Last week, Maryland’s 33rd State Comptroller Peter Franchot finally announced what many have been anticipating for almost four years now – that he was considering running for governor.
The 71-year old Montgomery County native, who spent twenty-years in the Maryland House of Delegates before being elected comptroller in 2007, has flirted with the possibility of running for the state’s top post for some time now. However, after deciding against a run for the seat during the 2014 hotly contested race, and then all but ignoring a 2018 matchup against a well-liked incumbent – albeit a Republican; it seems as if Franchot is finally ready to take that plunge into the deep waters of statewide politics.
And it appears that the longtime politico – who insists on residents calling him “Peter” – has a considerable fan base ready to cast their ballot for him if he did enter the race. In a recent poll conducted by DMVDaily News on the eve of Franchot’s announcement, it appears as if over half the respondents would choose Peter over a dozen other likely democratic candidates mentioned in the online poll.
Having received 59-votes (37.8%) of the 156 individuals who were polled, Franchot received more than double his nearest competitor, which just happened to be the democratic candidate for governor in last year’s gubernatorial contest, Ben Jealous. The failed gubernatorial candidate and former President and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) came in second with 23-votes (14.7%) while Angela Alsobrooks (Prince George’s County Executive) and Johnny Olszewski (Baltimore County Executive) tied for third with 14-votes (9%).
But it was clear that Franchot would have an early advantage over the other candidates in the field, many of who are chief executives of their counties, but don’t have nearly the same level of statewide name recognition as the state’s comptroller, who has been on the ballot statewide for the past four straight elections and received more votes than any other candidate on the ballot in 2018.
However, it’s Franchot’s ‘lone wolf’ mentality which may hurt his chances of organizing much-needed democratic central committee members and political insiders, who he will need to organize a statewide run for governor in 2022. Often at odds with his party’s political leaders, including the state’s longtime political ‘capi di tutti cap’ (boss of all bosses), Senate President Thomas ‘Mike’ Miller, Franchot will have to try to overcome that obvious disadvantage in order to successfully win in a democratic primary contest.
“It’s no secret that the political insiders that make up the Annapolis machine aren’t my biggest fans, and they will surely mount an impressive effort to support their anointed candidate,” says Franchot in a recent online message to supporters.
But over the past few years, he seems to have garnered a large legion of the liberal left of the party with his ‘Disrupt the Machine’ coined phrase and actions, which may help him overcome the lack of party establishment support. And given that the latest Gonzalez Research poll showed that Franchot’s job approval ratings was holding steady at 65% statewide, and his latest campaign finance report showed his campaign coffers touting over a $1 million and counting, it’s not hard to see a viable pathway to victory for the medallion-toting money man.
“If I decide to run for governor, I will work for every vote and every dollar to ensure a successful campaign. As I continue these discussions with friends, supporters and Marylanders across our state, my finance team is working diligently to raise money for my campaign.” ~ Peter Franchot