Ben Jealous, the Democratic challenger in Maryland’s gubernatorial race, during a campaign event. (Kenneth K. Lam/The Baltimore Sun via AP)

Former vice president Joe Biden backed Maryland Democratic gubernatorial nominee Ben Jealous on Friday, citing his ability how “to build an inclusive economy that works for everyone.”

The endorsement from Biden means a high profile boost for Jealous, a former NAACP candidate and first-time candidate who beat establishment favorite Rushern L. Baker III in the primary last week. Biden urged Democrats at an event Saturday to unite behind Jealous and end party infighting as Jealous campaigns against popular Gov. Larry Hogan (R).

The two men offer starkly different visions for Maryland’s future, with Jealous outlining plans for universal health care and debt-free college and Hogan campaigning on his record of reducing taxes and controlling spending.

“Ben Jealous has a proven track record of achievement when it comes to making sure government is on the side of working families,” Biden said in a statement.

In 2014, Biden and former president Bill Clinton campaigned for then-Democratic gubernatorial nominee Anthony G. Brown, who lost to Hogan in an upset.