Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney Anne Colt Leitess announced Thursday her endorsement of Doug Gansler, the state’s former attorney general running for governor as a Democrat.
Leitess, a Democrat who has previously said she’s running for reelection in 2022, said in a statement Gansler has an impressive reputation for keeping communities safe. Gansler served two terms as state’s attorney for Montgomery County before serving as Attorney General, the state’s chief legal officer, for two terms when Democrat Martin O’Malley was governor.
“His proven record of fighting violent crime and his innovative strategies for public safety will serve Marylanders well,” Leitess said in a statement. “At a time when families across Anne Arundel County and throughout Maryland remain concerned about crime and violence, I believe it is important to have someone with a proven record of leadership in the Governor’s Office. Doug Gansler is that candidate.”
The gubernatorial election is over a year away on Nov. 8, with Democratic and Republican primaries scheduled for June 28. Republican Gov. Larry Hogan cannot seek reelection because of term limits. About a dozen candidates are actively campaigning for the 2022 election.
Gansler, 59, unsuccessfully ran for governor in 2014. His campaign became entangled by controversies, such as his attendance at a party where teenagers were drinking underage and his comments that opponent Anthony Brown, a former lieutenant governor and current congressman, was relying on his Black heritage to get elected as governor. Brown beat Gansler in the primary, including in Montgomery County.
Democrat Brian Frosh replaced Gansler as attorney general in 2014 and Gansler returned to a private law practice.
This time, he’s promoting himself as a progressive Democrat with goals to improve education, fight climate change, legalize and tax marijuana and adjust the tax system so corporations pay taxes for their work in the state. He launched his campaign in May with a 2-minute introductory video.
Leitess noted Gansler’s experience successfully prosecuting the Beltway Snipers, who killed 10 people and injured three others during a three-week shooting spree in 2002. Gansler also tried and won the murder trials of Robert Lucas, who killed a priest, Monsignor Thomas Wells, in Montgomery County. He created Montgomery County’s first drug court and its gang and environmental crimes division, Leitess said in a statement.
Gansler said he would work closely with Anne Arundel County’s state’s attorney office if elected governor.
“For nearly three decades, Anne Colt Leitess has been on the front lines of the work to protect our children, families and neighborhoods from harm. It is an honor to have her endorsement, and I look forward to collaborating with her on these shared priorities as Maryland’s next Governor,” Gansler said in a statement.
In September, County Executive Steuart Pittman threw his support behind Wes Moore, current Democratic gubernatorial candidate for governor. Moore is an author, veteran and former nonprofit executive who stepped down from running the Robin Hood Foundation, a New York-based anti-poverty group, to launch his campaign for governor. Pittman is also running for reelection as county executive in 2022.
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Baltimore Sun reporters Pamela Wood and Jean Mirabella contributed to this report.