Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown announced his candidacy for governor Friday afternoon, becoming the first in a potentially crowded field of Democratic candidates to officially begin campaigning for 2014.
“Today, I’m asking you to join me to build on our successes, to take on our next challenges, to make Maryland better for more Marylanders,” Brown said in a statement released by his campaign committee.
And while Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler did not rush to join Brown — Gansler has said he may announce his candidacy this fall — his campaign team didn’t waste time in responding to the start of Brown’s run.
“Marylanders expect their governors to be leaders who work for them and have a record of real accomplishments to prove it,” said Doug Thornell, Gansler’s campaign strategist. “Doug has led as attorney general and will continue to work on behalf of families across Maryland to get things done.”
Brown — who would become Maryland’s first African American governor if elected — has said his priorities as governor would be fighting disparities in health and education. He was Gov. Martin O’Malley’s point person on implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act and also championed legislation to make it easier for businesses to enter into long-term deals with the state.
Detractors point out that Brown, as O’Malley’s deputy, has overseen numerous tax increases, including an income tax hike last year and a gas tax increase this year.
Brown, the highest-ranking government official in the nation to have served a tour of duty in Iraq, will have plenty of opportunities to answer that criticism over the next year and a half. His campaign kick-off continues Saturday, with visits to Frederick, Baltimore and Silver Spring.