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Former Amtrak CFO running for Md. comptroller

John Wagner

William H. Campbell, a former chief financial officer of Amtrak, has joined the race for Maryland comptroller, becoming the second Republican seeking to unseat Peter Franchot (D). And a potential third GOP candidate is in the wings: state Sen. E.J. Pipkin (R-Queen Anne's).

Until Tuesday, the only Republican to file for comptroller, the state's chief tax collector, had been Brendan Madigan, a high school student from Baltimore County. Whoever emerges from the GOP primary is likely to have an uphill battle against Franchot, a well-funded incumbent in a heavily Democratic state.

Campbell, a Howard County resident who has not previously sought elected office, said he decided to run out of concern for the state's financial condition. He said the state's Democratic leaders have engaged in "creative accounting" to balance the budget while "grossly underfunding" the state's pension system.

"I don't have any delusions," Campbell said. "I know that it's going to be difficult to run as a Republican in the state."

Campbell served as Amtrak's CFO between 2007 and 2009. Prior to the post at the government-owned passenger rail company, he held a series of federal jobs, including stints as CFO for the U.S. Coast Guard and Department of Veterans Affairs.

Pipkin was hard to pin down when reached Wednesday regarding rumors that he could enter the comptroller's race.

"I'll have an answer in the next couple of weeks," Pipkin said. "I haven't taken anything off the table, but the focus right now is on the state Senate job."

Pipkin, a former Wall Street bond trader, has long had the itch to move up the political ladder. He ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate in 2004 and in the primary for Maryland's 1st Congressional District in 2008.

By John Wagner  |  May 5, 2010; 4:20 PM ET
Categories:  2010 Elections , John Wagner  | Tags: Maryland, Peter Franchot, Republican  
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Wow, from the sound of it, that high school kid sounds like the best candidate the MD GOP has had in years...

Posted by: unrest | May 8, 2010 11:42 PM | Report abuse

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