BALTIMORE — Wes Moore, a leading Democratic candidate for governor of Maryland, made a name for himself as a New York Times Bestselling author. He later became a philanthropic advocate and the CEO of the nonprofit Robin Hood, a large anti-poverty organization based in New York City.
Since the last filing deadline in mid-January, Moore has raised over $2.5 million and has $2.1 million in his campaign coffer, according to campaign finance reports.
Moore can also benefit from Opportunity Maryland, a political action committee that has $618,000 available to spend, but the money can not coordinate directly with the Moore campaign.
This tally doesn’t include the money that his campaign got at a virtual fundraiser with Oprah Winfrey, who spent an hour on a Zoom call with about 250 supporters who paid between $100 and $6,000 to attend.
All of this financial backing has clearly shown an impact in the polls, as Moore has hovered in the top three candidates seeking the Democrat nod on July 19.
Although Moore’s campaign is surging with funds and at the polls, he is facing controversy. Moore is a decorated veteran, and in 2010, Moore appeared on Comedy Central’s Colbert Report.
On the show, he was asked if he was a Bronze Star recipient to which he answered yes. However, when news sources reached out to the U.S. Army for confirmation of this information, they had no record of Moore’s Bronze Star medal.
A spokesperson for Moore’s Campaign rejected the idea that Moore was not being honest in his interviews because he has never claimed to be a Bronze Star.
“In hundreds of interviews about his military service and veterans’ advocacy, Wes Moore – a decorated combat veteran who proudly volunteered to lead soldiers in combat with the 82nd Airborne in Afghanistan – has never claimed to have a Bronze Star,” the spokesperson said.
Under the Stolen Valor Act of 2013, Congress made it a crime to fraudulently claim to receive any valor-related award with the intent of benefitting from such claims. Moore has not been charged or convicted of any crime at this time.
Meanwhile, his famous book “The Other Wes Moore” is under heavy scrutiny since it describes his Baltimore roots.
People believed that he said that he was born and raised in Baltimore in his book. The book opens saying, “This is the story of two boys living in Baltimore with similar histories and an identical name.” In the same introduction, Moore wrote, “We’d grown up at the same time, on the same streets, with the same name.”
However, he wasn’t born in Baltimore but in Washington, D.C., according to Moore’s website. As the book lays out, he spent his early childhood in the suburb of Takoma Park, Maryland.
After his father’s sudden death when Moore was 3 years old, he then moved with his family to the Bronx.
It wasn’t until he was a 20-year-old undergraduate student at Johns Hopkins University that Moore first lived in Baltimore.
On the contrary, many have described his deeper connection to Baltimore since his campaign started.
“I’ve never seen anyone connect to a place more than Wes did when he fell in love with Baltimore,” his mother, Joy Moore, said in a statement provided to CNN by the Moore campaign. “My job was in Baltimore City, and I couldn’t keep him out of the city when he was home from military school as a teenager.”
“Baltimore is where Wes came of age,” she said in that statement, “and he has built and fostered a community in Baltimore for over 25 years since he was 15 years old.”
Despite being a political newcomer, Moore pointed to his leadership experience in business and the military — and his nonprofit work focused on poverty and education — as qualifications to take over as the state’s next governor.
“I brought about change outside of government and I look forward to doing it inside of government,” Moore said.
Currently, Moore holds the fundraising edge. Moore has raised more than $7 million for the cycle.
The Moore campaign could not be reached for further comment.
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