Harford County Executive David Craig recently held court with reporters and bloggers from around the state to discuss his nascent 2014 campaign.
The “burgers and bloggers” event, paid for by his campaign, had everything one might come to expect—campaign logos, a flash drive press kit, and campaign staffers.
Everything except an indication of what office Craig intends to seek.
“[But] we don’t know what the campaign’s for yet,” Chief of Staff announced.
During the 2 1/2 hour event inside the Tea Room of the in Annapolis, reporters and bloggers listened as Craig outlined his plan to win a statewide election a little more than three years away. (Patch, and not Craig’s campaign, paid for the attendance of two reporters.)
Craig reaffirmed the races he he is eyeing: governor, comptroller, and to a lesser extent, Congress.
The Republican, who cannot run for county executive again because of term limits, told attendees he tends to “lean more toward executive positions.”
Craig acknowledged the hurdles he faces, primarily as an outsider among power players in Baltimore County, Baltimore City and Montgomery and Prince George’s counties.
“Actually I think that’s a bigger issue than being a Republican as opposed to being a Democrat [in Maryland],” Craig said.
“They’ll say, ‘He’s not one of them,’” he said. “I can relate to them very well.”
Citing Republican gains in local elections in smaller counties across the state, Craig said there are a lot of Democrats who would “cross over” for the right candidate.
“We’ve basically wiped out their farm system,” he said of Maryland Democrats.
, in his second full term as Harford County’s , mostly discussed scenarios in which he would run for governor in the next gubernatorial election. He said he expects little resistance from his own party, and believes Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler or will emerge as the Democratic candidate.
Craig does not expect former Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith, whom he referred to as an “old-timer” and who will have been out of politics for four years by the next election, as a contender.
Craig is 62.
When asked what will be his campaign message, Craig said fiscal conservativeness.
“Using the money we take out of your pocket as wisely as we can,” he said. “How can we be more efficient?”
He also said he campaigns for offices, instead of against his opponents. He acknowledged an exception to that rule last fall when he .
“It was a little bit of a personal issue,” Craig said. “[Wagner] needed to be taught something.”
He wouldn't say what it was Wagner needed to be taught, just that he in 2010.
"He's raw," Tomarchio said with a laugh after the "snot" comment.
Craig, who manages a in Harford County, recognizes the challenge he would face at the state level.
“You add a couple zeros to that and you get to the state level [budget] at some point,” he said.
And while he isn’t rooting for a failed economy (“That’s kind of like watching the NASCAR race and hoping somebody crashes.”) he thinks he would have an advantage if the state was struggling financially in three years.
Pressed on social issues, Craig said he does not support abortion or gay marriage in any circumstance.
The Methodist said he considers his opinion on marriage a “religious issue.” He and his wife Melinda celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary Aug. 14.
Craig, who has not raised any funds in a federal exploratory account that would be required for a congressional bid, said he would run for the office where he thinks he can be most effective.
That may be better gauged after completion of his campaign schools, the first of which took place Saturday in Bel Air. The seminars are designed to “train grassroots activists and candidates.”
Craig said he is in no rush to make a decision: “I’m walking slowly.”