Blaine Young, the Republican president of the Frederick County Board of Commissioners, has taken a step toward a possible run for governor in 2014 by launching a fund-raising committee.
Young, 40, was elected in 2010 as part of a conservative Republican sweep of the five board seats in the Western Maryland county. He had been appointed to the board earlier that year.
The former Democrat, who switched parties in 2002, said he has registered a committee, Blaine Young for Maryland, with the state elections board. He said he would test the political waters and see whether he is able to raise sufficient money before deciding on whether to run.
"If I find it's just not there, I'm not going to waste anyone's time or money," he said.
Young said that if he runs, his message will be simple: "I will veto any new tax or fee increases." He said he would not promise any tax rollbacks because he is not sure whether he would be able to deliver on such a promise in a state with a heavily Democratic legislature.
If he runs, Young would face a likely primary contest with Harford County Executive David Craig, who has been gearing up for a race in 2014 even though he cannot seek re-election because of term limits. Another Republican who has been mentioned as a possible candidate is Larry Hogan, a former aide to Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., the last Republican to win the office.
Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold had been considered a potential GOP candidate, but his political future has been clouded by an indictment on charges of misconduct in office.
Young indicated that he has been drawn into the race in part because Craig's fund-raising hasn't kept pace with likely Democratic candidates. "I haven't seen that momentum that I think is needed," he said.
While Young is well-known in Frederick as an office-holder and radio talk show host, he has little name recognition in Maryland's more populous counties. But he said he believes his message of holding the line on taxes will resonate with working people in all parts of the state.
Young, who served a term as a Frederick alderman before changing parties, is the son of state Sen. Ronald N. Young, a Democrat who served as Frederick mayor from 1974 to 1990.