MICHELLE JANAYE NEALY
ANNAPOLIS — No Maryland lieutenant governor has ever been elected governor of the state, but Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, who will formally announce his gubernatorial bid Friday, is hoping to make history by becoming the first.
Brown, a Democrat, said he is running to build on the current administration’s successes in reducing crime, improving education and ex-panding health care to those in underserved communities.
“We do that by strengthening our economy and creating jobs,” the 51-year-old Brown said this week in an interview. “We have to invest in infrastructure, improve health care and invest in education and training. It’s important to me that Maryland not only be better, but better for more Marylanders.”
If elected, Brown, who has served with Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley since 2007, would also become the state’s first African-American governor.
State Attorney General Doug Gansler, whose base of support is also in the Washington suburbs, may be Brown’s most formidable opponent in the 2014 Democratic primary. Other Democrats possibly looking to succeed O’Malley include Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, U.S. Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger of Baltimore County and state Delegate Heather Mizeur of Montgomery County.
“It comes down to a numbers game,” said Todd Eberly, assistant professor of political science and public policy at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. “If you’ve got at least three people running in that Democratic primary, I say the numbers overwhelmingly support Brown. If it’s a two-person race, it could be a tough contest between Brown and Gansler.”
Brown could nab the bulk of the black vote in a three-way race, getting a boost as the candidates split the white vote.
“With Anthony Brown, you have an African-American candidate, with an incredibly impressive record, issue stances that align with African Americans, and a chance to make history, ” Eberly said.
In January, Gansler, a former Montgomery County state’s attorney, reported he had $5.2 million in his campaign account. Campaign finance reports show that Brown has at least $1.6 million in campaign coffers. Gansler’s deep pockets could make a difference.
“Gansler has run statewide. He has raised tremendous amounts of money, and that war chest makes him a formidable opponent in a two-person race,” Eberly said.
The son of a Jamaican doctor who immigrated to the U.S., Brown received his undergraduate and law degrees from Harvard. He was born in New York and has lived in Maryland for more than 20 years.
Before becoming lieutenant governor, Brown represented Prince George’s County for two terms in the Maryland House of Delegates, rising to the position of majority whip.