Late this afternoon Mike Pappas dropped his nearly yearlong bid to become Maryland's next Governor and threw his support behind fellow Republican Larry Hogan.
In his announcement, Pappas noted, "(a)fter considering all the challenges ahead and my personal requirements at home and in my law practice, I have determined that the best interest of my family and business requires that I stop my run for Governor effective immediately." He cited both family reasons and the need to attend to clients of his legal practice as the two key reasons for withdrawing.
Pappas concluded that:
Some may question the timing of this decision given the tremendous victories Republicans won in elections this week. However, those victories exemplify the kind of results we can achieve as Republicans with good candidates. Although I believe that I personally make an excellent candidate, the realities of a State-wide race require more time than I can provide at this time, and I will not run such a race at anything less than 100%.
Moreover, I have spent a considerable amount of time getting to know Larry Hogan since he entered the Governor’s race this Summer. Larry and I share many of the same beliefs and ideas on how to rescue Maryland from the devastation caused by the failed policies of the Democrats in Annapolis. Larry brings a great perspective to the race and has the qualities and resources necessary to mount a successful run for Governor. With my withdrawal, Larry can focus his efforts on winning the general election and build on the momentum that started this week.
Therefore, I am proud to also announce that I am endorsing Larry Hogan for Governor in 2010 and am asking all of my supporters and members of Team Pappas to also support Larry in every way that they can. I will be working hard for Larry, and I hope you all will do the same.
I am deeply grateful to every person that joined our team, attended our events, contributed to the campaign, offered a word of encouragement, and challenged me to hold myself to a higher standard as a candidate and a citizen.
As for Hogan, he was pleased to gain the backing of Pappas.
I am honored to have the support of Mike Pappas. As the only candidate for Governor over the last ten months, Mike and his team have worked tirelessly building support across the state. Mike has been a consistent voice and leader for Maryland Republicans. He’s got a great future in politics,” said Hogan. “Mike and I both want to see common sense and fiscal responsibility return to Annapolis. I’m excited to have the Pappas team join my campaign.”
“Governor O'Malley's failed record of lost jobs, higher spending, record tax increases, and broken promises is unacceptable. Maryland families deserve better. I look forward to working with Mike and his outstanding team to give the people of Maryland a real choice for change in November 2010.
So the GOP field is cleared as Pappas is the second wouldbe Republican candidate for Governor to drop out. Charles Lollar of Calvert County had been rumored to throw his hat into the ring, but residency issues interfered with his plans. Instead Lollar is in the race against Steny Hoyer in the Fifth Congressional District.
Lollar and Pappas may not be the only GOP dropouts, though. Hogan has indicated his desire to step aside should former governor Bob Ehrlich decide to make another run at the state's top spot, but Ehrlich has been coy about announcing his intentions. It could be next year before Ehrlich reveals his hand, a wait which distresses some state Republicans (including myself.)
But at least until Ehrlich makes his decision, Hogan can now train his guns on incumbent governor Martin O'Malley and O'Malley has given him plenty to criticize as the state's budgetary woes continue despite plenty of stimulus assistance from Democratic partymate President Barack Obama. With Chris Christie defeating a governor who couldn't keep his promises just up the coast in New Jersey, Maryland Republicans can hope that lightning strikes again in what's presumably the bluest of states outside Massachusetts.
Crossposted on monoblogue.