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Campos switches backing from Jackson to Baker

Washington Post Editors

Prince George's County Council member Will Campos (D-Hyattsville), who represents District 2 in the northern part of the county, has switched allegiances in the Democratic primary race for county executive.

Campos, who had previously backed Sheriff Michael Jackson, has switched to Rushern L. Baker because of concerns about Jackson's management of the sheriff's department.

"I have had a good working relationship with Sheriff Jackson over the years, but with each new revelation it became harder and harder to justify to myself and my constituency why I was supporting his candidacy," Campos said in a statement issued by the Baker campaign Wednesday.

Campos, who is considered a progressive lawmaker, has served on the council since winning a special election in 2005. His support is likely to help Baker among residents of his multi-ethnic district.

Baker and Jackson are widely viewed as the frontrunners in the five-person race for executive to replace Jack Johnson (D), who is barred by term limits from running. The other Democratic candidates are County Council member Sam Dean, Del. Gerron Levi and Henry Turner, a developer and businessman. In heavily Democratic Prince George's, winning the Sept. 14 Democratic primary usually ensures election in November.

Jackson has been sheriff for the past eight years and has the support of many of Jack Johnson's backers, though Johnson himself has not come out and formally endorsed Jackson. He was able to garner support from only one state senator, Nathaniel Exum; Baker is backed by five others in the eight-member state Senate delegation, including C. Anthony Muse, a popular lawmaker and pastor from the southern part of the county.

Campos said in an interview that he had becoming increasingly concerned about issues in Jackson's office. In recent weeks, the sheriff's department has come under scrutiny in a domestic violence case and in a case involving one of his top deputies who was accused of embezzlement.

Campos said it was still a tough decision to make. "I still consider Mike a friend, and certainly it is nothing against him," but he said that the "different investigations, the unfortunate events, it was a little tougher to justify, especially to my constituents, why I was supporting Michael Jackson." Campos said he had been thinking about his possible switch for a week before contacting Baker and Jackson on Tuesday to tell them of his plans.

Baker said in a statement that he was happy to have Campos's backing.

"Will has always been the voice of fundamental fairness on the County Council. I welcome his support and energy as we make this county great for all of its residents."

Jackson spokeswoman Karen DeWitt labeled Campos's decision "politics," and said that Jackson attributed the switch to what she said was Campos's unsuccessful effort to get Jackson to back Victor Ramirez in the local state Senate Democratic primary race.

Jackson is backing David Harrington, the incumbent. In a twist though, Harrington is backing Baker in the executive's race, not Jackson.

This post has been updated since it was first published.

By Miranda S. Spivack  |  September 1, 2010; 1:53 PM ET
Categories:  2010 Elections , Miranda Spivack , Prince George's County  
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Next: State Sen. Currie indicted on bribery charges


Is that the fat lady I hear warming up?

Posted by: PGDEM | September 1, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Will Campos would obviously change on his constituents as well. Look very carefully at who is being bought and sold, Prince George's County residents. Look very closely. What was he promised?

It is very interesting to me how a current county council member would be privy to information about an ongoing investigation. I say that because all investigations are supposed to be confidential until results are obtained. Obviously Campos will not be transparent in how he conducts his business, makes affiliations or on how he judges people.

I hope those who I know in Hyattsville are paying attention. Do you want a Judas representing you? There is an interesting article by Oveta Wiggins and Jonathan Mummulo about just how many gifts and questionable transactions Campos had. Read it, Prince George's County residents. Read carefully, then for those who are able to, vote for a different candidate.

Posted by: southyrndiva | September 1, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Good for Councilman Campos - it shows he is not afraid to make the right choices even when the public may criticize him. After the myriad of incidents Jackson has been involved with and continued lack of leadership he has shown, I can't blame Councilman Campos for changing. As a resident of unincorporated Hyattsville, I do know that Councilman Campos is a man of integrity that truly cares about his constituents - something the previous poster wouldn't know anything about.

Posted by: heathgrom | September 1, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: southyrndiva | September 1, 2010 2:44 PM

A "result" has been obtained. Two people were indicted or haven't you heard.

Posted by: learnedhand1 | September 1, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

I voted for Wil Campos in both the special election and the first full election. In Wil Campos first full election, I noticed that Wil Campos changed from listening to his constituents and addressing their concerns to siding with public employees regarding issue concerning county employees conduct toward his constituents that voted him in. I personally feel that Wil Campos is disregarding a segment of constituents who are not of Latino descent, particularly in Hyattsville.

Posted by: craigdion | September 1, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Jack Johnson is still being as "slick" as usual, he is strategically going to county churches and venues where he is welcomed endorsing Mike Jackson. At the venue that I was at, he made an unannounced visit and took the mike to say that he "endorsed Michael Jackson" and of course he was pushing his wife's candidacy. The Post should investigate why he won't come out and formally and openly endorse Michael Jackson what is he hiding "again"! So glad his behind can't run again!

Posted by: blessed7 | September 1, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

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