- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley gained support for re-election from Prince George’s County Executive Jack B. Johnson, who earlier this year said he had not ruled out challenging the governor in the 2010 Democratic primary.

In a letter dated Wednesday, Mr. Johnson wrote that Mr. O’Malley’s “leadership has been a vital part in stabilizing our local economies to ensure the greatest chance of success.”

“While we face additional challenges in the coming years, I know that your re-election is a critical link to continuing the commitment to our citizens to create opportunities for them and their families,” he wrote.

In February, Mr. Johnson told the Gazette Newspapers that he was seriously considering a run for statewide office and would consider a primary challenge to Mr. O’Malley. Mr. Johnson is forbidden by term limits from running for county executive in 2010.

Mr. Johnson also discusses in his letter the challenging economic times and how Mr. O’Malley’s efforts have alleviated the impact the national recession could have had on local economies.

A Johnson spokesman referred a call about the letter to Mr. Johnson’s chief of staff, who did not return a phone message.

Tom Russell, Mr. O’Malley’s campaign manager, said he was “happy to have the county executive’s support for the re-election.”

“As County Executive Johnson noted in his letter, despite the global economic crisis, the governor’s leadership has resulted in Maryland making real progress in the most difficult of times.”

Mr. Johnson’s decision not to challenge Mr. O’Malley leaves the governor a year from the 2010 elections with no significant challengers.

Former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. is said to be considering a run but has yet to throw his hat in the ring.

Only one Maryland Republican, Baltimore County Republican Central Committee member Mike Pappas, a former paramedic who is now a lawyer for the construction industry, has said he plans to run. Delegate Patrick McDonough of Baltimore County and Larry Hogan, who served as Mr. Ehrlich’s secretary of appointments, have also said they would explore a bid.

Mr. O’Malley defeated Mr. Ehrlich by more than six percentage points in the 2006 general election.

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