O'Malley Lists More Than 300 Early Endorsements
In an attempt at an extraordinarily early show of strength Thursday, Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) released the names of more than 300 elected officials who are endorsing his reelection bid next year.
The list reads like a who's who of the Democratic establishment in the state, with just a few exceptions: both U.S. senators; all seven Democratic members of Congress; Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler; Comptroller Peter Franchot (who has sparred with O'Malley on several issues, including slots); 28 members of the state Senate, including President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert); and 89 members of the House of Delegates, including House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel).
The most notable omission: Prince George's County Executive Jack B. Johnson (D), who has talked coyly about the possibility of a statewide run for office, without specifying the office. The list includes Democratic leaders of other large Maryland jurisdictions, including Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett; Howard County Executive Ken Ulman; Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith; and Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon.
Prince George's was a weak link among county legislative delegations as well. Five of eight senators withheld endorsements, as did nine of 23 delegates. O'Malley aides suggested slate politics was part of the reason. Some lawmakers wanted to wait for formal alliances to develop before publicly declaring their allegiance, they said.
The highest-profile member of the delegation to withhold an endorsement, Sen. Ulysses Currie, chairman of the Budget and Tax Committee,downplayed his absence, noting he was among the first Prince George's officials to endorse O'Malley in 2006.
"There was no reason I didn't put my name on the list," Currie said. "I'm certain I'll be working with him."
In Montgomery, O'Malley secured endorsements from all eight Democratic senators and all but one of the 24 delegates. The only name missing was Del. Ana Sol Gutierrez.
Another interesting name on the list: Scott Shellenberger, the state's attorney in Baltimore County, who vigorously opposed O'Malley's efforts to repeal the death penalty during the last legislative session.
The list, released on O'Malley's campaign Web site, is clearly intended to send a message to any Democrats (and perhaps some Republicans) currently contemplating a run at the governorship at a time when state budget pressures are testing O'Malley's relationships with key constituency groups.
A handful of Democrats have mused about running, including George Owings, a former delegate from Southern Maryland who served in the Cabinet of former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R).
On the Republican side, Ehrlich remains the biggest mystery, and probably won't make an announcement about his intentions for a few months. Several lower-profile Republicans are also positioning themselves for the race.
Posted by: countbobulescu | September 4, 2009 12:46 AM | Report abuse
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