Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown formally announced Friday that he is running for Maryland governor in 2014, launching a campaign in which he hopes to start raising his own public profile after more than six years as a loyal No. 2 to Gov. Martin O'Malley.
The 51-year-old Brown formally announced his candidacy Friday during a picnic at Prince George's County Community College. The event drew hundreds of supporters and several elected officials.
“Maryland is a great state, but we can be better,” Brown said, flanked by supporters and family, including his wife and children. “Too many people still can't find full-time employment, too many of our neighbors continue to struggle with foreclosure. Too many businesses continue to struggle from the blow dealt by the national recession.”
Brown is seeking to become the state's first black governor.
If elected, he pledged to grow Maryland's economy by creating jobs. He also vowed to invest in the state's infrastructure, address health disparities, expand access to early childhood education and improve schools to ensure that all Maryland students thrive.
State Attorney General Doug Gansler may be Brown's most formidable opponent in the 2014 Democratic primary. In January, Gansler, who like Brown yields from a Washington, D.C., suburb, reported he had $5.2 million in his campaign account. Campaign finance reports show that Brown has at least $1.6 million in his campaign coffers.
Other Democrats possibly looking at a gubernatorial bid include Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, U.S. Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger of Baltimore County and state Delegate Heather Mizeur of Montgomery County.
Before becoming lieutenant governor, Brown, a Harvard-trained lawyer and Iraq war veteran, represented Prince George's County for two terms in the Maryland House of Delegates, rising to the position of majority whip.
While Brown has largely worked in the shadow of O'Malley, who may run for president in 2016, the lieutenant governor has led the administration in implementing the state's plan for complying with the federal Affordable Care Act.
Earlier this year, Brown pushed a bill to streamline the process for the private sector to take part in building public roads and buildings. O'Malley signed the bill last month.
During the event, Brown, who flew helicopters while serving in the Army, underscored his military service and recalled the 10-month tour of duty he served as a reservist during the Iraq war. His service during that tour earned him a Bronze Star.
Republicans considering a potential bid for governor include state Delegate Ron George of Anne Arundel County, Harford County Executive David Craig, Dan Bongino, a former U.S. Secret Service agent, and Blaine Young of the Frederick County Board of County Commissioners.