State Comptroller Peter Franchot announced plans to run for governor on Monday, telling a crowd of supporters at Denizens Brewing Co. in Silver Spring.
Political blogger Ryan Miner first reported the news on Twitter, writing that Franchot said he’s “absolutely” running for the seat in 2022.
Standing before a crowd of more than 50 people at @DenizensBrewing in Silver Spring, Maryland Comptroller @peterfranchot says he’s absolutely running governor of Maryland in 2022. “I’ve done everything I could do as comptroller in 16 years. I’m running for Governor.” #mdpolitics
— A Miner Detail (@AMinerDetail) January 6, 2020
Susan O’Brien, Franchot’s director of communications, confirmed his plans to file for candidacy in a statement on Tuesday.
“Peter told a group of supporters in Silver Spring that he’s running for governor to bring fiscal, economic and political reform to the state of Maryland,” O’Brien said. “He has not officially filed or made formal announcement of his candidacy, and those will occur in the future.”
Franchot, a Democrat, is the first candidate to publicly confirm plans to campaign for the seat as incumbent Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, completes his second term in office. Maryland governors are limited to two consecutive terms.
Franchot, a Takoma Park resident and former state delegate, has been hinting at a possible candidacy since August 2019, when he emailed supporters requesting donations for a possible run.
“If I decide to run for governor, I will work for every vote and every dollar to ensure a successful campaign. As I continue these discussions with friends, supporters, and Marylanders across our state, my finance team is working diligently to raise money for my campaign,” Franchot wrote.
He’s long billed himself as an outsider within Maryland politics, criticizing the “Democratic machine” in Annapolis and angering some colleagues with his language during recent initiatives. In his push to reform the state’s craft beer industry, he accused some colleagues of bowing to the influence of the “corporate beer monopoly.”
But he’s also touted high job approval ratings from fellow Democrats, according to a poll his campaign commissioned and distributed last May, and has enjoyed a longstanding bipartisan friendship with Hogan.
The two have frequently been allies on Maryland’s Board of Public Works, a three-member commission that approves major construction projects in the state. Franchot’s opposition to Hogan’s amended 270/495 highway expansion plan in December was seen as a significant departure from that alliance and a show of support with elected officials in Montgomery County, who largely opposed the changes.
Franchot and Hogan announced Friday that they had reached an agreement on the toll lane plan, clearing the way for a vote on Wednesday by the Board of Public Works.
The controversial project is likely to remain a key political issue for several years. Three state lawmakers from Montgomery County have already announced legislation to slow or delay construction of the new lanes.
Franchot is in his fourth term as comptroller after 20 years as a state delegate.