By adding Ulman as the lieutenant governor candidate, Brown could erase much of a huge early fundraising advantage that Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler (D) enjoys over all other 2014 gubernatorial hopefuls in both parties. As of January, Ulman had $2.1 million sitting in his campaign account, more than the $1.6 million Brown reported having on hand.
Gansler, a former state’s attorney in Montgomery County, had $5.2 million, some of it stockpiled from a 2010 reelection campaign in which he did not have a Republican opponent. He is not expected to make his gubernatorial bid official until the fall, but he has hired a team of consultants and has started developing proposals on economic policy and other issues.
Boosters of Brown and Ulman say they would make a formidable ticket in a primary that lacks a clear front-runner.
Brown, a former delegate for Prince George’s County who served a tour of duty in Iraq as an Army reservist, is the handpicked successor of O’Malley (D), who is term-limited and weighing a 2016 presidential bid. If elected, Brown, 51, would be Maryland’s first black governor and only the third African American elected governor in the country since Reconstruction.
Ulman has gained recognition for expanding access to health care in his county, among other initiatives. Now 38, Ulman was 32 when first elected, making him the youngest county executive in Maryland’s history.
Late last year, Ulman made headlines by signing an executive order banning the sale of sugary drinks on county-owned property in an effort to combat childhood obesity.
In an interview, Ulman said he is still considering his own gubernatorial bid. But asked about the prospect of running for lieutenant governor, he said, “It’s fair to say I’m in a process of evaluating the best way to serve a state I really love.”
Brown declined to discuss the issue in an interview last week.
An adviser to Brown stressed that a final decision has not been made about a running mate and that an announcement would not take place until at least several weeks after Brown’s May 10 campaign kickoff, to be held at Prince George’s Community College in Largo.
But several people familiar with talks between Brown and Ulman described the Howard executive as the clear front-runner for the No. 2 spot on Brown’s ticket. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the process.
Ulman’s interest in the job has been prompted in part, the sources said, by a growing realization of the challenges he would face in winning the nomination and a sense that he is young enough that he could run for governor later in his career.