June 5, 2013 at 12:18 pm EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Maryland gubernatorial race heats up
Heather Mizeur, Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund Brunch, gay news, Washington Blade, Maryland State Legislature, Democratic Party, Tacoma Park

Maryland state Del. Heather Mizeur (D-Takoma Park) (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Even though Maryland’s gubernatorial election is more than a year away, the campaign to succeed Gov. Martin O’Malley has already begun to heat up.

Lieutenant Gov. Anthony Brown on Monday announced Howard County Executive Ken Ulman as his running mate. Attorney General Doug Gansler and state Del. Heather Mizeur (D-Montgomery County) are expected to officially throw their hats into the ring later this year, while Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger is also considered a potential candidate.

Mizeur reported in a campaign finance report she filed in January that she raised $244,089.40 between Jan. 12, 2012, and Jan. 9 of this year. Brown said he raised $1,247,811.80 in cash and in-kind donations during the same period, while Gansler netted $1,236,284.96.

“I have been taking a serious look at getting in the governor’s race because I have been encouraged for some time by advocates I that have worked on a range of issues,” Mizeur told the Washington Blade on Tuesday, citing the expansion of health care and environmental protections and the passage of last year’s same-sex marriage law as three of the specific things on which she has worked. “As I am exploring those conversations with voters across the state, there’s a lot of energy and enthusiasm and momentum behind getting in.”

Maryland Juice, a progressive political blog, on Monday reported Gansler could potentially tap gay Salisbury Mayor Jim Ireton or lesbian state Del. Mary Washington (D-Baltimore City) as his running mate. The website said a reader pointed out Ireton attended a Brown campaign event on the same day he announced Ulman as his running mate.

On the Republican side, Harford County Executive David Craig, state Del. Ron George (R-Anne Arundel County,) 2012 U.S. Senate candidate Brian Vaeth and Frederick County Board of Commissioners President Blaine Young have officially declared their candidacy.

Former Republican National Committee Chair Michael Steele, who was Maryland’s lieutenant governor from 2003-2007, told MSNBC’s Chuck Todd on Monday he is “looking at” entering the race. Former 2010 congressional candidate Charles Lollar is among the other Republicans who are rumored to be mulling the race.

The Washington Post reported Young described the passage of the state’s same-sex marriage law as a “travesty” during a speech he gave at the Maryland Young Republicans’ convention in Rockville on Saturday. Lollar also opposes nuptials for gays and lesbians.

“It’s still early in the game yet,” Log Cabin Republicans Executive Director Gregory T. Angelo told the Blade. “At this point I’m more interested to see whether GOP contenders entertain the fool’s errand of trying to roll back marriage equality rather than their personal opinions of it. I can’t imagine any candidate campaigning—much less winning—on a platform of overturning the will of the people.”

David Moon, publisher of Maryland Juice, said he doesn’t expect a Republican will succeed O’Malley in 2014.

“It’s really difficult to see the path to victory for any of the announced Republicans at this point,” he told the Blade.

The primary election will be held in June 2014 and the general election in November.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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