Josh Kurtz: Gansler Hires Campaign Manager

By Josh Kurtz

Attorney General Doug Gansler, who has lagged behind his opponents for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination when it comes to setting up a formal campaign apparatus, has hired a campaign manager, Center Maryland has learned.

Gansler has tapped Carrie Glenn, a veteran of President Obama’s campaign and Montana politics, to be his new manager. The Gansler campaign is also planning to open a campaign office in downtown Silver Spring soon.

A Gansler spokesman declined to comment.

Glenn spent the 2012 cycle running Montana Democrats’ coordinated campaign – and it turned out to be a very good year in a conservative state. Although Obama lost Montana by 13 points, Steve Bullock, the Democratic attorney general, was elected governor by a 2-point margin, and Sen. Jon Tester (D) beat back a furious and well-funded Republican challenge to narrowly win a second term.

In 2008, Glenn worked for the Obama campaign in several states during the Democratic primaries and the general election, including in Montana, where she had previously served as field director for the state Democratic Party.

Gansler was an early and pivotal supporter of Obama’s in the 2008 election, at a time when most of the Maryland Democratic establishment – including Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, a Gansler rival for the gubernatorial nomination – backed Hillary Clinton for president. That’s a fact Gansler will push aggressively as he attempts to cut into Brown’s presumed strong support among African-American voters.

Although Gansler has far and away the most cash-on-hand of the three Democratic candidates for governor, he has deliberately hung back when it comes to waging a campaign. Brown formally declared his candidacy last month and named Howard County Executive Ken Ulman to be his running mate on Monday. While she has not officially delcared her intentions, Del. Heather Mizeur has been criss-crossing the state for months and makes no secret of her plans to run.

Brown’s campaign is being helmed by Justin Schall, who last year helped guide Maryland Congressman John Delaney to his upset victory in the Democratic primary (and previously worked for Hillary Clinton).

Mizeur’s campaign manager is Joanna Belanger, who has worked for national progressive groups like the Center for American Progress and NextGen, but has also worked for statewide women candidates, including Alex Sink, the Democratic nominee for governor of Florida in 2010, and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

Mizeur, like Gansler, is expected to open a campaign office in downtown Silver Spring soon – in the same location where she currently has an office for her consulting group. Brown’s campaign headquarters is in Largo.

Josh Kurtz is editor of Environment & Energy Daily, a Capitol Hill publication. He can be reached at joshkurtz92@gmail.com.

Recent Center Maryland columns by Josh Kurtz:

Will 2014 Be a Republican Year Nationally — and in Maryland?

Back to the Future

Conviction Politics

Union Powerbroker Taking New Role

Why the Rush (Hour)?