Johnson: Considering Statewide Run
There's a lot of chatter in Annapolis about an article that appeared on the website of the Prince George's Gazette newspaper, based on an interview the newspaper's editorial board did with Prince George's County Executive Jack B. Johnson yesterday. In the article, Johnson was quoted as saying he is contemplating a run for statewide office.
Johnson is term limited and must step down from his current office in 2010. He would not tell the Gazette which office he is thinking about running for but would not rule out challenging Gov. Martin O'Malley in a Democratic primary. "I'm not going to say anything on that," he told the Gazette.
Johnson tried to clear up the issue in an interview this afternoon, in which he once again said he is looking at running for statewide office but suggested the Gazette was making a leap to focus on a possible gubernatorial run. Still, he once again would not rule out any office, including a challenge to O'Malley.
"I'm considering statewide office--around May or June, I'll begin to narrow it," he said in an interview with the Post. "It has nothing to do with the governor's office--I don't think you can jump from that to the governor or senate or anything. I also said I may not run for anything."
Neither of Johnson's two political action committees has yet filed a finance report for the year that ended 2008. They were due, by law, on Jan. 21. Johnson said he would look into that issue but acknowledged he has not yet begun collecting donations to fund any statewide run. "I'd have to kick it up," he said of fundraising efforts, if he decided to run. "The only thing I've said is that I'm looking at statewide office," he said. "It may not even be worth it. I may just want to retire."
Word that Johnson was refusing to rule out a run against O'Malley in 2010 was greeted with arched eyebrows.
House Delegation Chairwoman Del. Melony G. Griffith (D-Prince George's) called the comments "bad timing" given that the county needs O'Malley's support to help close its budget shortfall. "I hope it was said in jest," she said.
When told of the comment, Del. Doyle L. Niemann (D-Prince George's) laughed. "I wish him luck," he said. Asked how much luck Johnson would need for such a run, Niemann said, "lots of luck."
February 19, 2009; 4:35 PM ET
Categories: Prince George's County , Rosalind Helderman
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