County Executive David Craig formally filed for re-election Friday, hours before joining with former Governor Robert Ehrlich to open their joint headquarters on Main Street in Bel Air.
Before a crowd of more than 75 Republican supporters, both Craig and Ehrlich pointed to renewed energy in the Republican party and claimed the state’s Democratic administration under Martin O’Malley had waged a “war on success.” They pledged to bring government spending under control and support small business.
“These are not mantras every four years,” Ehrlich said. “They’re governing philosophies, you have to live them. We did, they didn’t, and they’re going to pay for it come November.”
Craig pointed to his efforts to reduce the county’s budget over the last three years while maintaining services to residents, and touted the county’s improved AAA bond rating, awarded by two of three national bond rating services earlier this month.
However, he said he could have further cut taxes if not for burdens placed on the county by state government and O’Malley.
“I could do better,” he said, “if I had someone on the second floor of the state house that understood county management.”
Though Craig’s re-election announcement came as no surprise, he said he didn’t intentionally wait to file. Rather, he said he tends to file re-election bids later than candidacies for new office, as the demands of his job as county executive delayed the filing. He said the timing also coincided with his regular financial disclosure, preventing the need to update the information twice.
It may have taken him awhile to file, but Craig said campaign planning and fundraising has been underway for several years. He said those plans had to reflect tough economic times—while he said he usually tries to raise 50 percent of his campaign funds during the election year, he’s changed that goal for this election.
“We realized that might be difficult this year,” he said. “So we planned to get 75 percent going into this.”
Craig said his relationship with Ehrlich dates back to 1988, when the two met at a GOP event at the Maryland Golf and County Club. The two served together in the state House of Delegates before their political careers took them to different positions.
Still, Ehrlich referred to Friday’s event as being “back home,” and said he would need more than 75 percent of the county’s vote in November’s election. Kim Wagner, chair of the Harford County Republican Committee, went further, pledging that Ehrlich would receive 80 percent of the county’s vote.
Craig said the headquarters at 118 S. Main Street in Bel Air would be staffed from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week.