Discovery Inc.’s January announcement that it would leave its Silver Spring headquarters for new digs in New York and Tennessee launched some political skirmishes, with Maryland Democrats accusing Republican Gov. Larry Hogan of not doing enough to retain the media company.
On Thursday, Democrats took another swipe at Hogan after his counterpart in Virginia issued a news release highlighting the media company’s expansion — also announced in January — of its technology hub in Loudoun County.
“Governor Hogan’s failure to fight to keep Discovery in Maryland was a monumental failure of leadership, and he’s now somehow found a way to make it worse,” Maryland Democratic Party Chair Kathleen Matthews said in a statement.
Hogan campaign spokesman Doug Mayer begged to differ.
“It is thanks to Governor Hogan and his pro-growth agenda that Maryland is adding jobs and growing wages,” Mayer said, before turning his attention to the two frontrunners in the June 26 Democratic gubernatorial primary. “If Ms. Matthews believes that Rushern Baker and Ben Jealous’s high tax, anti-business agenda will lure jobs to Maryland, then she is dangerously mistaken.”
The expansion of Discovery’s office in Sterling, Va., was part of the plans the media company detailed at the beginning of the year, when it announced it was going to move its 1,300-employee headquarters from Montgomery County to New York.
Discovery Inc. — which changed its name from Discovery Communications in March after it purchased Scripps Networks Interactive — said it also planned to keep a small hub in Maryland and move its back-end operations to Tennessee, where Scripps is based.
Thursday’s announcement from the office of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) lauded the $16 million investment the media company planned to make to the technology hub, which the governor’s office said would create 240 jobs.
“Discovery Inc.’s decision to expand its footprint in Loudoun County is an exciting win for Virginia,” the statement said.
But Maryland Department of Commerce spokeswoman Karen Glenn Hood indicated that there was nothing new to celebrate, noting in her own statement that Discovery “made it clear” in January that it would be investing in the Sterling office.
Hood emphasized that Discovery also planned to maintain a presence in Maryland “that would continue to support and draw from the robust community that has developed alongside Discovery over the past three decades. As a result of the consolidation, many of the Discovery jobs will remain in the region.”
Discovery’s announcement that it would leave the Silver Spring building that it had built for its headquarters in the late 1990s was a disappointment for Montgomery County and the state.
The media company, which has origins in Bethesda, had at its height employed 2,500 people and is widely credited with helping jump-start the revitalization of then-moribund downtown Silver Spring.