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Only six of 61 governors in Maryland history have been Republican. The campaigns to become make it seven in next year's election are getting underway this week. Harford County executive David Craig is waging one such campaign, and made a stopover in the traditionally Democratic stronghold of Montgomery County today.
Craig is on a three-day tour of Maryland, traveling in a large motor coach called "Bluegrass Tee Pee." It belongs to the owner of a construction company, and was previously used by Ellen Sauerbrey in 1994 and Bob Ehrlich in 2002.
"It's been interesting," Craig said. "It's like being in a little tiny home, but it's been fun."
Sauerbrey and Ehrlich both captured the GOP nominations when they used the motor coach, so Craig wants to follow in their footsteps, or tire tracks.
After formally rolling out his campaign Monday, Craig is introducing himself to Republican voters across the state, speaking as much about his lengthy background in public service as he is policy.
"Sometimes it's not about the tune you put out, it's about the tone," Craig said. "My family — I'm a 10th generation Marylander — and we've been Republicans since 1860, so we've been Republicans since the party started."
As for the politics, Craig is following a familiar Maryland GOP theme: attacking the tax increases approved during current governor Martin O'Malley's tenure.
"Income tax (hikes) have forced people to leave the state," Craig said. "Increases in sales tax, particularly on the Eastern Shore, have reduced retail businesses."
Craig will be joined in the Republican field by Anne Arundel County delegate Ron George...who kicks off his campaign tomorrow in Annapolis; and retired Baltimore firefighter Brian Vaeth. A handful of others could soon announce...most notably...former lieutenant governor and Republican National committee chairman Michael Steele.