Leggett not backing a Democratic gubernatorial candidate yet -- Gazette.Net


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Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett — one of the region’s highest-stature Democrats — is standing clear of his party’s gubernatorial primary, for now.

In a race among Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler and Del. Heather R. Mizeur (Dist. 20) of Takoma Park for this year’s Democratic nomination, Leggett said Friday that he hasn’t decided whom to support.

The primary will be held June 24. The general election will be Nov. 4.

Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) is finishing his second term, the maximum allowed in Maryland.

Asked during a meeting with Gazette reporters and editors if he had an allegiance in the race, Leggett said: “I have none at this point. I’ll tell you why. I hope and I anticipate that I may endorse at some point in the future, but I’m not sure.

“I’m very close to Heather, very close to Doug, who I’ve worked with on a number of projects. They’re local Montgomery County residents. I know Anthony very well. I support a great deal of what he’s done.

“We are fortunate to have several good candidates. I have not found a justification as to how to make a distinction between one or the other at this point in time. I talk to them a great deal and it’s my intent, and I hope to at some point, to make an endorsement, but at this point, not yet.”

Brown was the first to release a list of elected officials in Maryland who back his campaign, including both U.S. senators and four U.S. representatives. Maryland House Speaker Michael E. Busch, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., and several Montgomery County officials at the state and local levels are on the list, too.

Gansler’s endorsement list includes about half of Montgomery County’s delegation and county officials such as State’s Attorney John J. McCarthy and Sheriff Darren M. Popkin.

Mizeur’s support includes current and past Takoma Park leaders.

So far, Leggett said, he sees nothing major that separates the three candidates from each other.

“For all the things that you look at, there’s no major distinction in terms of qualification,” he said. “There’s no major distinction in terms of issues or political philosophy. They’re all fairly well similar in that regard. So, there’s nothing that I see that would be a show-stopper. ...

“They all support basically the same kinds of ideas that I think that move the state forward. There’s no major distinction. The only distinction would be, you know, maybe, leadership style or temperament.”

Asked when he expects to make up his mind for an endorsement, Leggett joked, “Maybe around June the 25th.”

Leggett has no plans to take any stances in state House or Senate primaries, either. But he does have a choice in the attorney general’s race. He has endorsed state Sen. Brian E. Frosh (D-Dist. 16) of Chevy Chase, who has three Democratic competitors so far — Del. C. William Frick (D-Dist. 16) of Bethesda, Del. Aisha N. Braveboy (D-Dist. 25) of Mitchellville, and Del. Jon S. Cardin (D-Dist. 11) of Owings Mills.

“I think that he is one of the most outstanding public servants that you can find — a very honorable, hard-working guy, who has great values about public service,” Leggett said of Frosh.

aschotz@gazette.net