The Washington Post

Charles Lollar planning bus tour to kick off Maryland gubernatorial bid

Charles Lollar (Associated Press)

Maryland Republican gubernatorial hopeful Charles Lollar plans to formally launch his 2014 campaign as early as September with a statewide bus tour, he said Tuesday.

Lollar, a Charles County resident who has been the subject of a draft movement for months, said in an interview that he has no doubt that he will move forward with a full-blown bid for office.

“My family is with me,” said Lollar, an African American businessman and officer in the Marine Corps Reserve. “My wife has given me the go-ahead, and the girls are on board.”

He will join what is shaping up to be a competitive GOP primary in the race to replace Gov. Martin O’Malley (D), who is term-limited.

Harford County Executive David R. Craig (R) and Del. Ronald A. George (R-Anne Arundel) have announced gubernatorial bids, and several other Republicans are eyeing the race, including Michael Steele, the former Republican National Committee chairman; and Larry Hogan, leader of Change Maryland, a grass-roots group.

Lollar, who ran unsuccessfully in 2010 against Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) in the state’s 5th Congressional District, will start with little money in the bank but no shortage of confidence about his prospects.

“Of everyone running, I have the most leadership experience,” said Lollar, who also argued that he would be best-positioned among Republicans to reach out to the general electorate in the heavily Democratic state.

“The Republican party needs a refreshing new face and tone of leadership,” he said.

Lollar said he plans to run a “clean campaign and an honest campaign” regardless of who else runs.

He was among more than a half-dozen declared and potential gubernatorial candidates from both parties who made appearances last week at an annual clam bake in Crisfield.

Lollar said his campaigning has been curtailed to this point because he has been on active duty in the Marine Corps Reserve — but that is about to change.

Among other activities, Lollar has in recent years led New Day Maryland, a political action committee that says its mission is “to bring fiscal and social responsibility back to our state government and support candidates who strive to do the same.”

John Wagner is a political reporter covering the race for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.

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