I attended Doug Gansler's campaign announcement in Howard County yesterday. There were about 40 people there, including a few members of the media. Not too bad for a slightly out of the way location on a mid-Tuesday afternoon. Especially since any announcement in a more public location probably would've been met with more people waving blue and brown signs than red and white ones.
The only public elected official attended the announcement was Ann DeLacy of the School Board. Of candidates, Dan Meddinger, the Democratic State Senate candidate in District 9, made an appearance, as did, curiously, a State Senate and Delegate candidate from District 10, in Baltimore County.
I've knocked Doug Gansler on these pages for being, shall we say, a tad arrogant. Glad to report that yesterday he toned that down. A lot. Instead he chose to draw some contrasts between himself and the O'Malley Administration (which, since Anthony Brown is the Lieutenant Governor. he has to be accountable for) and highlight his own accomplishments.
A lot of Gansler's comments were directed at curing problems in Baltimore City, from bringing back jobs to prison reform. This continues to fuel speculation that his running mate will be from Baltimore City. Names I'm hearing are City Comptroller Joan Pratt and Delegate Keiffer Mitchell. My preference would be Mitchell, but that's just me.
Gansler also spoke on the state of the state's education system (way too much disparity across the state), raising the minimum wage, taxes in Maryland (too many of them and too much of it), but his favorite topic was jobs. He has some specific proposals for increasing jobs across the spectrum of work, from work for newly-released inmates (he did talk about his proposed tablet program for newly-released inmates; not sure that's a fully fleshed-out plan yet) to doing something to improve the state of the state's life science and technology industry (attract Fortune 500 companies back to Maryland using tax incentives, give current businesses in Maryland business incentives to grow, get better at technology transfer and licensing innovative technologies)
So the debate is joined, fully. All the serious candidates there are going to be are in. I don't know the plan for candidates' forums or debates for the Democrats running for Governor, but given that these three candidates almost sit on equidistant points of a triangle, I think debates and forums (and of course, the campaign ads to come) are going to be fun.
Happy National Comic Book Day! Let's be careful out there.