In a string of messages posted Sunday to Twitter, Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. said he is considering running for governor of Maryland in 2022.
In response to an article from Maryland Matters with the headline “What Happens in Baltimore County if Johnny O Runs for Governor?,” Olszewski tweeted: “I am overwhelmed with gratitude for those who have seen all that we have accomplished and encouraged me to consider a statewide run.
“I introduce my budget on April 15th. I will take the time necessary to ensure its passage while also thoughtfully, prayerfully, and deliberately considering the 2022 election.”
The Democrat began his four-year term as county executive in 2018. Since then, he’s focused on initiatives like establishing public campaign financing in the county, and creating new roles in his administration focused on sustainability and transparency.
The former teacher turned state delegate also has contended with a budget shortfall, opting to raise taxes in Baltimore County for the first time in decades. He’s upped funding for school construction and made changes to police department policy, including its rules for using force against citizens. At the time, some activists said the moves didn’t go far enough to address discriminatory practices in the department.
He’d join a growing field sparring to take over when Republican Gov. Larry Hogan leaves office, having completed his second of two terms. Last week, former Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker, also a Democrat, joined the fray. Democratic state Comptroller Peter Franchot announced his candidacy more than a year ago.
Also in the running is Jon Baron, a Montgomery County Democrat who serves as an executive at Arnold Ventures, a philanthropic organization focused on health care, higher education and criminal justice, among other causes.
Several more Democrats are considering bids, including former federal labor secretary and former Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez, former federal education secretary John B. King, former state attorney general Doug Gansler, author and activist Wes Moore, and U.S. Reps. Anthony Brown and David Trone.
A handful of Republicans are in talks to run as well, including Hogan’s Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford, TV commentator Michael Steele (who’s also a former lieutenant governor), Harford County Executive Barry Glassman and state Commerce Secretary Kelly Schulz.