The Maryland Fraternal Order of Police endorsed Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown for governor Wednesday, siding with a Democrat for the first time in 12 years.
In a statement, the group’s president-elect, Vince Canales, cited Brown’s military service, as well as his work in the administration of Gov. Martin O’Malley (D), which has overseen a significant drop in crime.
“For 30 years, Anthony Brown served our nation in the United States Army and, just like all of our police officers, he knows what it means to put his life on the line,” Canales said.
Canales said he is also confident that Brown “will continue working to ensure that our officers have the tools they need to keep our streets safe.”
Brown faces Republican Larry Hogan, an Anne Arundel County businessman, in the November election. Both Brown and Hogan addressed the law-enforcement organization Tuesday as part of its statewide conference in Solomons.
In a statement Wednesday, Hogan said he was grateful to have secured the majority support of 33 of the 47 local lodges that make up the statewide organization. The endorsement required a 60 percent vote of individual members of the statewide group, according to Brown’s campaign.
Hogan said that his support signaled strong interest in his campaign “to change Maryland through lower taxes, tolls and fees on workers and retirees.”
During an appearance before the group Tuesday, Hogan pledged his support for eliminating the state income tax on pensions of law enforcement officers.
The statewide police group last endorsed a Democrat in 2002, supporting then-Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend over Republican Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., a congressman from the Baltimore area at the time.
The group then endorsed Ehrlich for reelection in 2006 in his unsuccessful race against then-Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley. The organization sided with Ehrlich again in 2010 in his unsuccessful comeback bid against O’Malley, who was governor at the time.
Hogan served in the Ehrlich administration as its appointments secretary, a position that involved steering thousands of people into state jobs.
In a statement Wednesday, Brown thanked “each and every one of our law enforcement officers for the important work they do every day protecting our neighborhoods and communities across Maryland.”