Richard J. Douglas, a former Pentagon official and Capitol Hill lawyer, announced Monday he will run for Senate in Maryland -- becoming the first Republican to enter the race to replace retiring Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski.
Douglas, a Navy veteran who ran unsuccessfully for Senate in 2012, said Republican Gov. Larry Hogan's unexpected win last year "set the stage" for the GOP to make additional progress in traditionally blue Maryland.
"To move ahead, Maryland requires a new team on Capitol Hill," Douglas, a 58-year-old College Park resident, said in a statement. "I am convinced that Maryland has the wherewithal to overtake Texas in job creation, unless the political machine which brought Maryland rats, riots, and the rain tax smothers urgently-needed reform."
Douglas served as a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense under President George W. Bush and spent five years on Capitol Hill as a senior attorney to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Senate Intelligence Committee. During the 1970s, he was a machinist's mate on a Navy attack submarine and, in 2006, was recalled from reserve duty to serve in Iraq.
He lost his race for the GOP Senate nomination to Dan Bongino in 2012 by just under 9,000 votes.
Only one other Republican, Chrys Kefalas, is actively considering the race to replace Mikulski. Kefalas, a vice president of communications as the National Association of Manufacturers, worked previously as an aide to former Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr., and former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.
Despite Hogan's win in 2014, the contest for Senate in Maryland will be an uphill battle for the GOP next year because Democratic turnout is expected to be higher during a presidential election. Two Democrats are running for Mikulski’s seat: Reps. Chris Van Hollen of Montgomery County and Donna F. Edwards of Prince George's County.