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Pr. George's Exec Johnson 'Very Much' Considering Statewide Run

As the chairs were being stacked and the moon bounce was being deflated, Prince George's County Executive Jack B. Johnson (D) was still posing for pictures, shaking hands with constituents and grabbing the ears of political players last night after attending no fewer than six neighborhood parties as part of "National Night Out."

But why, one might wonder, would the exec put in such hardcore grip-and-grin time if he can't run for re-election?

Johnson supplied one reason: He is "very much, definitely" considering a run for statewide office after his term expires next year.

It's an ambition Johnson had floated earlier this year, but last night he mapped out the broad strokes of a strategy moving forward.

In a short interview at one of the many barbecues and block parties he was shuttled to last night in his county-owned Cadillac Escalade, Johnson said he has been raising money, and plans to embark on a statewide listening tour after Labor Day to "see what interest there is" in him running.

Johnson said his tour will include visits to the Eastern Shore and the Baltimore region, and that he "should have a good feel" by November of whether he'll throw his hat in the ring.

Asked if he was considering a run for governor, he said he'd "just stick with 'statewide office' " as his answer, implicitly declining to rule out a challenge to incumbent Gov. Martin O'Malley (D).

Johnson's performance last night -- sampling hot dogs, grabbing the mic several times and posing patiently for photos (and repeat photos) with constituents -- showed both the strengths and weaknesses of his political style. A master speechmaker he was not, as illustrated by the tepid applause he got from a friendly crowd after remarks outside Skyline Elementary School -- which consisted largely of reciting lyrics to the song "Greatest Love of All" ("I believe the children are our future/Teach them well and let them lead the way.")

But put him with a group of kids, beat cops or residents who want to voice complaints, and Johnson is clearly in his element.

"Do you realize you all just made history?!" one fan exclaimed to a group of kids after posing for a photo with Johnson.

As the exec closed down one last party outside Glenarden's municipal center, (before heading to "Grace's Fortune," a Chinese restaurant in Bowie known to host the politically connected), Johnson grinned and said, "I'd like to have gone to four or five more. But this is good."

By Jonathan Mummolo  |  August 5, 2009; 10:24 AM ET
Categories:  Prince George's County  
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Elected statewide? Indicted is more like it. What would recommend anyone who has presided over the corrupt morass that PG County government has become to higher office. Shall we forget Cheye Calvo? Do we want all of Maryland run as a fascist state.

Posted by: SoCali | August 5, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse


I would LOVE to see JJ in his "county-owned Cadillac Escalade" rolling around the state as wannabe governor. He would get shellacked by O'Malley. It would be a treat.

JJ has zero self-awareness about his prospects outside PG County. Even Baltimore City would chew him up.

Posted by: RealityCheckerInEffect | August 5, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Statewide office?? The guy must really be delussional!I didn't like Wayne Curry either but Johnson makes Wayne look like a superstar. I wouldn't support Johnson nor do I know anyone that would. I just can't wait until his term ends! Statewide office..PLEASE!

Posted by: noneckmd | August 5, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

No state-wide tour needed to determine interest in Johnson as a candidate. There is none!

Posted by: midanae | August 5, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Johnson must be delusional....say no to drugs, move on and get a real job. The thought makes me dizzy...folks don't waste your $. Johnson go home.

Posted by: Pstacy | August 5, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

He would first need to learn the English language for this to happen.....

Posted by: 4thFloor | August 5, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Hey Jack, forgettaboutit!!! Your opponent will win by landslide. Even if they are.......... republican!

Posted by: demtse | August 5, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Hey Jack, forgettaboutit!!! Your opponent will win by landslide. Even if they are.......... republican!

Posted by: demtse | August 5, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

What makes anyone think we want JJ to, "go home", here in Prince Georges' county? We don't want him either.

Posted by: kpemc | August 5, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Jack Johnson cannot be serious about running for govenor or any statewide office. I would vote Republican before I vote for Jack Johnson again.

Posted by: jaythrowback1 | August 5, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Jack Johnson is a complete idiot. Aside from the humor a state-office campaign may provide, he has no chance of winning a Democratic primary, much less a general election.

Posted by: hoya91 | August 5, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Unbelievable! A man who had no trouble taking taxpayer funded junkets to Africa--flying first class no less and saying that "his constituents expect him to travel that way" yet forced furloughs on hundreds of county employees, many of them police and public safety. He's delusional. He also used a county-issued credit card to pay for obviously personal expenses and has yet to provide proof that he's repaid them.

His awarding of the National Harbor 'grants' was a local scandal that the Post tried to expose. Come on, WAPO. Where's the investigative journalism you used to be famous for? We've lived in PGC for 36 years and tho we're registered Democrats, we'll NEVER vote for Jack Johnson.

Posted by: commonsense101 | August 5, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Hey Jack, Forgettaboutit!!!

Posted by: demtse | August 5, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Mumbles for Governor? Hmmmmmm!The only thing JJ should run for is the state line.

Posted by: sqthomas | August 5, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Jack Johnson has no business in elected office or any office for that matter. The taxes in PG County are outrageous and the government there is still a budget deficit. Crime is terrible and the public school system is horrible.

Even if Johnson had the support of all the idiots that voted for him during his last election, he would still get trampled.

This guy is a first class joke on the order of Marion Barry (except Barry holds some sway in DC)!

Posted by: ib1greatdoc | August 5, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

He must be joking.

Posted by: HotChocolate | August 5, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Hey, why not? He's done such a great job in PGC.

Stop, your giving me an ice cream headache...

Posted by: dwj703 | August 5, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

I thought those events last night were supposed to be alcohol-free. JJ doesn't sound like he was sober.

Posted by: jmsbh | August 5, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

This is an April Fool's column in August, right??? It's gotta be...Lisping Jack thinking he has a chance at statewide office...with his record of off the charts crime in PG County, dysfunctional schools, deficit budget and being despised by most PG County residents. Good one, WaPo! Bwaaahaaaaa.

Posted by: checkered1 | August 5, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse

I am ready for Baker in PG. Johnson has done nothing for us and the idea of running statewide is crazy. Just read these comments. I have never seen him at a Bowie event, the largest city in PG County and the third largest in Maryland.

Posted by: NavyWorker33 | August 5, 2009 5:24 PM | Report abuse

This must be a joke...WAPO, what's going on? You've hit the bottom; no where to go but up.

Posted by: Beingsensible | August 5, 2009 6:28 PM | Report abuse

This man is truly in La-La Land.

Posted by: pgflashlight | August 5, 2009 7:02 PM | Report abuse

JJ: I thought you were going to run for re-election via your wife. Like Bill did with Hilary.

Posted by: FutureJumps | August 5, 2009 10:33 PM | Report abuse

hahaha I guess we have PG cops on this blog. Are you guys still mad???? hahahahah

Posted by: djw1 | August 5, 2009 10:56 PM | Report abuse

Great to see a post that gets commentors juices flowin. Such posts have been scarce lately.

I agree JJ is downright delusional. No one has spoken in his favor yet.

Posted by: countbobulescu | August 5, 2009 11:49 PM | Report abuse

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