Republican businessman Charles Lollar kicked off his campaign for governor Tuesday with a four-day, 17-stop bus tour of Maryland.
The Charles County businessman, Marine major and Republican activist was the subject a "Draft Lollar" campaign to convince him to run. Tuesday, Lollar and supporters began a tour in a 16-seat bus that bears his photo.
Lollar, 42, describes himself as a fiscal conservative and social libertarian who believes the state's top job is about managing tax payer money.
"I'm running for governor, I'm not running to be a priest. There's a big difference," Lollar said. "It's not my job as governor to go into your house and tell you how to live your life."
Lollar said he supports a "Taxpayer's Bill of Rights" that would limit the annual growth of government to match inflation and his top priority would be getting Marylanders to work.
He has led the state chapter of tea party organization Americans for Prosperity. In 2010, he challenged House Minority Leader Steny Hoyer in a unsuccessful bid for Congress.
An African-American, Lollar vowed to reach out to Democrats and said he plans to sell himself on his straightforward manner and leadership experience in the Marine Corps and private industry.
The Lollar campaign began its day in St. Mary's County, will host events in the Baltimore region on Wednesday and ends its tour in Annapolis Friday. He joins two other Republicans in the contest to replace term-limited Gov. Martin O'Malley, a Democrat. Harford County Executive David Craig and Anne Arundel Del. Ron George launched their campaigns this summer.