Dutch Ruppersberger says he would shake up the Democratic primary if he entered the race for Maryland governor.
“I think I would,” Ruppersberger said in an interview.
The six-term congressman said he is seriously considering giving up DC politics for a chance to run his home state.
Ruppersberger has been considering the race for governor off and on for more than a year but he said his interest waned as he traveled Syria and Iraq in January as part of his official congressional duties.
“Six months ago I started getting calls from friends and business leaders encouraging me to run.” Ruppersberger said. “I’m looking at it very seriously. I believe I can help our state.”
But the former two-term Baltimore County executive said he enjoys his work in Congress and the House Intelligence Committee.
“I’m really conflicted about this,” he said. “I love what I’m doing in Washington but I love my state, too.”
Ruppersberger said he’s spending time with supporters studying state issues and putting together a plan to raise money should he decide to get in.
“If I get in I plan to run to win,” Ruppersberger said. “I don’t think I’ll need as much money as some others. Polls show I’m really well known and popular in the Baltimore area.”
Ruppersberger said an early poll he paid for found he came in second to Brown in terms of name recognition. In a poll released Wednesday by Sarah T. Hughes Field Politics Center at Goucher College, 49 percent of those surveyed said they recognized Ruppersberger’s name compared to 62 and 58 percent respectively for Brown and Gansler.
Name recognition won’t just help when it comes to raising money. It could also be an advantage in a contested primary that features major candidates from the DC area. Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown is from Prince George’s County. Attorney General Doug Gansler and Del. Heather Mizeur are both based in Montgomery County.
Ruppersberger isn’t in any apparent rush to make a decision.
“My only timeline is the filing deadline,” he said.
Ruppersberger has until 9 p.m. Feb. 25 to decide.