xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

Leopold weighing run for statewide office

Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold said Friday what has long been rumored in local political circles: He's considering a run for governor or comptroller in 2014.

"I'm going to keep all those options open," said Leopold, a Republican who is term-limited. "The record that I've established of strong fiscal discipline, I think would resonate not only in Anne Arundel County, but elsewhere."

Advertisement

And he added that he'd relish a slot on the state panel that oversees major spending decisions.

"Having a vote on the Board of Public Works would be a positive thing and it certainly has some impact."

Advertisement
Advertisement

Leopold, 68, served 20 years in the House of Delegates before he was elected county executive in 2006. Supporters say he has paid close attention to constituent services and have praised his environmental record.

But he also has some personal issues that could potentially affect a run.The state prosecutor's office is investigating Leopold's use of his county-funded security detail. And Leopold is named in a former county employee's $10 million federal lawsuit alleging gender discrimination. Leopold has denied any wrongdoing.

Coupled with Maryland's overwhelmingly Democratic voter rolls, Leopold would have "a tough road ahead," said Matthew A. Crenson, professor emeritus of political science at the Johns Hopkins University.

The last Republican comptroller ended his term in 1900. And former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr., who was the first member of the GOP elected to the state's top job in a generation in 2002, was handily defeated when he ran for re-election last year.

"Somehow he's got to prove to people that the allegations are trivial or false," said Crenson. "Any of his opponents would be sure to bring it up."

Alex X. Mooney, chairman of the state GOP, said Leopold would make a formidable candidate for either seat.

"He knows how to win tough elections," said Mooney. "Leopold is known for being a tenacious campaigner. He sign waves and knocks on every door. … I certainly think he's a credible candidate."

Yvette Lewis, chair of the state Democratic party, did not respond to a call requesting comment.

Other GOP candidates frequently mentioned as possibilities for 2014 include Harford County Executive David Craig, State Sen. E.J. Pipkin and Larry Hogan, a former Ehrlich deputy. Gov. Martin O'Malley, a Democrat, is term-limited.

Possible Democratic contenders for governor include Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman and Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler and Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. Comptroller Peter Franchot, a Democrat, is said to be mulling whether to run for re-election or take a stab at the governorship.

Yvette Lewis, chair of the state Democratic party, did not respond to a call requesting comment.

Leopold, who would be 71 at the end of his last term as county executive, also had two back operations last year. He says he's fully recovered.

"It's a daunting task to run statewide, although I think the times have changed," he said. "There's a lot of anger and frustration throughout the country, so I don't think these are usual times. I think people would be open to someone who has a strong record of fiscal discipline."

Leopold, who in January reported $423,000 in on-hand cash in his campaign account, said he'll make a final decision on his future by 2013.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement