Blaine Young intends to run for governor.
The Frederick County Commissioners president released a statement Saturday, announcing his plans to begin raising campaign funds.
The announcement comes nearly two months after Young initially said he was exploring the idea of a run for Maryland’s highest office.
“Someone has to step up to plate … someone has to have the guts to do it,” Young said Saturday in a telephone interview.
Young has filed a statement of organization with the state board of elections as a first step toward seeking the Republican nomination for governor in 2014.
This means he can start raising money for his campaign. He wants to raise at least $300,000 in about 120 days.
“I am not a formal candidate, and will not be filing for some time,” he wrote in his statement, “but this is very important that I begin to raise money now as my likely Democrat opponents have hundreds of thousands, in some cases millions of dollars in the bank.”
Among the potential Democratic candidates for governor are Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, Comptroller Peter Franchot and Attorney General Doug Gansler.
In the last half century, Maryland has elected only two Republican governors: Robert Ehrlich in 2003 and Spiro Agnew in 1967. Of the state’s 3.5 million registered voters, almost 1.97 million are Democrats and close to 940,000 are Republicans, according to an April report by the state board of elections.
Board of elections officials could not be reached for comment Saturday.
When asked about the timing of his announcement, Young said, “It is about money.”
The 40-year-old businessman plans to raise funds during a number of speaking engagements.
“You have to raise money to get your message out there,” he said.
Young’s message, so far, has been all about taxes. He has already promised to veto tax increases.
“I pledge to you right here and now that as your Governor, I will veto any bill that comes across my desk that includes any new tax or fee increases,” he wrote in his statement, which he emailed from a business address to media outlets Saturday morning.
Another item on Young’s campaign agenda is watching out for small-business owners. He owns and operates Interstate Mobile Advertising Inc. and co-owns Yellow Cab of Frederick, Brunswick, Thurmont and Mount Airy, as well as Classic Limo and Sedan.
“I am in this race as the only business owner and citizen legislator who puts the taxpayer first,” he wrote. “It’s time for Annapolis to stop treating the hardworking people of Maryland as nothing more than their personal ATM machines.”
The commissioner and former Frederick city alderman is also concerned about senior residents. Young said he wants to find ways to make the state more appealing to retirees.
“I’m tried of hearing folks saying they are moving to other states because they’re friendlier toward retirees,” he said Saturday.
Supporters say they are ready to get behind Young’s agenda.
They include Steve Gottlieb, the county’s Republican Central Committee chairman.
Young could win the nomination, even though some consider him an underdog, Gottlieb said Saturday. Young has proved himself as commissioners president, and the county now has a surplus because of Young’s actions in office, he said.
“I think the people of Frederick County should be proud that one of their own is going to run for governor,” Gottlieb said.
Commissioners Billy Shreve and Paul Smith agreed. Both men said Saturday that they support Young’s decision to run.
“He is just getting warmed up. … This is a great step,” Shreve said, adding that Young’s announcement was expected.
Smith said he thought Young planned to announce his intentions in June but supports his plan to get started sooner. Smith predicted Saturday that the Republican Party will win the upcoming presidential election, which would have a great effect on Maryland politics, he said.
“One political party has dominated the political landscape in Maryland for too long. And their politics clearly aren’t working,” Young said. “It’s time for Maryland to move into a new direction.”
Young said he knows there is a long road ahead. Filing his statement of organization was just one step in the process.
“This will be the test of whether or not we continue,” Young said in the release.
Money and party affiliation are not the only challenges Young faces. A run for statewide office could resurrect interest in the 1999 “Black Book” scandal, in which the then-Frederick alderman was the only public official listed in a call-girl madam’s address book.
Young said Saturday that he has no plans to waste time or money.
“There is no question that I am the underdog in this race … even in the primary.”