Democratic Rep. Anthony G. Brown is considering a run for Maryland attorney general next year and said Friday he was confident his seat would stay in his party’s column if he does. One of his former opponents filed paperwork Friday to run for his 4th District seat.
“I’m giving it careful consideration, talking to family and supporters,” Brown, a former lieutenant governor who lost a bid for governor seven years ago, told reporters outside the House chamber.
“Some people may not remember, but 15 years ago when I came back from Iraq, I was actually running for attorney general, and then I joined Martin O’Malley as his lieutenant governor,” he said. “A lot of folks are, with a swirl of rumors, they’ve been calling me, reaching out, [saying] ... ‘We’d really like for you to do this, we think now’s the time for a strong advocate, a principled attorney and public servant.’”
If he does run, Brown would be the 14th House Democrat — and the third this week — to retire or seek another office going into the midterm elections, when the president’s party traditionally loses seats. Republicans need a net gain of five seats to take control of the House.
“There’s a question mark perhaps that everyone’s asking, ‘Will we retain the majority?’ But that question really doesn’t factor into into my decision,” Brown said.
Attorney General Brian Frosh said Thursday he would not seek another term. Brown praised Frosh on Twitter as an “exceptional public servant” who is a champion for state residents and “advancing equal justice and safety.”
Brown said he would make a decision “soon” after consulting with his family. Brown ran for the House in 2016 after losing the governor’s race in 2014 to Republican Larry Hogan in an upset. He said he knows firsthand that running statewide is more difficult than in a House district but “we know what kind of campaign to run if that’s the decision, or the direction we’re going.”
He said he’d focus his campaign on “equity and justice, particularly on racial and ethnic lines,” noting the Legislature recently gave the attorney general more authority to investigate police-involved shootings.
“I know that in conversations I’ve had with Brian, they’re sort of ironing out a framework for that. And perhaps we can extend it beyond where the attorney general can not only investigate but actually prosecute, where the facts warrant it,” he said.
Brown said he was not aware that Glenn Ivey, who lost the 2016 primary to Brown when the 4th District seat was open, had filed a statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission on Friday to seek the seat again.
“I don’t know if anyone’s filed yet but that’d be interesting if they have,” he said. “I have fielded calls from people who are interested in the Fourth Congressional [district] if I don’t run. One thing I will say: I’m confident that it will remain in Democratic hands. In all the maps that I’ve seen in redistricting, it’s very likely the Fourth Congressional District will continue to be a strong Democratic district.”
The district, which stretches from the eastern and southern borders of Washington, D.C., to the outskirts of Annapolis and had a 52 percent Black population in 2010, backed Joe Biden over Donald Trump by 60 percentage points in November.
Brown is a member of the Armed Services, Veterans Affairs and Transportation and Infrastructure committees.