- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 28, 2005

BALTIMORE — Mayor Martin O’Malley formally announced yesterday that he will run for governor in the Democratic primary, saying Maryland has lost its direction.

“While other states and nations are moving forward with leaders who bring people together to solve problems, Maryland is adrift,” he said to more than 2,000 supporters at Patterson Park in East Baltimore. “It’s time to get Maryland moving again, because we know a stronger Maryland can do better.”

Mr. O’Malley, 42, did not mention Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., a Republican, by name, but the criticism was directed at him.

He said that the cost of a college education has increased by 40 percent, that fewer working Marylanders have health insurance and that state taxes and fees have been increased by more than $1 billion.

Mr. O’Malley said he wanted to take the progress he achieved in Baltimore and apply it to the state.

He took credit for the more than $7 billion in redevelopment in Baltimore, the city’s 65 percent decrease in welfare cases over five years, increased home values and the reduced exodus of city residents.

Mr. O’Malley wore a blue suit and was accompanied by wife Catherine Curran O’Malley and their two daughters and two sons. The event was preceded by an appearance in Montgomery County, where he grew up, and was hosted by U.S. Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersburger, Maryland Democrat.

The announcement yesterday sets up a potential race against Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan, in what is expected to be one of the toughest primaries in recent Maryland political history.

Mr. Duncan is expected to announce his candidacy later this fall, but has already started a campaign of sharp criticism of Mr. O’Malley, including statements that the mayor has exaggerating his successes in Baltimore.

Montgomery County will be a battleground because it is the state’s largest county and the one that cast the most votes in the Democratic primary in 2002.

At the conclusion of Mr. O’Malley’s speech, the public-address system played the U2 song “In the Name of Love,” an homage to his Irish heritage and his Irish folk-rock band, O’Malley’s March.

Mr. O’Malley promised to improve education throughout the state, reduce class sizes in public schools, retain quality teachers and invest in better school buildings.

He also vowed to protect good jobs, address problems of poor planning and sprawl, give residents affordable health care and protect the environment.

This article is based in part of wire service reports.

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