PAC ad battle drags Hogan's terrible record on education out of shadows

Larry Hogan's miserable record on the state's education effort, masked by his well-funded and untruthful ad campaign, is now being unmasked by a PAC that is finally getting Ben Jealous's excellent alternatives -- and Hogan's failure -- on the air and out in the open.

Danielle Gaines reports here for Maryland Matters [edited for brevity].

Cavalry Comes to Aid Jealous as Fights Erupt Over Hogan's Education Record

/By Danielle Gaines<>Maryland Matters/ A lawsuit over an apple symbol and a $1 million advertising proposal are putting Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr.’s (R) record on education policies front-and-center in the gubernatorial race.

 On Friday, a political action committee called Maryland Together We Rise unveiled a television ad in support of Democratic nominee Benjamin T. Jealous and said it plans to spend at least $1 million on ads through Election Day. The ad slated to air on Baltimore channels for the first time Friday ties Hogan’s education policies to President Trump and U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

 On Thursday, teachers unions said they plan to file a lawsuit in Montgomery County Circuit Court seeking an injunction to halt the Hogan campaign’s use of a red apple symbol and the phrase “Teachers for Hogan.”

 The apple controversy began simmering earlier this week after the governor’s campaign revealed a “Teachers for Hogan” bumper sticker. The Maryland State Education Association, the union that represents roughly 78,000 teachers and has endorsed Jealous, took issue with the imagery and asked the campaign to cease using the phrase and red apple logo, for which the Montgomery County Education Association has a registered service mark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

The Hogan bumper stickers… feature a big red apple replacing the “O” in Hogan’s name and the phrase “Teachers for Hogan.”

Hogan’s campaign doubled down, filming a staffer delivering a basket of red apples to the MSEA office on Wednesday with a note that said, “There are plenty of apples to go around! Looking forward to working with you over the next four years.”

In draft legal documents released Thursday, MSEA Executive Director David E. Helfman called the delivery disruptive and said the Hogan campaign’s maneuvering was a “deliberate attempt to deceive voters” when Hogan had chosen not to take part in the union’s endorsement process this year.

[Other news accounts described Hogan’s campaign as “trolling” the state teacher’s union].

Maryland Matters quoted a Hogan campaign attorney’s response: “We reject your demand and will continue to distribute our ‘Teachers for Hogan’ bumper stickers. When they run out, we will order more,” [Hogan campaign attorney Chris] Ashby wrote.

On the Air

 Maryland Together We Rise, a super PAC that has been funded by MSEA, the state’s largest health care union and wealthy Democratic donors, said that during Hogan’s time in office, he cut nearly $100 million from public school funding streams and attempted to cut more, but was thwarted by Democrats in the General Assembly. While Hogan boasts record overall spending on education, it’s a claim that can be repeated year after year because the state’s funding formulas increase as enrollment in public schools increases.

trump-hogan_wbal.jpg Together We Rise said Hogan’s actions, including cuts to after-school and teacher retention programs and increases in spending for a private school voucher program, have been supported federally by Trump and DeVos.

 “Maryland public schools must provide equal opportunities for every student in every neighborhood,” said Marvin Randolph, treasurer of Maryland Together We Rise. “But Gov. Hogan has cut funding time and time again for already underfunded public schools that are in desperate need of help – while backing the dangerous education agenda of Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos.”

 Hogan’s cuts have come at a time when the Kirwan Commission Adequacy Study found that Maryland public schools are annually underfunded by $2.9 billion, “or about $2 million per school on average,” according to a Together We Rise news release.

 The ad will run in the Baltimore media market and Maryland Together We Rise plans to air TV ads through Election Day.Betsy_DeVos.jpg

 [Maryland Matters’ article continued with details on the legal dispute over the Hogan campaign’s use of an apple mimicking the MSEA’s trademarked symbol, as well as discussion of the out-of-state funding sources for Together We Rise PAC -- which has expressed gratitude for the support against Hogan’s massive funding advantage. Hogan’s broadcast ad blitz against Jealous, which had gone unanswered for weeks, was funded by the Republican Governors’ Association, an independent expenditure entity].

Dueling Endorsements

 Meanwhile, both campaigns are accelerating their rate of rolling out endorsements.

 Hogan continues to score surprisingly well with unions -- far better than most Republicans. On Thursday, he picked up endorsements from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Locals 2563 and 582 in Anne Arundel County. The union’s state organization is backing Jealous.

 Jealous continues to rack up support from leading national Democrats and potential presidential candidates.

 Jealous announced Thursday that he is being backed by Julian Castro, secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Obama. On Friday, he is scheduled to appear in Baltimore with U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), at an event meant to highlight women in business. 


Danielle Gaines, a reporter for the political blog site Maryland Matters, has worked at the Frederick News-Post and other Maryland media outlets. This article was published Sept. 21.