His presidential campaign languishing, former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley is seeking help from a local ally to boost his message with South Carolina primary voters.
O’Malley has invited Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D) to travel south to Charleston for Sunday’s debate as his representative in the spin room, speaking after the debate to reporters about the governor’s working relationship with the nation’s most affluent, majority African American jurisdiction.
Baker, who is one of the few Maryland state officials to endorse the former governor, worked closely with O’Malley to secure state support for some of Prince George’s County’s biggest initiatives, including school construction dollars, public safety funds and economic development projects such as the construction of a new state agency building in New Carrollton.
The two appeared together regularly during O’Malley’s eight years as governor and head of the Democratic Party in Maryland.
While most of Maryland’s top Democrats have endorsed former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, Baker “believes that the best Democratic candidate who understands the needs and challenges and has a strong proven track record of working with African American communities is Martin O’Malley,” said Baker press secretary Scott Peterson.
In an interview with News Channel 8 on Wednesday, Baker touted the O’Malley’s accomplishments in Maryland, including passage of the Dream Act, which extended in-state college tuition to undocumented students. Prince George’s is home to one of the largest immigrant populations in the state.
The O’Malley campaign said they are hoping that Baker, considered a possible gubernatorial candidate in 2018, can help the former governor appeal to South Carolina’s black voters, who helped President Obama win the primary in 2008 and 2012.
O’Malley sits in a distant third place in the 2016 Democratic race and has struggled to emerge from the single digits in national polling.