Blaine R. Young (R), president of the Frederick County Board of Commissioners, said Saturday that he will not move forward with a campaign for governor of Maryland next year.
Young launched an exploratory bid last year and made a splash in January when he posted the best fundraising numbers of any Republican considering entering the 2014 race to succeed Gov. Martin O’Malley (D).
But at a gathering in Frederick County on Saturday, Young instead offered his support for another GOP hopeful: Charles County businessman Charles Lollar, who plans to officially kick off his bid next month.
“More than anything, this speaks to Blaine’s wisdom and recognizes the kind of leadership we need for the state,” Lollar said in an interview after the event.
Lollar, an African American, has pledged to run a campaign that will reach out to members of both parties in heavily Democratic Maryland.
In recent months, Young had traveled around the state in a campaign bus bearing his logo and promising he would be “the People’s Veto” — a reference to the Democratic dominance in the Maryland General Assembly.
On Saturday, Young did not rule out running for another office next year — Frederick County executive — but he made no commitments.
Two Republican candidates have entered the 2014 race for governor: Harford County Executive David R. Craig (R) and Del. Ronald A. George (R-Anne Arundel).
Besides Lollar, at least two more hopefuls could join the field this fall: former Republican National Committee chairman Michael S. Steele; and Larry Hogan, founder of the grass-roots group Change Maryland and a cabinet secretary under former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R).
Maryland has had only one Republican chief executive during the past generation — Ehrlich, whom O’Malley defeated in 2006 after a single term — and Democrats enjoy a more than 2-to-1 edge in party registration in the state.
Three Democrats have said they will seek their party’s nomination next year: Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown (D), Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler (D) and Del. Heather R. Mizeur (D-Mongtomery).
Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger said last week that he is still considering getting into the race.
During a June appearance at an event hosted by the Maryland Young Republicans, Young spoke candidly about some of the obstacles he and other potential 2014 candidates for governor face.
Though he had raised more money than any other GOP hopeful at that point, Young acknowledged that it was tough to convince big donors that he has a real shot. He said that while he was confident he could prevail in a Republican primary, he expected an onslaught of negative advertising from the Democratic side about his conservative views.
Young also said that Republicans will face an additional hurdle if Brown is the Democratic nominee because he would become the first African American governor of Maryland if he wins.
“It was neat to vote for the first African American president,” Young said. “They’re going to do the same thing with Brown.”