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Eye on Annapolis

The Daily Record's Maryland state government blog

Kamenetz sure sounds like a gubernatorial candidate but isn’t, yet

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz hasn’t officially said what he’ll be running for in 2018, but he is asking donors for help hitting his quarterly fundraising goals. 

Kamenetz, the two-term executive, is term limited. Most observers believe he will enter the Democratic Party gubernatorial primary and seek to challenge first-term Republican Gov. Larry Hogan. A fundraising letter did little to dissuade anyone of those notions, though a spokesman for Kamenetz’s campaign said there was no news to be had just now.

“Above all, he makes decisions that put people first,” the Kamenetz fundraising email states. “He takes that seriously, and it’s something that we’re seeing less and less of from leaders like Larry Hogan who refuse to put our state before their party. We need leaders who will push back against dangerous policies, and Governor Hogan clearly isn’t getting that job done.”

The balance of the email goes on to bash President Donald Trump and Republicans in Washington. It also notes that Kamenetz has not yet hit an unspecified fundraising goal.

Kamenetz has spent the better part of the current term attempting to raise his visibility across the state for what many expect is a run for governor. In 2016, he traveled around the state, including an Election Day stop in Montgomery County. This year he has leveraged his position as president of the Maryland Association of Counties to travel the state as part of a promise to visit the state’s 22 other counties and Baltimore City.

The county executive has not yet committed to such a run and repeatedly tells reporters he is considering the race.

Sean Naron, a spokesman for the Kamenetz campaign, said the county executive is spending the next couple of months touring the state, listening to concerns and focusing on family, including his two teenage sons, who are on summer break.

Naron said Kamenetz remains in an exploratory mode as far as running for governor is concerned and that fundraising is a necessary part of that process.

Five Democratic candidates have announced their intentions to run, including Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III; perennial candidate Ralph Jaffe; former NAACP president Ben Jealous; Montgomery County state Sen. Richard S. Madaleno Jr.; and Jim Shea, the former chairman of Venable LLC.

Only Jaffe has officially filed with the Maryland State Board of Elections.

Other Democrats thought to be considering entering the Democratic fray include Rep. John Delaney, who said on Twitter last week he could make a decision in July, and former Maryland Attorney General and 2014 gubernatorial candidate Doug Gansler.

Kamenetz started the year leading the money chase among prospective Democratic candidates, posting about $1.6 million in cash on hand. Hogan reported about $5 million for the same period.

Kamenetz might soon be feeling the pressure from at least one Democrat. Shea, who helped raise money for Martin O’Malley’s first run for governor, said last week that he has raised “seven figures” for his own campaign in roughly two months.


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