See which Marylanders are considering running for president in 2020

The Baltimore Sun

No Marylander has called the White House home.

Former Maryland governor and Baltimore County executive Spiro Agnew got close as Richard Nixon’s vice president. But that ended in disgrace.

Still, that hasn’t stopped the state’s politicos from giving it a shot — most recently Martin O’Malley’s 2016 run against Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders.

We thought it would be prudent to start keeping tabs on who might run in 2020, since a large field of Democrats and Republicans are likely to compete to evict President Donald Trump from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Here’s a running list of possible presidential hopefuls with connections to Maryland.

John Delaney

The former Democratic congressman from Maryland, whose U.S. House seat will be filled by David Trone next year, launched his campaign several months ago, he said. He’s the first Marylander to publicly announce his candidacy.

After 19 trips to Iowa and 12 to New Hampshire, Delaney said his campaign is establishing itself early in two of the first states to caucus.

“The plan a year ago was to introduce myself, listen to people and get a sense about what they’re saying and concerned about,” said Delaney, 55. “Our head start, if you will, is really starting to pay off.”

Delaney recently hired Michael Starr Hopkins, a consultant with experience on former President Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 bid and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum’s unsuccessful campaign for governor this year.

And Federal Election Commission filings show Delaney, who served three terms in Congress, spent close to $5 million by the end of September, aided by a $3.5 million loan. Delaney, a former Potomac businessman, had been the third-wealthiest member of Congress with a net worth of at least $90 million.

David Karol, a government and politics professor at the University of Maryland, said Delaney’s personal wealth might help him, but former members of the House of Representatives rarely register in presidential primaries.

“The ones who have been taken seriously in the past have had generally some kind of leadership role,” Karol said, citing Newt Gingrich’s 2012 presidential run as an example. “That’s not a law of nature — we’ve seen rules be broken before — but I don’t think its an accident either.”

Martin O’Malley

Several political observers say that the former Democratic Maryland governor and Baltimore mayor is likely to take another shot at a presidential run.

FEC filings show that O’Malley, 55, ended 2016 with over $92,000 in cash on hand and has since been touring the country to help elect Democrats. O’Malley was not available for comment.

Mileah Kromer, director of the Sarah T. Hughes Field Politics Center at Goucher College, wrote in a recent op-ed that O’Malley’s trips around the country to stump for other candidates has allowed him to build relationships in local political circles and increase his name recognition.

But others said it might be time for him to move on after a weak showing against Clinton and Sanders.

“Why would 2020 reveal an explosion of support for him when 2016 didn’t?” said Richard Vatz, a professor of rhetoric and communication at Towson University. “His ship has sailed.”

Eric Swalwell

The California congressman, 38, graduated from University of Maryland in 2003 and University of Maryland School of Law in 2006. A close friend of O’Malley’s, Swalwell volunteered on his gubernatorial campaign before moving back to the West Coast and endorsed the former Maryland governor in 2016.

The first Democrat to visit Iowa after the 2018 midterm elections, Swalwell said he’s interested in running for president in 2020, though he has yet to formally announce his candidacy. FEC filings submitted in October show that Swalwell closed out his re-election campaign with $1.6 million in cash on hand.

Despite having some 400,000 Twitter followers and regular appearances on the cable airwaves, some say Swalwell may have trouble building widespread recognition, even with an early start.

“So many other people are looking at this race, and several of them will run. It’s hard to break in from the House of Representatives,” Karol said. “If he runs he might be the youngest candidate in the field, which is potentially a very good contrast with Trump.”

Michael Bloomberg

The former mayor of New York City, with a net worth of over $43 billion, has publicly speculated about a 2020 run. The Johns Hopkins University alumnus, 76, recently told the Associated Press he would decide this winter.

In November, Bloomberg announced a historic $1.8 billion donation to his alma mater, where its School of Public Health bears his name. It’s not the first time he’s donated to Baltimore-based institutions. At the end of 2017, Bloomberg donated $5 million to the Baltimore Police Department, and has funded other grants and business initiatives throughout the city.

Bloomberg officially re-registered as a Democrat in 2018, after several years with the Republican party, including his tenure as mayor. This could hinder his success in securing the Democratic nomination, Sarah Oliver, a professor of political science at Towson University, said.

“The fact that he has that history might hurt him getting past that initial point, especially as we have more polarization among partisans” she said.

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