Important announcement: I have ascertained that I can do no particular harm by writing the following:
I am not convinced by the gubernatorial candidacy of State Comptroller Peter Franchot.
The news from the Baltimore Sun yesterday was unsurprising:
Mr. Franchot has been laying the groundwork for this run for eons and this is undoubtedly part of a long, smooth roll-out.
As I am not even remotely any kind of expert or even a local “thought leader” on Maryland State politics my opinion on this will have no negative impact on this campaign whatsoever. But, oh my word, I am not convinced by this man.
I first met Mr. Franchot at a local political fundraiser where he was circulating and broke into our little conversational group to shake our hands. He did not identify himself nor did he stop to ask who we were. I got the impression that it was understood that his level of celebrity was enough that we were supposed to know and feel flattered. I didn’t.
My most long-term experience with him has been his go-to-the-beach school calendar proposals which stand for business interests far more than students, families, or even local school districts. His response to those who disagreed was always a friendly and disbelieving sort of gaslighting. Believe me, I know. I tried talking to him on a sidewalk in Old Ellicott City one evening. It was like talking to a Teflon pan.
Another deep misgiving I have with Mr. Franchot is his willingness to allow an extemely long reign of constituent disrespect to persist unchecked on his social media accounts, notably Facebook. His personal/professional loyalties to former Chief of Staff Len Foxwell amounted to a tacit endorsement of a kind of toxic white Bro culture that I find inexcusable in the Democratic Party, period.
For people who understand the multilayered complexity of a state-wide run for Governor in Maryland, Franchot’s candidacy probably makes sense. It follows the rules as they are known and have been practiced for a very long time. It’s still a terrible, terrible choice.
Maryland needs someone who is a champion for racial equity. We need to smash the current administration’s racist dog whistle policies towards Baltimore City and transform statewide education funding to support our most vulnerable populations across the state. I want to see a Democratic candidate for Governor who is unapologetically telling the truth on this and has some kind of tangible track record that shows he or she has been doing the work.
Say what you will about Franchot: he has not done this work, he has not made it a priority. Mind you, Mr. Franchot is not the embodiment of evil. He is a nice man who would like to encourage you to buy more locally made beer.
For this he should not be vilified but neither should he be Governor.