Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Handicapping the Gubernatorial Race

Labor Day weekend was the sort of official start to the 2014 gubernatorial race. I say sort of because the field of potential candidates has already been forming since last November 3rd.

As early as last January, our own county executive was giving winks and nods about how he enjoys “being an executive” and that he’d like to continue doing so after his term limited term ends in 2014. It is certainly no secret that Ken Ulman is hoping to be the first Howard County executive to become governor.

Though he seems to have positioned himself nicely with flashy loco initiatives like Healthy Howard and regional efforts like the One Maryland Broadband Network , he still faces a pretty formidable field of opponents from bigger jurisdictions with statewide platforms that are just as good as the presidency of MACO, if not better.

He is up against some pretty heavy political firepower too. Lt. Governor Anthony Brown has also shown interest in taking the top job in 2014. Ken and Martin may be buddies but if the guv doesn’t stick with the man he picked to be his second in command it would be more than a little awkward.

Doug Ganlser, the State Attorney General, is another unannounced candidate for guv. Doug is a MoCo county guy which is a huge advantage. MoCo has a population of 971, 777 while HoCo is only 287,085. Expect to see a lot more of Doug in HoCo over the coming months.

Peter Franchot, the State Comptroller and another MoCo guy, wants the top job too. He’s wasted no time spreading himself around the state since the election, reminding people that he helped get them direct shipping of wine.  He’s also in HoCo almost as much as Ken is these days. In fact, he’ll be on our podcast on October 21st. If the election were held tomorrow, my money would be on him.

All of these guys, including Ken, held fundraisers at the recent MACO conference in Ocean City.

That’s just the Dems of course. There could be a wild card Repub out there who captures the moment. The mood of the electorate is volatile and that could spell a big opportunity for someone charismatic enough to tap into that energy. I just haven't seen that person come forward...yet.

That being said, there’s a lot of road between now and November 4, 2014. I, for one, will be enjoying the ride.
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