Maryland gubernatorial candidate and former NAACP President Ben Jealous is seeking to further distinguish himself in a crowded Democratic field by naming former Maryland Democratic Party chair Susan Turnbull as his running mate in the race for Maryland’s Governor’s mansion.

Former NAACP President Ben Jealous (left), named former Maryland Democratic Party chair Susan Turnbull as his running mate in the race for Maryland’s Governor’s mansion. (Courtesy Photos/

Turnbull, like Jealous, is a first-time candidate for public office. However, she is no novice to the political process. Turnbull previously served as vice chair of the Democratic National Committee.  As Maryland Democratic chair, Turnbull helped orchestrate Martin O’Malley’s victory for a second term as Maryland Governor.

Public policy expert David Abrahams, program coordinator of the Public Administration Program at Bowie State University believes the Jealous-Turnbull ticket will start to coalesce around the issues of education and social justice/economic opportunity.  “I believe she will help restore Maryland back to a higher level of educational prominence” said Abrahams.

Abrahams believes Turnbull will strengthen Jealous’ experience with social justice issues by helping to create “sustainable communities.” “Susan brings in a focus on the economic side and addressing the root causes of the lack of opportunity in our disparity areas,” Abrahams said.

“With Governor Hogan we have a lack of coordination in addressing the epidemic of crime and lack of opportunity.  Right now, you have the city [of Baltimore] doing one thing and the State doing another, but neither one working together.”

Abrahams believes Turnbull’s experience in Maryland politics would help her strengthen inter-governmental relations, a key to creating successful outcomes in Baltimore. “In order to create sustainable communities, cities and states must work together toward mutually beneficial outcomes,” Abrahams said.

Turnbull, 65, is a resident of Bethesda, Maryland, and has been a leader in national Jewish organizations.  She served as chair of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs from 2014 to 2016.  Maryland has one of the largest Jewish populations in the nation at four percent, trailing only behind New York, New Jersey, Washington, D.C. and Massachusetts.

Jealous is also seeking to benefit from his ties to Vt. Senator and former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. Sanders, who endorsed Jealous for Governor over the summer, made a joint appearance with the gubernatorial candidate Dec. 5 at a “Medicaid for All” rally, where Jealous unveiled MD-Care, his single-payer healthcare plan for Maryland.