Democrat-turned-conservative Republican.
Muldowney – a former Hagerstown business executive with a southern draw, known to head one of only a handful of Washington County’s royal Catholic families – changed political parties sometime later in life and stumped for mostly Republican state candidates ever since.
It is true, at least in Washington County, that one must kiss the proverbial rings of the political kingmakers before setting foot in the Board of Elections office.
Mr. Muldowney is one of those kings.
To date, aspiring local and state officeholders still pay homage to Washington County’s Republican Godfather – either for the proverbial nod or a sizeable campaign donation.
When Muldowney backs candidates, typically, those candidates win.
Consider the tale of Gov. Larry Hogan’s Director of External Affairs & Interagency Initiatives Christopher B. Shank.
In 2010, Shank, an ambitious and politically astute conservative state House member, set his eyes on the District 2 Senate seat (Washington County). With Muldowney’s support and backing, the young Shank, the House minority whip at the time, crushed his one-time political ally, Don Munson, in a Republican primary that few will ever forget.
Shank went on to serve a single term in the state Senate. He was re-elected in 2014 but was quickly scooped up by Hogan in 2015 to serve in his new administration.
Don Munson, a beloved albeit corky relic of old-school Annapolis politics, had few mortal enemies, political or otherwise – except for Paul Muldowney, whom Munson is said to loathe, decades later, beyond measure.
Though two years after losing a primary to Shank, the always-resilient Munson was on the political mend: City of Hagerstown voters in 2012 elected him to their City Council; he was re-elected in 2016 but resigned in November 2017 due to health reasons.
Franchot’s list of endorsers
A Miner Detail highlights below the current elected officeholders who support Mr. Franchot’s gubernatorial bid.
The Franchot campaign published Thursday a comprehensive list of former and current elected officeholders backing Franchot’s gubernatorial campaign.
Maryland Senate Endorsements (currently serving) (1)
- State Sen. Craig J. Zucker (D-Montgomery). Zucker was Franchot’s legislative director from 1999 to 2000 while Franchot was serving District 20 in the House of Delegates, an office he held for 20 years until being elected the state’s comptroller in 2016.
Maryland House of Delegates Endorsements (currently serving) (3)
- J. Sandy Bartlett (D-Anne Arundel). Barlett chairs the Anne Arundel County Delegation in the Maryland House of Delegates.
- Pamela E. Queen (D-Montgomery).
- Steven C. Johnson (D-Harford).
Franchot endorsers say what?
Barlett, critical of the Hogan administration’s handling of unemployment benefits, said this of Franchot:
“After seeing over a year of the mishandling of UI claims, to the point of inability to answer the phone for people on the brink of desperation, yet still being told by the current administration how well the UI system works, I am more than ready to have a Governor who is effective, efficient, personable and willing to put Marylanders in the best position to enjoy the opportunities of this beautifully diverse state! That’s Peter Franchot!”
Del. Queen homes in on Franchot’s 35-year career in public service, saying:
“Peter Franchot is uniquely qualified to be the next Governor with his 15 years on the Board of Public Works and his 20 years in the House of Delegates. I look forward to an inspiring and inclusive government under his leadership.”
County Officeholders’ Endorsements (currently serving) (25)
- Charles County Commissioner Gilbert O. Bowling III (D).
- Talbot County Register of Wills Patricia E. “Patti” Campen.
- Kent County Commissioner Ronald H. Fithian (D).
- Montgomery County Councilman Andrew Friedson (D). Friedson is a longtime political ally of Franchot. He served as Franchot’s 2010 campaign manager, in which Franchot, running his first re-election campaign as the state’s comptroller, won 61% of the vote in the November general election. Mr. Friedson was first elected to the Montgomery County Council (District 1) in 2018.
- Montgomery County Register of Wills Joseph M. Griffin.
- Frederick County Councilman Kai Hagen (D). Hagan filed Wednesday to run for Frederick County executive, hoping to succeed the term-limited incumbent Jan H. Gardner (D).
- Wicomico County Councilman Joshua A. Hastings.
- Charles County Register of Wills Loraine D. Hennessy.
- Harford County Councilman Andrew V. Johnson (D).
- Anne Arundel County Councilwoman Sarah F. Lacey (D). Lacey is the current chair of the Anne Arundel County Council.
- Somerset County Commissioner Randy Laird (D).
- Prince George’s County Register of Wills Cereta Lee. Lee is the first African-American in Prince George’s County to be elected to the Register of Wills position.
- Wicomico County Register of Wills Karen A. Lemon.
- Howard County Register of Wills Byron E. Macfarlane (D). Macfarlane is the first openly gay officeholder in Howard County history.
- Washington County Register of Wills Jason A. Malott (D).
- Somerset County Commissioners President Craig N. Mathies (D).
- Wicomico County Councilman William “Bill” R. McCain (D).
- Dorchester County Commissioners President Jay L. Newcomb (D).
- Worcester County Commissioner Joshua C. Nordstrom.
