UPDATED (12:03 a.m.)—The man expected to be the Republican candidate in what is likely to be one of the top Senate races for his party said Sunday he will withdraw from the race and focus on his work with Larry Hogan’s gubernatorial campaign.
Chris Cavey, a former insurance broker and chairman of the Baltimore County Republican Central Committee, referred to the campaign Sunday as “my former race” in a phone interview.
“There’s a lot of pieces to this puzzle,” Cavey said.Rumors of Cavey’s impending withdrawal were first reported Friday by Quintonreport.com.
Cavey officially entered the race in November but had been actively campaigning as early as last spring for the seat currently held by Sen. James Brochin, D—Baltimore County.
But last fall, Cavey began working unofficially for Hogan, helping coordinate Hogan’s Fall Harvest event in Annapolis held at the same time as the Republican Party convention in that same city. It was there that Hogan, then the chairman of Change Maryland, publicly spoke about his intentions to run for governor.
Cavey previously worked on the presidential campaigns of Mitt Romney and John McCain and on the gubernatorial campaign of Robert L. Ehrlich.
Cavey said Hogan came to him in the fall and shared poll results and offered him a job with the campaign.
“We talked and one thing lead to another,” Cavey said.
Cavey said the offer to work on a campaign, organizing and strategizing, was too good to pass up.
“I loved it,” Cavey said. “I looked for jobs as a hired gun job after working for Ehrlich. It’s truly something I very much enjoy.”
Cavey was expected to challenge Brochin later this year in a district that, on paper, appears after redistricting to lean slightly Republican.
Brochin, who has held the seat since the district was redrawn in 2002, faces a primary challenge from Connie DeJulius, a former member of the House of Delegates and worked for Gov. Martin J. O’Malley’s gubernatorial campaign. She is also married to Ronald DeJulius, the former head of the Building Trades union and now state commissioner of labor and industry with the Maryland Department of Licensing Labor and Regulation.
Brochin also has bipartisan opposition coming from O’Malley, a Democrat, and Ehrlich, a Republican, according to The Washington Post.
DeJulius most recent campaign finance report filed in January shows nearly $42,000 in cash on hand and support from labor unions. Brochin’s reports show nearly $229,000 in cash on hand.
But Cavey’s fundraising over the last year was somewhat lackluster—raising $12,600 since entering the race last year and about $7,500 cash on hand.
“I could have concentrated on raising money more than I did at the time but I didn’t,” Cavey said. “I’m not going to make excuses. I didn’t.”
Cavey said his withdrawal from the race had “absolutely nothing” to do with the campaign finance numbers.
Cavey’s withdrawal doesn’t mean the Republicans will be without a candidate before the Feb. 24 filing deadline.
One potential candidate is Tim Robinson, 58, an anesthesiologist who lives in the Timonium area. Robinson, a contributor to local Republicans, could announce his intent to run as early as this week.
Despite his withdrawal, Cavey said he believes the race can still be won by a Republican.
“The district leans Republican,” Cavey said. “It’s not a big lean. It’s not a 60-40 lean but it’s a couple percentage points lean. Whether you can take advantage of that lean is the question.”
“I don’t know that I’ve jeopardized the ability to win the seat,” Cavey said. “It’s going to be about raising money, working hard and being on the Republican side of the ballot. There’s more people out there who fit these qualifications than just me. I don’t think [withdrawing] makes it impossible. I think the odds stay the same.”
Several hours after this post was published, Cavey issued a formal statement about his withdrawal on his campaign’s Facebook page:
“The citizens of District 42 will have an excellent replacement stepping in behind me, Tim Robinson. We will soon “swap places” at the State Board of Elections as we visit together this week – him to file for candidacy and me to withdraw. You see, I know Sen. Jim Brochin will be defeated and I have explained it to Tim – in detail.
“So, all is well with me. Sen. Brochin will still go down to defeat in District 42 and my beloved Party will gain that seat in the State Senate. My friend, Larry Hogan, now has my undivided attention and next year this time I hope to be serving him when he becomes Maryland’s 62nd Governor. Most of all I know I have taken the correct path for Chris Cavey. I am doing a job I enjoy, go to work each day with a smile on my face and I have the inextinguishable desire to change Maryland – I am a happy man.
“Thank you for your support.”