Maryland gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous is scheduled to receive an endorsement on Thursday from a key labor group in his bid for the 2018 Democratic nomination, according to union and campaign officials.
The much sought-after nod from the Service Employees International Union will be the latest endorsement for the former NAACP president. In recent months, Jealous has received support from U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Our Revolution, and Maryland Working Families.
The endorsement is scheduled to take place Thursday in Baltimore.
Jealous has made a $15-an-hour minimum wage, tuition-free college and a single-payer health-care system part of his platform.
Jaime Contreras, vice president of SEIU 32BJ, said the union is ready “to do what it takes to win this election for Ben.”
He said SEIU’s Maryland/D.C. Council, which has 45,000 members, plans to “put boots on the ground,” talking to voters, canvassing, making phone calls and providing resources.
“Our members and all of us in leadership are sick and tired of the status quo,” Contreras said, explaining the union’s decision. “We have elected people in the past and they’ve done little to nothing to help in passing sick days or a $15 minimum wage. . . . Those are not the type of Democrats we want to elect to office anymore. We want the ones who have the mind-set to get things done for working people and he has spent his entire life fighting for economic and social justice.”
Jealous is one of seven candidates vying for the Democratic nomination. The others are: Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, State Sen. Richard S. Madaleno Jr., attorney Jim Shea, tech entrepreneur Alec Ross and Krishanti Vignarajah, a former policy aide to Michelle Obama.