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State Sen. William C. Smith Jr., a high-profile legislator who spent several weeks mulling his own bid for attorney general, endorsed Rep. Anthony G. Brown (D) for the post on Wednesday.
Smith (D-Montgomery), chairman of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, decided last week not to run for attorney general, citing “logistical concerns” such as the prohibition on lawmakers raising funds whoever the legislature is in session.
“Our state and country faces an inflection point when it comes to equal justice,” Smith said in a statement. “For too long we’ve lived with a system that disadvantages the underserved in our communities. For Black and brown Marylanders this has resulted in families separated, diminished opportunity and lives lost. We’ve made progress toward true justice and accountability in law enforcement, but we still have a long road ahead. As Maryland’s next Attorney General, Anthony would be a historic champion for this progress and a partner in our efforts to build a better, more just state.”
On Tuesday, Attorney General candidate Katie Curran O’Malley (D) announced that four members of the Baltimore City Council have endorsed her.
Councilmembers Mark Conway, Eric Costello, Odette Ramos, and Isaac “Yitzy” Schleifer — all Democrats — are backing the recently-retired Baltimore District Court judge and former first lady.
“I am supporting Katie because her depth of experience and first-hand knowledge of the justice system make her the most qualified candidate to be Maryland’s next Attorney General,” Conway said in a statement. “I am confident that, as Attorney General, Katie will fight to protect the people of Maryland with both passion and understanding.”
Ramos called O’Malley “a person of the highest integrity.”
“She has dedicated her career to serving the people of Maryland. Among her successes is her work advocating for survivors of domestic violence.”
O’Malley and Brown are seeking the seat being vacated by two-term incumbent Brian E. Frosh (D), who decided in October not to run for re-election.
In an interview, Smith, a member of the U.S. Navy Reserve, said that he and Brown, who retired from the U.S. Army Reserve with the rank of colonel, have worked together on issues and share a personal relationship.
“When I deployed to Afghanistan [in 2019], he constantly checked in on my family and gave me really sage advice,” Smith said.
Former Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett (D) also endorsed Brown Wednesday, saying in a statement that Brown “has centered equality and justice as core to his work” throughout his tenure in public offices.
Brown’s campaign also announced that current Montgomery County Council members — William O. Jawando (D), Sidney Katz (D) and Craig Rice (D) — are now backing Brown’s candidacy, as is former Montgomery County Councilmember Valerie Ervin (D).
“Our communities face challenges, from the pandemic to an economy that leaves too many behind and a criminal justice system that for decades has put Black and brown Marylanders at a disadvantage,” Jawando said. “Anthony is the right person to take on these fights for our state.”
Ervin, a former Montgomery County Council president, described Brown as “an advocate for all working people, many who have kept Maryland running even through the pandemic.”
James F. Shalleck, an attorney and Republican activist in Montgomery County, launched an Attorney General campaign in July.