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Shea selects Baltimore councilman as running mate in Md. governor’s race

Maryland gubernatorial candidate James Shea has selected Baltimore City Council member Brandon Scott as his running mate. (N/A)

Maryland gubernatorial candidate James Shea has chosen Brandon Scott, a Baltimore City Council member, as his running mate in the crowded Democratic primary.

Scott, 33, chairman of the council’s Public Safety Committee, has been a council member since December 2011 and is widely seen as a young rising star in city politics.

“Brandon is perhaps the leading man of his generation among Maryland leaders,” Shea said in an interview.

The selection gives generational balance to Shea’s ticket but, with both candidates from the Baltimore area, it does not offer the geographical balance that gubernatorial candidates often seek.

Shea said he is not concerned about the Baltimore-centric ticket. He said his own work with Venable law firm and as chair of the Board of Regents of the University System of Maryland offers a statewide profile and “the issues — transportation, education and public safety — cut across all geographical lines.”

Scott, who has become the city council’s most vocal critic of Baltimore’s response to escalating violence, previously served as a community organizer with Big Brothers and Big Sisters and as a representative on the board of the College Bound Foundation.

Last year, he publicly criticized then-Mayor Catherine Pugh (D) for failing to offer a comprehensive strategy to address the city’s violence. He later put together his own plan.

“He has demonstrated an ability to take on tough issues with wisdom and integrity,” Shea said.

Scott said that over the last few months he talked with all of the gubernatorial candidates and thought Shea stood out because he understands the need to bridge the gap between the generations of the Democratic Party.

“He understands that the Maryland Democratic message is not resonating . . . and the need to have those from different backgrounds and different ideologies,” Scott said.

A longtime Democratic fundraiser, Shea, 65, last month reported a total of $2 million in campaign donations, including $500,000 he contributed to himself. He was one of two candidates who had seven figures in the bank at the start of the year (the other was Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz).

Scott is the second lieutenant governor candidate named in the Democratic race so far. In November, Ben Jealous selected Susan W. Turnbull, a former vice chair of the Democratic National Committee and former chair of the state Democratic Party, as his running mate.

The other candidates — Kamenetz, tech entrepreneur Alec Ross, state Sen. Richard S. Madaleno Jr. (D-Montgomery), Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III and former Michelle Obama aide Krishanti Vignarajah — must choose their running mates by the Feb. 27 filing deadline.

Gov. Larry Hogan (R) plans to keep Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford (R) on his ticket.

The primary is June 26.