Del. Maggie McIntosh of Baltimore, a veteran Democratic lawmaker, is weighing a run against Maryland's popular Republican Gov. Larry Hogan.
McIntosh said Thursday she's considering a run for statewide office in 2018. She said she was inspired to act by Democrat Hillary Clinton's loss in the presidential election last week and the lack of women in high-profile Maryland political jobs.
With the retirement of Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski and the primary loss of Rep. Donna Edwards, Maryland elected an all-male congressional delegation last week for the first time in 46 years. A woman has never served as Maryland's governor, or as presiding officer in either chamber of the General Assembly.
McIntosh, the 68-year-old chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, said she is also considering a run against Democratic Comptroller Peter Franchot. The comptroller has angered many in his party by creating what Franchot has called a strategic partnership with Hogan.
"Last week's election made me dig deeper and ask myself whether I should listen to several people who have encouraged me to think about statewide office," McIntosh said Thursday.
She said many Democrats are asking what they can do following the election of Republican Donald Trump and the defeat of the first woman to be nominated for president by a major political party.
McIntosh, a 24-year veteran of the House of Delegates, rose to leadership more than 20 years ago. She was the first openly gay member of the Assembly and a key player in passing the state's same-sex marriage legislation in 2012. She then marshaled resources to defend the law when it went to referendum.
She is a close ally of House Speaker Michael E. Busch and a sharp-tongued critic of some of Hogan's spending policies.
McIntosh told The Baltimore Sun this summer she was "perplexed and disturbed" by the lack of Democratic women available to step up when Mikulski announced her decision last year to retire after 30 years in the Senate.
McIntosh said she decided not to run for higher officer when the opportunity came earlier in her career.
Now, she said, she was convening a group of people to evaluate the next best step for her political career. That group does not include Mikulski, for whom McIntosh once worked. Still, McIntosh said the outgoing senator was her "biggest cheerleader."
McIntosh posted a mock-up of a bumper sticker on Facebook this week that read "McIntosh 2018."
"My constituents liked it," she said.
She plans to conduct polls and evaluate the likelihood of raising enough cash for a statewide campaign. Recent campaigns have cost as much as $11.2 million in the primary alone.
She also said several times in a brief interview that she would be happy to remain in the legislature.
"I love my role here. I love it," she said after attending a two-hour briefing on the state's finances.
Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, a Democrat, has said he is considering a run for governor. Democrats reportedly considering a run for comptroller include state Sen. James C. Rosapepe and Del. Joseline Pena-Melnyk, both Prince George's County Democrats.