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Barack Obama endorses Ben Jealous as governor of Maryland, which has never had a black chief executive

Former president Barack Obama on Monday endorsed Democrat Ben Jealous to be Maryland’s next governor.

Jealous, a former NAACP president who would be the state’s first black chief executive, was among 260 people Obama named in his second wave of endorsements, which he released on Twitter. Obama also endorsed Jealous’ running mate, Susan Turnbull, Maryland’s House Speaker Michael E. Busch and Courtney Watson, who is running for the House of Delegates in a Howard County district.

“Ben Jealous is an accomplished civil rights leader, businessman, and advocate for working people,” Obama said in a statement released by the Jealous campaign. The statement also highlighted Jealous’ work in Maryland while he was NAACP chief, including repealing the death penalty and on referendums to uphold same-sex marriage and in-state tuition for some undocumented immigrants.

Jealous is running an uphill campaign against incumbent Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, who has outraised Jealous and leads him by double-digits in recent polls.

The Goucher Poll last month showed Jealous is losing a sizeable portion of Democrats and African-Americans to Hogan, who has governed as a moderate and hopes to become the state’s first Republican governor to win reelection in more than 60 years. A Mason Dixon poll released last week showed Jealous performing better among those constituencies.

Jealous was not included in Obama’s first round of 81 endorsements released in August. In September, Obama began campaigning for fellow Democrats in the midterm election. He has visited neighboring Pennsylvania on behalf of Gov. Tom Wolf (D). A spokesman for the Jealous campaign said no such visits are planned for Maryland.

Also on Monday, Hogan’s campaign announced a coalition of 36 pastors who have endorsed him.