- Calvert County Register of Wills Margaret H. Phipps.
- Anne Arundel County Clerk of the Circuit Court Scott A. Poyer.
- Baltimore County Board of Education member Lily Rowe.
- Charles County Commissioners Vice-President Robert A. “Bobby” Rucci (D).
- Dorchester County Commissioner Ricky Travers (D).
- Dorchester County Register of Wills Teresa “Terry” D. Wheatley.
Maryland Mayoral Endorsements (currently serving) (14)
- Gaithersburg Mayor Jud Ashman (D). Ashman has been mayor of Gaithersburg since 2014. A Democrat, Ashman endorsed and campaigned on behalf of Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s 2018 re-election, opting not to support the Democratic nominee, former NACCP chief Benjamin T. Jealous.
- Chestertown Mayor Christopher Cerino.
- Henderson Mayor Sandy Cook.
- Salisbury Mayor Jacob “Jake” R. Day (D). Day, who has served as Salisbury’s mayor since 2015, built a close relationship with Franchot and his staff. Like Ashman, Day endorsed Hogan’s re-election bid in 2018 – a race Hogan won handily – over Mr. Jealous. Hogan returned the favor by endorsing Day’s successful 2019 mayoral re-election campaign.
- Grantsville Mayor Mark C. Diehl.
- Greenbelt Mayor Pro Tem Emmett Jordan.
- Boonsboro Mayor Howard W. Long.
- Suspended Capitol Heights Mayor Shawn Maldon. The Capital Heights Town Council recently created a charter amendment resolution that gives council members the power to appoint an interim presiding officer and reassign the mayor’s duties until the town holds its next election in May 2022.
ABC 7 reported Wednesday that four of the six women who sit on the council signed off on a resolution alleging several allegations against Maldon, including “bullying, a failure to sign checks, improperly conducting meetings,” and ‘misappropriating and misusing Town employees as contractors to perform personal work for certain citizens and councilmembers.”
Maldon says the allegations are false, and he’s working to collect signatures from the town’s registered voters to force a referendum.
- Denton Mayor Abigal McNinch.
- New Carrollton Mayor Phelicia Nembhard. Nembhard is the first African-American and the first female to serve as New Carrollton’s mayor. In October 2020, Nembhard was criticized by LGBTQ activists for making homophobic remarks during a public meeting. Nembhard denied the allegations.
- North Brentwood Mayor Petrella Robinson.
- Highland Beach Mayor William “Bill” Sanders III.
- Brentwood Mayor Rocio Treminio-Lopez.
- Acting Hyattsville Mayor Kevin Ward.
“I am proud to endorse Peter Franchot for Governor of Maryland. I have admired Peter for many years as he transcended politics in the name of a better Maryland for every one of her proud sons and daughters. Peter has elevated the Comptroller’s office to a finely-tuned organization.
I am in awe of his continuous insistence on a government that is both supremely competent and always responsive to its citizens. Peter has been fearless in confronting unfair treatment of Maryland small businesses, confronting structural barriers to opportunity, and ensuring that no part of our beloved state goes unseen or unheard.
I recognize in Peter, a fellow Soldier’s tenacity. Maryland needs that.
As I transition back into my job as Mayor, I look forward to working with Governor Franchot to ensure Maryland cities, towns, farms, and families benefit from his vigorous commitment to a rising Maryland for us all.”
During his time in office, Peter Franchot has visited every community across the state, from Accident to Crisfield and every zip code in between, including thousands of small businesses.
He has built an unparalleled collection of relationships with state and local leaders from all 23 Maryland counties and Baltimore City. Franchot is uniquely qualified to understand their needs, maintain their trust, and work hand-in-hand to ensure each of their communities recovers fully from the toll of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Municipal Officeholders’ Endorsements (currently serving) (15)
- Cumberland City Councilman Seth D. Bernard.
- Cumberland City Councilman Richard J. “Rock” Cioni.
- Chestertown City Councilman J. David Foster.
- Cumberland City Councilman Eugene T. Frazier.
- Salisbury City Councilwoman April Jackson (D).
- Westminster City Council President Gregory Pecoraro.
- Annapolis City Alderwoman Rhonda Pindell Charles (D).
- Havre de Grace City Councilman Jason Robertson.
- Appointed Annapolis City Alderman Brooks Schandelmeier (D).
- Takoma Park City Councilperson Terry Seamens.
- Takoma Park City Councilperson Jarrett Smith.
- Gaithersburg City Councilman Ryan Spiegel (D).
- Annapolis City Alderwoman Eleanor “Elly” Tierney (D).
- Chestertown City Councilman Rev. Ellsworth Tolliver.
- Town of St. Michael’s Commissioners Vice-President Jaime M. Windon.
Law Enforcement Endorsements (currently serving) (4)
- Charles County Sheriff Troy D. Berry (D).
- Baltimore County Sheriff R. Jay Fisher.
- Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy.
- Montgomery County Sheriff Darren M. Popkin.