Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III is outpacing his Democratic rivals in the race for Maryland governor, though many voters still haven’t settled on a candidate for the June 26 primary, according to a poll released Thursday by Goucher College.
The poll, which surveyed 409 voters between Feb. 12-18, shows 47 percent of voters “don’t know” what Democratic candidate they would support if the election took place today.
Among the eight candidates in the survey, Baker leads the way at 19 percent, ahead of Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz at 12 percent and former NAACP President Ben Jealous at 10 percent.
The remaining five candidates — state Sen Richard Madaleno of Montgomery County; tech entrepreneur Alec Ross; Baltimore attorney Jim Shea; Krish Vignarajah former policy director for Michelle Obama; and educator Ralph Jaffe — all received 3 percent or fewer of the vote.
“Days out from the candidate filing deadline, our poll suggests that Democratic voters have yet to turn their full attention to the gubernatorial race,” Mileah Kromer, director of the Sarah T. Hughes Field Politics Center at Goucher College, said in a statement. “With so many undecided voters, there is ample time and room for the field to shift — even dramatically. Yet, at the same time, the lesser-known candidates need to increase their name recognition soon, or this primary could become a three-way race.”
In terms of whether respondents have a “favorable” opinion of each candidate, the two Black candidates stood above the field. Baker ranked the highest at 30 percent and Jealous came in second at 28 percent.
Also mentioned in the poll, respondents said education ranked as the highest important topic in the governor’s race at 26 percent. The economy and jobs ranked second at 20 percent and racial and social justice issues came in third at 16 percent.
Meanwhile, Kamenetz announced his running mate, former Montgomery County Councilwoman Valerie Ervin. During her time on council, she became the first Black woman ever elected to council in 2006. Prior to council, she served on the county’s board of education.
Ervin also becomes the fifth woman announced as a lieutenant governor candidate in the race.
“Throughout her career, Valerie Ervin has been a fighter for progressive change and a tireless advocated for education,” Kamenetz said in a statement. “Valerie’s combination of elected experience, community and policy leadership and dedication to getting things done makes her the ideal partner in my campaign to become the ‘Education Governor’ that Maryland needs.”
Vignarajah is the only candidate who has yet to announce a running mate. The filing deadline is 9 p.m. Tuesday.