Lacing up their running shoes: Candidates for Maryland governor get into position

Maryland’s race for governor may seem a long way off, but the competition’s already shaping up for 2022, with the latest announcement from Secretary of Commerce Kelly Schulz declaring she’s in the running for the Republican primary.

In an interview Wednesday afternoon, Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford said he simply wasn’t intent on running for governor after serving two terms alongside Gov. Larry Hogan.

“I didn’t have my eye on the governor’s seat,” he said. “I wasn’t looking to push Hogan down the steps or anything to become the next governor.”

Rutherford said he was also not willing to put his family through seasons of campaigning, and then more time in the public arena.

“I just felt it best that I focus on the family and just not put them through this. I just did not want it bad enough,” Rutherford said.

Earlier in the day, WTOP’s news partner Maryland Matters broke the story on Rutherford’s decision.

Bruce DePuyt, senior reporter for Maryland Matters, told WTOP, “A lot of times when people talk about family in the context of politics, it evokes a lot of cynicism.”

But having talked with Rutherford, DePuyt said, “His comments ring true when he talked about how his family was not on board with the rigors of a campaign, and then potentially four or eight years of additional years of service,” and all the demands that would bring.

Rutherford said his decision was not based on any competition from a growing GOP field for the 2022 contest. He also said having to appeal to the “Trump wing” of the Republican party was not a concern.

“There are some of course who jump on social media who are very vocal, but I think the majority of the party would have come around to support me if I decided to run,” he said.

As to future plans, Rutherford said, “I am still a lawyer, still licensed in a couple of jurisdictions.”

He added he might “get serious” about his attempts to learn Spanish. And perhaps as a heads-up to his family, he said, “I’ve threatened my wife that I might take the trumpet back up again.”

Often, when officials step aside from a political race, it’s expected they’ll throw their weight behind another candidate, but Rutherford said, “I am not going to get involved in a primary.”

He noted that Schulz had just announced she’ll run, and said: “I like Kelly; I’ve known her for a good period of time, but I am not going to step in to a primary and support any particular candidate.”

While Schulz just made her bid official, Republican perennial candidate Robin Ficker announced his intention to nearly a year ago.

Other Republicans considering a run for governor include Michael Steele, former chair of the Republican National Committee and former lieutenant governor under Robert Ehrlich.

Harford County Executive Barry Glassman is also exploring a run.

On the Democratic side, Comptroller Peter Franchot declared he was in the running back at the start of 2020.

Just last week, former Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker, who lost in the 2018 primary, said he’s going to run for governor again.

Democrats also considering possible gubernatorial campaigns include former Attorney General Doug Gansler and Tom Perez, who served as the chair of the Democratic National Committee and U.S. secretary of labor.

Kate Ryan

As a member of the award-winning WTOP News, Kate is focused on state and local government. Her focus has always been on how decisions made in a council chamber or state house affect your house. She's also covered breaking news, education and more.

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