U.S. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings will announce today that he is endorsing the 2014 Democratic gubernatorial ticket of Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown and his running mate, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman.
Cummings is expected to be on hand this morning in Columbia when Brown formally introduces Ulman as his choice for lieutenant governor, the position Brown has held for the last seven years under term-limited Gov. Martin O'Malley.
The veteran Baltimore congressman, who also represents parts of Baltimore and Howard counties, is widely regarded as the most influential African-American office holder in Maryland. His endorsement continues the momentum Brown has built up since he became the first Democratic contender to announce his candidacy on May 10. He followed that up last week with the news that Ulman, a two-term county executive who had been contemplating his own run for governor, had agreed to join forces.
Cummings was the co-chairman of the 2008 Maryland campaign for Barack Obama along with Brown's chief rival for the 2014 nomination, Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler. The congressman's support for Brown could help neutralize one of Brown's vulnerabilities among his fellow African-Americans -- his support for Hillary Clinton in the 2008 nomination battle with his Harvard classmate Obama.
In a statement released to The Sun, Cummings said Brown will be an "exceptional governor" and Ulman will be an "incredibly strong partner."
"Anthony Brown and Ken Ulman offer Maryland the competent and caring leadership team that we need to build upon the successes of the last 6 years. I am deeply gratified that Anthony and Ken have agreed to join forces, and I offer my strongest support and endorsement to this exceptional team," Cummings said.
With Cummings' support, Brown now has the endorsement of both of Maryland's African-American members of Congress. U.S. Rep. Donna Edwards of Prince George's County previously announced her support.
Gansler is considered almost certain to jump into the race, but his campaign has said the attorney general will not announce his candidacy until the fall. Before this weekend, Gansler had held open the option of seeking a third term in his current office -- leading some to question whether he would run against Brown. On Saturday, however, Gansler released a statement to the Sun saying unequivocally that he will not run for attorney general. He said he will serve out his current term.
The primary is scheduled for June 24, 2014 -- almost three months earlier than in previous gubernatorial elections. Also expected to run in the Democratic contest is Del. Heather Mizeur of Montgomery County. U.S. Rep. C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger has also said he is considering a run for the State House.