“Our campaign is all about ideas,” he said in a video posted to his campaign website that includes gay state Sen. Rich Madaleno (D-Montgomery County) before he formally announced his bid at Courthouse Square in Rockville. “We’re for the people of Maryland.”
Gansler, 50, will face off against Lieutenant Gov. Anthony Brown and lesbian state Del. Heather Mizeur (D-Montgomery County.) Harford County Executive David Craig, state Del. Ron George (R-Anne Arundel County,) 2012 U.S. Senate candidate Brian Vaeth and former Congressional candidate Charles Lollar have also officially declared their candidacy on the Republican side to succeed Gov. Martin O’Malley.
Gansler in 2008 became the first statewide official to back marriage rights for same-sex couples when he testified in support of gay nuptials during a state Senate committee hearing. He wrote an opinion in 2010 that said Maryland would recognize same-sex marriages legally performed in other jurisdictions.
Gansler also enters the race with a significant financial advantage over his Democratic opponents.
The campaign finance report he filed in January notes he has a more than $5.2 million war chest, compared to Brown who reported slightly more than $1.2 million. Mizeur reported a war chest of slightly more than $381,000 in a campaign finance report she filed in January.
Gansler will visit Baltimore, Hagerstown, Salisbury and 14 other locations throughout Maryland over the next week.