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Annual conference for local officials begins in Ocean City

The boardwalk in Ocean City. (Alexander Pyles/The Daily Record)

The boardwalk in Ocean City. (Alexander Pyles/The Daily Record)

The summer conference of the Maryland Association of Counties gets started Wednesday, and later this afternoon I’ll make the 150-mile trip from Baltimore to join the legions of elected officials, lobbyists and campaign staff on their way to the beach.

A few candidates to replace Gov. Martin O’Malley in the state’s top elected office will beat me to the Eastern Shore, as Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown and Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler have planned separate campaign events for Wednesday.

In what’s being billed as an official visit to highlight the state’s agriculture industry, Brown is visiting Perdue Farms, where he’ll meet with Jim Perdue and other company executives. The lieutenant governor is also announcing a LEED certification for the company’s corporate offices in Salisbury.

Gansler, meanwhile, will be at Salisbury University on Wednesday afternoon to discuss biomass energy ideas, part of his series of roving policy talks in advance of a planned September campaign announcement.

The summer MACo conference presents an important opportunity for candidates seeking statewide elected office, as many political power players from every Maryland jurisdiction are within easy reach.

The Maryland Municipal League conference earlier this summer was visited by Democratic candidates Brown and Del. Heather R. Mizeur R- Montgomery, as well as Republican gubernatorial candidate David R. Craig and potential candidate Blaine R. Young, president of the Frederick County Board of Commissioners.

Gansler did not attend the MML conference but is arriving early in MACo’s schedule. The second-term attorney general may be forced to spend much of his time on the shore explaining secretly-recorded comments obtained by The Washington Post this week in which Gansler says Brown’s campaign is predicated on race.