In Maryland governor’s race, Gansler gets backing from new clergy and business group

Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler (D) on Wednesday announced support for his gubernatorial bid from the Business and Clergy Partnership, a new organization making its first political endorsement.

Leaders of the group, which claims 300 members across the Washington region, said they had examined the platforms of all three major Democratic tickets and found the most to like in what Gansler and his running mate, Del. Jolene Ivey (D-Prince George’s), have put forward.

“No two people in Maryland will fight harder than Attorney General Doug Gansler and Delegate Jolene Ivey for fairness, for redemption for ex-offenders, for jobs for all our men and women, for lifting up the poor,” said the Rev. Charles W. McNeill Jr., co-chairman of the partnership and pastor of Unity Baptist Church in the District.

The partnership’s other co-chairman is Joseph B. Gaskins, the chief executive officer at the Economic Development and Training Institute, a non-profit community development corporation based in Prince George’s County.

The partnership says its mission is “bridging the gap between businesses, churches and elected officials.”

As part of the same announcement, the Gansler campaign released the names Wednesday of more than two dozen church leaders from Prince George’s and Charles counties who are supporting the campaign.

Representatives of both Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown (D) and Del. Heather R. Mizeur (D-Montgomery) said Wednesday that they were not contacted by the partnership as part of its gubernatorial endorsement process for the June primary.

McNeill, a Maryland resident, said the group had reached out to the two rival campaigns but not heard back. He said Gansler’s responsiveness was a factor in the decision but that members were primarily drawn to his ideas.

McNeill said the organization was founded about two years ago and is headquartered in Maryland but also has members from the District and Virginia. He said he anticipates the group will make other political endorsements in the future. It is working on development of a Web site, he said.

John Wagner has covered Maryland government and politics for The Post since 2004.
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