After an unsuccessful bid for the Maryland gubernatorial seat in 2018, former Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III is contemplating running for a second time.
Baker, 62, said Monday that no official announcement has been made, but said the coronavirus pandemic highlighted disparities in education, the economy and health care as part of his reason to assess running in the 2022 gubernatorial election.
“All of these things started to come to me,” he said. “During the pandemic and dealing with loved ones, the disparity just became blatant. What are the resources you could put toward people? Government can work toward everybody.”
The Cheverly resident said he and his wife, Christa, recently received their COVID-19 vaccines. Because she continues to battle Alzheimer’s, Baker said a health care worker had to come to their home and administer the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. He received the two-dose Moderna vaccine.
When the pandemic hit the state, she couldn’t go outside for six months to a year “because if she got COVID, that was it.”
“People thought because I was in government that we already had ours. No, this was a recent occurrence,” said Baker, who served in the House of Delegates from 1994 to 2003. “This is another thing that shows how unprepared we were as a state to give [vaccines] in people’s homes. In nursing homes, yeah, you got it. If you are at home like we are, we were searching around.”
Another reason Baker said he’s still wavering about his run for the governor’s seat remains money.
According to campaign figures from January, he has about $8,715 cash on hand.
“We’re starting from the ground floor,” he said, adding he continues to talk with supporters and make fundraising calls.
Baker served as Prince George’s leader for two four-year terms until 2018.
That same year he sought the governor’s seat, but lost in the Democratic primary to former NAACP president Ben Jealous, who captured nearly 40 percent of the votes among nine candidates. Baker came in second with about 30 percent.
Baker, who serves on the University of Maryland Medical System board and is a member of the Alzheimer’s Association National Capital Area chapter, will join several Democrats who either plan to run, or have announced intentions to seek the office.
He also works with the University of Maryland School of Public Policy helping to train government leaders.
Gov. Larry Hogan’s second, four-year term expires in January 2023.
One of those candidates will not be close friend County Executive Angela Alsobrooks, who said March 19 on WAMU’s radio show, “The Kojo Nnamdi Show,” she plans to remain in office.
“I love my job and I love Prince Georgians. It is true every day of the week,” she said. “I am so excited about the vision of Prince George’s County. In this moment, I am running for re-election for county executive.”
Comptroller Peter Franchot, the first person to declare for governor, raised about $790,430. According to campaign documents, reported Jan. 20, Franchot’s cash balance: $2.2 million.
In January, Ashwani K. Jain, a 31-year-old former Obama administration official, said in a video he will seek the Democratic nomination. He ran an unsuccessful campaign for Montgomery County Council three years ago.
Other possible Democratic candidates to run in the 2022 primary on June 28 include Baltimore County Executive John “Johnny O” Olszewski with $1.6 million cash on hand; former state attorney general Douglas F. Gansler with $428,241 cash on hand; and former Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez.
The online website Maryland Matters first reported Baker’s plan to consider whether to run in the 2022 gubernatorial election.