Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker’s gubernatorial campaign got another boost from a major Montgomery County political figure this week.
Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, a Democrat who represented the Bethesda area in the state Legislature for more than 30 years, endorsed Baker in a video message released Wednesday.
“I first came to know Rushern Baker 25 years ago when we served together in the Maryland General Assembly,” Frosh said in the video. “Just look at what he did in Prince George’s County and I think it tells you what he can do for the state.
“When he took office, the county was struggling. Crime was up, foreclosures were at a record high, and the county was engulfed in a scandal. The county is now thriving, unemployment is down, crime is way down. Rushern Baker has the ability, intelligence and the experience to make Maryland a better state.”
Baker, a Democrat, has been county executive in Prince George’s since winning the 2010 election. At the time, the county was reeling from the federal indictment of the former executive, James Johnson, who was later sentenced to 3 years in prison for accepting tens of thousands of dollars in bribes from developers.
During Baker’s tenure, the county’s unemployment rate has dropped from around 10 percent to 4 percent, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Frosh has been the state’s attorney general since January 2015, after he won the 2014 election.
Last month, another well-known Montgomery County Democrat, U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen, of Kensington, endorsed Baker’s campaign.
Baker is likely to receive a third endorsement from another major Montgomery County elected official—County Executive Ike Leggett. Leggett has said he’s supporting Baker, although he hasn’t formally endorsed Baker’s campaign yet.
Leggett and Baker’s relationship dates back to when Baker was a student at Howard University Law School in the early 1980s and Leggett was a professor and dean at the school. In the past, Baker has said he has sought out Leggett for advice on controversial issues and that they have worked together closely on major initiatives that affect both Montgomery and Prince George’s, such as lobbying the state for the Purple Line.
Other Democrats pursuing the gubernatorial nomination include former NAACP Director Ben Jealous, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, tech entrepreneur Alec Ross, Baltimore attorney James Shea, former Michelle Obama aide Krishanti Vignarajah, consultant Maya Rockeymoore Cummings and state Sen. Rich Madaleno (D-Kensington).
Madaleno and Frosh served together for about eight years as state senators from Montgomery County.
Jealous last week announced he had chosen former state Democratic Party Chairwoman Susan Turnbull as his lieutenant governor running mate, which political observers said may be a way for Jealous, who lives in Anne Arundel County, to bring some of the Montgomery County electorate to his side.
Montgomery County has the second most registered Democrats in the state with about 384,000. Prince George’s County has the most with about 454,000 registered Democrats, according to state voter registration data.