Maryland Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger talks to reporters Sept. 20, 2011, in Annapolis, Md. (Brian Witte/AP) (Brian Witte/AP)

Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) ended months of flirtation with running for governor of Maryland and announced Wednesday that he would seek reelection to Congress instead.

“I want to thank the many Marylanders who encouraged me to run for governor,” the former Baltimore County executive said in a statement. “I was humbled by their enthusiasm, faith and financial commitments. Their encouragement and confidence made me think long and hard about this choice.”

Ruppersberger floated the idea of running for governor in the spring, saying he was being urged by many people to join a Democratic primary without a Baltimore-area candidate at the top of a viable ticket.

In the months since then, a series of media interviews fueled subsequent rounds of speculation about his plans.

The Democratic field is dominated by candidates from the Washington region: Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown (D), a former Prince George’s County delegate; Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler (D), a former Montgomery County state’s attorney; and Del. Heather R. Mizeur (D-Montgomery).

In his statement Wednesday, Ruppersberger said he was “a lifelong Baltimore resident, a graduate of City College and a passionate Terp” and that “Baltimore is part and parcel of who I am.”

“Like many, I am looking for a candidate that can harness its unique opportunities and challenges,” he said. “I will closely monitor how the candidates intend to strengthen the region and I look forward to working with the next governor to implement those plans.”

Ruppersberger, who was first elected to Congress in 2002, said he will seek reelection in the 2nd District “to continue my work on behalf of my district and my country.”

“I have worked to create jobs, protect veterans and seniors from dangerous budget cuts and ensure our communities get the federal resources they need,” he said. “As ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, I have oversight over many national security issues, which has a direct impact on Maryland businesses and families.”