- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 10, 2005

BALTIMORE — The e-mails started trickling into Delegate Anthony G. Brown’s inbox in March, after Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes announced he would retire: Think about running for the seat, fellow lawmakers and supporters urged the House Democratic whip.

“A lot of elected officials and community leaders were saying ‘You ought to consider filling in the blank,’” said Mr. Brown, a Prince George’s County Democrat.

At the time, he could do little to gauge a possible run for statewide office. He was thousands of miles away from Annapolis, serving a nine-month tour in Iraq as a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserves.

Now back home, Mr. Brown has heard his name mentioned not only as a possible Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate but also as a possible running mate for several gubernatorial candidates or for state attorney general. As rumors swirl, he is leaving his options open.

“I am seriously considering these statewide positions,” Mr. Brown said from his district office in Lanham, adding he is in no hurry to make a decision.

As he weighs his next move, his supporters plan two welcome-home parties for him. His allies say the Harvard-educated lawyer, military veteran, House leader and lawmaker from a county heavy with Democratic voters would be a formidable candidate, either on a ticket for governor or running on his own.

“I think Anthony has unlimited potential,” said House Speaker Michael E. Busch, Anne Arundel Democrat.

Mr. Brown was commissioned as an Army officer in 1984 after he graduated from college, and he served five years with the 3rd Infantry Division in Germany. He tried to volunteer for the Persian Gulf War in 1990 but was offered only a posting at a U.S. base.

He then joined a Lanham law firm, married a law school classmate and started a family, now with three young children. In 1999, Mr. Brown was elected to the House from the 25th District in Prince George’s County. Five years later, his fellow Democrats elected him majority whip.

When he had the opportunity to go to Iraq last year, Mr. Brown volunteered again, though it meant leaving his family behind and missing the 2005 legislative session. He rejects suggestions he signed up to burnish his political credentials with a military tour of Iraq.

“There are things elected officials do to get a bump up in the ratings,” he said. “Deploying to Iraq is not one of them.”

While in Baghdad, Mr. Brown worked with the Iraqi transitional government’s Ministry of Displacement and Migration while he served as part of the Judge Advocate General Corps, the military’s legal branch.

It was hard to leave his post as the third-ranking House Democrat, he said, but it was equally difficult to leave his seat, which remained vacant during his absence. He also missed a special session on medical malpractice, an issue he worked on before he left.

Mr. Brown had lunch recently with Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan and has spoken on the phone several times with Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley, both likely Democratic candidates for governor.

Mr. Duncan wouldn’t say whether Mr. Brown was a likely running mate.

“I’ve got people giving me suggestions,” Mr. Duncan said. “His name is mentioned quite a lot.”

• Associated Press writer Tom Stuckey in Annapolis contributed to this report.

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