- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Add Del. Ronald George to the increasingly crowded list of contenders in the 2014 Maryland governor’s race.
The Anne Arundel County Republican, who represents District 30, said last week that he “wants to build a new Maryland” and expects to find support even among Democrats for his brand of fiscal conservatism.
“I’m a budget hawk,” said George, who plans to make a formal campaign announcement in June, adding that he felt the state’s recent tax increases were driving businesses away from the state. “Increasing taxes doesn’t necessarily mean there’s going to be an increase in revenue,” he said.
The recent state mandates on the counties, such as the implementation of stormwater management fees in some, has created tension between state and local government. “You can’t have that kind of antagonistic, authoritarian state government,” he said.
George, 59, has served in the General Assembly since 2007 and sits on the House Ways and Means Committee. He owns a pair of jewelry stores in Annapolis and Severna Park.
George joins other potential Republican candidates, including Harford County Executive David Craig, Frederick County commissioners’ President Blaine Young and Change Maryland Chairman Larry Hogan.
Potential Democratic contenders include Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, Attorney General Douglas Gansler, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, U.S. Rep. C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger (D-Md., 2nd) and Del. Heather Mizeur (D-Montgomery).
Mizeur has made an aggressive fundraising push in recent weeks after a Baltimore Sun columnist didn’t include her on a list of potential candidates in April and referred to the governor’s office as the state’s “big-daddy chair.”
Mizeur’s campaign responded with a series of email blasts decrying the notion that Maryland politics is a “boys’ club.”
But Mizeur received a boost at the April 27 Western Maryland Democratic Summit in Hagerstown when she came in second in a straw poll for the governor’s race, behind Brown.
Gansler, Ulman and Ruppersberger placed third, fourth and fifth, respectively.
Joanna Belanger, Mizeur’s campaign manager, said the campaign has been getting positive feedback from women’s groups around the state after the Sun column ran.
But the several candidates from the Washington, D.C., suburbs, including Ulman, could end up dividing support in that region as the race progresses, said Matthew Crenson, professor emeritus of political science at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Ruppersberger, on the other hand, was the only serious contender from the Baltimore region, which could give him a strong base of support there, Crenson said.
Republicans are likely to be disappointed, no matter who their candidate is, because the party has little chance of success, Crenson said.
Brown is expected to formally announce his candidacy this month. The Washington Post has reported that Brown is courting Ulman to join his ticket.