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Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown (D) formally declared that he's running for governor Friday, promising to build on the achievements of the current administration and work to improve education, public health and the economy.

"Too many still can’t find full-time employment, too many of our neighbors continue to struggle with foreclosure," Brown said at a kickoff event at Prince George's Community College in Largo.

“Marylanders don’t expect their government to solve every problem, but they do want leaders who understand the problem,” Brown said. “That’s why I’m running for governor.”

Brown, 51, an Iraq war veteran and former Prince George's County delegate, has served as lieutenant governor since Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley's first term began in 2007, and has taken the lead on the administration's effort to improve health care and prepare for the implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act.

"We now have over 350,000 new people enrolled in health care in Maryland because of the Anthony Brown," Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Dist. 27) of Chesapeake Beach, told the crowd of several hundred gathered at the college. Miller also cited Maryland's top-ranked public schools as a major achievement of the O'Malley-Brown administration.

Miller, whose district includes a portion of Prince George's, said the county had produced one governor, Oden Bowie, in the 19th century; another, Parris Glendening, in the 20th century; and that Brown would make a "damn fine" governor from the county in the 21st century.

U.S. Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Dist.4) also spoke in support of Brown, calling him “stand-up guy” dedicated to education, safety and health.

If elected, Brown would be Maryland's first lieutenant governor to move to the higher office as well as the state's first African-American governor.

Other potential Democratic candidates for the governor include Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, U.S. Rep. C.A. "Dutch" Ruppersberger (Dist. 2), Attorney General Douglas Gansler and Montgomery County Del. Heather Mizeur (Dist. 20).  Potential Republican contenders include Harford County Executive David Craig, Anne Arundel County Del. Ronald George (Dist. 30), Frederick County Board of Commissioners President Blaine Young and Change Maryland Chairman Larry Hogan.

Brown has long been expected to make a run for the seat, and received a sudden endorsement from O'Malley's campaign organization in August, the same day Mizeur was reported to be considering a run.

Brown has a series of campaign events scheduled for the weekend, with announcements in Frederick, Silver Spring and Baltimore scheduled for Saturday. O’Malley is expected to join him in Baltimore.

dleaderman@gazette.net