Harford County Executive David Craig is noncommittal on what office he’ll pursue in the 2014 election, but said he is confident he will seek a statewide post in the executive branch — either governor or comptroller.
As part of a statewide meeting tour with media outlets, Craig (R) told Gazette editors Monday that he has yet to decide which job fits him best.
“I will be running for something in 2014,” Craig said. “There are several potential statewide races. I’ve had different people ask me to run for different things, including comptroller, Congress.”
Craig, a former teacher and administrator, has been a rumored gubernatorial candidate in 2014 for months, and while serious campaigning for that race won’t begin until after the 2012 general election, he is wise to throw his hat in the ring now, said Donald F. Norris, chairman of the department of public policy at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
“You run other possible candidates out of a primary,” Norris said. “It’s not just announcing. It’s announcing, getting fundraising going, locking in the donors.”
Craig, who was the mayor of Havre de Grace for nine years, has to make a final decision about which post he’ll run for by 2013, Norris said, pointing out that a more conservative Republican candidate could give him a significant primary challenge.
“It’s conceivable that he’s not conservative enough for [Maryland Republicans],” Norris said. “[Former Gov. Robert L.] Ehrlich wasn’t, but Ehrlich was the only game in town. This is a different time.”
Alexander X. Mooney, a former state senator and head of the Maryland GOP, said he believes Craig would be a solid candidate, but there’s still time for other Republicans to get in the race.
“I don’t think anything’s going to heat up until 2013,” Mooney said. “Everyone is going to be focusing on the 2012 elections, the congressional and the presidential race.”
Other potential Republican candidates could include Frederick County Commissioners President Blaine Young; former congressional candidate Charles Lollar; 2010 gubernatorial candidate Brian Murphy; and Larry Hogan Jr., a real estate company executive and former cabinet member under Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold, Mooney said.
Craig, who has a campaign website for 2014, said he is using this time to determine which role — comptroller or governor — would be most winnable for him.
He also speaks of his record as a county executive and mayor, as well as his experience with budgets and education as qualifying assets.
“Being a mayor and being a county executive, you have to actually get things done,” he said. “You have to provide services to people.
“You still have to balance your budget, and I think that’s what people want. They want to know how good you can do the job that you’re doing.”