Md. gubernatorial hopeful Anthony Brown taps Obama campaign manager as adviser

Anthony Brown kicks off his campaign for Maryland governor in Largo. (Photo by Astrid Riecken For The Washington Post)

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Jim Messina, President Obama’s 2012 campaign manager, will serve as a senior adviser to Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown’s 2014 gubernatorial campaign, according to several people familiar with the arrangement.

Messina is scheduled to appear with Brown (D) late Monday morning at an event at Brown’s campaign headquarters in Largo, where the announcement will be made, the sources said.

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The event has been billed by Brown’s campaign as an opportunity for volunteers and supporters to meet Messina, a former White House deputy chief of staff to Obama who now heads a Washington-based political consulting firm.

Sources familiar with the longer-term relationship between Brown and Messina requested anonymity because they are not authorized to speak for the campaign. Justin Schall, Brown’s campaign manager, declined to comment.

Messina’s role with the Brown campaign is expected to include offering advice on field operations, national fundraising and media relations.

In May, Brown became the first Democrat to formally announce his campaign to succeed Gov. Martin O’Malley (D), who is term-limited and weighing a 2016 presidential bid. Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler (D) and Del. Heather R. Mizeur (D-Montgomery) are both expected to announce bids for the Democratic nomination in coming months.

Brown’s hiring of Messina could help smooth over a potential political liability: In the 2008 presidential primary, Brown backed Hillary Clinton over Obama. Gansler, meanwhile, was among Obama’s early supporters in Maryland.

Brown, who would be Maryland’s first African-American governor, served as co-chairman of a transition group reviewing the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs following Obama’s 2008 election and campaigned for Obama’s re-election in 2012.

Prior to joining Obama’s 2008 campaign team, Messina served as chief of staff to Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.). He has also served a political consultant on several campaigns across the country.

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