Brown and Ulman are the first official Democratic contenders for Maryland's top offices.
Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown was the first Democrat to throw his hat in the race for governor next year. He was also the first to pick a running mate, tabbing Howard County executive Ken Ulman this morning.
The primary election is still more than a year away, much less the general election, which is 17 months from now. But Brown and Ulman didn't want to waste any time getting started, especially the 39-year-old county executive.
"When Anthony Brown asked me to be part of his team, the decision was simple. I said yes," Ulman said.
Ulman's allure for the Brown ticket is easy to see. He's in his second term as the leader of one of the fastest growing counties in the state, which is also geographically central and strategic. It's a suburb of the suburbs, as it borders Montgomery, Prince George's, and Baltimore counties. But Brown noted Ulman's record in office as well.
"Under his leadership Howard County has the lowest unemployment rate in Maryland," Brown said. "Local schools are rated number one. And Forbes Magazine rated Howard County as one of the best places to raise a family in the country."
In his remarks, Ulman stressed his Howard County roots, saying his parents moved from Baltimore to Columbia, the site of today's announcement, which started as a planned community designed to eliminate racial, class, and religious segregation.
"My parents loved that dream, so they came here," Ulman said. "I was one of the first babies born at Howard General Hospital."
Their chief competition for the Democratic nomination is expected to be attorney general Doug Gansler. The former Montgomery County state's attorney will likely announce his campaign this fall.
Meanwhile, on the Republican side, Harford County executive David Craig formally started his campaign for the GOP gubernatorial nomination today. Anne Arundel County delegate Ron George is the only other Republican candidate at this point.