(BALTIMORE – July 21, 2022) – It was a pivotal moment in the Moore ascendancy. The Maryland Black Caucus held a forum on the Black Agenda. I remember it like yesterday. Comptroller Peter Franchot spoke first, but ever so briefly, as he directed people to his website for details on his “Black Agenda” and then whisked away to see his ailing wife.
That’s what he told the audience.
Not long after, Debra Carter announced that she was removing her name from Franchot’s shortlist for Lieutenant Governor. She was probably tired of the shenanigans that she encountered with the Franchot campaign. Whatever the case, soon after Franchot chose Del. Jay Walker’s wife, Monique Anderson-Walker, as his running mate.
Carter, who is the daughter of a Tuskegee Airman and a quiet Maryland political powerhouse in her own right, shifted her support to Wes Moore.
News then surfaced that Franchot actually did not have a Black Agenda and that the ideas actually came from Joe Gaskins, a business leader and advocate in Prince George’s County. Gaskins, it should be noted, is a longtime friend of Carter’s. Both Gaskins and Carter were early supporters of Peter Franchot. I know because they both touted Franchot’s name at a Black Wall Street event we held here in Baltimore last December.
Debra Carter said that she had found Franchot to not be a man of his word. She also said he was callous.
To say the least, when Gaskins and Carter collectively shifted their support to Wes Moore, it was – in retrospect – the beginning of the end of Peter Franchot.
I interviewed both Carter and Gaskins at the time. The interview with Gaskins even warranted a follow-up because of the overwhelming feedback, especially in Prince George’s County. Ladies and gentlemen, the power struggle was and remains real! Politics is a full-contact sport. It determines who gets what, when, and where. It is not for the weak or timid. Bottomline: Speak up for yourself. Get the politician’s phone number. Call him or her. Engage them. Invite them to your events. And don’t forget to get together with a few neighbors so that all of you can ask some questions and get some answers. The squeaky wheel gets the oil. A closed mouth don’t get fed. You have not because you ask not.
We have to have an “ask”. Otherwise, we shouldn’t even bother to vote. Voting is only the beginning.
Still, we must study the game and master the game so that we, too, can win.
Not that this change of support is unique, it is just a noteworthy point in the Moore campaign where the momentum began to shift in Wes Moore’s favor. It also marked the decline of Franchot’s influence in Maryland politics. Although he has been campaigning for Governor for 8 years, his reach was waning by the day; so much so that the Washington Post and the Baltimore Sun both ultimately endorsed Tom Perez although Franchot was the perceived front-runner from the start.
At that point in the Moore campaign, he had not yet made a full impression on Prince George’s County. He still had a heap of work to do, including knocking on a lot more doors and showing up at places of worship with his wife, community events, and the like.
But, Moore stayed at it. He didn’t give up. No! He, instead, persevered against all odds. Day by day, week by week – Moore’s team consistently stayed on task. Although his team was highly selective of events, he made the absolute best of the ones he did attend. The people felt him. They spoke with him. They listened to his words. They got an up close and personal view of our American hero.
For all he did to expose the disparities in America for Black kids, he is indeed a hero. Never mind going to war in the Middle East. Never mind his lifelong pursuit of academic excellence, including his studies at Johns Hopkins University and his Rhodes scholarship. Never mind the $240 million nonprofit he ran in New York. Just the fact that he is a married father living in Baltimore in this day and time is hero enough.
You could call him … our Obama, especially considering his Jamaican and Cuban roots. In any event, I encourage those who did not consider him at first to take another look at him. He’s a different kind of person running for office who has a whole lot to give the state of Maryland.
But first, he must do battle with the Republicans and Dan Cox, the nominee endorsed by former President Donald Trump. Now that’s another story for another day. For now, Wes Moore raised more money and out-skilled the competition to give the Democrats a bona fide shot at winning the State House on November 8th … once again.