Del. Ron George (R-Anne Arundel) plans to announce a bid for Maryland governor early in June, he said Monday.
George, a second-term delegate who owns two jewelry stores, will join what could be a crowded field of Republicans looking to succeed Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) next year in a state where Democrats have a 2 to 1 advantage in party registration.
“I love this state, and I want to build a new Maryland,” George, 59, said in an interview.
He said his platform will be centered on economic growth and that he will strive to make Maryland “more business friendly” if elected. That could involve tax cuts, George said, and it would involve a focus on improving the business climate in Baltimore, the state’s largest city.
Other Republicans eying the June 2014 primary include Harford County Executive David R. Craig; Blaine R. Young, president of the Frederick County Board of Commissioners; Larry Hogan, a former Ehrlich Cabinet member who leads the group Change Maryland; Dan Bongino, a former Secret Service agent who ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate last year; and Charles Lollar, a businessman who ran unsuccessfully for the House of Representatives in 2010.
They are likely to decide in coming months whether to move forward with a campaign.
Whoever prevails in the GOP primary will likely face an uphill battle in the general election. Maryland has had only one Republican governor — Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. — in the past generation. He was defeated by O’Malley in 2006 after serving a single term.
George, who plans a June 5 announcement in Annapolis, said he thinks he can appeal to voters across party lines.
“If there’s a good candidate, and they do what’s good and what’s right, it’s above party,” he said.
Several Democrats have been jockeying to succeed O’Malley, who is term-limited and weighing a 2016 presidential bid.
They include: Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown (D), Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler (D), Del. Heather R. Mizeur (D-Montgomery County) and Howard County Executive Ken Ulman (D). The Post reported over the weekend that Ulman is considering joining Brown’s ticket as his lieutenant governor candidate.
Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) has said he is also considering the race.