Larry Hogan has tapped Boyd Rutherford as his running mate in the GOP race for Maryland governor.
Hogan made the announcement as he kicked off his campaign for governor at a rally on Wednesday night at Mike's Crabhouse in Riva.
Rutherford and Hogan served as cabinet secretaries under former Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich. Rutherford served for nearly four years as secretary of the Department of General Services.
Hogan and Rutherford on Wednesday promised change from what the state has seen under Gov. Martin O'Malley.
"Job one," Hogan said, if elected "will be to get the government off our backs and out of our pockets so we can grow the private sector, put people back to work, and turn our economy around."
Hogan, an Edgewater resident and founder of Change Maryland, made his candidacy official in the GOP race last week. His announcement rally, originally planned for last week, was rescheduled to Wednesday because of a snowstorm.
He is one of five announced Republican candidate, including Harford County Executive David Craig, Del. Ron George, R-Arnold, Charles County businessman Charles Lollar and Brian Vaeth.
But Hogan is just one of two who have named a running mate.
Rutherford, a 56-year-old Columbia resident, holds a bachelor's degree in economic and political science from Howard University, and a law degree and a Master's degree in communications management from the University of Southern California
Under Ehrlich, he served as secretary of the Maryland Department of General Services, which oversees state properties and provides services to other state agencies.
After he left state government, Rutherford was nominated by President George W. Bush for the position of assistant secretary for administration for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He later served as chief administrative officer for the Republican National Committee when it was led by Michael S. Steele, who was Ehrlich's lieutenant governor.
Todd Eberly, a political science professor at St. Mary's College in Southern Maryland, called Rutherford a "solid pick."
In an email, Eberly said Hogan can benefit from the fact that Rutherford hails from Howard County. Eberly said announced Democratic nominees Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, Attorney General Doug Gansler and Del. Heather Mizeur, D-Montgomery, will likely claim Baltimore City and Prince George's, Montgomery and Charles counties.
In order to be successful, Eberly said a GOP nominee will need to carry "everything else," including Baltimore and Howard counties, which have trended blue in recent elections.
"I probably would have advised Hogan to swing for the fences a bit and try to find a Democrat as a running mate - to appeal to disaffected Democrats and independents in the fall," Eberly said. "But I think Hogan was more interested in finding a sound governing partner. I think the pick reveals that Hogan is feeling pretty confident in his chances."
Hogan, 57, has less that five months to garner the support needed to win the GOP bid. The primary election in Maryland is scheduled for June 24.