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Ben Jealous, a progressive running for Maryland governor, wants everyone to know he’s not a socialist

“I’m a venture capitalist, not a socialist.”

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Ben Jealous in 2013.
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Li Zhou is a politics reporter at Vox, where she covers Congress and elections. Previously, she was a tech policy reporter at Politico and an editorial fellow at the Atlantic.

Ben Jealous, Maryland’s Democratic gubernatorial nominee, wants everyone to know that he may be a progressive but he’s no socialist.

Jealous is one of several Bernie Sanders-style Democrats who’s triumphed during this midterm cycle. His Republican opponent, current Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, has taken to painting him as too far left for the state to handle. During a press event on Wednesday, Jealous vehemently sought to dispel such critiques after a reporter asked him if he considered himself a socialist.

“When you see conservatives like Hogan name-calling, you realize that they’re scared,” he said. “What I am is a venture capitalist, and what I do is invest in growing businesses.”

After the reporter pressed further, Jealous appeared fed up with the question, answering simply, “Are you fucking kidding me?”

The video is worth watching in full.

Later that day, Jealous issued an apology for his language and clarified his stance further in a tweet. “I’m a venture capitalist, not a socialist. I have never referred to myself as a socialist, nor would I govern as one,” he wrote.

Much like democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Jealous supports a hefty list of progressive policy goals like Medicare-for-all and free in-state college tuition.

It’s evident, however, that he’d rather steer clear of at least one particular label.

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