Maryland Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous has picked up the endorsement of CASA in Action, one of the region's most prominent immigrant advocacy groups.
Jealous's campaign announced the endorsement Friday, adding to the backing he's received from a variety of national and state progressive groups and U.S. Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.).
Jealous, a former leader of the national NAACP, co-chaired a 2012 effort to allow undocumented Maryland residents to qualify for in-state college tuition and was arrested with other immigrant advocates at a protest outside the White House in August.
"Ben Jealous has stood side by side with CASA in Action members and backed issues that are important to this organization," said Teresa Casertano, a CASA board member, in a statement provided by the Jealous campaign. "In a field of great candidates, our members believe that Ben Jealous is the strongest to win in November and will do so without compromising true progressive values."
Other candidates competing in the June 26 primary include Prince George's County Executive Rushern L. Baker III, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, state Sen. Richard S. Madaleno Jr., tech entrepreneur Alec Ross, attorney James Shea and Krishanti Vignarajah, a former policy director for Michelle Obama.
Baker has been endorsed by a number of top Democratic elected officials in the state, including Sen. Chris Van Hollen, Attorney General Brian E. Frosh and, this week, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett.
Jealous, who was Maryland chair of Sanders's 2016 presidential bid, is positioning himself as the choice of progressives. If elected, he has vowed to sign a Trust Act to limit police cooperation with federal immigrant authorities.
Jealous reported one of the biggest fundraising hauls for gubernatorial candidates last year, mostly coming from out of state.
The winner of the June 26 Democratic primary will face Gov. Larry Hogan (R), a deeply popular governor with a significant cash advantage. Hogan strongly opposed the Trust Act last year.