Ivy League Battle: John King dings Tom Perez as insufficiently progressive

Maryland Gubernatorial candidates

Former U.S. education secretary and Maryland Democratic gubernatorial candidate John B. King Jr. took a subtle swipe at fellow Obama alumni Tom Perez, the former U.S. labor secretary and former Democratic National Committee chair, who announced Wednesday that’s he running for governor of Maryland.

King and Perez served together as cabinet secretaries in former President Barack Obama’s administration.

Perez led the federal Labor Department from July 2013 until January 2017, and King led Obama’s Education Department from July 2016 until the former president left office in 2017.

“Today, another well-connected opponent entered our race for governor of Maryland, joining the other celebrities and millionaires in a crowded field,” King wrote in a Wednesday-evening campaign email blast.

Is John King running for Maryland governor? Without naming Perez, 59, a former Montgomery County councilman and labor secretary in former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley’s (D) administration, King says Perez “will NOT be the progressive champion that Marylanders deserve.”

“We need a governor with an unflinching commitment to advancing economic, racial, climate, and educational justice. That’s why we need to election John King as Maryland’s next governor.”

King’s email blast asks subscribers to rush in a contribution immediately and help us fight back…” His gubernatorial campaign has a $50K “rapid response goal.”

Both King and Perez live in Montgomery County – King in Silver Spring, Perez in Takoma Park. Democratic gubernatorial contender Peter V. R. Franchot, Maryland’s comptroller, also lives in Takoma Park.

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The Ivy League Battle Begins 

Montgomery County isn’t the only thing King and Perez have in common.

Ivy Leaguers Messrs. King and Perez both attended Harvard University.

Though the Maryland gubernatorial hopefuls graduated from competing law schools: King graduated from Yale University Law School, whereas Perez graduated from Harvard’s law school in 1987, only four years ahead of Obama, who graduated from Harvard Law in 1991.

King seemingly lacks confidence in his fellow Democrats running to succeed the term-limited Republican Gov. Larry Hogan.

“We need a bold leader who will reject the status quo and work to achieve an economy that is equitable and fair for all Marylanders.

“But,” King’s email blast says, “we can’t say the same for his opponents.”

“Hollow half-measures and lip service on climate action, worker protections, and criminal justice reform won’t meet the moment.

John King promises to be just that – the progressive Democrat amid the all-male Democratic field that gets larger by the day.


Ryan Miner is the Editor, Founder and Publisher of A Miner Detail, a leading Maryland politics blog featuring Maryland political news, political commentary and opinion. 

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Ryan Miner is the Editor in Chief, Founder, Senior Political Reporter and Publisher of A Miner Detail. He is the host of A Miner Detail Podcast.
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