Ben Jealous tells Post he has never heard similar remarks about Black Republican candidates.
Earlier this month, a now-former Maryland Democratic party official touched off a firestorm of controversy by questioning the electability of Black candidates in the state. Barbara Goldberg Goldman, Democrat State Party deputy treasurer, wrote in an email to party insiders, “Consider this: Three African-American males have run statewide for Governor and have lost. This is a fact we must not ignore.”
The email, sent last December, remained under wraps and unchallenged by its recipients until made public earlier in March by Alexi McCammond in an Axios piece “Democrats question electability of Black candidates.”[i]
The comments became news because, in addition to her Democratic State position, Goldberg Goldman is a key player in Democratic circles:
- Co-Chair, Maryland Women for Biden [ii]
- Co-chair & Founder, Affordable Housing Conference of Montgomery County[iii]
- Chair, Obama Campaign’s Jewish Community Leadership Committee [iv]
- Women for Trone [v]
- Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich’s transition team [vi]
Once her email became public, Goldman Goldberg faced public criticism. Past and present Democratic gubernatorial candidates Peter Franchot, John King Jr., Rushern Baker III, Wes Moore, Tom Perez, and Ben Jealous all raced to the microphones to denounce them.
2018 Democratic nominee Ben Jealous emailed the Washington Post that the comments demonstrated that some leaders within the Democratic Party hold a different set of standards for Black and White candidates and are part of an effort to hold Black candidates back from succeeding.
Jealous told the Post that he thought it was notable that he has never heard anyone in the Republican Party make similar remarks about Black Republican candidates.
“I haven’t heard them say that about Michael Steele, about Boyd Rutherford. Our party needs to take a long look in the mirror and finally pull itself out from under the last remnants of the shadow of Chief Justice Taney.” [vii]
Regarding her Democratic State Party position, State Comptroller Franchot said Goldberg Goldman’s “decision to resign was necessary.” Within hours, and to the relief no doubt of the entire state Democratic establishment, Goldberg Goldman resigned.
Virtually all the Barbara Goldberg Goldman email news coverage primarily has appropriately focused on its racist character. However, the rest of the email deserves repeating. Commenting on Kelly Schulz’s candidacy, this Democratic heavyweight noted that she is:
“an attractive female Hogan team member for whom both Democrats and Republicans have expressed genuine likability”[viii]
And regarding the state in general:
“Maryland is not a Blue state, It is purple.”
Given Barbara Goldberg Goldman’s well-deserved removal to Maryland’s political doghouse, Team Schulz is understandably unlikely to publicize these positive remarks. Still, this assessment of the Governor’s race by a leading Democrat deserves acknowledgment.