Comedian Dave Chappelle and Maryland governor hopeful Ben Jealous are BFs. Both grew up in Maryland and their fathers "were activists and best friends," according to a Jealous tweet.
"They met when my parents were teaching in Baltimore and Dave’s dad was working at Social Security. It’s great to have (Dave) back home to fire up the troops!"
In another tweet, he explained: "When I was 20 I was known as 'Dave Chappelle’s bodyguard.' Now that I’m 45, I’m proud to be 'Dave Chappelle’s candidate.'"
On June 8, Chappelle joined Jealous at a campaign event in Largo, MD. "I'm standing here with the first person who made the argument to me that cannabis should be legal for adult use," Jealous told the crowd.
Nearly a week later, on June 14, at a candidates' debate, Jealous admitted that he smoked pot with Chappelle. "That's part of why we're here," Jealous told Ari Melber on an MSNBC segment with Chappelle the day before. "We've been talking about, frankly, our experiences when we were young."
Chappelle explained: "I met Ben when we were 17. We became fast friends... I've never, ever stuck my toe into politics. I don't necessarily believe in politics. This is the first time I believe in somebody this much for a job like this because I know him so well. We came up together. I saw Ben do activism his entire youth... Ben has always stayed true. When I got into trouble with my show (Chappelle's Show on Comedy Central), he was like my confidant... He was always a rock for me. I think for the state of Maryland it couldn't get any better."
On the cannabis issue, Jealous noted: "Dave had been making arguments to me for a quarter century."
Dave Chappelle: "I look at the legalization of marijuana as an inevitability nationally, not just in the state of Maryland."
"He's a good dude," Chappelle offered. "There's nothing in this for me. He's an important voice... He's one of the most competent people I know."
Jealous, who's the former NAACP executive director, is trying to unseat Republican Gov. Larry Hogan in the Maryland gubernatorial race. At his campaign website, Jealous calls for “legalizing marijuana for adult use and working to strengthen diversity requirements for licenses in the marijuana industry.”
Hogan has a huge campaign war chest – $14.2 million – compared to Jealous' $2.9 million. Current polls show Hogan leading by as much as 15%.
Jealous is among a group of insurgent Democrats aiming to take back statehouses and Congress from the Republicans.