By Hamil R. Harris, Special to the AFRO

A coalition of African-American pastors announced its support for Maryland Governor Larry Hogan.  This proclamation comes at a time when some of the state’s top Democratic veterans privately say Ben Jealous is losing ground in his bid to unseat the Republican governor, even during the era of President Donald Trump.

Baltimore and Prince George’s County are critical for any chances of Jealous winning and this is why the endorsement of a number of prominent pastors is a political body blow to the former President and CEO of the NAACP.  Further two of the pastors are leaders in the Progressive National Baptist Convention, which was formed by pastors aligned with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Black Pastors such as the Rev. Anthony Maclin of the Sanctuary at Kingdom Square in Prince George’s County are supporting Maryland’s Governor Larry Hogan (R) who is running against Democrat and former NAACP President and CEO Ben Jealous.

“The gubernatorial leadership of Governor Hogan for our great state has been, and continues to be, insightful, thoughtful and respectful,” said the Rev. Dr. Harold Carter Jr. of the New Shiloh Baptist Church in Baltimore, according to a statement released by the Hogan campaign. “His administration has been one of inclusivity and stability. We are the better for what he, along with Lt. Gov. Rutherford, bring to the table.”

The Rev. Anthony Maclin, pastor of the Sanctuary at Kingdom Square, in Capital Heights, Md., is also supporting Hogan and said in a statement, “This governor has brought people together, reaching across political lines for the betterment of the people of the great state of Maryland.”

The endorsement of these pastors came during a time where Jealous is being seen at major African American events such as the Morgan State Homecoming last weekend and the Prince George’s County Chamber of Commerce Gala at National Harbor. Privately, at both venues, leaders say Jealous is losing to Hogan in terms of a good ground game and African Americans like what Hogan has done.

In terms of the faith community the pastors supporting Hogan are major players.

“The Hogan/Rutherford team has proven to be thoughtful leaders,” said the Rev. Dr. Alvin Hathaway Sr., pastor of Baltimore’s Union Baptist Church. “I’ve found them willing to listen, debate and collaborate. These are the skills needed in this highly partisan climate. Together we are planning major changes in the west Baltimore community I serve.”

The Rev. Dr. Calvin Baltimore of the Peoples Community Church in Silver Spring, Md., said, “These men are giving Maryland stellar leadership. I and other ministers and friends will be supporting these great men for re-election.”

In addition to touting $25 billion for K-12 education, including $3.8 billion for Baltimore City, Hogan said in a statement that his administration, “has also taken strong action and spoken out against hatred and divisiveness in Maryland,” and has allocated money to improve security passed laws to strengthen hate crime laws.

In terms of the endorsement, Hogan said in a statement, “These pastors are pillars of their communities and it is a privilege and an honor to receive their support.

“I have been grateful to receive their wisdom and moral guidance during my first term. I look forward to working with them as we continue changing Maryland for the better.”

Rutherford, another key to Hogan’s support, said, “Our administration has made building strong communities throughout Maryland a top priority, and these pastors have been vital allies in that effort.”