Crim Quietly Leaves State Government, Lands at Va. Consulting Firm

    Steve Crim, the former campaign manager for Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) who generated controversy last year when he landed a $154,000 a year job at the Maryland Department of Budget and Management, quietly left the agency this summer and is working for a health care consulting firm in Virginia.

    Crim has joined AM LLC, a Leesburg, Va.-based public health firm that works with government health departments and school districts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, as chief government affairs officer.

    “I am excited to join my colleagues at AM LLC and grateful for the opportunity,” Crim said in a statement. “To me, AM represents the future of public health and serves as a model for how we’ll manage pandemics in the future.”

    Crim has long been associated with Hogan. He helped the governor set up his advocacy group, Change Maryland, which became the early vehicle for Hogan’s 2014 gubernatorial ambitions. Crim helmed the Hogan campaign and was one of the architects of the governor’s upset victory. He later took a job as as a top Hogan aide in the State House, left the administration in 2016, and wound up running the 2018 U.S. Senate campaign of wealthy independent candidate Neal Simon in Maryland.

    Crim then briefly joined the Annapolis lobbying firm headed by former Maryland GOP chair John Kane, but landed a lucrative job in the Hogan administration at the Department of Budget and Management in the summer of 2020, just as Hogan was warning that state workers needed to be furloughed and forgo raises.

    Administration officials at the time said Crim would help agency leaders confront the budget crisis precipitated by the pandemic, but offered few details on his specific role. Some Democrats — and even some Republicans — speculated that Crim would be part of the team helping to coordinate Hogan’s strategy on congressional and legislative redistricting. State Sen. Clarence K. Lam (D-Howard), co-chair of the legislature’s Joint Committee on Fair Practices and State Personnel Oversight and a vocal critic of Hogan administration personnel moves, hinted that legislators might want to look into Crim’s job, though that never happened.

    Crim appears to have left the agency in early summer, but there was some confusion about where he had landed. Nick Pepersack, a spokesman for DBM, confirmed that Crim had left the administration but provided no details on his whereabouts or the circumstances of his departure, and a handful of current and former administration officials said they did not know where he had landed.

    Crim’s name surfaced this summer in stories about a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania, Craig Snyder. Snyder’s campaign announced that it had hired Crim to serve as its chief of staff in July, touting Crim’s work for Hogan. Snyder styled himself as an anti-Trump conservative businessman, not unlike Hogan’s own political profile.

    But Snyder did not get much traction in the 2022 Senate Republican primary to replace GOP Sen. Pat Toomey, who is retiring after two terms, and dropped out of the race Monday. Candidates in that crowded Republican field include Sean Parnell, a former Army ranger and author who has been endorsed by President Trump; conservative commentator Kathy Barnette; real estate investor Jeff Bartos, the party’s 2018 nominee for lieutenant governor; and Carla Sands, a wealthy businesswoman who served as Trump’s ambassador to Denmark.

    “After months of hard work, with the full commitment of a talented and energetic team and the encouragement, both moral and material, from both friends and family and many like-minded strangers, it’s become apparent that I will be unable to generate the level of support necessary to give a fair test to the thesis that there is a plurality of Republicans, and a solid majority of both Pennsylvanians and Americans, who want a common sense conservative alternative to both Trumpism and Socialism,” Snyder said Monday.

    But by then, Crim had already moved on.

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    Josh Kurtz
    Founding Editor Josh Kurtz is a veteran chronicler of Maryland politics and government. He began covering the State House in 1995 for The Gazette newspapers, and has been writing about state and local politics ever since. He was an editor at Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, for eight years, and for eight years was the editor of E&E Daily, which covers energy and environmental policy on Capitol Hill. For 6 1/2 years Kurtz wrote a weekly column on state politics for Center Maryland and has written for several other Maryland publications as well. Kurtz regularly gives speeches and appears on TV and radio shows to discuss Maryland politics.