Karl Merton Ferron, Baltimore Sun
May 1, 2012
Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown has a great political resume -- he has undergraduate and law degrees from Harvard, serves as a colonel in the Army Reserve and rose quickly through the ranks during his two terms in the House of Delegates before being selected by Gov. Martin O'Malley as his running mate in 2006. He is the first African-American Democrat to be elected to statewide office in Maryland and is the highest-ranking official in the nation to have served in the Iraq war. A native of Long Island, N.Y., he lives in Prince George¿s County.
Advantages: Mr. Brown is the front-runner in early polling and has the endorsement of Mr. O'Malley for whatever office he seeks. His connection to the governor¿s substantial political machine gives him a leg up in fundraising and building connections to parts of the state where he is less well known, particularly Baltimore. He is at present the only likely candidate from Prince George¿s County, a key jurisdiction in a Democratic primary, and the only African-American. If he is able to capitalize on those advantages, he would be difficult for other candidates to catch, particularly if the field remains crowded.
Disadvantages: No Maryland lieutenant governor in the modern era has gone on to win higher office. That's partially coincidence and partially a function of voters¿ inevitable desire for something new after (generally) eight years of one administration. That fate may not befall Mr. Brown -- so far, Mr. O'Malley is far more popular than other governors have been at this point in their terms -- but he does need to find a way to get out of the shadows and into the spotlight. It doesn¿t help that the most biggest tasks he has been given, such as coordinating efforts to manage the impact of a federal military base realignment and setting up health insurance exchanges under Obamacare, fall in the category of important but unexciting.