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Eye on Annapolis: Harford Co. executive ’99 percent sure’ he’s running for governor in 2014

Harford County Executive David R. Craig, a Republican, said Wednesday he is “99 percent sure” he will run for governor in 2014.

Craig, Harford’s top elected official since 2005, is term-limited and has long been thought a potential Republican candidate to replace Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley, who is also term-limited.

But with two years left in his term, Craig said he’s not ready to jump into the race feet-first — yet.

Harford County Executive David R. Craig (R)

“I have two budgets to get done and two more General Assembly sessions to get through, and I don’t want to be on the road all the time campaigning,” Craig said. “We’re coming up with a list of about 12 items that I feel are high priority items that need to be resolved before I leave office.”

He added that campaign fundraising had not kicked into high gear yet, either, since some donors have been focused on the presidential election and congressional races in Maryland.

Donors, however, have said they would be in position to make campaign contributions after Election Day, Craig said, setting up a decision in late spring or early summer.

“Once one more budget’s done and one more General Assembly’s over, its going to be much easier,” he said. “We’ll probably make the official decision, and announcement, sometime between April and June of next year.”

What campaigning Craig already has done has kept him busy. He recently took a trip to Frederick County, where voters will decide Nov. 6 whether to switch from a commissioner form of county government to a charter form, with a county executive and council.

He’s also frequently in the Baltimore area, he said.

“I feel like I live on the Baltimore beltway,” Craig said. “It seems like I’m on there a lot.”

One place that Craig doesn’t seem likely to garner many votes is within Harford County’s delegation to the state legislature. Craig, who served in the House of Delegates from 1991 to 1994 and the Senate from 1995 to 1999, has not been pleased with those who currently serve.

“I probably will not send any state legislation over [this session]. My state delegation is totally inept. They are totally fearful of doing things,” Craig said. “As soon as one member of my House of Delegates takes a stand on something, the other says, ‘Well I’m not going to do it, because he’s opposed to it, or he’s in favor of it,’ or whatever.

“And as soon as he does that, the senators back off and go … ‘if we push this, the House members aren’t going to support it, so why are we going to waste our time doing that?’ So, they just completely back off.”

If Craig decides to back off and not run for governor, he said he has several other options — some that may be more appealing to his wife, he said, since he’s away so frequently as an elected official.

But he scoffed at the idea of searching for a private sector job.

“Other jobs, no. I have contracts to write two books,” Craig said. “That would be nice to do. I’d actually like to get that done. But if I don’t have the time to do it, that’s fine.”