A Democratic gubernatorial candidate from the Old Line State decidedly held nothing back in his campaign video. Maryland's Rich Madaleno's same-sex kiss with his husband in a political ad made waves on social media and cable news on Wednesday. To some observers, it might even be ironic that Madaleno's video — in which he lambasts President Trump repeatedly — appeared during a commercial break on Fox News' morning show Fox and Friends.
"What's the number one way I piss off Trump and Republicans?" asks Maryland's aspiring gubernatorial candidate in his ad. Madaleno then plants a kiss on his husband, Mark Madaleno, and follows it up with, "Take that, Trump!"
The Democratic candidate's video touches upon hot topics such as Planned Parenthood, gun control, public schools, and — as his kiss confirmed — LGBTQ rights. In the beginning of the video, Madaleno introduces himself: "I'm running for governor to deliver progressive results and to stand up to Donald Trump. Here are few of the things I've done already that infuriate him."
Madaleno goes on to say that he protected Planned Parenthood from its opponents on Capitol Hill, after which a girl exclaims, "Take that, Trump!" In April 2017, as a state senator, Madaleno co-sponsored a bill in Maryland for state-funding Planned Parenthood if its federal funding was cut off. It became the first state in the country to do so and became law without Maryland Republican Gov. Larry Hogan's signature.
Back then, an unapologetic Madaleno said, "Today, Maryland makes history ... unfortunately without the support of the governor [Republican Sen. Larry Hogan]. While I wish our state didn’t need to fight the attacks on comprehensive health care by Congress, we are proud to stand up and protect access in Maryland."
In addition to reproductive health care access, Madaleno is a staunch supporter of curtailing gun violence in the country. In February, the Montgomery County Democrat was one of the figures to call on his state's governor to pass two separate bills on gun control. One bill called for banning bump stocks while the second one sought to appoint administrative law judges to work in Maryland's Handgun Review Law Board as opposed to politicians.
At the time, Madaleno told Associated Press, "I've been distressed by the number of people — the part-time political people — who have been put on this board who don't have the same level of standards and legal expertise that an administrative law judge would have."
Hogan pushed against both bills saying, "I don't think anyone in the history of our state has ever been killed with a bump stock. I'm not sure the people that either have or don't have their handguns approved by the Handgun Permit Review Board are the ones that are responsible for most of the killing in our state."
It's worth mentioning that Madaleno's ad arrives in the beginning of June, which is also Pride Month for many members of the LGBTQ community. In the United States, June is celebrated as the month to commemorate the historic Stonewall riots in New York. It's not clear whether the Democratic candidate specifically planned for his video to appear during the civil rights celebration month but on social media, the coincidence was not lost on observers.
It can be argued that campaign videos act as visual and rhetorical content that can either make or break a candidate's case. It can go pretty amazing and win hearts or it can be bizarre like West Virginian Republican Patrick Morrisey's campaign video in which he makes a floating mountain demolish Capitol Hill.
No one can say for sure if Madaleno will secure a seat in Maryland but with his ad, where he slams the current administration, its Education Department, and the National Rifle Association, it looks like the Democratic candidate won the internet over.