Sanders-backed candidate wins Maryland governor's nomination

Sanders-backed candidate wins Maryland governor's nomination
© Getty Images

Former NAACP President Ben Jealous won the right to face Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) in November in a significant win for national progressives hoping to steer Democrats to the left.

The Associated Press called the race for Jealous at 10:36 p.m. EDT. His major Democratic challenger was Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker, seen as a more pragmatic but no less liberal contender.

ADVERTISEMENT

In his first run for public office, Jealous cast himself as the most liberal candidate in the field, touting endorsements from national figures like Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersGabbard hits DNC over poll criteria for debates The Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch Keystone XL Pipeline gets nod from Nebraska Supreme Court MORE (I-Vt.) and Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisGabbard hits DNC over poll criteria for debates The Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch Gabbard, Steyer inch toward making third Democratic debate MORE (D-Calif.) and boasting of 1,000 volunteers who deployed across the state in the final weekend before voters went to the polls.

Baker, on the other hand, brought a firmer political base to the table, as the chief executive of the state's second-largest county. He earned support from local leaders like Sen. Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenSenate Democrats push Trump to permanently shutter migrant detention facility USDA eases relocation timeline as researchers flee agency Fed to launch real-time payments system in 2023 MORE (D), House Minority Whip Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerOmar says US should reconsider aid to Israel Liberal Democrat eyes aid cuts to Israel after Omar, Tlaib denied entry Lawmakers blast Trump as Israel bars door to Tlaib and Omar MORE (D) and former Gov. Martin O'Malley (D).

Reflecting Maryland's two major vote centers, both front-runners chose running mates who hail from the other half of the state.

Jealous, who is from Baltimore, chose Susan Turnbull, a former vice chair of the Democratic National Committee from Montgomery County, the Washington suburb. Baker chose Elizabeth Embry, a state's attorney who ran for mayor of Baltimore in 2016.

Jealous will face a seriously difficult fight against Hogan, one of the most popular governors in the nation, according to public surveys. A Gonzales Research and Media Services poll from earlier this month found that Hogan's job approval stood at 75 percent, while just 17 percent said they disapproved of him.

The poll found Hogan leading Jealous 51 percent to 34 percent.

But all is not lost for the Democratic contender, especially if President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch To ward off recession, Trump should keep his mouth and smartphone shut Trump: 'Who is our bigger enemy,' Fed chief or Chinese leader? MORE remains deeply unpopular come November. Trump's approval rating stands at just 37 percent in heavily-Democratic Maryland. The last time a Republican president was so unpopular, then-Gov. Bob Ehrlich (R) lost his job in 2006 to his one-time underdog challenger, O'Malley.