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Franchot taps Prince George’s Monique Anderson-Walker as running mate in gubernatorial bid

The 2022 field of candidates vying to replace incumbent Gov. Larry Hogan (R) is a crowded one.

Prince George's County Council member Monique Anderson-Walker (D-District 8), pictured in 2018, will run for Maryland lieutenant governor as Comptroller Peter Franchot's running mate. (Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post)

Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot announced Wednesday that he has selected Prince George’s County Council member Monique Anderson-Walker (D-District 8) as his running mate in the race for the governor’s mansion, praising her experience and long-term vision.

Franchot (D), who has served as comptroller since 2006 and was the first Democrat to campaign to succeed Gov. Larry Hogan (R), said he selected Anderson-Walker after a long search for someone with the experience to help Maryland emerge stronger from the coronavirus pandemic. Franchot, 73, described Anderson-Walker in a statement as “the kind of consummate public servant that we need now more than ever."

Anderson-Walker, 50, who has served on the council since 2018, has pushed to address health inequities made evident by the pandemic; has been an advocate for safer driving ; and recently led on efforts to return two-day a week trash pickup to the county .

In some ways like Franchot, who has long been a thorn in the side of the Democratic establishment, Anderson-Walker has broken with the county’s leadership on key issues, including this month criticizing a controversial redistricting plan, and has tended to vote with a minority bloc of council members seen as more liberal than the county’s establishment. Anderson-Walker said she would not put a label on her political ideology but described herself as results-focused, a characteristic she said she shares with Franchot.

“We are both independent thinkers,” Anderson-Walker said in an interview. “We think outside the box.”

Anderson-Walker also has deep roots in the political and business circles in Prince George’s, where she grew up and worked as a real estate broker for 20 years, founding her own brokerage firm in National Harbor in 2016. She is the daughter of former school border member Beverly Anderson and is married to state Del. Jay Walker (D-Prince George’s) .

The ticket’s announcement Wednesday was dogged by questions about ethics complaints against Anderson-Walker and financial issues faced by the council member and her family. This summer, Anderson-Walker was found to have violated county ethics rules by voting on council resolutions that financially benefited the White Rose Foundation, the charitable arm of the Links Foundation, which she represented as a broker from 2018 until 2020, and by hiring an employee at her brokerage firm in her council office.

Franchot campaign manager Ben Smith said that Anderson-Walker never received compensation from White Rose and immediately severed her relationship after the ruling from the ethics board. She also “no longer employs her staff member outside of the office, and is in full compliance with all guidance from the Board of Ethics," Smith said in a statement.

Anderson-Walker and her husband have had various financial issues over the years, according to court records, including facing foreclosure and a $38,385 federal tax lien in 2009. She and Walker said in a joint statement Wednesday that they are in full compliance with a payment plan and are committed to paying off their liabilities.

“Like many Marylanders, we have endured financial struggles that are not easily and quickly resolved,” they said in a statement. "Experiences like these come with consequences, and we have faced them head on by utilizing credible accountants and providing them with full and honest information. These struggles are not easy to talk about, but as public servants we are committed to transparency and accountability, in this and all matters.”

Smith said in a statement that financial hardships faced by Marylanders, disproportionately faced by women and people of color, have “served as a constant block on their ability to advance their careers and stable, healthy lives.”

He said the Franchot administration would “do everything in its power to end those generational barriers, and that begins with ensuring these challenges do not prevent an imminently qualified woman from serving as our state’s next Lieutenant Governor.”

Anderson-Walker lives in Fort Washington and Franchot in Takoma Park. So their team, like that of former Prince George’s County executive Rushern L. Baker III and longtime Montgomery County Council member Nancy Navarro — the only other Democratic ticket that has been announced — is likely to have a strong base in the Washington region.

Although the ticket may lack geographic diversity, Anderson-Walker and Franchot said in their announcement that they combine statewide recognition and deep roots in Prince George’s, a Democratic stronghold and the second-largest county in Maryland.

“Moreover, the balance of age, gender, race and perspective creates a ticket well-positioned to ensure millions of Marylanders see and feel the representation they deserve,” the announcement said.

Candidates must select their running mates before the Feb. 22 filing deadline.

Del. Daniel L. Cox (Frederick), who is running for the Republican nomination, selected Gordana Schifanelli, an attorney from Queen Anne’s County, as his running mate last week. Schifanelli is a parent who helped push for the ouster of the county’s schools superintendent, who had sent a letter to parents in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Ovetta Wiggins contributed to this report.