“Every day, I speak to people who’ve reached the breaking point,” Haddaway-Riccio said as Craig, the current Harford County executive, looked on. Several fellow GOP delegates and Haddaway-Riccio’s parents also stood by.
As the lieutenant governor candidate, Haddaway-Riccio, a former House minority whip, adds both generational and gender balance to the ticket. Craig is 64; Haddaway-Riccio, who has served in the House of Delegates for a decade, is 36.
She joins a crowded and still-evolving field in next year’s race to replace Gov. Martin Martin O’Malley (D).
At least three Democrats, including O’Malley’s lieutenant governor, Anthony G. Brown (D), have already announced bids for governor or plan to do so in coming months. Several other Republicans are also eyeing the race, including Michael S. Steele, the former Republican National Committee chairman.
During the past generation, only one Republican — Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. — has been elected governor in Maryland, a state where Democrats hold a more than 2-to-1 advantage in party registration. Ehrlich was defeated by O’Malley in 2006 after serving a single term.
Craig, who announced his candidacy last month, pledged that Haddaway-Riccio would not be “a silent partner” if he is elected.
“She is a person who is capable of being governor on the very first day she takes the oath,” Craig said, calling her “an all-star.”
Haddaway-Riccio ascended to minority whip, the No. 2 position in the House GOP caucus, in 2011. She lost that position in a leadership shake-up in April.
Her decision to run for lieutenant governor will mean she can’t seek reelection to the House next year.
“At some point you just feel called to action, and you feel you have to do more,” Haddaway-Riccio said.
The newly formed ticket planned a second event Tuesday in Talbot County, where Haddaway-Riccio lives with her husband, a real-estate broker.
Though she has used her hyphenated last name as a delegate, the “Riccio” was dropped from signs that the campaign debuted on Tuesday. On those, she is simply “Jeannie Haddaway.”