The Maryland Republican Party may have a prospect to run for attorney general in 2014, possibly giving it a candidate for an office it left uncontested in 2010.
Richard Douglas, a lawyer, businessman and Iraq veteran, released a statement Tuesday in which he said he's considering a try for that office. If he gets in the GOP would field a full slate of candidates for statewide office is Democratic-dominated Maryland.
Douglas said he is truly undecided about making a run, not announcing an intent to announce as some gubernatorial candidates have done.
"I'm doing a gut check," he said.
The position will be vacated after next year's election by incumbent Douglas F. Gansler, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor. Four Democrats are running to succeed him -- Sen. Brian E. Frosh of Montgomery County and Dels. Aisha Braveboy of Prince George's County, Jon S. Cardin of Baltimore County and C. William Frick of Montgomery.
If he runs, Douglas, 57, would be attempting to gain an office no Republican has won by election since 1918.
"At least it's within 100 years," he said.
Douglas, a College Park resident and a member of the Maryland bar since 1991, published an article this week in which he criticized the troubled rollout of the state's health care exchange set up under the Affordable Care Act. In the article, Douglas blamed Gansler. Gov. Martin O'Malley and Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown for the exchange's problems.
As attorney general, Gansler has no significant role in implementation of the exchange, but Douglas contends he should have used the office to warn consumers of potential problems with the health care law.
"Whether one supports the President's signature legislation or opposes it, Mr. Gansler had a duty to warn Maryland consumers about what to expect with this law," said Douglas. He said he knew of nothing Gansler had accomplished with $1.5 million his office received through the federal health law.
David Paulson, a spokesman for the Attorney General's Office, said Gansler did use those funds to reach out to consumers and help them make informed decisions about health insurance.
"As one of the first attorney general offices in the country with a Health Education and Advocacy Unit, this office was better able to use these funds and expand our reach to more consumers in need of help with their health insurance problems," Paulson said. "As a result of the outreach efforts, we saw a tremendous increase in the number of callers who seek counselling as they face difficult health insurance issues."
Paulson said the office has increased the money it secured for consumers' health needs from $1.7 million to $2.1 million, or 22 percent, in the last year."
Douglas entered elected politics in 2012 as a candidate for the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate -- a race he lost to Dan Bongino, who lost to Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin. He served with the Navy in Iraq in 2006.