Lt. Governor Anthony Brown's 2014 Maryland gubernatorial campagin made a stop in Columbia on Monday and picked up a passenger—Howard County Executive Ken Ulman.
The news that Ulman will run for lieutenant governor with Brown has been a poorly kept secret throughout the state leading up to Monday's event. But now it's official.
"I couldn't be more excited to start this journey here," said Ulman as he stood at the podium overlooking Lake Kittamaqundi in front of an estimated 500 people.
Ulman, 39, a Columbia native, was the youngest candidate ever elected to a county exectuive position in the state in 2006. Now, he begins his efforts to attain statewide office.
"As a county councilman and your executive I have awoken every morning with a singular goal: Serve the community I love and make it a better place," said Ulman.
Ulman touted his record investing in education, the county's lowest unemployment in the state and Howard's ranking as one of the best places to live in the country.
The second half of Ulman's speech focused on his new running mate Brown.
"I've been inspired by [Brown's] work ethic, his energy and his unyielding committment to the families of this state," said Ulman.
"Anthony Brown has redefined the role of lieutenant governor, because of him the position is more effective than ever before," said Ulman. "Anthony has shown us what it means to be a true partner in leadership and in governance, that is the kind of partner I look forward to being as the next lieutenant governor of the state of Maryland."
In Brown's introduction of Ulman, he said that the county executive is a man he has come to respect over the past decade.
"Innovation, leadership, vision; these have been the hallmarks of Ken's tenure as Howard County executive," said Brown.
The new partnership got an early boost on Monday morning with a ringing endorsement from U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-7th District).
Cummings, who represents part of Baltimore City and most of Howard County, is a leading voice in Maryland's black community.
"I'm convinced that our Lt. Governor Anthony Brown and Howard County Executive Ken Ulman offer Maryland the most competent and caring leadership team that we need to build upon the successes of the last six years," said Cummings.
"I'm excited about what they've done, but I'm more excited about what they will do together," said Cummings. "In this moment, this exceptional moment, I offer my strongest support and endorsement to this exceptional Brown/Ulman team."
Although they are the first major Democratic candidates to announce their intentions to run for the Governor's office, Brown and Ulman face a historically tough road to winning.
No former lieutenant governor has been elected to the governor's office since the position was created in 1970.
Howard County Council Member Calvin Ball addressed this issue, saying that every campaign has its own flavor and therefore can't be held to historical outcomes.
He called the Brown/Ulman ticket a "spectacular team."
Sen. Jim Robey, a former Howard County executive and current state senator, said Ulman's decision to run for lieutenant governor is good for both the county and the state.
"Ken understands Howard County and the needs," said Robey. "He understands the importance of education, public safety and the environment. He's done it all here. He's going to transfer what he's done here to the state and hopefully a little of Howard County will rub off on the state."
Brown and Ulman do not currently face a well-known opponent for the Democratic nomination, which will be decided in a June 2014 primary election. Attorney General Doug Gansler, who currently wields a $5 million campaign war chest, has said he has no plans to formally announce whether he'll run for governor or not until the fall.
Also being discussed as a candidate is Del. Heather Mizeur from Montgomery County. In a recent profile in Bethesda Magazine, Mizeur said she's been traveling around the state every day and is not considering making another run for the General Assembly.
Over the weekend Gansler issued a statement saying he would not seek a third term as attorney general.
The alliance of Brown and Ulman helps the two begin to close the fundraising gap between them and Gansler. Together, Brown and Ulman have about $3.7 million in campaign funds, with Ulman having $2.1 million and Brown $1.6 million.
Clarence Lam, a Columbia resident and Democratic candidate who recently announced his campaign for the general assembly, said the move by Brown and Ulman to kick off their campaign early will allow them to be the first to get their message out across the state.
"I think it's important for them to get an early start," said Lam.
A group of Columbia residents who stumbled by the speech on Monday morning after a walk around the lake described the Brown/Ulman ticket as a good one, but emphasized it was too early to make a decision on who to support.
Other residents who came out to watch the speech liked what they heard from the candidates.
William Wallace, a Wilde Lake resident, said Ulman "has done a good job" in the county and believes the Ulman/Brown ticket will be tough to beat.
"They brought energy," said Brian England, a resident of Hickory Ridge. "The ideas they put in their speech are great, now we'll have to see it implemented."
- Howard County Executive Ulman a Possible Gubernatorial Contender in 2014
- Maryland Republicans Gear Up for 2014 Gubernatorial Race
- Ulman Raises $1.14 Million in 2012
- Report: Brown in Talks with Ulman About Lt. Governor's Office
- Report: Ulman to Run with Brown