By James Wright, Special to the AFROjwright@afro.com

The Prince George’s County Republican Party may be small in terms of number but it plans to have a major impact on the upcoming 2018 elections and the county’s public policy.

The AFRO interviewed Prince George’s County Republican Chairman Brandon Cooper, who is Black, on what his Party’s plans were for this year. Cooper said one of his main goals is to help Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) win re-election.

Brandon Cooper has led Prince George’s County’s GOP since January 2017. (Courtesy Photo-Brandon Cooper)

“The path for Hogan’s victory is simple: let Hogan’s record speak for itself,” Cooper said. “Hogan’s steady leadership has helped Prince Georgians in many ways.”

Cooper, who is a graduate of Howard University and chaired its College Republicans chapter, noted that Hogan’s Department of Commerce has worked with 68 projects in Prince George’s and has helped to fund the Purple Line, the light transit system that will go from Bethesda to New Carrollton. He noted that Hogan requested that Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker III fire Dr. Kevin Maxwell, the CEO of Prince George’s County schools before Democratic gubernatorial nominee Ben Jealous did.

“Overall, Hogan has demonstrated his ability to lead the state and help Prince George’s advance forward,” Cooper, a graduate of the University Of Maryland School Of Law, said.

There are approximately 40,000 registered Republicans in Prince George’s County. They constitute 7.71 percent of the total vote while the Democrats have a 75 percent advantage in regards to registration.

Hogan is a former county resident who grew up in Landover, Maryland, and attended DeMatha Catholic High School. Hogan’s father, Lawrence Hogan Sr., represented part of Prince George’s County in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1969-1975 and was the last Republican to serve as county executive from 1978-1982.

Cooper has served as the chairman of the county party since January 2017 and is the youngest chairman of his party and the Democrats and is the only Black county chairman for the GOP.

Prince George’s is considered a Democratic bastion but that hasn’t stopped Cooper from engaging its residents to join the GOP.

Cooper said “there are good Democrats and there are good Republicans and there are bad Democrats and bad Republicans.” He cited the controversial TRIM proposal that was enacted years ago that have significantly increased property taxes in the county and noted the party is trying to gut it through the courts and recently started a petition to have Prince George’s County Board of Education Chairman Segun Eubanks removed.

Cooper blames the “political machine” of Maryland State Senate President Mike Miller (D-District 27) for the county’s ills.

“Why does a White Calvert County politician who never had a job outside of politics have so much influence in the largest and wealthiest Black majority county in the nation?” he asked rhetorically.

Cooper recognizes that President Trump is unpopular in the county but said the 2018 elections “is about your house and my house and not the White House.”

“We have absolutely no relationship with the Trump administration,” he said.

Cooper said that there are 12 candidates running for office in November in the county and two of those are countywide positions: Jerry Mathis for county executive and Felicia Folarin for county council.

“Residents should have a choice on Election Day in November,” he said.