On Wednesday, standing in front of a West Baltimore Flower Shop, Ben Jealous announced his candidacy for Maryland Governor. Jealous is a former president of the NCAAP.
This is Jealous’ first bid for political office, joining the mushrooming field of prospective challengers to Governor Larry Hogan (R). Jealous is the second Democrat to formally announce a bid – Alec Ross, an entrepreneur and best-selling author, made his governor’s run official on May 24.On Tuesday, he criticized Hogan for not taking on the Trump administration and compared him to the Cowardly Lion in “The Wizard of Oz” in an interview with the Baltimore Sun.
“He may have strength, but he lacks courage,” Jealous said.
Jealous’ parents met in Harlem Park, a West Baltimore neighborhood, at a time when Maryland did not permit interracial marriages – his mother was African-American and his father white.
Jealous said he has strong ties to the city, even though he was born in Carmel, California. Rachelle Bland, Jealous’ cousin, owns the flower shop where he announced his candidacy. Baltimore Blossoms Studio opened soon after the 2015 unrest related to the death of Freddie Gray.
Other Democrats that are expected to join the gubernatorial race include Representative John Delaney, former Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, state Senator Richard S. Madaleno Jr., Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker and Baltimore lawyer James L. Shea.
When Jealous was elected president of NAACP in 2008, a Baltimore-based civil rights organization, he became the young person to lead the group.
“I spent my life literally as a community organizer, civil rights leader, serving people in their communities on their own terms, pulling them together to solve big problems,” he said.