Former Maryland Governor Marvin Mandel, who became governor after the election of Spiro Agnew as Vice President in 1968, and who oversaw the modernization of the Maryland judicial and executive branches of government in the 1970s, died earlier today at 95. Governor Larry Hogan ordered flags to be flown at half staff in acknowledgement of Mandelâ€™s passing, and he also issued a statement:
Gov. Larry Hogan has ordered flags to be flown at half-staff in honor of Mandel. He released a statement, saying: “The first lady and I send our deepest sympathies and condolences to the Mandel family and all those who loved and cared for him. The state of Maryland lost not only a former governor but also a truly great leader and someone countless people thought of as a friend, including myself. I will be forever grateful for the advice, wisdom, and stories Governor Mandel has shared with me throughout the years.
“No other governor has had the lasting impact on all three branches of Maryland government and while he held elective office for 28 years, he dedicated his life to making our state a better place to live. It is with heavy hearts that we say goodbye to Governor Mandel, but I know that his legacy will live on, through the many people he touched during the course of his life.”
One of the most colorful and interesting figures of Maryland politics for over a generation, Mandel was removed from office in 1977 after a racketeering and mail fraud conviction that was later overturned. Prior to that, he and his first wife separated in 1974 when Mandel began an affair with the woman who later became his second wife. His first wife refused to move out of the Governorâ€™s mansion, forcing Mandel to rent an apartment in Annapolis until she agreed to leave, creating a public relations nightmare for the governor.
After his conviction was overturned, Mandel became a respected elder statesman for the Democratic Party for many years, one whose opinions and endorsements were eagerly sought after by statewide candidates. In the end, due to the many changes in government that Mandel brought to the state, perhaps no other single political figure had quite the same impact as Mandel, the only Jewish governor that Maryland has ever had.