Could Michael Steele be on the ballot in 2014? The former Republican National Committee chairman says he is considering a run for governor in Maryland next year.
“”I’m serious,” Steele, now an msnbc political analyst, said on Monday’s The Daily Rundown. “We’re looking at it.”
Steele, the state’s former lieutenant governor, first talked about the idea last week on WMAL radio. Before serving two years as RNC chairman, Steele lost a 2006 Senate bid to Democrat Ben Cardin.
Steele said he isn’t blind to the political realities a Republican faces in the increasingly blue state. “[We’re] going to take a look at the numbers,” he said. “Maryland is a tough state.”
Steele’s running mate when he was lieutenant governor, Bob Ehrlich, was the first Republican to win the state’s top job in 2002 in nearly four decades, but lost four years later. The state has been trending even more Democratic in recent years, and in 2012, voted for President Obama by 26 points.
Despite taking some time away from electoral politics, Steele said he still had a calling to re-enter public service.
“I love the idea of service,” said Steele. “I think we can move the state in a different direction. We lost 30,000 employers over the last eight years. Our economy is not competitive in the region anymore.”
Steele said he would need to decide on a run by the end of the year, but he likely won’t be alone in the GOP primary. Harford County Executive David Craig officially announced his candidacy on Monday, and state Delegage Ron George is expected to enter this week, with nearly a half-dozen others also taking a look at the race.
But with Gov. Martin O’Malley term-limited, Democrats remain favored to hold the open seat. Current Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown has already announced he is running. Attorney General Doug Gansler, Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger and state Delegate Heather Mizeur are also weighing bids.