The chairman of Maryland’s Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee is unlikely to be campaigning for or cutting a check to Comptroller Peter V. R Franchot’s (D) possible 2022 gubernatorial bid any time soon.
Sen. Paul G. Pinsky (D-Prince George’s) joined WAMU radio host Kojo Nnamdi and journalist Tom Sherwood last Friday on The Politics Hour to discuss a number of topics that ranged from funding the Kirwan Commission’s recommendations, renewable energy, widening the Capital Beltway and Interstate 270 to Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr’s successor.
Nearing the end of the hour, Nnamdi’s longtime radio sidekick Sherwood turned the discussion to Franchot, who, only two days prior, put to rest the ongoing speculation of a run for higher office.
Franchot announced last Wednesday that he is indeed mulling a 2022 gubernatorial run and will take the next several months to decide on whether to launch a campaign.
Sherwood put Pinsky on the spot, asking for his thoughts on a Franchot gubernatorial bid.
“Well, this gets back to Kojo’s question: Ocean City, changing the calendar. That clearly was an issue of pandering. It was pandering by the current governor and by the comptroller. And I think we shouldn’t have people who choose to pander to get elected,” Pinsky said, referring to Nnamdi’s previous question about individual school districts again having the authority, thanks to Pinksy’s Labor Day bill, to set their own school calendars.
Pinsky sponsored a bill this past session that would enable individual Maryland school districts to control their school calendars, essentially overturning Gov. Larry Hogan’s (R) executive order that Maryland schools must begin after Labor Day. The General Assembly passed Pinsky’s bill. Hogan vetoed the legislation. The General Assembly subsequently overrode Hogan’s veto.
Franchot, who is often viewed as an ally to Hogan, joined the governor in support of schools officially starting after Labor Day.
“Ideologically, Pinsky mused, he and Franchot are “very different.”
“He’s very conservative. He’s been close to the banks.”
Pinsky turned down the possibility of running for governor himself but said he wants someone else to run “who is going to enunciate a progressive vision for the state, social justice, economic justice and fairness for the working middle-income people of our state.”
Coming back for another round, Pinsky pounced on Franchot, 71, for siding with big banks.
“And I’m not sure who that’ll be, but he sided with the banks, so, you know, I propose –.”
While Franchot did not directly respond to Pinsky’s Friday radio interview, Len Foxwell, the comptroller’s chief of staff, quickly took Pinsky to task for his on-air remarks in a stinging Facebook post rebuke.
“Paul knows better, because they’ve been friends for close to 30 years. He knows that Peter is a fiscal moderate who is rather liberal on social issues, and that Peter has been a strong, consistent defender of consumers from predatory lenders, fraudulent tax preparers and identity thieves,” Foxwell wrote.
Foxwell chalked up Pinsky’s ire for Franchot as Pinsky angling to succeed Miller as Senate President and sucking up to what Team Franchot calls “The Annapolis Machine.”
“In one crucial respect, the Annapolis Machine is similar to a good baseball team, in that both keep situational lefties in the bullpen,” Foxwell wrote on his Facebook thread.
No hard feelings, though, from Franchot and Company.
“I like Paul and I always have. It’s really disappointing that he feels like these tactics are necessary in order to run for Senate President, but I’m not surprised.”
Pinsky, 69, was first elected to the Maryland Senate in 1995. He was appointed to a seat in 1994 and was sworn in August of that year. Before being appointed to a Senate seat, Pinsky was first elected to the Maryland House of Delegates in 1986, the same year Franchot was elected from Takoma Park’s District 20, a progressive haven inside Montgomery County.
Earlier this month at the annual Maryland Association of Counties conference, Pinsky’s name was floated by political insiders as a possible Miller replacement.
Other Senate Democrats said to be actively campaigning for Miller’s longheld post are Majority Leader Guy J. Guzzone (D-Howard) and Sen. Douglas J.J. Peters (D-Prince George’s).
The MACo chatter did shift, however, to other possible replacements, including Sen. Brian J. Feldman (D-Montgomery), whose name has picked up momentum in recent weeks as a possible “consensus” choice. State Sen. Nancy J. King (D-Montgomery), a moderate representing Montgomery County’s District 39, is also said to be interested in succeeding Miller.