Banner political notes: A new gig for Schulz, advice from Hillary Clinton, one candidate’s ‘big head’

Published 10/29/2022 6:00 a.m. EDT

Maryland, Baltimore City, Baltimore County politics

Kelly Schulz had hoped that she’d be in the home stretch of a campaign for governor right now, but Dan Cox thwarted those hopes when he beat her in the Republican primary.

Schulz went out of the public eye for a bit after her primary defeat, but she’s reemerged with a new role: chief executive officer of the Maryland Tech Council.

In a statement issued by the Maryland Tech Council, a trade association for businesses in the technology and life science industries, Schulz said she was honored to be chosen to lead the organization. The tech council recently launched BioHub Maryland, which guides aspiring workers in those industries, and also opened regional chapters in Baltimore and Prince George’s County.

Kelly Schulz, a Republican candidate for Maryland governor, speaks to supporters at a "Women 4 Kelly" event in Ellicott City on May 17, 2022.

“I am honored to lead the organization through this next growth phase,” Schulz said in the statement. “We will remain laser focused on leveraging Maryland’s world-class innovation assets to help our members succeed.”

Schulz worked in cybersecurity before entering politics, first as a state delegate and later as a secretary of labor and secretary of commerce under Gov. Larry Hogan. Schulz was Hogan’s pick in the GOP gubernatorial primary, which she lost to Cox, 53%-43%.

Hogan praised the tech council’s pick, writing on Twitter that Schulz is “a tremendous leader.”

Advice for Moore from someone who’s been there, done that

Hillary Rodham Clinton, still a popular figure among diehard Democrats, had some advice for Democratic gubernatorial nominee Wes Moore during a Zoom fundraiser earlier this week.

Clinton has seen it all through her career as an attorney, first lady of Arkansas, first lady of the United States, U.S. senator, secretary of state and 2016 Democratic nominee for president. A few of her words of wisdom shared with Moore and at least 120 of his supporters on the Zoom:

Communication: A political leader needs to constantly communicate what they’re doing to help people and what their successes are. Just like a candidate on a campaign, a governor has to be on social media and constantly available to reporters, especially the local press, who are “the conduit” for people to learn about their government.

Accountability: Somewhere, someone in state government is likely to do something to get into trouble. A governor needs to have systems to hold people accountable “even if they’re your best friend.”

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Emergency preparedness: Knowing how emergency systems work is key for a new governor. “Literally, you could get inaugurated and there could be a flood or a bridge collapse,” Clinton said. People will judge you based on how you respond to emergencies, even more than they will judge you on your policy proposals.

Hillary Rodham Clinton, the former U.S. secretary of state and 2016 presidential candidate, speaks at a Zoom fundraiser on Oct. 25, 2022 for Wes Moore, the Democratic nominee for governor of Maryland. Moore supporter Lissa Muscatine moderated the conversation for more than 120 supporters.

Resiliency: Breaking barriers — Moore would be Maryland’s first Black governor, if elected — is not easy, said Clinton, who was the first woman to be nominated for president from a major party. “You’re going to be under an enormous amount of scrutiny,” she said, adding that Moore needs to have people around him who are “very clear-eyed about how to protect you to do the job you were elected to do.”

And Clinton was clearly unimpressed with Dan Cox, the Republican nominee for governor, though she did not mention him by name. She said Cox is a “supercharged divider.”

“I’m sure he’ll continue to deny the outcome of your election literally no matter how much you beat him by,” Clinton said.

(For the record, Cox has yet to give a clear answer as to whether he’ll accept the election results. You can see him on video here.)

“Wow, you’ve got a big head”

Political candidates traveling to campaign stops in a big bus is nothing new. Maryland voters may recall Gov. Larry Hogan riding around the state in a big black bus when he was campaigning.

This year’s Democratic gubernatorial ticket of Wes Moore and Aruna Miller have taken the campaign bus game to the next level, with a blue bus plastered with larger-than-life photos of the duo.

We asked Moore what it’s like to step on a bus with an enormous smiling picture of himself on it. “It’s literally larger than life,” he said. “Is that weird?”

“When my kids saw it, my son said, ‘Wow, you’ve got a big head,’” Moore said, laughing. “And he’s absolutely right.”

One of the upsides of such a flamboyant bus: “You can’t miss it,” Moore said.

Mayor’s chief lobbyist heads to Annapolis firm

Mayor Brandon Scott’s top lobbyist has left City Hall for Annapolis.

As director of the Mayor’s Office of Government Relations, Natasha Mehu lobbied for City Hall’s interests in the State House and Washington. She has now joined Manis Canning & Associates, a longtime firm in Annapolis. The Banner first reported her departure earlier this week.

She left the Maryland Association of Counties, where she worked as a legislative director, shortly after the mayor took office in 2020 to lead a team that functioned as Baltimore’s liaison to government agencies, particularly in Annapolis. Her departure leaves a critical role vacant about two months before state lawmakers convene for Maryland’s 2023 General Assembly.

In a news release, Scott said Mehu delivered results for Baltimoreans by establishing and maintaining productive, purposeful relationships with state and federal legislators.

“Natasha is an intelligent, collaborative and innovative leader who thrives on finding solutions that allow people to live and work in the most efficient and effective way possible,” the Democrat said.

Nick Manis, a managing partner at MCA, said Mehu will continue delivering superior results in her new position.