June 2, 2013

Craig, Ulman, George: 17 months to go in the lengthening campaign for governor

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David Craig

David Craig

Howard County Executive Ken Ulman called my Columbia home twice over the weekend to boost turnout for the announcement Monday morning he’s running for lieutenant governor with current Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown. At the same time and fifty-eight miles away at his Havre de Grace home, Harford County Executive David Craig will formally launch his campaign for governor, followed by a three-day cross-state tour.

It’s a year and a half before the election, but some of the major candidates are done exploring, and formally announcing, if not officially filing. Are we going to have another 17 months of this ever lengthening campaign season? ‘Fraid so, folks.

Del. Ron George, an Arundel County Republican, announces his bid for governor Wednesday. Former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino told Young Republicans Saturday he will NOT run for governor, but for Congress against Rep. John Delaney in the 6th Congressional District, even though he lives 40 miles outside the district. But hey, Delaney lives outside his district too, though by less than a mile.

Best credentials in the field

Republican Craig has by far the most well-rounded resume of anyone even mentioned to be running for governor in either party. He is also the oldest, turning 64 next week, and has won dozens of elections, albeit in GOP territory.

He was a Havre de Grace City Council member and later mayor, a member of the House of Delegates and then state senator before he was appointed executive, and won two-terms. He also spent 34 years as a history teacher and assistant principal in Harford County public schools, giving him intimate knowledge of programs where the counties and the state spend billions. He is past President of the Maryland Municipal League and of the Maryland Association of Counties.

The principal reasons David Craig may not become governor: He’s a Republican, from a county even smaller than Ulman’s, his fundraising has been weak, he comes across as a nice guy and he’s about as boring as chief executive you can get.

He’s the sort of moderate, laid back, fiscally conservative Republican that does not stir the passions or serve up red meat for the right wing. One anonymous Tea Partier over the weekend labeled Craig a RINO, Republican in Name Only, for equivocating on same-sex marriage. But he won a tiny straw poll at the Young Republicans convention.

He may be the Republicans’ best bet against a non-charismatic Democrat, but the odds are still long unless the Democratic nominee falters.

BTW, there is only ticket that has officially filed to run for governor and lieutenant governor. Republicans Brian Vaeth of White Marsh in Baltimore County and Duane Davis of Milford Mill, also in Baltimore County, filed on May 1. Vaeth ran for U.S. Senate last year; he came in 10th and last in the GOP primary with 3,781 votes.

–Len Lazarick

Len@MarylandReporter.com