Republican Gov. Larry Hogan announced the top staff for his re-election bid Wednesday, another sign the 2018 campaign season is already under way.
After an upset win orchestrated by a Maryland-based team in 2014, Hogan has turned to a new set advisors with experience in federal politics to helm his next campaign.
Hogan's campaign manager is Ryan Reynolds. He comes from the Washington polling firm WPA Intelligence, which has worked with Hogan. The governor's campaign also hired general consultant Jim Barnett, who has worked for several Northeastern Republicans campaigning in states that tend to vote for Democrats.
The governor's new campaign staff come on board as Hogan launches an aggressive fundraising schedule this summer in advance of what's expected to be a hotly contested race for governor.
Hogan, who enjoys high favorability ratings, is aiming to become just the second Republican in a half-century to be reelected as governor in a state dominated by Democrats.
Democrats, meanwhile, are eager to reclaim the governor's mansion and have set the stage for a crowded primary.
Already, two men have formally launched campaigns for the Democratic nomination and six others say they're seriously considering joining that race.