Democratic gubernatorial candidate Anthony G. Brown claimed the endorsement of the Maryland State Fraternal Order of Police Wednesday, breaking a string of three general elections in which the union has backed the Republican candidate.
The state FOP opted to support Brown over Republican Larry Hogan at its state convention in Solomons. According to the Brown campaign, the union's rules required the support of delegates representing at least 60 percent of the statewide membership to endorse a candidate.
The endorsement of Brown follows two straight elections in which the state FOP endorsed Republican Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. over Martin O'Malley. Ehrlich lost both the 2006 and 2010 contests.
The state's largest police union supported Brown despite Hogan's promise Monday night to exempt law enforcement pensions from the state's income tax.
In a statement released by the Brown campaign, FOP President-elect Vince Canales pointed to Brown's record of military service and the O'Malley-Brown administration's record on crime.
“In the last year, we've driven crime to record lows and I know that Anthony Brown will continue working to ensure that our officers have the tools they need to keep our streets safe," Canales said.
Hogan put out a news release in which he boasted that he had won the support of the majority of the FOP lodges in the state -- 33 of 47. However, Canales said Brown received two-thirds of the convention votes by dominating in large jurisdictions such as Baltimore city and Montgomery, Prince George's and Howard counties.
Canales said delegates were pleased by Hogan's proposal on pensions but chose Brown after weighing the two candidates' positions on a wide range of issues including crime and working conditions.