Benjamin Jealous was only 35 when he became the youngest person to lead the iconic National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). That was in 2008. Of course, some people had doubts about his abilities to revive a dinosaur, but during his half-decade of leadership, the Maryland-based national organization made an impact nationally and in its own backyard.
In Maryland, he lead the NAACP with helping Maryland pass the state’s DREAM Act, its referendum on gay marriage, and the abolition of Maryland’s death penalty. The Baltimore Sun named him “Marylander of the Year” in 2013 for his accomplishments.
In theory, maybe the son of a racially mixed marriage should have an easier time in his bid to become Maryland’s first Black governor than Stacy Abram’s bid to become Georgia’s and the country’s first Black female governor or Andrew Gillum’s race to become Florida’s first Black governor. But polls show otherwise.
Maybe the Rhodes Scholar (named for Cecil Rhodes, see Review: South African Style
) should have an easier time winning since Maryland is a heavily Democratic state, Georgia and Florida are not. Atlanta has a significant Black middle class, however, Maryland boasts having the wealthiest, best educated, majority-Black county in the country, Prince George’s. Historically, Maryland was a border state, the other two were part of the Confederacy with Georgia being home of Stone Mountain, a grand symbol of White supremacy.
Nevertheless, at a packed rally near the University of Maryland at College Park, Jealous says he can win. “If we turn out one million voters to the polls, we win,” he says. The Republican gubernatorial candidate, he says, have never secured more than 900,000 votes in the Free State. In 2014, his rival Larry Hogan won with only 884,400 votes, beating out his Democratic opponent Anthony Brown by about 66,000 votes.
While Brown won the Democratic strongholds such as Baltimore City, Prince George’s County, and Montgomery County, the problem was the number of voters who missed voting. Baltimore City votes were down 13 percent, Prince George’s County was down by 5 percent, and Montgomery County dropped by 9 percent from 2010.
But things are looking up this year says the Democrats. One month before Election Day, 70,374 voters had requested absentee ballots, a huge 96% increase
over the 35,960 requested ballots at the same point in 2014. 65% of these requests came from registered Democratic voters, 60% from women, and 54% from Democrats who didn’t vote four years ago.
“Marylanders are frustrated by the uninspiring results under Larry Hogan and are eager for Ben Jealous’ bold, courageous vision to move Maryland forward by fully funding our public schools, implementing Medicare-for-All, raising the minimum wage to $15, and creating new jobs,” claimed Kathleen Mathews, Chair of the Maryland Democrats , former WJLA-TV reporter, and wife of TV personality Chris Mathews.
“Marylanders are frustrated by the uninspiring results under Larry Hogan and are eager for Ben Jealous’ bold, courageous vision to move Maryland forward by fully funding our public schools, implementing Medicare-for-All, raising the minimum wage to $15, and creating new jobs,” claimes Kathleen Mathews.
Jealous describes the promise of Maryland as one where his grandfather could attend a year of law school at the University of Maryland in the late 1950s for $200 in tuition. Today, Jealous says, if tuition had kept up with inflation, the cost for students would be about $2,600. Instead, it’s more than $31,000. One student at the College Park rally said Jealous was short, “No, he said, my bill is about $35,000.”
Check Your Voting Status – See Georgia Debates - Display of Close Races
The NAACP is engaging in a grassroots education campaign to alert all voters to check their registration status by visiting NAACP’s website.
Additional Information for Georgia Voters: Voter Purges: What Georgians Heading to the Polls Need to Know
See Georgia Governor’s Debate – Details in Activities
2014 Close Calls, Your Vote Counts in 2018:
In Maryland, Larry Hogan (R) received 884,400 votes, Anthony Brown (D) 818,890 votes - a difference of 65,510 votes.
In Florida, incumbent Rich Scott (R) received 2,865,543 votes, Charlie Crist (D) 2,801,998 votes - a difference of 63,545 votes.
In Georgia, Nathan Deal (R) received 1,341,161 votes, Jason Carter (D) 1,138, 476 votes - a difference of 202,685 votes.