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Craig touts experience, takes aim at taxes in advance of run for Md. governor

In advance of entering the Maryland governor’s race, Harford County Executive David R. Craig (R) touted his record of cutting taxes and said he would offer voters a “true choice” during a pair of radio interviews on Friday.

Craig is expected to become the first Republican to formally announce his 2014 gubernatorial bid at an event planned Monday outside his home in Havre de Grace, where he served as mayor in the late 1980s.

Like other Republicans expected to join the field, Craig will face a long odds in a state where Democrats hold an advantage of party registration of more than 2-to-1.

“You can’t win if you don’t run,” he said during a late morning appearance on “The C4 Show” on Baltimore’s WBAL (AM 1090).

Craig took aim a series of tax increases passed by the Maryland legislature during the tenure of Gov. Martin O’Malley (D), whom Craig is seeking to succeed. He derided the “wind tax,” a reference to a $1.50-per-month charge that could be added to electricity bills to subsidize an offshore wind farm.

“I hope we don’t have sunshine tax,” Craig said.

He said that he hopes voters will look at his long record as both a county executive and mayor, jobs where he said he was able to cut taxes. Craig is also a former state legislator.

He said his background as an educator also distinguishes him from others expected to enter the race.

“Most of the other people who are running are lawyers,” Craig said while on “The Marc Steiner Show” on Baltimore’s WEAA (FM 88.9). “I’m a teacher.”

While on Steiner’s show, Craig sidestepped a question about whether he would have vetoed a bill passed last year legalizing same-sex marriage.

He noted that as county executive, he has rarely used his veto powers and said that he thought it was good for Marylanders to have a chance to vote on the measure.

The marriage law was petitioned to the ballot by opponents after O’Malley signed it last year.

“I think it’s important that the people of Maryland spoke on that,” Craig said.

He also took issue with the state’s repeal of the death penalty, which he said prosectors see as important tool. And Craig raised questions about whether the Red Line, a light-rail project in Baltimore, should be built.

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

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