WASHINGTON -- Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger will not run for governor this year, the Democratic congressman announced Wednesday.
The Baltimore County lawmaker has flirted for months with joining a crowded field of Democrats seeking to replace Gov. Martin O'Malley, whose term will end after this year. But in a statement, Ruppersberger said he will instead "continue to push for change in Washington."
"I will run for re-election as a member of the House of Representatives to continue my work on behalf of my district and my country," Ruppersberger said. "I want to thank the many Marylanders who encouraged me to run for governor. I was humbled by their enthusiasm, faith, and financial commitments."
The decision, first reported by The Sun, was not particularly surprising.
Though Ruppersberger has significantly elevated his national profile as the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, he would have started the state race far behind Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown and Attorney General Douglas Gansler in terms of fundraising and statewide name recognition.
Many of his fellow Democrats in the state's congressional delegation, including Sens. Barbara A. Mikulski and Ben Cardin, as well as several labor unions have already backed Brown.
It is not yet clear whether Ruppersberger will make his own endorsement in the governor's race.
"Like many, I am looking for a candidate that can harness [the region's] unique opportunities and challenges," he said. "I will closely monitor how the candidates intend to strengthen the region and I look forward to working with the next governor to implement those plans.”
Ruppersberger, who turns 68 later this month, served as Baltimore County executive from the end of 1994 to 2002. Elected to Congress in 2002, he has taken a more centrist approach than many other Democrats in the state's delegation and has gained attention on the Intelligence Committee as the National Security Agency, which is located in his district, has been buffeted by controversy.