By Josh Kurtz
As Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker (D) teased a friendly crowd of the county’s political, business, civic and nonprofit leaders Wednesday morning about whether he’d run for governor in 2018, Maryland Matters has learned that Baker has hired a campaign manager to guide his nascent statewide bid.
Baker is turning to Andrew Mallinoff, a young but seasoned Democratic operative who has worked in several capacities for Rep. John Sarbanes (D), to be his campaign manager.
Mallinoff, a University of Maryland graduate who grew up in Towson, has served as campaign manager and field director for Sarbanes’ recent re-elections and has worked on the lawmaker’s congressional staff. He has also worked for the Obama campaign and the state Democrats in Maryland, was campaign manager for Bill Romani’s unsuccessful bid for a Baltimore city House of Delegates seat in 2014, and has worked for the UsCampaign, an organization dedicated to lessening the influence of money in politics.
Toward the end of a lengthy speech on Wednesday morning about Prince George’s County’s economic gains during his tenure, Baker acknowledged that he’s frequently asked whether he’ll run for governor. He paused for dramatic effect, promising to let the audience of 600 people in on the secret. He leaned forward and lowered his voice.
“I am seriously considering the possibility,” Baker said to a combination of applause and groans. He smiled at the fun he was having with the crowd. “I love that one,” he said. “I’m going to use that around the state.”
Only Baltimore tech entrepreneur Alec Ross has formally entered the Democratic primary for governor, but at least seven other men are eyeing the race: Baker, Rep. John Delaney, former Attorney General Doug Gansler, former NAACP President Ben Jealous, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, state Sen. Rich Madaleno, and Baltimore attorney Jim Shea.
Baker on Wednesday vowed that regardless of what his political future holds, he will continue to aggressively pursue a pro-growth agenda for Prince George’s County in his final 18 months in office.
“Hear, hear!” someone in the crowd yelled.