Do you know the last time a Lt. Governor of Maryland was elected Governor? If you said never, you can get a gold star. To be fair, we’ve only had 7 Lt. Governor’s as it is a fairly new addition in Maryland, but out of those 7, the only one that actually won the Democratic Primary to be their party’s standard bearer was Kathleen Kennedy Townsend.
Marylanders are extremely astute at determining that the Lt. Governor job provides absolutely no training or qualifications to be Governor. And if anything, it ties the previous administration around your neck, and even in situations where that administration was popular, it doesn’t help when a fresh face can promise the world.
Want some more trivia? Who has 4 times as much campaign cash in their account as of the last reporting period (given this is year old information as a new report isn’t due until the middle of January)? If you read the title, I’m sure you realize the answer is Maryland’s Attorney General Doug Gansler. I’m sure Anthony Brown has spent the last year trying to raise the money necessary for his win, but as Gansler adds a million dollars every year, Brown needs to make up a lot of ground, especially when competing against his fundraising network’s focus on funding Martin O’Malley’s presidential aspirations.
AG Doug Gansler spends so much time systematically raising money from every business interest in and out of the State that I don’t even think he knows what the inside of his office looks like. If you read over his report, it’s filled with every business interest you can imagine, all funding millions and millions of dollars. In addition, Gansler has scooped up the money early. Maryland has a law that limits not only the amount of money a candidate can receive from one person, but how much total that one person can give to any candidate. So a big donor can’t hedge their bets by giving a huge amount to all parties, if one person has capitalized the dollars, as Gansler has done.
I know what a lot of Republicans are thinking. The racial politics of a Democratic Primary would naturally lead to Anthony Brown being elected in a Democratic Primary. African American voters showed up at the polls in great numbers for Obama during the primary in Maryland in 2008, and the general in 2012, but an off-year election drives down turn-out, just ask Stuart Simms who Gansler beat by 10% in 2006 for Attorney General. In addition, it’s tough to play a race card against Doug Gansler when he was an early co-chair of Obama’s 2006 campaign while Anthony Brown was sitting on the sidelines behind Hilary loving O’Malley.
Now after I started writing this, Comptroller Peter Franchot dropped out of the race, and you might be asking, “What about Howard County Executive Ken Ulman?” He’s young, leads a growing county, has celebrity friends and is decent at raising money, he also has the progressive beliefs that Democrats go crazy about. This is where we get into accomplishment.
Gansler has been out front on gay marriage, using his office to recognize out of state marriages in Maryland despite state law at the time prohibiting it. He has been fighting to stop concealed carry in Maryland. He has been fighting against predatory loans and fis giving away banks money to poor people that were screwed over. He is fighting for the environment with the AGs office by suing companies that pollute. Anthony Brown will be saying “I stood by with Martin O’Malley and…” but people are going to give that credit to O’Malley, not to Brown. Gansler can stand on his own. Ken Ulman gets to talk about the sexiness of banning sugar in county buildings. He’s really trying to grasp at anything he can to build a list of accomplishments. Ken is about to really get desperate at trying to distinguish himself, when in reality he’s really just following everybody else’s lead.
In the primaries, Howard County only supplies 20,000 voters, while Montgomery County brings in about 80,000 and Prince George’s 90,000. This throws the competition toward Baltimore County’s 80,000 votes and Baltimore City’s 60,000. Maryland gubernatorial hopefuls have to pick their running mates prior to the filing deadline, so it will be interesting to see how long Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake holds out for Brown and how hard she works for him. Due to the racial politics of it, Brown can’t pick her for his running mate and would have to go for a white politician, most likely male, from Baltimore County. If Gansler is riding high in the polls spending his millions of dollars that Anthony Brown won’t have, don’t expect to see Stephanie Rawlings Blake waiting around to run for a third term as Mayor. In 2006 Anthony Brown was the prom queen all the candidates wanted on their ticket, in 2014, there is no super-hot girl for him to nail, and nobody wants to admit to taking Ed Kasemeyer home at the end of the night. (Except his wife of course, but she’s a lobbyist so they’ll sleep with anyone… I kid…I kid)
So Gansler will be able to penetrate the void that is the Baltimore political scene by appealing to his accomplishment of fighting for the little guy against evil big banks, the inroads he built in heading up the Obama 2008 campaign with his BFF Elijah Cummings, and a ton of cash that will be spent almost exclusively on ads featuring an endorsement from Obama. After that, it’ll be an easy walk to get Stephanie Rawlings Blake on board, and a huge party in Gaithersburg on Election Day. Of course, everybody will get stuck in traffic and miss half of it.