Earlier this week, Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III announced he would seek the Democratic nomination in next year’s June primary.
Baker, 58, describes his record as a turnaround story in which median incomes increased, crime decreased and public school graduation rates increased in Prince George’s County, since he took office. He made it clear that his intentions were to implement similar changes statewide.
“It’s time to build a Maryland that leaves no one behind,” he said in a campaign video. “I’m running because we can’t be silent or just complain as the cynical try to divide us and take us backwards.”
Baker’s announcement comes as his wife, Christa Beverly, is suffering from early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. She was diagnosed about seven years ago.
Baker began talking about running against Republican Governor Larry Hogan as early as last year. However, he has yet to vigorously raise money to finance a campaign.
So far, two other Democrats have officially launched a campaign, including tech entrepreneur Alec Ross and former NAACP chief Ben Jealous. Five others are exploring a run: former Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler, Representative John Delaney, attorney Jim Shea, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and Senator Richard S. Madaleno.
Analysts believe that Baker needs to prove his fundraising capability, but his preeminence in political circles makes him a strong contender. The gubernatorial campaign is expected to cost up to $20 million. Hogan is a step ahead of Baker, as he has already raised $5 million for his campaign.
“He’s a highly credible candidate,” said Todd Eberly, a political science professor at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. “He’s got that established, electoral base in a critical area for Democrats in the state.”