United States Sen. Bernie Sanders (I), of Vermont, endorsed Maryland gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous at a Silver Spring campaign rally in the Veterans Plaza Civic Center.

“I strongly support one of the great progressive leaders not only in the state of Maryland but in the United States of America, the next governor of the state of Maryland Ben Jealous,” said Sanders.

Maryland gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous was endorsed by United States Sen. Bernie Sanders (I), of Vermont. (AP Photos/Brian Witte and John Minchillo)

The senator cited “unusual and unprecedented” times embodied by President Donald J. Trump’s behavior and demeanor.

“As a campaign, we’d much rather be running with Bernie Sanders than being in Larry Hogan’s position and having to explain his silence while Donald Trump takes the country and Maryland backwards,” said Kevin Harris, chief strategist to the Jealous campaign. “His endorsement is a tremendous asset, both for the primary and general election.”

A 2017 Harvard-Harris survey, first published in The Hill, determined Sanders to be the most popular active politician in the United States with conspicuous popularity among Democrats (80 percent) and Blacks (73 percent).

However, while the senator is popular now, and his primary votes beat out President Trump’s by 309,990 to 248,343, former senator and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton secured 573,242 votes in the same election—more than both candidates combined. Clinton then went on to win the Democratic Party’s nomination and Maryland in the General Election, only to be routed with a final electoral count of 304 to 227.

“A loss really can be inspiring,” said Wesley Taylor, an organizer and activist with Our Revolution and Justice Democrats and veteran of the Sanders campaign. “I think this loss that we faced in 2016 and having Trump in office is now reinvigorating a lot of people and that was kind of my hope and a blessing.”

Jealous, 44, was co-chair of Sanders’ 2016 Maryland campaign for president.

Jealous and Sanders were preceded on the podium by Nina Turner and Bob Muehlenkamp, Leadership in Our Revolution, a 501(c)(4) political action organization spun off from the legacy of the Sanders presidential campaign.

The candidate also received the nomination of the American Postal Workers Union. This is the first union to nominate any gubernatorial candidate for 2018, Harris told the AFRO.

If Jealous wins the Democratic Party’s nomination, he will be slated to face the incumbent Republican Larry Hogan in the 2018 general election. Hogan currently has an approval rating of 65 percent according to a March Washington Post poll.

Hogan is one of only nine Republicans to have ever served Maryland as governor. The last Republican to win a second term in the office was Theodore Roosevelt McKeldin in 1954.

“Hogan has a lot to worry about,” said Jealous while accepting the nomination. “The only way he got in was because there was low voter turnout. If there’s one thing that this former president of the NAACP knows how to do very well, it’s turn out voters.”